Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Importance of Full-Length Timed Practice Tests (Mock Tests)

There’s something very enticing about practice tests. They appear productive. They seem like they’re giving you a competitive on “the real thing”. And there’s always that secret hope that this time you’ll knock it out of the park and you can finally stop studying. Often times, I have seen students making the fatal mistake of skipping the practice test before they start preparing. Yes, you heard it right BEFORE they start preparing. They have myriad excuses for the same. But this is one such test, which will tell you exactly where you stand and what to put in to reach your coveted school. Some even call it a Diagnostic Test. Whatever you call it, but do take the test. Take the test the way it is meant to be taken Simulate all the conditions of the actual test. There are some unforgivable do nots. Let’s have a look.

  • Do not try to bluff.
  • Don’t take your practice tests untimed.
  • Don’t take a big break in the middle of your practice test.
  • Don’t pause it a bunch of times.
  • Don’t take it when you have an important business meeting, or a lot of interrupting phone calls, or a computer that’s going to crash.
  • Don’t take practice tests from an irreputable source (such as any website you haven’t heard of before).
  • Don’t take only your favourite section.
  • Don’t take it when you’re exhausted, or hung over, or sick, or preoccupied.
  • Don’t take it after a long work day.
See the whole point. You should not have any excuses for the lower score. The whole purpose of the practice test is to make the test a true assessment of your abilities. If you use the practice tests as the true indicator of your abilities, you’ll get the most out of the information that a practice test has to offer, which is the whole point of taking one in the first place. Take the practice tests for strategic reasons The main reasons to take practice tests could be:
  1. To know where you stand and what inputs are required as you progress
  2. To know how your current preparation is working
  3. To practice your test-taking strategies.
Now remember, Practices tests are not a substitute for subject or skills. Never be under the illusion that you have acquired the subject if you have performed well in a specific practice test. A more efficient use of your time would be to work through your study material, and then take a practice test to see where you stand. Give it your best shot, review the problems you missed, and then look at the data. What areas are causing the most trouble? Where would improvement help the most? Target those areas in your studies, and then take another practice test when you feel that you’ve improved in those areas. Lather, rinse, repeat. In the end, I would simply like to mention that keep up the good fight, do not get discouraged, and derive the maximum value from every single hour invested in your preparation. Treat the practice tests as an assessment tool rather than a teaching tool. Only then, you will derive the maximum benefit out of it. And it is what all of us are striving for. So, keep visiting for more tips and tricks on your tests. Remember, we here at TCY are committed to your success.

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