Standardized tests are an American formula for public exams. In a test such as this, every individual faces the same questions, they have the same amount of time to answer them and the criteria which are used to judge them are also the same. Everything is done in a very consistent manner to measure students based on a standard set.
Examples of standardized tests for the junior school level could be the- PSAT or NMSQ. The senior year students participate in SAT or ACT exams. While the graduates face exams such as-GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT, before applying for higher or postgraduate level.
The tests mainly check your skills and ability in English, analytics, and mathematics. They are engineered to be pressure tests. It’s very tough to finish all of the questions in time. You will have to go through a rigorous process of preparation and a lot of practice for this.
It can cause more stress if you haven’t been an A student in school.. When your grades are down for diploma and graduate courses, the pressure is more intense in doing better in these standardized tests.
There is no doubt these standardized tests can be intense and challenging. We are going to discuss today how you can prepare for standardized tests. We are going to discuss your preparation pattern in three stages-
When there are just months left before the exams, you will need to focus on some specific areas.
Setting your studying practice
Before doing anything, you should set your agenda. How you are going to study and what are you going to study, and a system for you to manage your workflow.
It’s very crucial to have these strategies as they help you to guide yourself in an already set path. You will have to gather proper study materials such as flashcards, youtube videos, practice tests, guides and calculators like the ones from the old days.
Start studying already!
One of the biggest problems students face is procrastinating. You will not pass the test if you don’t start the prep studies and keep on top of it, with at least some months in your hand.
Pressure will be on you before the exam in one way or the other, but if you have studied less than you expected you would, it becomes a hell of a ride. So, start preparing months in advance.
You need to follow some studying tactics.
You should read test preparation books and guides. Standardized tests are- increasingly vocabulary based tests. So building up your vocabulary is very important for these types of tests. You could do that by reading any book, even outside your syllabus.
For verbal parts of the test, you could try discussing your readings with your peers. Which could help you all to understand it better. It will also improve your communication skills.
One more thing, you should regularly take practice tests. Put yourself through the hurdle you will face in the test, repeatedly. It’ll make it easier to face the actual exams.
The day before the test
It’s crucial to stay calm the night before the test. Here’s what you should do the night before a standardized test.
The thing about studying all on the night before the exam is, it’s never effective. We mentioned in the previous sections on the GRE, how you should start studying early. Your preparation should end way before the night before the exam.
You could do some light studying. Maybe check some of the stuff you are weak at. But nothing hardcore that will tire you out or frazzle your nerves. It is most important to keep a calm mind.
Have a healthy dinner before you go to sleep. You shouldn’t eat something that will make you uncomfortable the day after. Try to avoid extra-spicy elements in your food, which could cause you digestion problems or cause heartburn. The nervousness you will feel will make your stomach more prone to producing excessive acid. So, eat light and healthy.
Packing for your exam the night before is a very important part of your preparation for the exam. You should definitely take care of this, the night before and not in the morning of the exam. That way you may miss many of the important things you will need for the exam. Here’s a list of the things you should take with you to the exam hall-
- A print-out of your admissions ticket
- A valid government-issued or school ID with your full name and photo
- Two #2 pencils (no mechanical ones)
- An effective eraser
- An approved calculator (for the ACT, SAT, or an SAT Subject Test in Math Level I or II)
- An approved CD player, (for an SAT Subject Test with listening)
- Extra batteries
- A watch with the alarm on silent (suggested)
- A healthy snack (suggested)
- A water bottle (suggested)
- Extra clothing layers (suggested)
You may have heard a lot in this department. A good night’s sleep is not just good for you, it is mandatory for you the night before your exam. A rested mind and nerves will help you perform well in the exam.
Without a good night’s sleep, you will not be able to focus and your mental acuity will suffer.. Less sleep makes you unsettled and makes you forget what you studied.
So it’s imperative to have a good night’s sleep before the standardized tests. You should go to sleep, sometimes after you finish your dinner and wake up early in the morning.
The morning of the exam
Very crucial time. You should do some last moment preparation here. Nothing big.
Eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. Like dinner, you should avoid the foods that make you uncomfortable. Also, keep your breakfast short and light. Heavy eating, some hours before the exam could be counterproductive by directing your blood flow to the stomach for digestion instead of the brain for energy to focus and concentrate.
Wear something you are comfortable in and something that will keep you cool – not too cold or too hot. Dress in layers so you can take off a cardigan or a sweater should you feel warm in the exam centre. You can also use the layers to keep you warm should you be seated in a seat where the A/C is blasting off too cold.
Arrive early at the exam hall. Keep the traffic and commute time to the exam centre in mind when heading out. Head out extra early. Plan to arrive at the exam hall about 30 minutes prior to exam time.
The key is not to panic before the exam. Try to relax and stay calm. Be sure to take a bathroom break to ensure you are not going to need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the exam.
Preparing for any exam is hard. If you wish to do well, you are going to have to work hard. Immediately before the exam, you are going to have to keep your calm and wits about yourself. If you prepare well ahead of time, you will be confident and collected and will come out with great scores at the tests.