Preparing for an admissions assessment can be daunting. Whether you’re getting ready to apply for elementary school, middle school, high school, or college, the tests required for entrance are often long and challenging, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to learn all the content necessary. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks to approaching preparation that can make studying less intimidating – and help you ace the test!
GRAB A CALENDAR
The first thing to do when preparing for an assessment is to determine WHEN to study. It’s important to give yourself enough time to prepare so you have the opportunity to explore all challenging areas of the assessment. The amount of time you’ll need will vary from test to test – to decide when to start, check in with a guidance counselor, a consultant, or explore online blogs (like this one!) to see what experts recommend.
DETERMINE YOUR STRENGTHS AND AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
The best way to know what to work on is to take a diagnostic test. Diagnostic tests can be found online, in test-specific study books, or can be completed in a tutoring office. The results will tell you which areas of the test are looking great and which still need work.
MAKE A STUDY PLAN – AND STICK TO IT!
Use the results of your diagnostic test to create a concrete study plan. If there are certain topics or areas that really challenged you, make sure to allocate extra time to explore these topics. If you aced a certain area, you don’t need to spend too much time there! Once you determine how much work will need to be done, take out your calendar and block off dates and times for studying, ensuring that you allow enough time to cover any topics that need work.
GATHER YOUR RESOURCES
As you get ready to begin, make sure you have everything you need to prepare. Students often benefit from test-specific workbooks and online programs that include content and questions that mirror the test format. Students can also benefit from using external resources, such as Khan Academy, to help understand any topics that may not be thoroughly covered in the study programs. If students continue to struggle with certain topics, they may benefit from working with a tutor or other adult to help explain unfamiliar topics or give them feedback on their work.
Often, the hardest part of completing a big project is getting started! If you’ve put the work into making a study plan and gathering your resources, then all that’s left is to get started. Preparing for a standardized test can be a long process, but once you get started and begin seeing progress, you’ll feel more confident with each passing day.
Remember, preparing for a standardized test may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! When you’re well-prepared and have a plan, you’ll feel more confident, calm, and ready to do your best.