How to Study for Standardized Tests Effectively
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How to Study for Standardized Tests Effectively

Student Life

December 11, 2019

For me, studying is easier said than done. I wish I could brag to somebody saying, "I studied for my SAT's for five hours last night, and I took three practice tests!" Even if I do end up studying for that long, most likely, half the time would be used checking my phone or just ending up doing something completely different instead. Fortunately, it's not the end of the world for people like me, so here are some study tips that you must know while studying for standardized tests, or really any test at all! Comment down below some other helpful ideas!

Study in a testing environment

Studying in a testing environment means no phones, no distractions, and absolute silence. I've learned this the hard way because when I prepared, I studied in my room and constantly glanced around at drawings, posters, my computer and I easily got distracted. When it came time for a practice test in a testing environment, I could barely focus and it was hard for me to concentrate.

Getting used to testing rooms early on may have a significant impact on your score. If you're finding it hard concentrating in a certain room, find another room with no distractions, or just head to the library! Any place of silence and nothing that distracts you is a good place to prepare. 

Don't just memorize information. Know how to use it

A little bit leaning on the math side, but if there's anything you shouldn't do, you shouldn't just memorize something. Standardized tests are different than your school exams which reward you with points for writing formulas. Knowing the formula is one thing, applying it is another.

In real-world situations, you won't get anywhere by just writing down any memorized information if you don't know what to do with it. Once you learn a new equation or formula, practice it! Find some problems online, and challenge yourself by changing up any numbers or other factors. Again, these tests aren't testing your memorization, they're testing your problem-solving skills and your ability to comprehend and understand advanced passages and questions. Practice is the key to mastering a skill! 

Always practice with the real thing!

There's no use in practicing with something that looks promising but when the time comes for the real test, you're nothing but confused and nervous because the REAL test is nothing like the material you prepared with. It may seem obvious, but always practice with practice tests and questions from the actual testing company that way you have a better understanding of what the tests are like, and you get a better idea of what to expect and what they really focus on. Take, for example, the SAT math section.

There will be trigonometry problems on the math test, there will be specific formulas you must use, but don't just go find the most difficult trig problems on the internet, take a look at some past tests or some practice ones from The College Board. Hm, they have a lot of problems using this specific formula.....I see, maybe I should focus on these for now! Of course, these problems don't test you on how well you can plug in numbers into formulas, they require some contemplation.

KEEP THIS IN MIND! Most of these problems aren't meant to be difficult, no matter how hard they look or sound. The purpose of these difficult-looking questions is to test your knowledge on how to work around these large obstacles using simple yet clever solutions. Always try to find the closest thing to the test to study with.

Practice and don't procrastinate

Yes, I know you've heard it a million times, but it's one of the most important things to keep in mind when you're studying for ANY test! Any test that you're supposed to study for is testing your knowledge on a certain subject that you have learned over the course of a period of time, not the amount you learn in one night.

Stress, not only knowledge, may also build from this, and procrastination is never the key to learning and mastering any subject. Complete mastery of a skill is a journey, not a one-day project!

Alice Li
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Writer since Jan, 2018 · 13 published articles

Alice is a current high school student who has a passion for sharing her ideas and experiences through writing and editing. When she isn't writing, other will find her playing volleyball, dancing, watching unhealthy amounts of anime, or learning about anything related to the elusive cosmos.