Improving Standardized Test Scores
Methods of improving your scores on standardized tests, including ways to make the most of study time beforehand.
Everyone who's been through high school has faced it. Some people face it several times throughout their educational and employment experiences. Standardized tests: one of the most dreaded forms of examination known to man. Here are a few tips to help you make it through standardized testing-be it GEDs, SATs, or other.
Procrastination = Pain
If you wait until the last minute to prepare for your exam, you're doomed. Start studying at least a few weeks in advance, and study sparsely. Don't try to cram it all into one or two sessions. Do a bit at a time. Prolonged exposure to the material-i.e., studying a little bit every day-will help it sink in. Whatever you do, do not pull an all-nighter the night before to study frantically. Relax and get a good night's sleep, or you will be a wreck the day of the exam. The last thing you need is to fall asleep halfway through the test!
Coaching Can Help
Do consider hiring a private coach, someone who knows how to prepare for exams and who can help you drill the material. Oftentimes, teachers will offer private tutorage outside of school. Alternatively, a very popular preparation method is courses by professional companies such as Kaplan and Princeton Review. These courses run for a number of weeks, and teach you useful tips, tricks and time-savers. And if you just can't fit it into your schedule, consider purchasing one of the many standardized testing preparatory software packages or books on the market, to hone your skills.
Always Use the Buddy System
You probably have methods of studying that work well for you, and that's good. Don't neglect these methods, but do consider the possibility of teaming up with others who are facing the same exam, and having group study sessions. By studying with others, particularly drilling each other with flash cards or similar media, you are not only reinforcing your own knowledge, but also helping your study partners reinforce theirs.
Breakfast Makes it Better
It's no myth; eating a nutritional breakfast the morning of the exam will indeed help you concentrate. Consider your stomach as an engine. Without fuel, an engine seizes. Your stomach, without the fuel food provides, won't be able to provide your body with all the energy it needs to allow you to concentrate well, and work to your full potential. Plan to get up a bit earlier if you must, to make yourself a meal rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. A breakfast such as toast, a glass of juice, and cereal with fresh fruit would be ideal.
Music to Heighten Your Senses
You may have heard of the theory that complex music-such as classical music-sharpens your mind. It has been proven many times and from personal experience, I can vouch that it really does help to listen to classical music before taking a standardized test. Turn the music on while you eat or while you get dressed. You don't have to focus on analyzing what you hear, just let it play in the background. You may find it helps you feel more alert, awake, and focused.
Last but not least, don't study the morning of the exam. If you don't know it by then, you won't learn it in a few minutes of hectic study. Relax, breathe deeply, and try to clear your head of worries & tension. Frantically trying to cram in a few more minutes study time will only make you more nervous, and less apt to remember anything you review during that time.