Research has shown that one of the most effective studying methods that prepares students of all ages for success is taking a practice test.
Standardized testing is a fact of school life. If you want to go to college, it’s even more likely that you’ll take a standardized test. Over 2 million students took the SATs in 2018, and that number will only increase.
One of the best ways to practice for an upcoming test is to take a practice test. Practice tests are either previous standardized tests, or tests made up of questions on the same topics, that you can take beforehand. Regularly taking practice tests makes it so much easier for you to ace the real thing.
Reduce Stress and Jitters
One of the largest benefits of taking a practice test is to familiarize yourself with the test-taking environment. You should take practice tests with the same time limit as the regular test. You should also replicate the format of the test, and the layout of the room that you will take it in, as much as possible.
Being familiar with the environment and format that you will take the test in reduces the amount of stress that you get on the day of. Since your brain will know, or at least recognize, everything around you, it’s much easier to focus on the task at hand.
A Practice Test Can Focus Your Studying
A selective test can determine which elementary or high school that you get into – and can influence your university career later on. Making sure that you have no weak areas can strengthen your overall score. A practice test can determine what you do and do not know, and focus accordingly.
Taking several practice tests can help you track your progress in specific sections. This lets you adjust your study schedule as you get closer to the test date.
If you’re breezing through all questions about geometry, for example, you know you can devote more time to algebra. Make sure that you do not overcompensate, however. Not touching an entire section of a test because you think you know it already can backfire, and leave you struggling on test day.
Set a Pace
Another important, and often overlooked, benefit of taking practice tests to prepare is that they can help you figure out the speed of the test. Since most standardized and selective tests have time limits, being able to answer all of the questions in time is important.
Finding which sections are causing you to slow down can help you target them in your studying. You may also want to do them first when you start the test, saving the easier sections that you can do rapidly until the end when time is a more valuable commodity.
Combine with Other Study Habits
The above benefits are all clear indications of why you should make practice tests a core part of your studying routine. When combined with note-taking, reviewing, and other strategies, a practice test can help ensure a good score.
For more information about studying and test-taking, feel free to check out our education section.