Don't let tests mess with your mind. Call APPLY ME.
Out of all the tests we prepare students for, the SAT and GMAT tend to give students the most problems. Why you ask? Because these tests are not designed to test what you learned in school or skills you should have if you speak a language. The SAT and GMAT test the more elusive analytical and critical thinking skills.
Basically, the SAT and GMAT mess with your mind in two ways: through the test formats and through the questions they ask. But don't worry, you can "beat" the test and prevent mind-messing using the strategies below. For every problem, there is a solution.
Problem: The tests start with writing, which requires a lot of creativity and makes many students tired before the rest of the test begins. (An extra warning for GMAT: The two essays do not count in your 200-800!)
Soluton: Outlining is the key to writing quality and quantity on the SAT and GMAT. Take 3 to 5 minutes and jot down your opinion and 3 reasons to support your opinion BEFORE you start writing. Making a quick outline is guaranteed to improve the structure, flow, and readability of your essay.
Problem: The tests have experimental sections and questions that are not part of your score.
Solution: Don't worry about which questions are experimental. Do all of them as if they count.
Problem: Math sections come in the middle of reading sections and require you to change your way of thinking.
Solution: Being able to switch between math and reading is a critical skill to develop for the SAT and GMAT. Although you may prepare for the math and reading separately, you should work several practice tests to get used to switching between the two. The key is PRACTICE.
Problem: Sections that require lots of reading often come at the end of the test. You're sleepy and tired by the time you get to them.
Solution: Practice! Practice! Practice! Pretend you are a professional runner. The only way you develop the endurance to run a marathon is by running marathons. During your study for the GMAT or SAT, you should train by doing several full-length practice tests in one sitting. A full 4 hour test. If you need some tests, check out my postings on free SATs and GMATs.
Problem: The questions on the test include "trick" answers that the average person would pick. Here's an example from the 2009 College Board SAT practice test:
In the xy-coordinate plane, how many points are a distance of 4 units from the origin?
(E) More than four
The average person would probably select D. Unfortunately, the answer is E (forgot about points that are diagonally 4 units from the origin, didn't you?)
Solution: When you practice, look for "trick" answers and figure out why they are tricks. Is there something that if forgotten applied incorrectly would have given a trick answer? What if you didn't work the problem all the way to the end? Think about these tricks and you won't fall for them on test day.
Taking the SAT and GMAT is not just about reviewing content. It's also about learning strategies and practicing so that when it's time for your "marathon," you don't have to think about it. Need more help "training?" Email the APPLY ME.