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3 Using Time Effectively to Maximize Points
Most students don't think about how to improve their test-taking skills.
After experience, most students still believe in this.
Most students have had at least one of these experiences.
Your final test score is influenced by factors other than your level of preparation.
This chapter will give you some insights that will help you perform better on the AP Environmental Science Exam and other exams.
It is important to work at a consistent pace in order to score well on an exam.
The worst mistake that inexperienced or less savvy test takers can make is to come to a question that will make them panic and stall, rather than just skip it.
It is not unusual for students to waste five minutes on a single question because they are too stubborn to cut their losses.
It's important to know how much time you've spent on a given question and the section you're working on.
You can improve your pacing and timing for the test.
Know your pace.
If you want to know how long you take on questions, try to take on 5, 10, or 20 questions.
Knowing how long you spend on average per question will help you figure out how many questions you can answer effectively and how to pace yourself for the test.
There is a clock nearby.
You can keep track of time with a watch or clock nearby.
Constantly checking the clock is a waste of time and can distract you.
Make a plan.
You can check the clock after every 15 or 30 questions to see if you are on the correct path.
This will make you aware of the time but not allow you to fall into the trap of dwelling on it.
Know when to stop.
Since all questions are scored equally, investing a lot of time on a single question is inefficient and can deprive you of the chance to answer easier questions later on.
If you can eliminate answer choices, you don't have to worry about picking a random answer if you can't find the correct answer.
You do best when you work through the tests at a steady pace.
You can always ask a question you don't know what it is.
When you do, you will find that your previous mental block is gone, and you will wonder why the question perplexed you the first time around.
Even if you don't know the answer, you won't waste time on questions that are easier to answer.
You don't have to answer all of the questions in chronological order.
If you're stumped by an essay or multiple-choice question, skip it or choose a different one.
You may not have to answer every question correctly in order to get your desired score.
Pick the questions you can answer and work on them.
This will help you get the most questions correct, and make you more efficient.
One or more answer choices can be eliminated.
The odds of you answering the question correctly increase if every answer choice can be eliminated.
You can increase your odds of getting the question correct by reviewing the section on this strategy in Chapter 1.
When all the questions are of equal value, no one question is important.
The goal is to get the most questions correct.
For your final score, you should set a realistic goal.
In the next section, we will discuss how to achieve your desired score and how to pacing yourself to do so.
It's in your best interest to not try to work through every question if you need a high score.
You should check with the schools you are applying to.
You will get a 3 if you do well on 60 of the multiple-choice questions and get a decent score on at least 3 of the free-response questions.
The "guessing penalty" used to be a quarter of a point for every incorrect answer.
Students are only assessed on the total number of correct answers.
If you are running out of time, you should fill in all the bubbles before the multiple-choice section ends.
It's to your advantage to fill in if you don't know what the correct answer is, even if you don't plan to spend a lot of time on every question.
A table on the next page shows you how many questions you need to ask to get a score.
The numbers will vary from year to year depending on test performance.
It's clear from this data that you have to perform well on the essays in order to get a 4 or 5.
As you take practice tests, you can use this information to evaluate how best to get the score you want and what areas of the exam are slowing you down.
The practice tests in this book can be used to calculate your own score.
There are many ways to get your desired score.
It is important to remember that guessing is no longer punished and that you must put in the effort to perform well.
People experience anxiety before and during an exam.
The anxiety test can be helpful.
People find that they perform better under stress.
You know the feeling when you pull an all-nighter to write a paper and end up doing good work.
Too much stress is a bad thing.
A lower score is almost always caused by hyperventilating during the test.
Here are a few actions you can take if you find yourself stressed out during exams.
Take a look at reality.
Before the test begins, evaluate your situation.
You have an advantage because many others taking the test are not as well prepared and you are being graded against them.
Accept the fact that you won't ace the test if you didn't study.
Make sure you ask the right questions.
Your job is to maximize the benefits of what you know so that you can score as high as you can.
It is best to think of a test as a game.
If you answer questions quickly and easily, you can answer those that will take more time.
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and focus on nothing but your breathing and exhalation for a few seconds.
This form of meditation should help you to clear your mind of stress and concentrate better on the test.
If you've ever taken yoga classes, you know some good relaxation techniques.
Make sure you know where the test will be given, what type of questions will be asked, and how long the test will take.
You don't want to worry about anything on test day or after the test has begun.
The best way to avoid stress is to study both the test material and the test itself.
If you buy or read this book, you are taking a major step towards a stress-free AP Environmental Science Exam.
As you prepare for the AP Environmental Science Exam, remember to give yourself small rewards.
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