Taking a Practice Test
Through the example of Molly Bloom, we’ve shown you why
studying practice tests is an extremely powerful strategy. Now we’re
going to backtrack and explain what you should do while you’re actually
taking a practice test.
Controlling Your Environment
Do everything in your power to make the practice test
feel like the real SAT II U.S. History. The closer your practice
resembles the real thing, the more helpful it will be. When taking
a practice test, follow these rules:
Take the tests timed.
Don’t give yourself any extra time. Be stricter with yourself
than the meanest proctor you can think of. Also, don’t give yourself
time off for bathroom breaks. If you have to go to the bathroom,
let the clock keep running; that’s what will happen during the real
Take the test in a single sitting.
Training yourself to endure an hour of test-taking is
part of your preparation.
Find a place to take the test that offers no distractions.
Don’t take the practice test in a room with lots of people
walking through it. Go to a library, your bedroom, a well-lit closet,
Now, having stated the rules of practice test-taking,
we can relax a little bit: don’t be so strict with yourself that
studying and taking practice tests becomes unbearable. The most important
thing is that you actually study. Do whatever you have to do in
order to make your studying interesting and painless enough for
you to actually do it.
Practice Test Strategy
You should take each practice test as if it were the real
SAT II U.S. History. Don’t be more daring than you would be on the
actual test, guessing blindly even when you can’t eliminate an answer.
Don’t carelessly speed through the test. Don’t flip through this
book while taking the practice exam just to sneak a peek. Follow
the rules for guessing and for skipping questions that we outlined
in the chapter on strategy. The more closely your attitude and strategies
during the practice test reflect those you’ll employ during the
actual test, the more predictive the practice test will be of your
strengths and weaknesses and the more fruitful your studying of
the test will be.
Scoring Your Practice Test
After you take your practice test, you’ll want to score
it and see how you did. When you score your test, don’t just write
down how many questions you answered correctly and tally your score.
Instead, keep a list of every question you got wrong and every question you
skipped. This list will be your guide when you study your test.
Studying Your . . . No, Wait, Go Take a Break
Go relax for a while. You know how to do that.