We're in the home stretch. Yes, you've studied and reviewed in the last few weeks, but we do not want to let up now. Be sure to focus yourself for 60 to 90 minutes each afternoon/night to review and prep yourself.
A lot of our notes here you may have heard and some of it may seem like common sense, however it’s always valuable to have the reminders.
Prepping for the test includes prepping (and taking care of) yourself:
To be well rested heading into test day, try to get a good amount of sleep each night leading up to it. You’ll be sharp on Saturday, and will find it easier to review during each of the days prior. Sleeping well during the week will typically cover you in the event that you’re unable to sleep (stress, nerves) the night before the test. The good sleep over the course of the week will give you the energy you need during the exam.
Don't vastly alter your diet in the days before the test. Even if the foods you are eating are healthier, these are NOT the days to try something new (the last thing you want is for your stomach to be rolling while you’re in the middle of a reading passage). If you don’t already, consider adding a light breakfast to your morning routine in order to get you body, and mind, ready for the day.
Sure, it’s inevitable that you’ll stress a little bit about the test and what it means leading into your future – it’s only natural and everyone will have some level of nervousness. The key is to be able to minimize that stress, and to go into the exam with confidence. Being mentally and emotionally prepared will have you working with positive anticipation instead of nervous dread. In the days prior to the test, just as you’re reviewing and studying, be sure to give yourself some time to relax as well. Getting a workout in, spending time with family, and even doing your summer reading (two birds, one stone), will keep you sharp and will also work to release any negative anxiety that is built up.
Mentally prepare yourself by visualizing a successful test – raising the score by 100 points, improving your English section, etc. If you have already taken the test already, you know what to expect – the number of questions, how much time you have for each section, the atmosphere during test time – and that’s a hurdle cleared. Knowing the sections you’re weakest on, think about how you’ll be confidently encountering those questions on Saturday, navigating trouble areas, and knowing that you’ll have the time to come back to those questions.
Prepping for the test also means setting a game plan for each section:
For the English passage sections, consider first working through detail questions that you can easily locate the answer to. Finish those first before then moving on to inference questions, questions that ask what the author intended, and main idea questions. The detail questions will allow you to move rather quickly, the other question types will take a bit more time. This way of thinking allows for more time to be spent that those questions that need it.
Encounter a tough vocabulary word? Use the surrounding clues in the text to determine what it means.
With the writing component, spend a few minutes brainstorming. Note your ideas, and outline the point that you’re going to make. A few minutes of prep here will save you a lot of time in the long run, and you’ll be able to construct a well-organized piece. Once complete with writing, be sure to read over and review your work. Check for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and double check your word choice (do you repeat yourself?) and overall structure (did you write one giant paragraph? Run-on sentences?).
Again...find the time on your own to practice these next few days. It’s perfectly fine to study for one hour, before coming back later in the day to refocus for another hour. Cramming Friday night will not be a successful strategy – as you won’t remember most of what you’re looking at – but you can certainly do a brief overview of your weak spots, and build confidence in yourself that you’ll be able to tackle each of those tough questions with ease.
As always, let LAC know if there are any questions, comments, or concerns by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is anything specific that you'd like to go over - whether it's your standardized tests or your admissions progress as a whole - let us know and we can work to find a time to chat!