Preparation, the best test taking strategy!
Whether you’re thinking of attending college, joining the workforce, or going into the military, it is likely that you will need to take a test. The test(s) you need to take will depend on which career path you are interested in, but preparing for the test is just as important as registering for it and taking it. Often, these tests will impact your life such as help you in getting admitted into college/career training or may even be used as a placement test for certain subjects. To get started, let’s go over the basics of what you can do to improve your score when taking required tests.
Tips for improved test results:
- Research the testing site location in advance and arrive on time. Since the tests are timed, it will be up to the proctor (the person watching you so don’t cheat) to decide when the test starts and if they allow late comers to take the test. Additionally, you may need to show some form of identification.
- With a timed test, you will need to pace yourself accordingly to finish on time. If you don’t know the answer to a question, move on to another question so you can continue to make progress. After you’ve answered the questions you do know, if you still have time, you can then go back through your exam sheet to find the ones you skipped.
- Answer every question, even if it is a guess. On multiple choice tests you have a one in four or one in five chance to get it right. Very few tests subtract points for a wrong guess versus a blank answer – you can research the test you’re taking to confirm that.
- Take the time to read and reread the questions. It’s possible that you may answer a question incorrectly just by simply not reading the question correctly.
For more helpful tips, click here.
The most common tests:
- ACT- The ACT consists of four multiple choice tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, with an optional writing portion. Before you take the test, it will be important to figure out if you are required to take the writing portion so you don’t have to retake it a second time just to do the writing portion. If you’re trying to decide to take the ACT over other testing options, here are the top eight reasons to take the ACT. As for taking the test, ACT does offer plenty of resources to help you prepare. They have free study guides, sample test questions, and you can even sign up to get the question of the day. For more on ACT test prep, visit their website.
- SAT- The SAT is a little different than the ACT as it offers a reading, writing and language, and math test…sorry science lovers. It does come with an essay in which you will write an argument to persuade someone to agree with you. Since the SAT and ACT are rivals, here is the SAT breakdown of why you should take their test. The SAT also offers practice tests, but they also encourage use the Khan Academy as a free resource to help you prepare.
- WorkKeys- If you’re looking for a career or trades test, WorkKeys may be right for you. Rather than focusing on your knowledge of reading or writing, WorkKeys is a skills assessment test that measures your abilities in career fields. There are currently eight different tests, the most popular being the Applied Math. After you complete three of their tests, you can earn your National Career Readiness Certificate, which may be required by employers. Now, if you are looking for some sample questions, they have some available on their website, but for a free practice test, click here.
- ASVAB- The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is used by the military to determine if you’re qualified to enlist in any of the branches. The test focuses on Arithmetic Reason, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Mathematics Knowledge. Based on how you score, it will change your military job eligibility as well as enlistment bonuses. If you’re looking to take the test, it would be best to talk to a military recruiter. The ASVAB website lists ASVAB for Dummies as a resource, but if you’re looking for a free practice test, you can find one here.
If you’re an Alaskan high school student and you’re thinking about taking one of the common tests listed above, know that an ACT or SAT is required for the Alaska Performance Scholarship if you choose to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree from a university or college in Alaska. If you are planning on obtaining a certificate, you may use your WorkKeys scores to qualify for the APS. I do recommend that all high school students try to achieve a qualifying ACT or SAT score, as having the scholarship in your pocket can be an excellent financial tool that can be used for four years of education in a six-year window. If you’re not from Alaska and you found your way to our blog, be sure to find your state scholarships here.
Best of luck on your next test and if you have any questions, please come by the ACPE Success Center located at the Dimond Center Mall. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 1 (800) 441-2962, option #4.
About the Author
Tyler is Alaskan born and educated, with over a decade of experience in higher education & student affairs. When he is not serving the next generation of postsecondary education students, he enjoys spending time outdoors while hunting and fishing.
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