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Debunking the SAT Test: Which Test Prep Methods Are a Waste of Time

December 14, 2011 By: Category: College entrance exams, Get into College

It’s just minutes before your SAT test is about to begin. You’re nervous. You’re anxious. “Will my test preparation methods pay off?” “Will my scores be high enough to be accepted to my first college choice?” Those feelings are standard for any student, but some new studies explain why some SAT test prep methods might be outdated. The study calls for students to step up their test prep game and here are just a few ways to do it.

1. Be able to explain. As one SAT test prep study states, memorizing 500 facts pales in comparison with explaining a concept from beginning to end. For example, you’ll probably receive higher SAT scores if you can explain why the Revolutionary War happened rather than simply memorizing key names and dates from the era. Plus, you’ll be able to wow people at parties with your knowledge!

2. Examine yourself. Memorization can be a further detriment as a SAT test prep method because it takes the focus off taking practice exams. Though it seems tedious, the more SAT practice tests you complete, the opportunity for soaring test scores increases. Practice makes perfect.

3. Eat your way to success. Your stomach may be in knots on test day, and conventional wisdom says that eating a good breakfast provides excellent brain power throughout that lengthy exam period. Oxford University is advancing that theory one step further. Researchers from the school suggest a healthy diet free of heavy foods like eggs, creams, meats, cheeses and sugars starting a week before the SAT test. Test takers who fed their brains properly in advance showed higher test scores.

4. Stop texting. You’ve heard of distracted driving, but how about distracted studying? It’s a real thing, and a real hindrance to SAT scores. A study from the Trinity College in Connecticut found that students studying without music, texting or television retain information more efficiently than those who are preoccupied during the process. Disconnect from the iPhone while studying and add more points to your final exam score.

5. Sleep in. Getting a good night’s sleep is vital when preparing for the SAT test. Researchers at the University of North Texas recommend getting a full night’s sleep prior to a test as opposed to an all night cram session or waking up at the crack of dawn to squeeze in that last second studying.

And for those pretest jitters and butterflies, stress reduction techniques such as yoga and deep breathing exercises aid students in creating calm while taking an important exam. Joining a yoga class a few months prior to the SATs should be considered just as important as enrolling in a standard SAT test prep course.


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