Tag Archives | test

Image by Walt Stoneburner, Flickr

Image by Walt Stoneburner, Flickr

You are either a regular or an occasional victim. Either way, that uncomfortable jittery feeling is not foreign to any one of us. I am by nature a quite nervous individual and exam time for me is, well…I’ll let you visualize that on your own. In brief, we can conclude that “cool, calm, and collected” are non-existent words in my dictionary come exam time.

With that being said, below are a few tips I would like to share. They are for fellow students who generally feel nervous no matter how much they’ve studied. Their anxiety does not depend upon how well-prepared they are for the exam; just the idea of an exam is enough to cause stress. I have become a champion of this feeling; all I need is to show up in the exam room and it’s as if a “nerves” switch has been turned on.

These tips have been life savers for me when managing my exam anxiety, and in my experience, have resulted in better grades. They have really given me a confidence boost, and a corresponding significant drop in my anxiety levels.

Talking to Myself

A method which I have found to be extremely useful is what I call the “talking to myself” method. We all know anxiety is a mental state, so this is what I tell myself to bring my thoughts back down to earth:

  • What is the point of feeling anxious? The only thing that it will cause is a bad grade. Is that my goal?
  • If I don’t take this exam, I’ll get a zero, and I won’t be able to get my grade back. Any mark is better than a zero.
  • I have studied the material and am ready for this exam and will receive a good grade as payoff for my time spent studying.

For those feeling nervous due to lack of studying (which shouldn’t happen!):

  • I don’t know how I’m going to do on this exam, but I have an hour (or several hours), and I’m only going to hurt my grade more if I feel anxious because I didn’t study enough. I should use this time to soak in all the content I can.
  • If I feel good about the exam, I will end up doing well on the exam.
  • This is just one exam, there is no need panic. If I don’t do well here, I will make sure to do well on my upcoming exams by studying more.

Practice, Practice, Practice

I cannot stress how important and beneficial it is to review and revise your study notes more than once. Every time I enter an exam after only reviewing study notes once, that unwanted friend of mine shows up right behind me: anxiety. He makes me feel like I don’t understand many (or any!) of the questions on the exam. Let’s just say those exams are never exactly what you would call “flawless” – and it shows in those marks.

I’ve found that whenever I make a proper routine of studying, with enough time to go over the material three times (even twice can be fine depending on your understanding of the material), I have managed to receive grades that I’m happy with.

Internalize the Content

I’ve been practicing this method recently. I wrote my exams with a lot of confidence due to the fact that not only did I memorize the material, I understood the concepts. This really helps with critical thinking questions. When you develop a concrete understanding of the content, you’re able to answer questions with knowledge – and knowledge means confidence.

Many students who attempt to merely memorize the material usually end up with bad grades because they miss something in their answers or do not answer the question properly because they didn’t understand it.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re studying. They have helped me with my anxiety – I hope they can help you with yours!

Image by lolheyitsrichie!, Flickr

Image by lolheyitsrichie!, Flickr

Most US schools require you to write the SAT, but a few (including the highly competitive ones) require you to write two or three SAT Subject Tests as well. Be sure to review your prospective school’s application process for details. In general, subject tests are a great way to show your interest and skill in a certain subject and will help increase your chances of getting into a US college. Here is a quick rundown of SAT Subject Tests:

  • 20 different subject tests are offered, but only some are offered on specific dates. Go over Subject Test Dates to find out when you can write your Subject Test.
  • Consists entirely of multiple-choice questions.
  • Each subject test is scored on a scale of 200-800.
  • A subject test takes 1 hour to write.
  • A base fee of $24.50 is required to write a subject test and any additional tests are $13, except for Language with Listening tests which are an additional $24.
  • You can write up to three subject tests on one test date, but you cannot take a subject test and the SAT on the same day.
  • Those applying for Early Decision or Early Action are recommended to take their Subject Test by October or November of Grade 12. Regular decision applicants have until January to take their Subject Tests.
  • Some colleges determine placement based on your subject test scores and can exempt you from a class in that subject.

Similar to the SAT, subject test dates and registration information can be found on the College Board website. After registering, if you change your mind about which subject tests to take or how many you plan on writing, you can make the appropriate changes on the actual test day (except for Language with Listening tests).

SAT Subject Test Tips

  • When choosing which subject test to write, identify any you may need for your college application. For your additional subject tests, play to your strengths and choose subjects that you are confident you will score well on. If possible, take tests from very different subjects to show that you are a well-rounded student. Never take a subject test on a subject you are not confident in.
  • It’s best to write your test right after you’ve taken a course on the subject so that the content is still fresh in your head. However, languages should only be taken after having plenty of practice and study.
  • Language with Listening tests are only administered once per year on the same day.
  • Study! Just like the SAT, you will need to put in a lot of time and effort to ensure you get the best score.

Want to learn about other tests?

Image by California Cthulhu (Will Hart), Flickr

Image by California Cthulhu (Will Hart), Flickr

Many Canadian students dream of going to the United States for their post-secondary education. However, the process is tough and spaces are limited. Of the 30,946 students who applied to Brown University’s Class of 2015, only 2,692 were accepted – and only 28 of them hailed from Canada (source: Brown University). Don’t fret, we’re here to help! One of the first things you should be focusing on is the SAT – one of the most important elements of the application process for most US schools. Here is a brief rundown of the test:

  • Every high school is different. A student with perfect grades in one school might only get fair grades in another. The SAT provides a way for every student to be assessed in an equal way.
  • The SAT tests your abilities in three areas: readingwriting and mathematical reasoning.
  • The test consists of several multiple-choice questions and an essay.
  • A score of 200-800 is given in each section, providing a maximum score of 2400.
  • The test takes about 4 hours to write.
  • The cost for writing the test is $51.
  • You can take the SAT as many times as you want, but most students take it twice. The College Board (in charge of running the SAT) recommends not taking it more than twice because of a lack of evidence supporting significant score gains by taking the test more than twice.
  • Most schools accept SAT scores up to December of Grade 12, however individual schools may accept scores at later dates. Review your prospective school’s application process for their requirements.
  • Recently, the College Board introduced Score Choice which gives students the option to choose which score they wish to send to their schools of interest. However, some schools still ask students to submit all of their SAT scores. Review school policies because some only take your best overall score while others will take your best score from each section.

Typically, the test is administered six times a year in Canada. You can find a list of dates to write the SAT in Canada as well as register for the test on the College Board website. Register as soon as you can, not only because registration closes one month prior to the test date, but also to ensure a seat in your nearest test centre. If you have missed the deadline, you can apply for Waitlist Status and depending on whether sufficient test materials, staff and seating are available on the test day, you can take the test. If you are admitted to the test centre on test day, a waitlist fee of $45 will be charged.

SAT Tips

  • A score over 2000 is recommended to be competitive in prestigious US schools such as NYU, USC, Stanford or any of the Ivy League schools. 
  • Most students take the SAT in the spring of Grade 11 and again in the fall of Grade 12.
  • Even though you can take the test as many times as you want, taking it too many times may not send a good message to admission officers.
  • When choosing when to take the SAT, be aware of college application deadlines. You may have until December of Grade 12 to take the test but those applying for Early Decision or Early Action should write their SAT earlier.
  • Study! Some students spend months, even years, studying for the SAT. A really good score can help you stand out.
  • Some college applications also ask students to write SAT Subject Tests. Check out our article on {SAT Subject Tests} for a break down on these tests.

Want to learn about other tests?