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How To Prepare For Your College Entrance Exams: A Short Guide

And manage one of the most stressful aspects of college planning

How To Prepare For Your College Entrance Exams: A Short Guide

Undoubtedly one of the most stressful moments in the life of every student is taking their college entrance exam. Getting into the university of your choice can depend on your performance, adding to the stress of taking it. The initial exam is the first step toward pursuing your dream career. So preparing for the exam both academically and mentally is hard.

Here are some tips to help get you ready.

You Must Not Panic

Do tests give you anxiety? Even the best students will get butterflies before an SAT or an ACT. But on a timed exam, you can't afford to be distracted or panic.

If anxiety is natural, what can you do? The best method you can use to calm any test anxiety before the entrance exam is to be well prepared. The more you practice a test, the more natural it becomes. You'll get used to allocating your time, the kinds of questions likely to be asked and the most avoidable mistakes. (More on the importance of practice in later sections of this article.) This reduces stress and increases self-assurance. Being confident in your abilities, knowledge, and skills, greatly reduces the risk of fear and panic.

What if the nevertheless you start to feel anxious? One of the techniques you should use for instant relief is deep breathing. Stop, take a minute, exhale and inhale deeply and focus on your breathing. Keep repeating to start to calm your mind and body.

So, when the moment of your exam comes, you have done all the preparation you can and have all the tools to stay cool and composed.

You Should Know the Essentials

Even though you are very sure of all the knowledge you have regarding grammar and math, you still need to invest your effort in getting more knowledge that is necessary for both your SAT and ACT.

We mentioned the importance of practice. For any standardized tests you'll want to access practice questions and entire practice exams if possible. Depending on the subjects you are taking for your entrance exam, you need to focus on the essentials in the early stages of your preparation. If dive in and try to understand the whole field, you will be overwhelmed processing masses of new information. Even if you studied the field extensively, a standardized test would likely cover all the materials you've covered over the course of a year or longer. So it is a good idea to work through the materials sequentially from topic to topic. It is a good idea to take notes and come up with the lecture summaries you can return to and revise a couple of days before the actual exam. It is important that you strategize how many hours on different topics ahead of time is essential if you want to cover all the materials and be on the safe side. This will also further add to your confidence.

Practice Until You Make It

You need to be aware that practice makes it perfect and you should take as many practice tests as you can manage to do before your actual entrance exams. If you are part of a formal study prep program or your school offers formal test prep meetings, be sure to attend all of these studying sessions for the entrance exam. This will help you find any weak spots and left you focus on the last few days of study time on those areas where you have concerns.

While there are a lot of test prep programs, remember there are also many practice exams you can find online. There are dozens of websites you can visit for any given exam and either download exams for free or take them interactively.

There are also some other materials such as videos, tutorials, test tips, and shorter quizzes that can help you master the skills and polish the knowledge before taking your exam online (some charge a fee, but many are free).

By taking the full advantage of these helpful resources, you can increase your score significantly.

Make a Plan

We touched on this already, but planning is essential. If you are preparing for more than one subject for your entrance exam, then you need to have a well thought out strategy for managing all of the different subjects you should cover. It is not a good idea to go through all of the subjects at once since you will put a lot of pressure on yourself and will not be able to manage all of the information. So, you will need to think about how much time you are allocating each week to different upcoming exams.

Being efficient with those blocks of study time is also essential. How will you break up an afternoon or evening of study? One of the most useful methods is the Pomodoro Method where you studying for 25 mins and resting for the next 5 mins. You repeat this 5 times and take one big break. This is a healthy way of studying where you will be able to actually learn a lot but by taking breaks be able to retain a lot of what they learned. Pick a couple of lectures or modules you intend to cover for the day. Do not be too ambitious and try to cover the entire book in a sitting or two as you may end up retaining very little of it.

Need a random study break that also enriches your mind? There are some educational websites such as The Invented where you can find some trivia on the greatest inventions of our era and get to know their origin.

Preparing for the entrance exam is a very stressful period in your life and you need to be smart and strategic. Covering the materials in a methodical and step-by-step manner will ensure you are not overwhelmed and will significantly the percentage of material you retain while also boosting confidence and reducing stress.


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