Major standardized tests are huge obstacles on the road to the future. Whether one is taking a college entrance exam or a professional licensing exam, the results will play a major role in what comes next. Fortunately, it’s not necessary to go into these tests blind. There are plenty of practice tests out there for most standardized tests, many of which feature useful diagnostic tools. Below are just a few of the reasons that taking practice tests can be useful to students, both in terms of academic preparation and demystifying some of the more arcane issues surrounding these tests.
Learning What You Need to Learn
Perhaps most importantly, practice tests help students figure out the gaps in their own learning. Every school is a little different, and each has its own curriculum. While this might mean that a student feels like he or she has a good grasp on the material that is theoretically on the test, only a practice test can tell a student if he or she has actually learned the right material. As a bonus, these practice tests can also give a student a good idea of whether or not he or she should pursue further classes in his or her areas of strength.
It should go without saying that practice tests are also useful because they are a valid way to prepare for standardized tests. They help students understand what they must study, and thus give the students a better chance to catch up on material they might not remember. Practice tests are also good for repetition’s sake, as they give students a chance to look at questions and topics that frequently appear on the exam.
Familiarization with the Test
While standardized tests are certainly designed to test knowledge, they all have their own individual quirks. It’s really only through taking these tests that a student can become familiar with how the test works. Taking a practice test will reveal information as simple as how many multiple choice options are available for each question and as complex as how the majority of the questions tend to be worded. This information may not seem terribly important from the outside, but it is quite useful for those who are trying to figure out how the test works before sitting down for an important exam.
Learning Test Prep Strategies
Practice tests also give students a few hints at the strategies that can be used to ‘beat’ the test. Becoming familiar with the language used in questions, for example, can help a student start to identify patterns and avoid tricky questions. Taking the time to run through a test can also give a student the ability to gauge what really needs to be answered and what can be skipped and returned too upon finishing the other questions. While most test prep strategies tend to come from classes, simply taking a few practice tests can allow students to uncover some tricks on their own.
Finally, taking practice tests is great for building confidence. One of the toughest parts of the big standardized exams is that they seem insurmountable. If a student can take the test and see that they know some of the material, the whole thing becomes less scary. Most of the material on these tests really is composed of things that students should know and a bit of a confidence boost can help students to overcome their initial fear and access the information they’ve already learned. Taking some time to build confidence is often a key part of learning how to pass one of these major exams.
If you are preparing for a major standardized test, make sure you take a few practice tests. You may not get the exact questions that will be on the exam, but you will learn more about what it takes to pass the tests. In the end, these tests are nothing more than measures of information that you should already know – if you can learn more about how they work, you’ll have a much better chance to approach the tests on your own terms. With a little foreknowledge and confidence, anyone can improve their exam scores.