Although, the content, structure and preparation strategy of each test might vary tremendously, there certain qualities that test taker should possess in order to succeed. Here are top 5 qualities of a successful test taker.
1. Confident you! Keep calm and press on.
You shouldn’t forget that entry exams score is what college admission commission will consider as application’s strength or flaw apart from your GPA, recommendation letters and any other documents you submit.
On the other side, keep in mind that such tests are just simply about your readiness to follow a college curriculum and not a college curriculum itself. In other words, high school knowledge set should be more than enough to ace the test. Do not underestimate yourself.
All you have to do is to calm down and realize that you’ve got everything you need.
2. Set your goal.
Setting a goal is essential for any test takers. What do you expect from this test? High scores? Better understanding of specific concepts? Improved chances for top-colleges admission? Answering the big question, you will realize what your main goal is and then you can break the big goal down into smaller actionable steps.
Find a balance between your expectations and reality. While it might be a bit stressful to study under test time frame conditions, it is always better to study with test papers rather than separated problems. Becoming comfortable dealing with test format is a first small, but a significant step to your bigger goal of become successful in the test and then in a college.
3. Become a schedule master.
Some say you need a clear and strict study plan. Others insist that simple every day training will do well for you. It doesn’t really matter how you call it, just make sure that your daily or weekly schedule includes practice sessions, set with exact date and time.
We don’t know when you take the test in two weeks or two months. Definitely, when you start your preparations a few months in advance you have a great advantage of setting a proper schedule for each practice session. On the other hand, two weeks of intensive every day training might be a great help in its own way.
Try to find the balance and see what suits your personality.
Do you feel more comfortable studying a few hours without a break or you do way better with intensive sessions of 40-50 minutes followed by short breaks? Whatever option you chose, just make sure you are consistent in your training.
However, do not forget that exhaustion is not your goal (see p.2) and it’s the last thing you need to feel before the test. Try to balance. If you study today for 3-5 hours, next day you could just rest or have comparatively two short sessions 30 minutes each. This alternation will keep you in shape and will not cause aversion to the test itself.
Usually, score improvement occurs after consistent practicing and drilling concepts. Significant improvements are the results of successful application of a long-term study strategy.
4. Challenge yourself.
Be your own competitor, and challenge yourself during intensive practice sessions. There are a few ways how you can do it – time frames and solving patterns.
Time frames. If you know, you have to solve one problem in 1 minute. Now, give yourself half of that time. Later, when during the test you have to complete one section of 20 questions in 25 minutes, you will be done in 15 minutes, finding yourself ahead everyone else with extra time for final check.
Remember Tests not only examine your knowledge level, but certain skills, one of which is an ability to identify the problem accurately and fast. The sooner you adapt to shortened time frame, the most likely you will finish it in time and do better in the test, in general.
Solving Patterns. It would be extremely helpful for you to know at least two ways to solve any problem, especially the ones in Math Section.
It doesn’t mean you have to use both methods during the test, but as many possible techniques you know the less stressful the test will appear to you.
5. Concentration. Learn how to focus!
Perhaps the most important quality you should possess and constantly develop is the ability to focus on your study/test entirely and without interruption. Especially, losing concentration during the test might cost you a significant part of a final score.
Unlike common belief, studying by yourself in a quite isolated room is not such a great good idea. When you take a real test, the conditions are different – in simple words, there will be other people around. Your focus has to be precise, so train yourself to pay attention to what is important to you at this second.
Besides libraries, the most favorite place for students to study for the exams are regular coffee shops, where you’re surrounded by people and noises. It is some sort of finding your inner Zen. This way, you can keep your concentration on highest level, and the sounds of your neighbor yawning or pencil scratching won’t bother you at all.