Every year, millions of high school students take the SATs and ACTs to submit scores to colleges. Though colleges look at many factors when deciding to accept students, the scores on these tests seem to be major factor in determining scholarships and seats awarded. Numerous test preparation centers and courses available attest to the importance of these scores. Often times, students wonders how can they best prepare for these exams and get the highest score possible?
One of the best ways to prepare for the exam is by having a good plan to conquer the test. A student preparing for the exam should take a test that was previously administered as a pre-test before any preparation is done. Once the exam is taken under test conditions (same break times, etc.), the score can be used to pinpoint weak areas. Instead of studying all areas and wasting time, the student can focus on weak areas and practice more questions in those areas until they achieve a target level of proficiency. Other areas should be practiced sparingly to reduce preparation time. Books by major test preparation centers such as Kaplan and Princeton Review can help give a good overview of major concepts. If more depth is needed, textbooks on the subject can help as well.
Once weak areas are thoroughly reviewed, the student should take another practice test to identify more areas to improve. The best way to prepare for these exams is to take many practice tests. This will help an individual understand how long a question takes. Taking more tests exposes you to many different types of questions. Some of the questions may even be repeated in the actual exam. As more exams are taken under test conditions, the speed and accuracy improves.
Another way to better prepare is for the student to remember that taking tests is a skill to be mastered. Even though the student may not be able to know everything on the test, the student should attempt to answer all questions. Taking practice tests will help the student gain more knowledge and increase the likelihood of making better guesses.
An excellent way to prepare for exams is to prepare flashcards. Most entrance exams focus on verbal and quantitative abilities. As a result, there are numerous mathematical concepts and vocabulary words that need to be memorized. Students should create flashcards and review them regularly with themselves or friends.
The most important factor in effective preparation is for students to give themselves adequate time. Three months of preparation time should be the minimum before taking the first test. Adequate preparation time allows the brain to process and retain concepts. There is also room for error in case the first exam does not go well.
Taking college entrance exams does not have to be stressful. Students should make sure to take as many practice tests as possible, have adequate preparation time, and review important concepts regularly. These actions will help students be better prepared for their exams as well as their future!
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