What are great ways to manage time effectively while taking standardized tests?
Practice with timing drills! Take a full section of whichever test you are preparing for. Time yourself. If you complete the section in time, try it for the rest of the test. If you ran out of time. Mark exactly where you were when the time ran out and calculate the number of minutes you spent per question. THEN calculate the average number of minutes you SHOULD be spending per question (divide the total time given for each section by the number of questions in the section), and see how far off you are. Then work on short timing drills until you can close the gap. Some other tips are skimming passages or reading only topic sentences and looking for key words. In the math sections: if a problem is too hard and taking too long, skip it! Move on to easier questions and easier points!
Watch the clock. Answer the questions at the beginning first
In short, if you are well prepared for the test, watching the clock will not be a problem. You will have plenty of time to complete each test section. Even if you leave a couple of question blank, the SAT will not count these with the same weight they would as if you answered the same questions incorrectly. 25 minutes is usually plenty of time based on the times I have looked around the room while proctering a test.
Like most of life, the key challenge is time. Building speed while maintaining accuracy is critical. Mastering a few simple time-saving techniques and simple practice can significantly increase your test-taking efficiency. Once these tools are in place, test anxiety surrounding the standardized tests can give way to the confidence needed to boost your over all score.
Memorize the directions. Time is money or, in the case of the SAT, time is points. The directions to each section never change. Memorizing the directions frees time that could be spent on actual test taking.
Jump Around. Within each section you are allowed to jump around. Answer the easiest questions first. If you encounter a difficult question, circle it in your test booklet and skip it. Return to the difficult questions once you’ve answer the questions you know first. This keeps your primary as it should be: Acquiring points!
Five at a time. Transfer your answers to the answer sheet after every five questions. You will avoid costly grid mistakes and save time.
Take a dry run. The College Board offers myriad ways to practice questions for the PSAT and SAT. Question of the Day can be sent to you e-mail or as an app for your iPhone. In addition, a full-length practice test can be taken at www.collegeboard.com/practice/
Don’t be afraid to skip questions and return to them later. If you’re having trouble, move on and come back once you’ve tackled the rest of the section. Believe me, we’ve all been there: You see a tough question, freeze up, and panic. But remember, you have only 25 minutes for the longer sections, and 20 and 10 for the shorter ones. So, if you do get stuck on a question, is it a good idea to spend five valuable minutes trying to figure out what to do? Probably not. Instead, skip the question, and return if you have time. Remember, each question is worth the same number of points, so no single question is so important that it merits five minutes of your time.
no students should spend too much time for SAT II tests, the best way to save time and manage time is to take the SATII right after your final exam in school. if you have a plan to take the SATI no more than three times over two years period, then you need to work on the exam over a period of time. some students may only need to improve test skills which require a lot of practice during the summer before senior year.
There are great ways to manage time effectively while taking standardized tests. I caution my students to not ever get too caught up on any one question; that tends to cause the student to over-think and perhaps make a mistake. After all, no question is worth more credit than another. The management of time is crucial in Critical Reading sections. Students can learn ways to garner the main idea of the passage and assign a higher priority to some questions over others (if they are taking the SAT with its guessing penalty). With math, students know their stronger areas from their weaker areas. For the SAT’s Critical Writing and ACT’s English section, students can often tell the answer by looking at the choices first. Finally, for the essay, students should have their thesis and examples on paper before writing longhand.
Before writing your essay, take notes! Even though you have only 25 minutes to write, you’d be surprised how much taking a couple minutes to outline your essay can help in the long run. Now of course, we’re not talking a super-neat outline that you’d turn in for a project. It only has to be legible to you. The test-makers know you have only 25 minutes to write the essay, so they are not expecting something that is final-draft quality. Essays that earn the highest possible score may still have mistakes or style problems, but they should have a strong general structure. Taking a minute to outline your thesis and supporting points will help big-time in this regard.
Take notes on Reading Comprehension passages. You’re allowed to write in your booklet for a reason. Feel free to underline key sentences and jot down main ideas. It might seem like a waste of time, but if you take notes in such a way that you can easily reference key points in the passage, it may actually end up saving you time. How? Well, when a question asks about a particular point, but does not tell you exactly where to look in the passage, what will happen if you haven’t taken notes? Right—you’ll waste time rereading a good portion of the passage. Try out different strategies and take the time to develop a note-taking strategy that works for you. You’ll be grateful for it on test day!
I teach my students that a steady test-taking pace is essential to standardized test success. Working too fast often results in careless errors. Extra points are not awarded for finishing first, so slow down so you don’t misread questions or make calculation mistakes. On the other hand, working too slowly can be detrimental. Even if you are getting every question correct, you may not complete enough questions to earn the score you want. Practice a number of timed test sections to determine the right question-answering speed for you. Finally, bring a watch or timer to the actual test to keep an eye on the clock.
Sometimes the simplest techniques are the most effective. For instance, one of the best ways to up your SAT or ACT score is to actively engage in POE, or Process of Elimination. It’s especially helpful for the reading and English sections. The SAT blasts you with five answer choice possibilities. At first, it seems overwhelming. Take control of the situation by crossing out answer choices you know are wrong, especially those that are off-topic. That’s right….mark through with your pencil every answer choice that’s obviously wrong. Soon you’ll realize that you’re really only choosing between two possible answer choices, not among five, and often you’ll mark your way down to the best answer right away. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can eliminate answer choices in your head. It doesn’t work. Cross them out with your pencil, and you’ll be surprised how the right answer seems to jump right out at you.
Many students are overly concerned about the timing on the SAT test. Students should pay attention to the time and now how long they have left without glancing at the clock every minute or so.
Work through the test at an average speed and try not to let one question block you up. If you don’t know the answer, eliminate the wrong choices and mark it in the test booklet to go back to later. If you don’t have enough time, take an educated guess between the remaining choices and move on.
You can surely find those answers on the Internet and in many books on the subject. Talking to an expert will help too!
Memorize the directions before taking the test. Answer the easy questions first and mark any questions you skip so you can go back to them quickly.
Go through and answer the questions that you know first. Then go back and spend a little more time on the questions that you don’t know. On the SAT, if you can eliminate 2 answer choices but don’t know the answer, Guess. Otherwise, omit. On the ACT, if you don’t know the answer or can’t come up with the answer, Guess.
The best way is to PRACTICE. Practice at home with timed practice tests, and try a couple of different ways to keep track of your time. You’ll find what works best for you.
There are several! First have a watch with a seconds hand sitting on your desk in front of you and reset the watch to 12:00 each time a new section is started. Next skip questions that you immediately know you will struggle with (usually based on past experience) and then of course there is skipping around in general to maximize time with questions that are quick answers for you and do not fixate on one particular question at a time.
First rule of thumb is that you should spend about a minute on each question. If you go over a minute you are taking time away from future questions you need to answer. You should also not be skipping questions in the beginning of each section. The questions are in order from “easy” to “medium” to “hard” difficulty in each section (except the reading passages in the critical reading section…these questions are in order from easy to hard based on each passage) so if you are skipping the easy questions, you are going to have a really difficult time with the hard questions at the end of the section.
In developing a test-taking strategy, It helps to have taken at least a few complete practice tests for several reasons. One, it lets you see where your areas of strength and weakness are, so that further preparation can be somewhat more focused on the weaker areas. Secondly, you will be able to see how long it takes to effectively get through each section. Thirdly, as you go through the practice tests, you will become familiar with the directions for the various sections of the test so that you can read through them more quickly when taking the REAL test and not have to waste time figuring out what to do. Finally, familiarity with the structure of the test should permit you to go into the actual testing situation in a more relaxed state of mind.
It is not essential to take a standardized test prep class, although in many cases, it would surely be helpful. If this is not feasible for you, you can buy SAT and ACT test preparation books and organize a self-study with those materials. Most of the prep books will include a number of practice tests based on actual past tests. When you take those practice tests, arrange to have someone time you. Times will be indicated for each section, and those times should be carefully observed. You will be able to determine which test sections you are able to get through in the allotted time and which ones slow you down. The test prep books also include tips for effective test-taking strategies which will surely be of use to you.
When taking the tests (both practice and actual), attempt to go through the questions at a consistent rate. Don’t let yourself get bogged down and spend too much time on any one question. Just skip any questions that slow you down noticeably and continue on. If you do skip a question, however, be sure to skip the space on the answer sheet, as well, and mark the question to indicate that you want to go back to it if there is time remaining when you get to the end of the section. If you skip a question and forget to skip the corresponding place on the answer sheet, you will potentially get every question after that wrong because the answers will be in the wrong place. You definitely don’t want that to happen!
For each question on the multiple choice sections there will be a short list of possible answers. On the SAT, one point is awarded for each correct answer and no points are given for a question that is not answered at all. Fractions of points will be taken off, however, for wrong answers in certain sections of the test. That means that you would be better off not answering a question than giving a wrong answer. It is not wise to guess completely – eeny, meeny, miney, mo – if you cannot eliminate any of the answers as being incorrect. If you CAN eliminate any of the suggested answers as incorrect, though, you will have an improved chance of making an accurate “educated guess”. Obviously, the more incorrect responses you can eliminate, the better your chances will be of choosing the correct answer from the remaining possibilities.
The most important thing to remember about effective time management on standardized tests is to be sure that you go through the whole section, doing right away the things you know how to do, answering quickly the questions you can. You do not want to get bogged down on something only to have it eat up time that could have been used on other questions. Once you have gone over the whole section you can use the remaining time to do the things you could not answer on the initial run through. Don’t fine tune or agonize in the early going. Get done what you can and what you know. You can make changes or revise the essay later in the process, but the last thing you want is to leave untouched something for which you might have gotten credit.
One way to manage time is to know your strengths, meaning if you are more proficient in reading and can read quickly and comprehend the material, do not waste time pondering that section because you are nervous. Anxiety will cause you to forget what you are certain of, so go at it with confidence.
Another method is to read through and answer the questions you are sure of first and if it takes you longer than a minute to complete and you are somewhat unsure come back to it (mark it so that you do not have to search for it but go on to what you know)
In the critical reading section I always suggests that students read through the questions first and then the passage because your subconcious will bring to mind the location of the information that you know is in a question so just mark that area and when you get to that question you will know where to look for the answer.
Additionally, don’t doodle, keep it moving when you are “stuck” skip and go on…
In the writing section do not waste time outlining do a quick mindmap and to organize your ideas and begin writing.
That’s not my area of expertise, but you can surely find those answers on the Internet and in many books on the subject. Talk to an expert!
Wear a watch and practice. By taking timed tests in preparation for the final exam, you can get an idea as to the “flow” of the test. Don’t try it cold. There are enough sample tests out there, so sit down, get out the kitchen timer and begin.
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