By Stephanie Stevens
Taking an exam like the SAT or the GRE can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming. Here are five select test-taking tips to help you prepare, improve your score and keep your sanity, whether you’re taking the ACT, SAT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, or MCAT.
Don’t spend too much time on any one question.
If you can’t answer a question in a reasonable amount of time, skip it and return to it after completing the rest of the section.
Research which sections of the exam the schools you’re applying to will consider most important.
Some schools only take certain portions of an exam into account for admission. For example, a social work program may only focus on the writing and language scores, where an engineering program may be primarily interested in your score in math.
Go through the answer options and plug them into the question. Start with B and D – you have a 40% chance of getting the right answer based on your first round of calculations.
Take a practice test.
Nothing will help you get a better idea of where your test taking skill set is at than to take a practice exam. You’ll get a good sense of how long to spend on each question and how to pace yourself while sitting for several hours.
Don’t try to cram the week before the test.
Take your time. Enroll in a test prep course a few months before the exam date to give yourself enough time to effectively study. The week before your test, review your vocab words and do some math drills to keep your mind sharp.
Have an exam-taking tip of your own to share? Post it in the comments.