Category Archives: Test Prep

You’re studying for the BIG TEST: brushing up on grammar rules and math formulas, taking practice tests. But you’ve heard horror stories of test-day breakdowns, and you fear it will happen to you once you sign in and enter that big classroom. How do you prepare for the unexpected? Put on your armor, and all will be well! HELMET: The right mindset. We are not born with the right test-day mindset. In fact, big-stakes tests naturally lead to a heavy dollop of performance anxiety for many students. Don’t wait until test day to start tackling the nerves. Instead, face your test day anxiety ahead of time by practicing healthy stress reduction techniques. Attend our seminar on Overcoming Test Anxiety to learn how to tackle the demons on the mind and going into battle armed with a calm, clear, and positive mindset. In a recent Tests and the Rest Online Summit…

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All exams, with the exception of those administered by medical professionals, presuppose some level of background knowledge or experience. Score data lacks meaning without the context of the test takers themselves. The same standard applies to test prep, in that knowing where a student begins not only explains prior results but also future paths and potential outcomes. If you are about to embark on an odyssey of exam preparation, whether through self-prep or with an expert, ask yourself a few pointed questions as you begin… and answer carefully! How familiar are you with the exam you are preparing for? REASON: Familiarity with test content, structure, and timing represents the low-hanging fruit of score improvement. Those who retake a standardized test often score higher simply because they have more experience and insight into what to expect. However, that trend won’t hold for further retakes without additional practice and coaching. How much…

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“Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal.” At least that’s what project management exam prep expert Cornelius Fichtner says. While we may disagree in terms of degree, I fully support the idea that planning and action must always go together, especially in test prep. That’s why, when Punam Saxena of edu-Me invited me to speak about any topic related to the SAT & ACT on her splendid podcast, I chose to focus on planning. As Punam herself says, creating a schedule and ensuring that your child is efficient with their time is critical for maintaining sanity and doing well on the test. Are you interesting in a big picture overview of when teens should take the SAT or ACT? How about getting into the nitty-gritty details? When is the best time to take the ACT or SAT? When is the best time to prepare for these tests?…

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We’ve all changed during the COVID-19 era. Lives, organizations, and entire industries have transformed, some for the better and others, unfortunately, for the worse. Few sectors of society have been impacted as dramatically as education. Both K-12 and higher ed have been a veritable roller coaster of remote learning for students, families, educators, and administrators. These have been days we will not soon forget! Yet, not every change should be rolled back once we’ve beaten back the virus, as this singular moment has helped accelerate trends that were already gaining traction. In the sphere of education and admissions, for example, remote learning and virtual campus tours have become normalized in a way that will add tremendous convenience and access to everyone who values those qualities. College admissions testing has changed as well, as cancelled, socially-distanced, and even pop-up tests made taking the SAT and ACT more stressful than ever. No…

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When discussing strategies for multiple-choice grammar questions recently–something totally normal people do all the time, I’m sure–I found myself surprised by how much one of my most respected friends in education and I differed on how useful “listening” for an error is. Continued debate proved inconclusive, so we brought the question to our big brain colleagues in Test Prep Tribe: “How many of you advocate that students “use their ears” to identify grammar errors in ACT English or SAT Writing and Language?” Unsurprisingly, the test prep community at large is split, at least as far as blanket statements about any particular approach go. However, the lively discussion around the issue helped formulate some nuanced rules about trusting your ear when solving grammar questions: In English, what sounds wrong is wrong… usually. Standardized exams like the SAT and ACT tend to test grammar through underlined portions of larger texts that may…

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A classic challenge all military forces must grapple with revolves around the concept of a volunteer army. Those who volunteer for service usually arrive with desired levels of motivation and aptitude. They serve with greater enthusiasm and tend to stick around longer. However, volunteers aren’t always easy to find, particularly during troubled times. When nations require service through a draft coupled with penalties for those who refuse, the size of their standing armies increase as quickly as the general competence and morale of the force goes down. Nobody likes to be forced to serve. As anyone who’s ever demanded a child to clean his or her room can attest, we can compel participation, but excellent results won’t necessarily follow. Imagine the roster of your favorite sports team was filled not by athletes who competed their entire lives for the opportunity to play, but rather by a collection of conscripts unable…

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