Preparation You Need To Do Before Taking Standardized Tests

Taking the standardized tests is a major part of the college application process. In addition to your academic standing in your high school year, these standardized tests are one of the bases that college admission officers evaluate. Knowing that it can affect their future, this can bring heavy pressure to every high school students.

For every college, they have different requirements regarding the standardized tests. Some may require for you to take SAT, ACT, and even Advance Placement Test. You also have to remember that there are still lots of things that you have to do, such as high school workloads; school and organization activities; keeping your class ranks and GPA at the top; preparing essential documents for your college applications and financial aid, and keeping up with all of your deadlines. This time of their lives can be very chaotic and extremely stressful for every high school students. But if you keep on thinking about it, then it will just add up to the things that will stress you more. The best thing that you can do is to be prepared for these standardized exams.

Before the test

Preparation is the key for you to perform well. You have to organize your schedule and study periods; make research about the standardized tests from the past years; keep yourself fit and healthy; and just simply relax.

  • Understand the test format

From the previous years, know what formats are being used for each test and the categories on it. If you took a practice test when you are in your junior year, then it will definitely give you the advantage because you were able to experience how the tests are being conducted.

  • Practice

There are several prep classes that you can enroll with. With the help of the mentors, you will be able to improve the areas where you are having difficulties. There are also prep test booklets that you can purchase. With the help of practicing, you will be able to recognize your errors, especially the careless mistakes.

  • Understand how the test is scored

ACT and SAT are graded differently with each other. On SAT, you will lose a quarter of your point for every wrong answer. While on ACT, there is no penalty for wrong answers. This means that on ACT, even if you don’t know the correct answer the best thing that you can do it guess. But with SAT, guessing an answer will give you 75 percent chance of losing a quarter. This is not good on your part because if you add it all up, you might lose huge points in your exam.

  • Prepare your study periods

Never try to cram because it will definitely not help you in getting high scores in the tests. The best thing to do is to start early. Even if it’s still 3 months from the schedule, you should start reviewing. Good studying habits and studying consistently will help you retain the information from your review materials.

  • Keep yourself fit and healthy

Tests are not just about being mentally prepared; you also need to be physically fit so that you will have the energy to study and do your tasks. Your schedule may be chaotic but never neglect yourself. Eating healthy food can also help your memory.

  • Get enough sleep

Do not pull an all-nighter before the test because it will affect your performance. Complete the 7 – 8 hours sleep so that you will be able to fully relax your mind. You will have a clear mind during the exam.

  • Arrive in the testing facility early

If you are not familiar with the venue, then you should leave your home early so that you will have more time to look for the place.

  • Relax your mind before the exam

Keep yourself from feeling pressured and stressed because it will affect your performance. Just keep your mind clear and remember the lessons that you studied.

During the exam

  • Read the instructions and questions carefully.

This is the most important part of the test. You have to pay attention to every single detail. If not, it will lead to an error or a careless mistake that can lead to the reduction in your score.

  • Be aware of the time limit.

Wearing a watch is helpful in the tests so that you will know how much time has passed and the time left for you to finish. It will also help you to calculate how much minutes you have to assign for every question so that you will be able to finish the tests.

  • Don’t get distracted by other students.

It is important you are solely focused on answering the questions. Being distracted can cause you a mistake or get mentally blocked during the test.

  • Avoid guessing your answers, as much as possible.

Remember the scoring of the tests. It is not bad to guess an answer with ACT, but with SAT your points will be deducted from the wrong answers. The most important thing is to make sure that your answer is 100% certain.

  • Review your answers.

If you still have enough time, go back from the start. Check if you followed the instructions correctly. Return to the questions that you were not able to answer yet. Review the questions that you are uncertain with your answer.

Taking standardized tests can be really stressful and will surely put pressure to you. The worst thing that you can do is just think about it and let more stress and pressure add to your mind. Remember that in everything that we do, preparation is always the key to success. With a carefully devised plan and steps to help you with, you will be assured that you will perform well in the tests.


Choosing College: How You Can Help Your Child

Parents want what’s best for their children. We always think about how we are going to lead them to the right choices in life so that they will have the best future. One of the most important decisions that we have to help them is about their college life because we know that it will have a large impact on their future. Therefore, college preparation should be a top priority.

In terms of preparing our child for college, it is important to remember that you should not control their plans and decisions for the future. We are afraid that there will be lots of challenges in their lives that they will have to face because we’ve been in their situation. But in order for them to grow as a person, you have to let them control their own life. Let them explore their choices, and if ever they fail or choose the wrong decision, the most important thing for you to do as a parent is to lend them a helping hand when they need it. If you think that they are having a dilemma, let them feel that you will support and guide them whenever they need your advice.

College Finances

Before your child begins college application, it is important that you and your child talk about your family’s financial situation. Make sure that s/he understands your capability to contribute to their college expenses. But this doesn’t mean that they can’t apply to the school that they wanted. Encourage them to apply for scholarships and grants.

  • Be honest

Talk about your expectations from them and the difficulties that they may face during the application process. You can tell them about your own experiences to let them know that you fully understand their situation. Let them feel your support.

  • Scholarship, grants, and financial aids

If you were not able to have a college plan for your children, the other option is to help them apply for scholarships and grants. You can research which program can accommodate your children’s application. FAFSA is also important and should be applied immediately. The earlier you apply the more chances that your children will be accepted in the program.

College Research

Your children may want to search and apply for their college independently, but it is still important that you know what they are going through. There will be changes in college applications since you’ve graduated, thus it is important that you also make your own research about the whole college application. Do research about your children’s choices of colleges.

  • Check the college application processes.

From the time that you have graduated, there are several things that changed regarding the process for applying.

  • List the essential requirements.

Since your children will be busy with their school works, extracurricular activities, and the whole college application you have to be there to remind them of several things. Therefore, you should also be aware of the essential documents that they need to prepare and submit. There are also documents that a parent like you should be the one to file.

  • Note the college admission offices’ numbers.

You should also try and coordinate with admission officers. In behalf of your children, inquire about campus visits and information sessions.

  • Take down important dates for the submission of requirements.

Meeting deadlines is a crucial part of the college application. You can use a large calendar that you can put in your kitchen or living room so both you and your children will be reminded of these important dates. Don’t let your children miss an important chance of their future.

Standardized Tests

  • Talk to your children’s guidance counselor

Know your children’s class ranking and current standings in each of their subjects. Therefore, you will know if they need assistance in their academic performance. You can also ask them about the requirements for admissions.

  • Prep courses and prep books

If you think that your children still need support based on their academic performance, enrolling them in prep courses for standardized tests like SAT and ACT may help them significantly. Another alternative is buying prep books, where they can practice the tests.

  • Test day preparation

This is a very stressful day for your children and the thing that you can do is support them. Making a snack during their study time can help them. Before the test, prepare a healthy snack that will boost their energy. And after they take the test, you can reward them by simply going out to the mall or eating in restaurants. Let them relax after a stressful day.

Choosing the right college can be very stressful for your children. It is important that you are there to support them. You should also start reading up about colleges so you can answer any of their questions. It can also be a precious bonding experience for your family. It will lessen the stress that they will feel, and will be more fun and enjoyable experience.