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March 11th, 2015

How to Earn the Best Test Score this Spring

unnamedThe spring prep season has kicked into high gear. You’ve signed up for a class, bought practice books, heeded the words of your tutor, but what else can you do to maximize your score? Most tutors will say that your score will largely be determined by what you do at home on your own, by how conscientiously you apply the strategies and tactics when the tutor isn’t around. Our last blog entry discussed the proper environment for doing prep at home, but what you do after completing your practice tests is just as important.

You’ve bubbled in your last answer; a large chunk of homework is off your plate, but you should be doing more. Having scored the test, you gauge how you’ve done compared with past tests and with your overall goals. To be more productive, however, spend time reading over the answer explanations to the problems you got wrong. Your goal is to get a better score on the next test, and one way to improve is to understand the mistakes you made so you don’t repeat them. For example, the ACT is repetitive with similar question types from test to test. Learning a few simple grammar and mathematical rules can go a long way to improving your score.

Secondly, look for patterns to what you got wrong. On the SAT, do you always incorrectly answer the math questions with variables? Learning one math strategy can remedy this weakness. Your tutors will do their best to identify weaknesses, so they can then teach you tactics that address them. This is no substitute, however, for spotting these patterns yourself which allows you to better understand your errors and makes you more conscientious in fixing them.

A little effort beyond merely attending class and taking practice tests will greatly impact your score.

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