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Your Test and Your Confidence

To succeed on standardized tests, you need a certain level of confidence. This is true of most pursuits, but standardized testing is such a stressful and anxiety-producing venture that confidence in your abilities will make or break your score. Most students know the feeling of mid-test anxiety: you begin to worry about that answer that you couldn’t get, and the worry hurts your focus, which makes you worry more…etc.

Having sufficient confidence won’t just raise your score; confidence will get you the score you deserve. If you go into a test uncertain and fearful, you are lowering your score unnecessarily.

So how do you raise your confidence on your chosen exam? The most important way to boost confidence is to prepare well:

  • Use official practice tests.
  • Start early, at least three months prior to your test date.
  • Have a steady, regular schedule of preparation: spend at least half an hour every day.

The regularity of your preparation efforts is important because learning is both affective and context-dependent. If you’re always in a guilt-ridden rush when you cram in your studying, that’s how you’ll feel during the real test. Preparation makes the test more comfortable. Confidence, in this sense, is familiarity. Completing practice tests under official circumstances is key. If you know what you’re going up against when you step into your test, you’ll feel much more secure.

During preparation, you can help build your confidence by focusing on what you do know, the sections or subjects in which you’re the strongest. Don’t just work on your weakest points; there’s no reason not to improve everything.  Focusing on what you’re good at will also change the picture of the test, and if the test feels like something you know, your confidence will improve.

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