Test Administrator Antoinette Inge gives instructions to Potomac Job Corps Center students as they prepare to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test on Monday, March 24, 2010. The ASVAB is a multiple choice test, administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command, to determine a student's qualification for enlistment in the United States armed forces. (Pete Marovich/MCT) (Pete Marovich)
Test Administrator Antoinette Inge gives instructions to Potomac Job Corps Center students as they prepare to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test on Monday, March 24, 2010. The ASVAB is a multiple choice test, administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command, to determine a student's qualification for enlistment in the United States armed forces. (Pete Marovich/MCT)

Pete Marovich

Preparing for Standardized Tests

April 2, 2016

The SAT and other standardized tests can cause large amounts of stress because of their seemingly important role in students’ lives. A 2005 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research revealed that students who studied got better grades than those who didn’t. Practicing good study methods helps students study effectively and score better on exams.

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Practice tests – Practice tests are really important because they allow students to get a feel for the test and how it reads. Getting familiar with the test and its structure will help students be more prepared for the questions and the way they’re being presented. Learning how to answer multiple choice questions effectively can also help a lot.

Reading – Reading and analyzing articles prepares students well for reading comprehension and drawing conclusions as well as increasing students’ reading speeds. It’s important to find and analyze the author’s focus and/or assertion throughout the article(s).

Studying the vocabulary – Studying any vocabulary that may be on the test, whether that be in a separate section devoted to vocabulary or simply embedded in questions and solutions, is essential to succeeding on any test. Knowing the vocabulary enables students to read and understand all of the questions and solutions quicker.

Learning to utilize the materials provided – Being familiar with the resources provided during testing time is useful and can strongly influence test scores. Knowing the capabilities of any technology in use and knowing the contents of any formula sheets or other information provided can help students utilize the materials provided to their fullest potential.

Taking SAT prep course (for SAT) – Taking an SAT preparation course can help by providing information from an experienced tutor who will help students get familiar with the test. Test format and question structure are best learned from someone who has studied them in depth and has experience teaching students how to most efficiently handle the question format.  

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————Other (unrelated to test) tips

Eat a nice, healthy breakfast in the morning of the SAT.

Don’t be stressed. If you prepared well, you’re relying only on yourself and your preparations; you should be fine. Even if you do poorly, there’s usually an opportunity to take it again.

Get at least eight hours of sleep, more is recommended if possible. A good tip for sleeping is to use an app to know when to go to sleep if you have to wake up at a certain time to avoid waking up while in REM sleep, or deep sleep.

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