Tip #2 for Standardized Exams
Students who plan to sit for any standardized exams should do the following:
1. Take a diagnostic exam. It does not have to be a full-blown exam but a mini-version in order to get a idea as to your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Thoroughly evaluate and understand your diagnostic scores - every breakdown, not just how many wrong or right you got in each section but also understand the type of questions you are getting wrong. Also, if possible record those lucky hunches or guesses. The key is to maximize study time and effort. Why waste precious time reviewing topics in which you are comfortable in as opposed to spending your time on the tougher problems.
Take Algebra - manipulation of equations. Yes, you might get the problem(s) correct but for each type of problems, there are different levels of difficulties, thus, check to see if you are truly comfortable with manipulation of equations. Most students get a few correct and think that they have this part down pat but come to test time, they get a questions that is considered the more difficult of the same topic. So before checking something off your list, know that you need to understand and master all levels of difficulties for each type of questions.
3. Get a study plan together - this is based on time available (be honest with yourself), don't be overly optimistic. At the same time, think of this as a contract to yourself. Thus, stick with your plan but realized that plans do change and be open to this as you move towards your goal. For example, let's say you put down 2 weeks to master Geometry but realized it might be 3 weeks. Don't be critical on yourself, the idea is to have a plan that works for you. Take finance into consideration. This comes into play when you are selecting the best tutor for the job. Make sure you have time to review and take a few full-blown exams before exam day.
4. Lastly, get the right (correct) prep materials. I've seen so many parents and students simply buying the standard prep books off the shelves of local bookstores, not realizing that there is a big difference between a great set of study material and very bad ones. I am not saying not good, I am saying that there are materials that would lead you astray. The questions are not even representative of what's on the real exam. This is where a good tutor comes in. Plus, if you thoroughly prep for this exam, you too soon should recognized good questions as opposed to those are not likely to be on the exam. My advice - go to the horses' mouth (go the source). For example, if you want to prep for the SAT, get the materials published by the test makers. That is the first set of materials to get your hands on, as opposed to some independent 3rd party test prep firm. Unless you have information that they are great materials.