How to Best Answer Multiple Choice Questions on Standardized Tests

Undoubtedly, mastering multiple choice questions are very important when it comes to being successful on the ACT or SAT.  The good news is that there are important strategies you can take to get your target score.  With this in mind, consider the following helpful tips:

Read the directions carefully – the first thing you need to do is read the directions as carefully as possible.  The directions part is the first step you need to take in making sure you understand what is being asked of you.  A failure to read the directions can lead you to answer the questions wrong.

Read the question twice – after reviewing the question a first time, go through it again just to ensure you understand the details.  Oftentimes, you can pick up on additional details if you read through the question a second time.

Pay very close attention to the details of each question – every question contains certain details that you only have a limited time to answer.  Underline or circle details that you feel are important and read the question in a way as if you need to respond to it without looking at the answers below.

Consider the answer before looking at the list of alternative answers – with the important details fleshed out, try and think about the answer before considering the list of alternative answers. Then dive into the alternatives and target the one that best matches your answer.

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Strategies for Starting the College Application Process

College Application_2

Starting the college application process is a time filled with anticipation and excitement about your upcoming life at college. Sometimes, however, families are unsure as to the steps involved or where to start the college application process.  The good news is that there is a roadmap you and your family can follow that will help you get started as well as save you time and money.  With this in mind, consider the following list of the top strategies for embarking on the college application process, which are:

  • Get your personalized Smart College Report – the Choose It Right Smart College Report is an “all in one and done” service that in the click of a button, instantly matches you with colleges that meet your preferences and qualifications as well as provides you with invaluable information about smart loan borrowing, college costs, the contact information for college coaches and admissions officers, and scholarships. Altogether, the Smart College Report will save you over 100 hours of time researching colleges, and is a perfect place to start the application process.
  • Be purposeful and calculated in your selection process – once you receive your list of colleges in the Smart College Report, it is important to consider colleges based on a number of different factors, including the cost, their major offerings, sports programs (if you are a student-athlete), and other critical factors. Choosing a university based on the fact that it has a good frat scene or is located near a beach are not the primary things you should be focusing on.
  • Refine your list of colleges – while your Smart College Report can provide you with up to fifty colleges, it is important to narrow down your selection to a reasonable amount (e., 10 schools or less) so that you can remain focused on each college’s application requirements and not spread yourself too thin. College application requirements can be rather demanding, and having enough time to go through all of them and meet their specifications is extremely important and undoubtedly, maximizes your chances of getting accepted.

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A Student’s Guide to Choosing the Right Major

Choosing the right major is an extremely exciting yet critical part of attending college that can pave your way for a successful academic and post-college career.  That is why it is important to be educated on how to choose a major in a smart and calculated way.  Keep in mind that you do not have to be completely set on a specific major when starting the college application process. However, you should have somewhat of an idea, if you don’t already, as to what interests you. 

First, when considering a major, don’t wait until the last minute.  This means that as early as possible, even before attending college, you should start thinking about areas of study that excite you.  Ask yourself:  what do I like learning about?  What past high school courses did I find fascinating or interesting?  For instance, do you like learning about history?  Or, are you considering a medical profession in the future and think that the sciences may be the right path? Or even, did you always like building things when you were younger and think an engineering degree might be up your alley? Accordingly, as early as possible, start considering choosing a few majors and work your way towards narrowing them down before going to college. Keep in mind that at most colleges, you must choose your major in your sophomore year of college.

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Ten Ways Choose It Right Helps You to Choose the Right College

Choosing a College_2

Given that there are thousands of colleges and universities in the United States to choose from, you are likely asking yourself the following:  Where do I start the search process?  What resources are out there to help me narrow down my options?  What colleges are right for me based upon the major and course of study I am interested in?  Which colleges have the right sports program I am looking for?  And many more.

Here are 10 ways that Choose It Right can help you find the right college:

1)    Saves you over 100 hours of research – with the click of a button, you instantly receive your Smart College Report, which includes everything you need to know to make smart decisions about choosing the right college. No longer are the days where you need to spend countless hours parsing through different college websites and brochures.  Now you have the Smart College Report, which does it all for you in minutes!

2)    Helps you to gain valuable insight on how much you should actually pay for college and determine how much college is really worth to you.

3)    Assists you in better understanding the current and future ramifications of taking out financial aid/student loan debt.

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Two or Four-Year College? Which One is Right for You?

Although many students have their mind and hearts set on attending a four-year institution, not everyone is certain as to their path to higher education.  With this in mind, consider the following information about two and four-year colleges to help you determine which may be right for you.

2-Year Colleges

  • Why attend?

While 4-year colleges often receive all of the media hype and attention, there are many benefits to attending a 2-year program.  First, 2-year colleges are much more affordable than four-year programs.  Moreover, they offer students the chance to start their careers faster through various certification programs that are attractive to many employers.  Lastly, they also enable students to strike a better school-life balance.  Meaning, students can address their family and work obligations while attending classes on a part-time basis. 

  • Who attends a 2-year program?

Students with less than perfect records, those looking for a technical or trade vocation, or those who want to ease their way into a fur-year program are perfect for a 2-year college.

  • What courses can you take?

2-year programs offer pre-requisite courses that enable you to transfer credits to a four-year college.  They also offer a wide array of classes that cater to local industries.

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5 Helpful Studying Tips for Taking Standardized Tests

Standardized Tests

Effectively studying for a standardized test is critical to getting a high score on your ACT or SAT.  Meaning, it is not just about studying – it is about studying the right way to maximize your chances of getting the score you want.  With this in mind, consider the following helpful studying tips:

    1) Review your mistakes – don’t just skip over wrong answers. Be sure to understand why you got the question wrong and learn from it. This is an essential part of studying for a standardized test, so be sure to thoroughly review all wrong answers.

    2) Take as many practice tests as you can – the more you test yourself, the better you will get in terms of timing and knowing what to expect when you take the actual test. Therefore, when you take practice tests, be sure to take them under test conditions, which includes timing yourself both strictly and accurately.

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Tips for Choosing the Right College

Which college do I choose?  Which region of the country interests me?   Can I afford it?  Where do I even begin to look and how?  Generally speaking, choosing the right college is not just about liking its campus, or is a “brand” name or wanting to attend an institution that has a reputation for being a great party school.  As such, consider the following helpful tips for choosing the college that is right for you based upon a variety of important factors:

    1) Focus on colleges that have the curriculum you are looking for – obviously, you want to attend a college that has the major and associated courses that interest you. If you are unsure, consider attending a 2-year community college, or a liberal arts school that exposes you to a number of different areas of study.

    2) Location – limit your scope to areas of the country that interest you. Do you prefer a big city, or do you want more of a rural, quieter setting?  These are questions you should be asking yourself when deciding where to attend college.

    3) Size – an extremely large university may not be right for everyone. Consider a college that has the size you are looking for.   Keep in mind that even at large institutions, the class sizes get smaller as you advance into your major and its curriculum.

    4) Sports and activities – if you are looking to play sports, be sure to apply to colleges that have the programs/organizations you are looking for. Are you looking for a big time athletic program, or the opportunity to engage in intramural sports?  Consider these questions when applying to colleges.

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Reasons Why a Community College May be Right for You

Community College

The traditional four-year college experience may not be right for everyone.  Specifically, some students may not be sure what course of study interests them.  Or, they may want a more affordable education.  If you’re considering attending a community college or are interested in learning more about its benefits, check out the following:

    1) Transfer agreements – many community colleges have admission agreements with public colleges that allow qualified students to transfer their credits and gain admission to these schools after completing a two-year program. This allows students to initially save money at a community college and then gain entry to public universities to complete a bachelor’s degree.

    2) You save money – paying for college these days is a huge decision, and annual tuition rates have continued to soar into the tens of thousands of dollars each year. With this in mind, many community colleges charge around $1000 or less for in-state tuition. You also may not have to pay for housing when attending a community college, enabling you to live at home and save money.   

    3) They offer a flexible approach to education – attending a community college is a great way for students to ease their way into college rather than just jumping into a four-year program that they may not be prepared for. Community colleges allow you to learn at your own pace, offering much more flexibility than a traditional four-year college.

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Alleviating Test Day Anxiety

Without a doubt, having to take a standardized test, whether it be the ACT or SAT, can be nerve-wracking.  Understandably, getting a good score on your standardized test is a crucial part of the admission process for most colleges.  Accordingly, there are some tips you can follow to help alleviate your anxiety and put you in the best position to succeed on test day.   These are as follows:

1)    Preparation is key – make sure you study as much as possible, as too often, stress comes from feeling a lack of control over a situation. Meaning, sometimes people have anxiety on test day knowing that they are not fully prepared.  With that being said, the more prepared you are, the calmer and more ready you will feel on test day.

2)    Take a standardized test prep course – there are plenty of prep courses available to help prepare you for all aspects of the exam. Taking a prep course is important because they give you invaluable tips on studying and they enable you to take several practice tests.   This way, you are fully prepared on test day and will likely experience less anxiety as a result.

3)    Take deep breaths – when you sit down to begin the exam, take a few deep breaths by inhaling and then exhaling slowly. Not only does this calm your system down, it also increases the flow of oxygen to your brain, allowing you to be more focused.

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What 12th Graders Can Do to Plan for College

12th Grade

As a high school senior, this is the final year for you and your family to get everything together and make a decision about which college to pursue.  As such, the following is a guide for you to follow, which can help to maximize your chances of successfully choosing a college and making prudent financial decisions to fund / pay for your education:

Spring

  • Process college responses. This will include how to respond to colleges that reject you, put you on a waiting list, or accept you outright. Be sure to respond to those colleges that accept you, even if you decline their offers.
  • Review financial aid offers and do not borrow more than your Post College 1:1 Ratio.
  • Visit colleges that have accepted you and find out more about their major choices, what classes you will be able to take, etc.

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