The first thing to know about college admissions test scores is that you can improve them significantly through practice. Doing well is all about practicing on as many questions as possible. Aim to spend at least three hours on practice tests per week for the four weeks leading up to the test date. Standardized tests are extremely repetitive, and your goal is to get to the point where you recognize the concepts that always appear. It is also critical that you time yourself when practicing; use a stop watch or alarm so you know exactly when time would be up.
The Top Strategies
Math: As you are practicing for the test, realize that the most important math strategy by far is the strategy of “Plugging in Numbers.” Any time there are letters, or variables, in a question, you can plug in your own numbers to make the question easier to solve!
Reading: The most important thing to remember about the reading comprehension portions is that the test makers have to give you a hint somewhere in the passage that leads you to the right answer. No matter how much you dislike the reading passages, remembering that they must give you a hint every time will give you more confidence on these parts of the exams.
Ace the Easy Ones
Remember that most sections of college admissions tests go from easiest to hardest, and you don’t get more points for answering the hard questions correctly. What this tells you is to focus on the first two-thirds of every section and try to do as well as possible on these easy and medium questions.
The Right Frame of Mind
You must go into your college admissions test confident, competitive, and relaxed. We know this is easier said than done, but practicing will help you achieve the right frame of mind. Remember that these tests specifically try to intimidate you, and so a less confident student will be tricked into thinking the questions are harder than they actually are.
Test Day: Get Ready the Night Before
You should spend an hour to an hour and a half the night before the test reviewing the tricks and strategies you have learned through your prep. Review questions that you noticed came up frequently. Make sure to get into bed early, get seven to eight hours of sleep, and eat a healthy breakfast the morning of the test. Consider bringing a couple of granola bars to the test; you should be able to munch on them during a break. It is difficult to concentrate for such an extended period of time without any new energy.