Monday, July 12, 2010

Standardized Testing

Perhaps nothing strikes more fear into students than the dreaded standardized test. Whether it is the unpredictability of the questions, the nervousness of doing well, or the sheer horror of having to take a four hour long test, standardized tests oftentimes represent a student’s most difficult academic obstacle. However, as with anything concerning education, standardized test taking is an acquired skill, which can be improved and perfected with hard work. The beauty of standardized tests is exactly that, they are standardized. The fact that they are designed to provide the same bench mark for assessing competency year after year means that there is a wealth of resources available at your disposal. The key, however, is correctly using what is available to you. If you go to your neighborhood Borders or Barnes and Nobles, you are sure to find several hundreds of books concerning taking standardized tests. The books can be roughly condensed into three categories: books which teach you the material on the test, books which provide sample tests, and finally books with reference material. The first step is to go through a book like the Princeton Review or Kaplan, which will teach you the required material on a test. It will also provide you the in and outs of testing, like when it is reasonable to guess, how to eliminate choices and so forth. A good idea is to go through two or more different books of this sort to guarantee you have a firm grasp of what is required. You can likewise supplement your studying with reference material like formula charts and vocabulary cards. Most students have a tendency of stopping here, however, the absolute best way to study for standardized tests is to take as many practice tests as possible. The benefits are numerous. Firstly, you become acquainted with the test’s format, and consequently, are able to pace yourself in the most efficient manner. Secondly, you are applying your knowledge of the material the same way you will come test day. This, in turn, will make you accustomed with all the different ways test makers can ask you the same problem in different words. Finally, taking full tests is the only way to build stamina. You will become fully able to apply yourself throughout a test, rather than deflating like a balloon with every passing hour. Although you can take tests provided by companies like Princeton Review, standardized test makers like College Board annually release official tests from previous years. It is likewise important you begin your studying as soon as possible, which may be several months before the actual test date. By following these simple methods you are guaranteed to have all the tools required to ace that next standardized test.

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