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Top 10 Test Prep Tips to Improve Your Exam Scores

Here are the Top 10 test prep tips to improve your exam scores

I’d like to share with our readers tips to use for test prep, whether you’re taking the SAT exam, ACT exam or other standardized tests like the LSAT, GMAT, GRE or MCAT. Preparing for exams can be tedious, but with the right plan you can succeed.

Ten Test Prep Tips to Help Improve Your Test Scores:

(1) Practice sections: Always take practice sections and exams under testing conditions. Testing conditions refers to taking an exam during the same time and general day you are scheduled for the actual exam (e.g. Saturdays at 9am)

(2) The back of the book: Do not simply look to the back of the book for answers. This causes you to rely on the book and others’ knowledge more than your own. Always try the problems first and then rely on the back of the book to check your answer.

(3) Manage your time wisely. One of the most important things to do before you begin studying for tests is to set out a proper study schedule. At a minimum, you should devote between 2 to 3 hours per day in preparing for exams. Make it your part-time job. Choose only one or two test prep books and go to work.

(4) Get help when necessary. In most cases, students only get once chance to take a major test like the PSAT, SAT, ACT or other grad level exams like the GRE and LSAT. So why not consider a private tutor? At the very least look into it. Beyond providing you direction, a private tutor may go a long way in helping you prepare for these exams. For example, Top Test Prep’s tutors all have scored in the top 1% percentile and are double-screened to ensure they are able to successfully tutor students.

(5) Speed exam taking: If the student has difficulties with time or time pressures, have the student take the sections under faster time settings. For example, have the student take what would normally be a 30 minute section, in 15 minutes instead. Like running with weights attached to your ankles, this will make the tests and each sections faster for the student.

(6) Math Problems: The method is more important than the result. If a student cannot explain how he or she got to the correct answer, they won’t be able to do it correctly on their own exam. Like any mathematical proof, you want to make sure you have every step down perfectly. Every studentmust be able to explain their methods.

(7) Verbal Problems: One method that has worked for Top Test Prep is to have every student read the verbal passages out loud before answering the questions. Most test prep companies recommend reading the questions first, and then skimming the content. During your tutoring sessions, we want the students to hear what the author is writing and then to explain the passage’s main point to the tutor. If a student can explain what an author intended to write, he or she will know the answers before they get to the questions. If a student can come up with his or her own title to the passage, they become more involved and will understand the questions better. Essentially, make the student the author of the passage.

(8) On test day: The Five P’s of Test Prep are simple: Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Make sure every student has everything they need on test day: All #2 pencils, calculators, and their admissions ticket. Being prepared will prevent nervousness and overall anxiety. Students are encouraged to have some caffeine, but not too much however much they are comfortable with drinking.

(9) Expect the Unexpected. When test day arrives, you must expect that you will see questions with which you are unfamiliar. In the event you don’t know the answer, make sure to eliminate as many problems that are not logical or those which have no basis for even being an answer choice. This takes practice. However, it’s important not to just guess if you have a chance of losing points.

(10) Don’t Panic. No matter what your score is, keep in mind that you can take an exam again. You can take most exams again without being penalized – several admissions offices will look to your highest score regardless of any previous exam results.

This article was written by Ross Blankenship, an education expert and Chairman of TopTestPrep.com, which provides private tutoring and admissions consulting to students around the world. Call (800) 501-PREP to get help with private tutoring and admissions consulting.