One of the easiest ways to improve your standardized tests scores is to improve your time management when taking the exams. Unfortunately, managing your time is easier said than done. So many adults struggle to find a healthy balance of how they spend their time, so it’s no wonder that high school students find themselves in the same boat – especially when it comes to exams.
Fortunately, time management becomes much easier when you’re splitting up a handful of hours instead of an entire day or week. Here are some tips and strategies you can apply that will improve your timing with tests.
Tip #1 – Figure Out How Long It Will Take To Complete Each Question
If you know how many questions are on an exam and how long you’ll have to complete the test, then you’ll be able to determine an approximation of how much time you can spend working on each question. For example, if you have 30 minutes to complete ten questions, you should spend approximately three minutes on each question.
That sounds simple enough, but it can get more complicated when dealing with different sections and question types. At that point, just knowing the duration and number of questions will not be enough.
If the exam you are taking includes multiple sections, you’ll want to determine the time limits and number of questions in each. Essentially, you want to treat each section as if they were each a different exam. Looking at the bigger picture won’t help unless each portion of the exam is perfectly equal.
When dealing with different types of questions, you should avoid splitting your time evenly among them. For example, you will likely complete multiple-choice questions faster than short-answer responses. Therefore, you should allocate more of your total time to short-answer questions and leave less time for multiple-choice.
Keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to keep perfect time during an actual exam. Some questions will inevitably take you less time than anticipated, and vice versa. However, knowing where you’re supposed to be by a specific time in the exam will help you gauge if you need to pick up the pace or if you can spend some extra time reviewing.
Tip #2 – Be Efficient When Answering Questions
Even if you figured out exactly how much time you can give yourself to complete a question, it’s still possible to waste time on the exam.
If you find yourself struggling with a specific question, it may be best to skip it and go back to it later. You should have time to revisit it at the end of the exam if you properly manage your time. It’s possible that looking at the question a second time may remind you how to solve it. Even if that doesn’t happen, you’ll have time to make an educated guess.
It may be best to tackle all the questions you are confident in first and then split the remaining time between questions that need more thinking. No matter how you approach it, you don’t want to miss out on a question you know how to answer because you got caught up with one you don’t.
Tip #3 – Use A Watch To Help With Time Management
Keeping track of time is an important aspect of successful time management, but it can be a distraction if you waste too much time figuring out how to manage your time.
Spending too much time looking up at the clock and counting down the minutes left in your exam can leave you with too little time to complete the test. You need to be just as efficient about your time tracking as you are with answering questions.
A digital watch is a perfect solution to this problem, but some standardized tests have stricter rules than others. For instance, the SAT and ACT don’t allow most digital watches in testing rooms. So, what do you do in this situation?
If you practice the timing enough, you may be able to guesstimate if you’re managing your time well enough to complete the exam. This option is valid, but it leaves a lot of room for error.
A better solution would be to purchase a watch designed and approved for the SAT and ACT exams. Testing Timers created digital watches that take the heavy lifting out of time management for these exams. Not only are there preset timing options for each section of the exam, but there is also a progress tracking bar that can help you determine exactly where you should be by that point in the exam.
These watches are a MUST for anyone who is struggling with time management on the SAT or ACT. If you use code ‘15CURVE2021‘ at checkout, you’ll receive 15% off your purchase.
Conclusion – The Importance of Time Management
Time management is no easy task, but it can make a massive difference in your test score when done well. Understanding how to spend your time and maximize your efficiency will have a positive effect on your performance. That’s why you must do everything you can to make time management easier for you when it comes time to take an exam.