When planning to take a standardized exam, such as the SAT or ISEE, preparation is key. Comprehensive test preparation for s student should at least include the following major components to maximize the likelihood of student success: general test taking strategies, specific strategies for the particular exam, and a review of the content covered on the test itself.
Some of the stress that many students experience about taking standardized tests may be related more to a combination of test anxiety and fear of the unknown rather than to unfamiliarity with the material. To minimize such stress, we recommend a test-preparation regimen that “demystifies” the test and allows students to review content.
That’s why the most valuable type of standardized test preparation includes working through practice tests under simulated test conditions for most students. Practice tests help the student become familiar with the format of the test, the timing or pacing of each test section, and the manner in which test questions are likely to be phrased. In addition, practice also provides content review.
To get the greatest benefit from standardized test preparation:
- Take a full, timed practice test of the test you are planning to take as a diagnostic.
- Score this test.
- Look at the questions where your answers were incorrect. See if you can isolate why you missed them.
- Evaluate what types of questions you are getting incorrect.
- Evaluate the subject areas where you are struggling.
- Concentrate preparation on the sections of the test where you need the most practice.
- Look closely at the types of questions where you need more practice.
- Learn strategies for handling the types of questions presented on the exam.
- Take as many practice tests as possible; score and evaluate after each one to improve score.
Evaluate patterns in the types of subject matter you are missing to see if you need to seek tutoring or a formal test prep course.