That old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ hasn’t stuck around just because it sounds nice. The truth is that practice really can help to better performance and is one of the most effective learning habits out there.
Taking practice tests as part of your test preparation is one of the best things you can do to ensure you get the results you want when it comes to the real thing. Practice testing allows you to stretch the exact muscles you’ll need when it comes to the big day, and can help with your overall retention and speed.
If you’re planning on doing some practice testing, how can you make the most out of your practicing? Read on and we’ll walk you through how to prepare for a test in the most assured and confident way.
1. Try to Mimic the Testing Environment
Everyone knows that the testing environment itself can provoke some of that anxiety that makes test-taking difficult. You’re often sitting in a sterile, fluorescent environment that can only heighten your emotions around the piece of paper that is sitting in front of you.
One way to relieve yourself of this environment-based anxiety is to take your practice tests in a similar type of space. The more you can replicate the test-taking environment, the more you can train your body to relax and get used to this kind of space.
The more relaxed you are, the clearer you’ll be able to think. That’s going to be essential when it comes to doing well on your big test.
No matter if you’re doing GED, SAT, or ACT test preparation, focusing in on the environment can be deeply helpful. Make sure you take your practice tests in a space that is free of distractions and noise.
Consider, for example, taking your practice test to the library and doing it there as opposed to at home. At home, your roommates or family might interrupt. The environment at the library will likely be closer to the one you’ll experience on test day as well.
2. Focus on Timing
Many standardized tests come with specific time limits. You’ll only have so much allotted time to complete different sections or get your answers down before being forced to move on.
When it comes to your real testing session, the test moderators are going to be incredibly strict about these limits.
That means, during your own practice session, you should exercise the same amount of control. It can be tempting to give yourself a little wiggle room. A few extra seconds here, or just another minute there.
However, doing so is not going to create an accurate image of where you’re currently at in your testing aptitude. You won’t be given that kind of extra time on the day, and your score might actually come down as a result.
You should also get used to learning how to use your extra time during different sections as well. When you’re doing a practice test alone, it can be easy to feel like you can move on to a new section when you finish early.
However, it’s better to get into the habit of re-checking your answers. Learning how to use this extra time wisely can be helpful on the actual test day.
3. Use High-Quality Practice Tests
This one should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many students give themselves a false sense of confidence by using practice tests that are of poor quality.
If the practice tests you use to drill yourself are far easier than the actual test you’re studying for, you’re going to be ill-prepared when the real thing slides across your desk.
There are many test-prep courses out there, but you’ll need to do your research and ensure the practice tests that they provide are as close to the real thing as possible.
You can look into the Acer HAST practice tests to get a sense of what a quality practice test looks like.
Using practice tests that are created by the actual administrator of the test itself can be helpful as well. If you use this method, there should be no reason why the actual test should look any different than your practice attempts.
4. Learn From Your Mistakes
Just taking a practice test isn’t enough to strengthen your score. These practice tests really serve as a testing ground where you can try and better your approach and your skills.
If you get your score back from the practice test, even if it’s good, you still should take the time to look into every mistake you made.
Why did you miss certain answers? Was it the way a question was phrased? Did you double guess yourself? Did you do some sort of calculation wrong?
Getting to the source of your errors can help you to learn how best to avoid these issues on the real test. This is quite possibly the most important part of the process and the area that gives you the most opportunity to learn and grow.
Getting the Most Out of Test Preparation
If you’ve got a big exam on the horizon, it’s important to take the time to learn how to best prepare.
Proper test preparation can make a big difference when it comes to your performance on the final test. The above suggestions can help to ensure that you are approaching this preparation in the best way possible.
Need more test-taking tips, tricks, and advice? Keep scrolling our blog for more helpful information.