Every standardized test has different quirks, and understanding these differences can be the key to developing good study tips. Study tips help you focus your preparation on the proper material and guide you towards steps that can help increase you overall score, increasing your odds of being accepted to the pharmacy school of your choice.
For many standardized tests, one is often able to obtain a study outline. At a minimum, this allows the test taker to focus his or her study time on the appropriate material. For example, a student preparing to take the PSAT/NMSQT does not need to review high-level mathematics, like Algebra II, since this is not covered on the exam. Students taking the ACT who opt out of the writing section will not need to spend time practicing for this section. Time spent studying irrelevant material can lead to overall lower scores, since this study time may come at the expense of time spent on material that will be on the exam.
Some test takers can benefit from creating or buying study materials like flash cards. When contemplating this type of study technique, one should first think about how he or she learns best. Some individuals learn best through repetition, some need to hear information, others need to see it, and some individuals learn best by copying or writing the same information over and over again. Once one understands his or her best mode of study, study aids can be explored.
Test-taking tips can also be as simple as guiding a test taker through an actual exam. For example, a test taker can benefit from eliminating, by crossing out, known incorrect answers on a multiple-choice test. This helps students visualize the remaining answer choices and ensures that an incorrect answer is not accidently chosen. It also helps in the guessing process. While one may not know the correct answer, if even one answer choice can be eliminated, the probability of guessing correctly is increased.
The best study tip one can be given is to practice, practice, practice. For most individuals, there is no better study aid than a practice exam. As discussed previously, there are numerous advantages to taking a practice exam, not the least of which is understanding the flow and format of the exam. Some exams will reuse questions from previous exams, so obtaining a practice exam from a source that claims it uses actual test items can virtually guarantee one a correct answer on the actual test if the practice exam is reviewed properly.
The goal of study and test-taking tips is to guide a student to better prepare to take a standardized test. Whether these tips help one focus on the right material, obtain a higher score through more accurate “guessing,” or learn about the exam through practice, one will obtaining a higher exam score utilizing these tips than an individual who does not.
Because nearly all pharmacy schools will require that one has taken at least one of the standardized tests, it is important to follow at least some of these tips.