Preparing for the Test & Practice Tests
- the Psychometric Entrance Test
More than 80% of Psychometric test examinees report that they took a preparatory course before the test. There is no easy way to assess the benefit of taking such a course as opposed to preparing for the test on one’s own, but results show that the benefit of preparatory courses for examinees who took the test more than once is only slightly greater than the benefit of independent preparatory study - about 15 points (report 405). These results are similar to those of previously published research on the Psychometric Entrance Test (report 232, report 218) and also to results published in international studies (for example on the SAT, the American equivalent of the Psychometric Entrance Test).
It should be noted that it’s impossible to draw decisive conclusions from these studies as to the best way to prepare for the test. Nevertheless, they may indicate how much a course can contribute relative to independent study and help candidates reach a decision regarding whether to invest large sums of money in preparation or make do with less expensive private study.
Almost everybody who takes a test the result of which will have a significant effect on their life feels some degree of tension. This phenomenon is not necessarily a problem. Research has shown that a moderate level of tension actually increases one’s ability to concentrate when preparing for the test, as well as during the test itself. However, for some people the level of tension is too high: they feel genuine anxiety before tests, and this interferes with their ability to prepare for and take any test. This phenomenon, known as “test anxiety” can have physical manifestations, including stomachache, headaches, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, diarrhea and racing pulse. It may have emotional manifestations, such as fear of failing the test, strong worries about the consequences of failing, or fear of disappointing others (parents, friends, etc.). These concerns may result in an inability to function. Test anxiety may also manifest itself in poor cognitive functioning, such as difficulty in understanding the requirements of the test, difficulty in demonstrating one’s knowledge and ability, forgetfulness, confusion, failure to concentrate and blackout. In addition, test anxiety may be a self-fulfilling prophecy: worrying about not being able to function during the test creates anxiety, which in turn increases the chances of dysfunction.
Test anxiety is much more widespread than is commonly believed. Some people who experience it think they are the only ones who suffer from such anxiety and are thus embarrassed to share their feelings with those around them. However, sharing such feelings can be a very helpful way of dealing with them and also reducing worry about others’ negative reactions. Moreover, today there are many good methods for handling test anxiety. Experts in the field suggest a range of techniques for relaxation before and during tests, including breathing exercises, guided imagery and more. In some cases, when these techniques are not sufficient and a candidate suffers from severe anxiety, it may be worth seeking additional professional help. Specialists help those who suffer from test anxiety to identify and neutralize the causes of the anxiety and to relate realistically to the test by seeing it as a task to be dealt with, not a dangerous enemy. This can help limit the negative physical and psychological reactions that interfere with preparing for and taking the test, and may even remove them altogether.
These recommendations are intended to provide you with general principles that are suitable in most cases. They are recommendations, not rules, and you are not obliged to follow them.
Set a target score - it is worth determining what score you need for admission to the program in which you want to study. This will enable you to set a target and decide how much you want to invest in preparation.
Familiarize yourself with the test - it is advisable to become familiar with the format of the test, the types of questions it contains and the instructions for examinees. This will reduce your anxiety and enable you to take the test without unnecessary delays.
Obtain study material - you can buy study and practice material for the Psychometric Entrance Test or obtain it from friends. NITE guarantees the quality of the study material that it develops (samples and explanations of test questions; Compumetry), but cannot guarantee the quality of commercial preparatory material available for sale. It should be noted that not all material available is of equal quality. Each instruction manual stresses different types of question and different techniques for solving them, so it is worth using a variety of instructional materials.
Study conditions - you should prepare a quiet, comfortable study area far away from distractions such as computers and telephones. Make sure to study when you are relaxed, well fed, and rested. When practicing solving a section or a complete test, try to do so in conditions as similar as possible to the conditions of the test itself.
Group support - if you don’t like to study alone, try to find friends you enjoy studying with. It’s a good idea to tell people in your immediate environment (friends, family) that you are in the middle of preparing for the test, and get their much-needed support, such as encouragement or help with studying. You can also get support from internet forums dealing with preparation for the test.