Private Tutoring Expert Mary Wanser: Preparing for Standardized Exams
What’s the best way to prepare for a standardized exam?
Preparing for a standardized exam is multi-faceted, and I take students through a fourfold, rather unconventional approach that touches on expectations, content, pacing, and self.
Knowing what to expect minimizes anxiety. A student needs to become familiar ahead of time with the layout of his exam. How many questions? What sections? How much time will be allotted? Are the questions presented in a particular order? A test prep tutor like me will do that research prior to the first scheduled session.
Learning the concepts being tested is imperative. Many students make the mistake of believing that repeatedly answering sample questions will increase their test-day scores. This is not the most prudent way to prepare for a standardized exam. Practicing ineffective habits will not yield effective results. Problem areas need to be pinpointed, incorrect answer choices explained, and the academic concepts that underlie the most troublesome questions learned. This work of a test prep tutor like me is invaluable!
Practicing under the pressure of time constraints is necessary. It’s not until after a student can consistently reach his target score without regard to time that I suggest working on pacing. At first, when attempting practice questions with the timer running, it is common to see a student’s percentages decrease. This imbalance usually stabilizes within a few days to a couple of weeks as the student gets used to what the allotted time feels like. An intuitive knowing of the difference between rushing and lingering develops. A test prep tutor will time the student until he is able to time himself.
A fourth aspect to my standardized test prep approach focuses on the mental and physical states of the individual who is preparing for the exam. I evaluate a student’s learning style and, together, we devise a method of approach to support that according to the particular exam being taken.
The E-C-P-S fourfold approach I’ve developed is the best way to prepare for a standardized exam. Contact me today to get started! HSPT, ACT, SAT, and TEAS are my specialties.