6 Tips on Preparing for a Crucial Exam

Exams can be extremely stressful, particularly when they’re crucial to your college career. Fortunately, steps can be taken to prepare yourself in advance, so you can don’t have to stress so much during your exams. The following tips are designed to help you prepare for a crucial exam.

• Prepare ahead of time. Look over your notes frequently, so you don’t have to cram a whole semester’s worth of information into your head at the last minute. This will help familiarize you with the terms and boost your confidence by being prepared for the exam ahead of time.

• Take notes. Everybody has their own way of taking notes, so it’s advisable that you do this on your own, rather than borrow somebody else’s notes. Writing down your own notes helps you memorize the material being studied.

• Use tools to review for your test. Highlighters were invented for the purpose of being study aids; going through your notes or textbook and highlighting all the material relevant to the exam can not only help ingrain the material into your brain, but also makes it easier to find later when you go back to study. For things like numbers or mathematical equations, mnemonics may be used.

• Join a study group. This is an excellent way to exchange ideas with fellow students. Joining a study group can help improve your memory, as well as lighten your burden since you have other people there to help.

• Relax. A few days before your crucial exam, try to relax. Take a break from all the studying and go out with your friends, or play a video game in order to relieve some of your stress. This will clear your mind, so it’s not a jumbled mess when the morning of your exams arrive.

• Eat and Sleep Properly. A responsible student never goes out and parties all night right before a big exam. Eating well helps nourish your brain, allowing you to really focus on your studies. Sleep helps your body relax, as well as clear your mind. Although it may seem tempting to pull an all-nighter the night before a big exam, you will be doing yourself a favor by getting a good night’s sleep. If you’re exhausted during the exam, you will have a harder time focusing on the questions, never mind composing accurate, legitimate answers.

When preparing for an exam, it’s important that you make an effort to do well. Don’t slack off or be lazy. Success requires a good amount of hard work, discipline and determination. If you really apply yourself and do your absolute best, then there is no need to worry about failure. Nobody enjoys taking exams, but they are designed for a purpose- to test your skill level. As long as your try your hardest, study, and take care of yourself so you’re in good physical and mental health, then you should have no trouble passing even the most difficult exam in your field of study.

Three Keys to Preparing for Standardized Tests

The recent SAT cheating scandal involving Long Island high schoolers and college students has raised alarm bells across higher education. How could students from top notch Long Island schools pay college students to take their SATs for them? How wide spread is this practice, and how long has it been going on for?

For those of us in the field of education, and in particular test prep, the New York incident comes as no surprise – it is the natural evolution of a system which has placed an extremely high value on the results of a single test. It has created an arms race among students who are driven to exploit any means (both legal and illegal) to increase their odds of admission to their college of choice. For better or worse, this is the current environment which students (and their parents) have to deal with – and the reality is that standardized tests are one of the most important factors in college admissions.

While the importance of standardized tests may change over the long term – for now, the idealistic idea pioneered by Harvard University to liberalize the admissions process is the most serious hurdle high school seniors will face.

Given these conditions, what are students to do? What priorities should students set, and how should parents help them get there with their integrity intact? There are three simple rules for navigating the college admissions process and the SAT/ACT – and this applies to the GMAT, LSAT, MCAT and GRE as well. These rules are designed to take the stress out of the college admissions process, and make it possible for anyone to achieve a higher score on the SAT/ACT.

1) Think Long Term

2) Maximize Repetitions

3) Tailor Your Learning

Think Long Term – Begin your formal test prep activities one year before the exam date. Every good test prep process begins with learning the ins and outs of the SAT or ACT. This requires a thorough review of each of the question types, the scoring method, and the format of the exam BEFORE ever doing a practice question. This is a relatively low pressure, low stakes way to prep and feel comfortable with the exam.

Maximize Repetitions – Do as many test prep questions as you can in order to get familiar with the patterns and habits of the question writers. This doesn’t require you to buy a ton of books or download massive databases of questions. As long as you get coverage across all the common question types, doing the same questions over will build the confidence and pattern recognition necessary to succeed.

Tailor Your Learning – You should avoid the cookie cutter approach at all costs. If you are testing at a high level on the math, but struggle with the verbal – attack the low hanging fruit! For you, an hour’s worth of verbal prep will yield more of a score improvement than an hour of math prep – so focus on the right things. Don’t waste your time (and money!) learning skills that will not help you improve your score. Do spend time practicing question types where you don’t feel as comfortable, and always look for new ways to relate to the material.

Above all, stay focused – don’t spend time practicing concepts you already know or which won’t be on the test. Once you’re done studying, relax and be confident that you’ve done your best and that is all you can ask.