After 20 years, I am going back to school so that I can obtain a license to teach grades 6-12 in Virginia. So, I have to take a number of tests before I can start my program, and I find myself having to get back into to testing frame of mind. I always did test well; in fact, I earned a four-year, full-tuition scholarship because I performed well on the PSAT and was a National Merit Scholar. I have already taken the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment, and have a couple of Praxis II tests in my near future. Naturally, I have been thinking, "What are the most important things you can do to prepare for a test?" Here are some thoughts that apply to any test, whether it be SAT or ACT, PSAT or AP Exam, MCAT, LSAT or GRE, or other specialized exams.
1) Take care of yourself so your concentration is maximized - get plenty of rest and eat nutritious meals (especially BREAKFAST!!!) for at least a week before your test.
2) Set expectations - you will be able to focus much better if you know what to expect, so find out beforehand how many questions you will be given, and how much time you will have to complete each section of the test. You can then build in time to revisit challenging questions and even to check over all your answers if you like.
3) Build confidence - practice tests and flashcards can go only so far in helping you learn the material; their true function is to help you familiarize yourself with the type of questions you can expect to see on the test. When you sit down to a practice test, first pay attention to how much time it takes for you to complete it comfortably (do NOT rush), and then reward yourself when you finish. Keep practicing until you feel confident, and you will do well!