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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 Psychology Exam and other exams.
Pick a letter that you will use consistently, your Letter of the Day.
One in five random guesses will be correct if you choose the same letter.
You may get them all right or you may not.
It is important to work at a consistent pace in order to score well on an exam.
The worst mistake test-takers make is to come to a question that they can't answer, and instead of just skipping it, they panic and stall.
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 the number of questions you can answer effectively and how best 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 keeping the correct pace or if you need to speed up.
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.
If you invest a lot of time on a single question, you can potentially deprive yourself of the chance to answer easier questions later on.
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.
Work on the questions that you can answer first.
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 strategies in Chapter 1.
When all the questions on a test are of equal value, your overall 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 get a raw score of 68 on the multiple-choice section and do well on the essays.
The "guessing penalty" of a quarter of a point for every incorrect answer is no longer included in exams.
Students are only assessed on the total number of correct answers.
A lot of AP materials don't include this information.
If you are running out of time, you should fill in all the bubbles before the multiple-choice section ends, using your LOTD.
Even if you don't plan to spend a lot of time on every question and even if you don't know what the correct answer is, it is to your advantage to fill something in.
The College Board provided updated scoring information for their official AP Psychology released exams because of the elimination of the guessing penalty.
For a score of 5, 92 points for a 4, 72 points for a 3, and 61 points for a 2, a total of 120 points are needed.
The table below shows you how many questions you need to get right and how you need to do on the essays to get a good score.
The numbers will vary from year to year depending on test performance.
It's obvious from the 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 slow, deep breaths, and concentrate on nothing but your inhalation 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.
If you can, leave your seat and assume a handstand position, then use them.
Studies suggest that chewing gum before an exam may increase your score.
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 Psychology Exam.
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