Test Anxiety

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To ACT or to SAT? That is the question. 
“Do colleges like one test more than the other?” “Isn’t the SAT harder?” “What if I’m terrible at science?!” “But all my friends took the ACT!”
Using test day nervousness to your advantage
Aristotle argues that fortitude (or “perseverance”) is not the absence of fear or nervousness. Rather, it is the willingness and ability to complete something daunting even in the presence of tremendous fear. Fear, then, is a necessary and natural part of perseverance.
The right way to use practice tests for standardized testing
Though standardized tests are often cast as objective measures of innate knowledge, nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, taking standardized tests is a skill that can be taught. Additionally, how well you perform on test day is not just a function of how much you have learned or studied, but also a function of how consistently you ...
A short guide to using the GRE’s on-screen calculator
The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE is unique in that it provides a tool that sections on similar standardized exams lack: an on-screen calculator. Though this distinction may relieve those who feel intimidated by math or by standardized exams in general, it also challenges those trying to determine the best strategy for employing its ...
How to tackle nerves on the ACT
So you’ve decided to take the ACT! As an experience tutor of this test, one common pattern I see in my students is a fear of taking the exam. After all, for many people, this is the first large standardized test they’ve ever encountered. Although it might seem daunting, with some hard work, the test can be manageable. Here are some tips to help ...
Becoming a good test taker
You’ve heard it over and over: “She’s just a good test taker.” The phrase clings to standardized tests, where some students have the luck of Steph Curry sinking 30-foot shots while others feel like Shaquille O’Neill at the foul line. Like shooting a basketball, we often treat test taking as innate and immutable, but any basketball coach will tell ...
MCAT score plateaus: why they happen, and what to do about them
One of the most common frustrations that I’ve seen students run into during their MCAT studying is the dreaded score plateau. A student’s studying is going well, they are improving on their practice exam scores and feel confident in their content mastery, but then several exams in a row show the same score. It can feel demoralizing, but remember, ...
Mastering the SAT Reading Section
For many, the reading section of the SAT is daunting—sure, you’ve read plenty of books over the years and your vocabulary isn’t half bad, but the prospect of analyzing four long and two shorter passages over the course of only 65 minutes can feel like an impossible task. Luckily, as with most of the SAT, solid strategies can make the process feel ...
What to wear on test day (seriously)
Advice for test day is easily doled out, and often hard to actually follow.
Dear LSAT taker: if you are hurting, read this
One morning in November 2016, I sat on a 36 Broadway bus heading southbound towards the downtown loop. It was a cold morning in Chicago, sometime around 4:45 a.m. The bus was empty, save the bus driver and me. I was three months into LSAT preparation, a process (for reasons unknown to God and Man) I took on while working a full-time job at a law ...
Three Ways to Build Good Vocab Habits for Standardized Tests
When taking standardized tests, especially the SAT or GRE, people often struggle with memorizing enough words for the (often tricky) vocabulary sections. When it comes to vocabulary, unlike other parts of the test, you either know the word or you don’t. So how can you ensure you improve your vocabulary memory for the test? It’s all about building ...
Mindfulness and the MCAT: 3 steps for avoiding burnout
Pre-Med students are no strangers to stress. From Physics midterms, to O-Chem lab reports, to the inevitable march into finals week, you have plenty of experience juggling assignments and managing that cortical response of your brain saying, Yeah, this is a little too much. Stress itself isn’t the problem. In fact, after a certain point it shows ...
How should I time myself on the MCAT? 5 essential tips
High on many students’ list of MCAT worries is running out of time. While time-management is an essential skill that you will need to master by exam day, it doesn’t need to be a big source of anxiety. Here are some tips for finishing your MCAT exam with time to spare!
Biology on the MCAT: how to simplify complex problems
Many problems on the MCAT seem quite complex upon first inspection, but can actually be reframed to be more simple. This allows a test-taker to manage their time as well as avoid the errors that come with repeated detailed analysis. To demonstrate this tactic, see the example below.
Advice on MCAT breakdowns, depression, and stress
The MCAT is a brutal test.  Having taken it and tutored numerous MCAT students (as well GMAT and GRE students), I can say with absolute certainty that I seen more students break down over the MCAT than they have with any other test.  Every one of my MCAT students has, at some point, teared up over this test and cursed it to hell.
Mentally Conquering the MCAT
 Test anxiety is real! Good thing is it's manageable. For many pre-med students, the MCAT can feel like the final ‘hurdle’ before an application cycle begins. You’ve spent a couple years in college trying to do your best in school, be involved in extracurriculars, and form relationships with professors who will eventually provide recommendation ...
The GRE Tutor: How Rusty Test-Takers Can Combat Test Anxiety
 Here to provide you with some moral support. You thought you were done with standardized tests, didn’t you? All the bubbling in answers and test anxiety and number 2 pencils and process of eliminations was behind you, a thing of the past, never to rise again. But then, you learn, no. Standardized testing has risen out of your high school past ...
Standardized Test Prep: How to Keep Test Day Stress at Bay
Just like home, only the exact opposite in every way.
Study Skills from an Academic Tutor: The Power of the Practice Exam
At this point in the spring, we’re only about one month away from the May AP tests, and as a veteran academic tutor in New York City, this is the time of year when I push all of my students in high school to take full-length practice AP exams.  Regardless of the subject – be it AP World History, AP Biology, or even AP Japanese Language and Culture ...
MCAT Tutoring: Standardized Test Preparation & Test Anxiety
Five steps to beating test anxiety As an MD/PhD candidate, I've taken and prepared for countless standardized tests. I also know that tests are scary for everyone, even the most seasoned test-takers. After all, exams have implications—and big exams have big implications. In that respect, a little anxiety is natural. But too much can be ...
MCAT game plan: Achieving your maximum score
Taking the MCAT is extremely anxiety provoking.   But the preparation leading up to the exam can be grueling and soul-crushing.  These weeks/months are painful, filled with endless reading, questions, and practice exams.  Often, these monotonous routine days can cause students to become discouraged, frustrated, and bored.  Having a game plan ...
Beat the MCAT Blues: Dealing with depression and anxiety
It’s likely that you’ve never prepared as deeply or intensely for an exam before, as you will preparing for the MCAT. Its common to feel anxiety, and even depression during the days leading up to the exam. In our post, we’ll give you some tips on how to cope and maintain your mental health through this difficult time.
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