Test Prep Myths

You should take a practice test first.

Practice tests without preparation do not improve scores. When taking a practice test, students are putting down as much information as possible, rather than remembering the information.

Always read the test questions first.

  While this is often a helpful trick, reading strategies  depend on the type of passage, and strength and style of the reader.    

High scorers make the best test prep teachers.

 Often people with high scores have no idea how they got them.  They are smart enough to just “know” the answers.  Preparation skill comes from knowing strategies that work for all students.   

The test maker is the best place to get advice.

Test makers have their own agenda: make the test accurate for their purpose.  The best way to do this is to have students answer questions the “typical” way, not the most efficient way. Test preparation, however, teaches students efficient strategies to tackle problems. 

Just use the preparation provided at school.

 Many High Schools offer preparation courses.  While it is convenient and often free or at low cost, teachers are not necessarily test preparation specialists.  In our experience, these courses are usually "content" review rather than strategic instruction.