As you prepare for college entrance exams (like the SAT and ACT), you will encounter plenty of advice. One person will tell you to get plenty of sleep the night before, while another person might instruct you to focus on writing skills. Still more people might say, “memorize these equations” or even, “just don’t think about it at all, or you’ll stress yourself out”.
There is possibly no perfect formula that will work for everyone, and most advice probably carries some merit. But there is one thing that anyone can do, that pretty much always helps: Try practice tests!
Understand the test itself. Scores improve when students are familiar with the exam format, and understand how questions should be answered. After taking several practice tests you should gain a much better understanding of how the real exam works.
Learn how to make judgment calls. You will learn how to pace yourself, so that you can make smart decisions regarding the length of time you should spend on difficult questions. Sometimes it is better to skip a problem and move on, rather than run out of time attempting to solve one question.
Spend your time resources wisely. After completing a practice test or two, you will have a good idea of which skills you’ve mastered and which areas still need work. This information will help you spend your study time wisely, focusing on the areas in which you most need to improve.
Increase knowledge retention. Studies on learning have repeatedly demonstrated the idea that we retain information better when it is repeated over time (as opposed to “cramming” the night before an exam). Taking repeated practice tests helps to reinforce retention.
Reduce anxiety. Many students experience anxiety regarding tests, but especially the big ones (like the ACT and SAT). Repeated practice exams make the process feel more familiar, build confidence, and can reduce anxiety.
For more information on SAT and ACT practice tests, give us a call. We specialize in helping high school students prepare for these crucial college entrance exams.