Tag Archives: test day

No matter how much you’ve planned or prepped for your official SAT date, you can’t get in without an admission ticket. In the days of paper tests, you’d have a paper ticket to print and present. Getting your SAT admission ticket in the digital age is a bit more complicated but every bit as essential–those who don’t follow the right steps in advance will not be able to sit for their exams. Start the process 1–5 days before the test. We strongly recommend taking care of this on Monday or Tuesday for a Saturday exam: Log into your account on Bluebook, the same testing application you’ll use to take the SAT, on the device you’ll use on test day. Follow the prompts to complete a system check and exam setup. When you see a green check and “Your exam setup is complete,” you’ve done it. At the end of exam setup, the…

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Anyone who has ever been tested knows that nobody succeeds in bringing their best performance to every single challenge, particularly the ones that matter most. Yet, despite how utterly commonplace underperformance is, most people seem surprised when it happens and ill-prepared to learn from the experience. Like most educators, Professor Richard M. Felder was all too familiar with this phenomenon among his Chemical Engineering students. Unlike the rest, he took solid, productive action by formulating what has become a legendary Test Preparation Checklist that students can use to audit their preparation after a disappointing score. I often recommend this resource, but recently realized that the checklist applies more accurately to the kinds of classroom tests Felder administered than the standardized tests we help students prepare for. Consider this the first version of a Standardized Test Preparation Checklist that should ideal for any student or educator assessing the primary causes–and obvious…

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Clothes, it is often said, make the man. But can the right clothes make the man test better? If we accept that our best scores come from managing every aspect of the testing experience we can, then even something as prosaic as wardrobe choice can impact performance. Dressing for success of test day involves more than remembering your lucky socks–though you can wear them too if that will help! When laying out your wardrobe (along with all those other test day necessities) the night before a big test, your main concern should be COMFORT. Consideration of comfort should include a few important factors: Freedom from distractions You don’t proctor as many practice tests a year as we do without seeing lots and lots of hoodies and sweatpants. Why are sweats so popular? When sitting in place for hours on end, teens intuitively favor apparel that is non-binding and free flowing.…

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Optimal performance in sports depends on a carefully-calibrated regimen of skills training, conditioning, nutrition, rest, and coaching. Why should optimal performance in academics and tests be any different? Protein is a powerful driver of peak cognitive function, in large part because neurotransmitter activity in the brain runs on amino acids, which come from protein. The better the fuel, the more efficient our brains operate. In addition, good protein boosts energy, mental clarity, and mood, while helping to manage both pain and stress. Of course, these benefits accrue from good sources of protein. So rather than packing Big Macs and Buffalo wings on test day, be more strategic in your selections. For example, nuts are chock full of fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Researchers seem to uncover new benefits to eating nuts every year, from low blood pressure to weight control to longevity. Experts agree that walnuts are particular…

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Do you know that feeling when something you’ve anticipated or even dreaded for a long time finally occurs? Now that the new SAT looms just a few days away, many teens are experiencing that exhilarating mix of expectation and anxiety. But smart students prepare for tests, and we’ve had the privilege of seeing some really bright and motivated high schoolers integrate information about the new test into their existing understanding of the ACT and former SAT. In fact, I fully expect some of our students, for better or worse, to know more than the test proctors. Standardized tests offer valuable data to admissions and licensing authorities because of the rigid consistency with which each exam is meticulously designed and administered. Yet for all the psychometric precision applied to test development, much less standardization occurs at the point where many important tests meet the testing public. For example, most SAT and…

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Most standardized tests require maximum production in minimal time from those pushing for the best scores. In fact, the race against the clock adds an additional dimension of complexity to most exams. That’s why your test day preparations should always involve a watch. Three Steps to Making a Watch Work on Test Day Step 1. Find a watch; parents are perfect sources of functional if not fashionable wristwatches! Step 2. Wear a watch. Step 3. Use a watch… it doesn’t do much good if you don’t look at it!   Analog or Digital? If my kids are representative of their generation, the ability to read an analog clock is gradually being relegated to the same dustbin of history where we find cobbling and calligraphy. Yet some argue that analog watches make keeping time easier: With an analog clock you can actually see where time has traveled and where it’s going…

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