There are key pointers that a student preparing for exams like sat, GMAT and GRE needs to keep in mind 3 weeks leading up to it, says ADARSH KHANDELWAL
According Common Application, as of March 1, 2021 students applied to nine per cent more colleges. This means increased competition for the Ivy League colleges and other top institutes. Despite many colleges going test-optional, a high standardised test score remains a differentiating factor for both undergraduate and postgraduate applications. Test preparation for study abroad encompasses tests like GMAT or GRE for PG and the ACT, SAT and AP for UG.
Students from South Korea and Singapore first work through a dependable online diagnostic test followed by self-study and two-three weeks of self-driven problem solving. Only after this initial familiariation with the tests do they look for test preparation programmes.
Students in India rarely explore test structure and options on their own before looking out for tutoring. Once tutoring has started, the student tends to play no active role in the process. This is, however, a mistake. The student learns to depend on the tutor without developing the ability to analyse and monitor performance. This often spells trouble on test day.
Here a few things that a student preparing for any of these tests for study abroad need to ensure in the three weeks leading up to the test. These pointers assume that the student has already developed significant clarity about improvement areas, test-taking challenges, areas of strength, etc.
There is no better way of preparing for a standardised test than to take mock tests. What is crucial is planning practice around the mock tests. The rule of thumb is 80 per cent of your preparation in these crucial three weeks should revolve around the mock tests-taking mocks, reviewing errors, identifying improvement areas and practicing on these improvement areas.
The remaining 20 per cent of your preparation should be practice on all topics to ensure your strengths are not compromised while working on weaknesses. Ensure that everything you solve is timed at this stage.
Computer adaptive test like the GMAT require careful attention to pacing and structured problem-solving. However, when it comes to a computer-based test like the GRE or a test like the ACT, time management is just as crucial. Test-takers often make the mistake of not going into painstaking detail on question types and time taken on an average and for a specific test on a question variant.
To sum up, competition for the top colleges in the US and other study abroad destinations is increasing fast. Making your profile stand out is easier when you have excellent standardised test scores since these demonstrate your competency in critical thinking and written communication skills to the college.
Your test preparation needs to follow the path indicated in this article. Remember that 80 per cent of your success will come from your own hard work. The remaining 20 per cent would comprise test preparation guidance and material.