Over years as an entrepreneur, author, and publisher of (now-defunct) SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy has relentlessly studied and dissected the habits of the most accomplished people on the planet. He can attest that the secret to success isn’t much of a secret at all: practice. However, the kind of practice that drives stratospheric levels of accomplishment and excellence is extremely specific.
Deliberate practice requires tremendous commitment and structure over time. But no other path takes you to even the chance of doing your very best when it matters. How do you know if you are practicing properly? Hardy described four essential steps to attacking deliberate practice:
- You must be motivated to attend to the task and exert effort to improve your performance.
- The design of the task should take into account your pre-existing knowledge so that the task can be correctly understood after a brief period of instruction.
- You should receive immediate and informative feedback and knowledge of results on your performance.
- It’s important to note that without adequate feedback about your performance during practice, efficient learning is impossible and improvement is minimal.
Simple but clearly not easy. The beauty of this concept is that deliberate practice works on everything, from sports to art to the most esoteric and extreme hobbies (perfect example: Rubik’s Cube world record). But how specifically do the four steps to deliberate practice apply to test prep?
- You must want and be willing to work towards higher scores.
- You need a personalized program that focuses on your specific abilities, learning style, and goals.
- You must be willing to take frequent high-quality practice tests to assess incremental improvement in different areas of the test.
- You need to work with a qualified tutor or coach who can provide specific feedback on your performance.
Again, simple but not at all easy. But if you want higher scores, this is how to get them!