Tests and Admissions

Biggest Mistake That Students Make in Studying For Prep Tests

Biggest Mistake That Students Make in Studying For Prep Tests

This reason is why your friend – who received lower grade in Dr. (insert a difficult professor in Philosophy Department)’s class than you – had a higher LSAT score. Or, why you thought you spent literally HOURS in library and other quiet places to study for GMAT and still ended up doing way under your expectations.

You even tried to improve your critical thinking skills – and when done it right, you probably did – but you still did not get that 30 on MCAT or broke 2000 in SAT.

I’m about to give you that 700+ score in GMAT (or other respective high scores in test of your choice) that can get you to put your foot in the Wharton School of Business.

You studied without knowing what you could do at each point.

Let me explain by using an analogy. Say that you were training for London Olympics, and you just came out of college as varsity athlete. You had your shares of playing in the field during 4 years of undergrad, maybe received private lessons or more (for the purpose of improving your skills and so forth), and certainly thought that you knew how to play. And probably, you are right. Anyone who knew you would say, “Eric is a talented and hard-working individual. With right training, he will no doubt make it far in his career.


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There is a reason why I bold the word “right training.” This is the “why” behind you sign up for prep courses or tutor (see how can you decide which is better for you) because you need someone to tell you what to do AND what you CAN do. Read those words again – what you CAN do.

No matter how good of an athlete Eric is, he can’t just jump straight into Olympic style training. Why? Because he will burn out. He will injure himself. Or, he will perform below his expectations. Does any of these symptoms sound familiar to you? I’m sure they are – my analogy for Olympic style training was intentional because just like how Olympics is different from regular collegiate competitions, so is studying for professional school exams compared to your usual coursework.

It’s not just important that you plan out what you do, but also that you tell yourself what level you can be at. You are not going to just break 30 in MCAT by studying 20 hours per day, or spending 6 weeks of hardcore content review. Not even the greatest tutor in the world will make that. What you need to do – and this is what A LOT of students choose NOT to do because they do not want to discouraged – is to set small goals.

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You need to ask yourself – am I doing this right? Can I remain content at my current performances? Over-analyzing yourself can drive you over the wall as preparation and seeing results DOES take sometime to see an effect (like when you take a prescription drug, you don’t automatically get better – you may “feel” better though because of placebo effect), but you need honestly and carefully ask, “Am I at where I need to be?”

And if you feel that you are not doing that, then maybe, you ought to consider changing your ways and trying new strategies to improve.

Speed study techniques may work for some

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