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How to Prepare for an Exam Two Months Away

Prepare for a Standardized Exam

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If you're taking a standardized test like the SAT or GRE (or others), you need months, not weeks or days to prepare for a test like this. Now some people will try to prepare for a test like this by cramming just a few minutes ahead of time, but a good test score is not in their future! In your case, you've given yourself two months, which is a decent amount of time to prepare for an exam like the one you're taking. Here's the study schedule if you need to prepare for an exam that is two months away.

Month 1

Week 1

  • Make sure you've registered for your exam!
  • Buy a test prep book
  • Review the test basics: what's on the test, length, price, test dates, registration facts, testing strategies, etc.
  • Get a baseline score. Take one of the full-length practice tests inside the book to see what score you'd get if you took the test today.
  • Map out your time with a time management chart to see where test prep can fit in. Rearrange your schedule if necessary to accommodate test prep.
  • Make or buy vocabulary or Greek/Latin root flashcards for vocabulary tested on the exam. You'll need 35 per week.
  • Review your test prep options if you think that studying on your own will not be ideal!
  • Choose and purchase a test prep option (tutoring, books, online courses, classes, etc.)
  • If you are studying on your own, move this schedule up a week and start going into week 2's material.

Week 2

  • Every day, go through five flashcards and learn those words/roots throughout the day. At the end of the day, put those cards in a separate pile for review the end of the week.
  • Begin coursework with your weakest subject (#1) as demonstrated by the baseline score.
  • Learn the components of #1 fully: types of questions asked, amount of time needed, skills required, methods of solving types of questions, knowledge tested. Acquire the knowledge necessary for this section by searching on the Internet, going through old textbooks, reading articles, etc.
  • Answer #1 practice questions, reviewing answers after each one. Determine where you're making mistakes and correct your methods. Keep learning content of this section.
  • Take a practice test on #1 to determine level of improvement from baseline score.
  • Fine tune #1 by going over questions missed to determine what level of knowledge you're missing. Reread information until you know it!
  • Quiz yourself (or have someone quiz you) on the 35 flashcards you learned this week

Week 3

  • Review 5 flashcards every day.
  • Move on to next weakest subject (#2). Learn the components of #2 fully: types of questions asked, amount of time needed, skills required, methods of solving types of questions, etc.
  • Answer #2 practice questions, reviewing answers after each one. Determine where you're making mistakes and correct your methods.
  • Take a practice test on #2 to determine level of improvement from baseline
  • Fine tune #2 by going over questions missed to determine what level of knowledge you're missing. Review that material.
  • Quiz yourself (or have someone quiz you) on the 35 flashcards you learned this week

Week 4

  • Review 5 flashcards every day.
  • Move on to strongest subject/s (#3). Learn the components of #3 fully (and 4 and 5 if you have more than three sections on the test) (types of questions asked, amount of time needed, skills required, methods of solving types of questions, etc.)
  • Answer practice questions on #3 (4 and 5).
  • Take a practice test on #3 (4 and 5) to determine level of improvement from baseline
  • Fine tune #3 (4 and 5) by going over questions missed to determine what level of knowledge you're missing. Review that material.
  • Quiz yourself (or have someone quiz you) on the 35 flashcards you learned this week

Month 2

Week 1

  • Review 5 flashcards every day.
  • Take a full-length practice test, simulating the testing environment as much as possible with time constraints, desk, limited breaks, etc.
  • Grade your practice test and cross-check every wrong answer with the explanation for your wrong answer. Determine what you've missed and what you need to do to improve.
  • Quiz yourself (or have someone quiz you) on the 35 flashcards you learned this week

Week 2

  • Review 5 flashcards every day.
  • Take another full-length practice test, simulating the testing environment again. Again, go through every missed problem, looking for weaknesses.
  • Quiz yourself (or have someone quiz you) on the 35 flashcards you learned this week

Week 3

  • Review 5 flashcards every day.
  • Go back through weakest section (#1) and work through the problems again, memorizing testing strategies, reviewing practice problems, and whittling down the time it takes you to work through the questions.
  • Quiz yourself (or have someone quiz you) on the 35 flashcards you learned this week

Week 4

  • Review all of your flashcards, and have someone quiz you over every one of them.
  • Eat brain food.
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Review test tips to make your test-taking more efficient.
  • Plan some fun evenings to help you relax
  • Two days before the test, run through your flashcards one more time, read testing strategies for the exam, and review the basic principles of each section.
  • Pack your testing supplies the night before: an approved calculator if you're allowed to have one, sharpened #2 pencils with a soft eraser, registration ticket, photo ID, watch, snacks or drinks for breaks.
  • Relax. You did it! You studied successfully for your test, and you're ready. So take a deep breath, okay?

5 Things To Do the Day of The Test

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