Outsmart the Test!

Education Entrepreneur
Shawn O'Connor gives tips on how to be a better test-taker.
  • Transcript


How can you improve your performance on standardized tests?

Believe in yourself: Performance is malleable. 

Shawn O’Conner: One of the things people don't understand is your potential on these exams is really malleable.  It’s not that you can only get this score or that score.  You can do better.  You just have to believe in yourself.  One of the things that we work with our clients on is not psyching yourself out.  You have to believe that you are going to and can do well on this exam, and I've seen students from all different backgrounds, people who started at all different levels who have ended up in the top one percent on both the LSAT and the GMAT, so you can do it, but you have to put in the time and you have to recognize that for different people it takes a different amount of time.  And that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get to the same result.  It just may mean that you have to take a slightly different path to get there. 

Go inside the mind of the test-makers: Tests are learnable.

Number one threshold most important step is to have faith in yourself and to know that you can do it.  These tests are very, very, very learnable.  

Get expert advice: Coaching improves performance faster.

The second is folks who think if I just do to practice tests on my own, that's all I need to do.  I'm a smart student.  I’ve always done well.  It’s not that you can’t do it on your own, but it’s going to take so much longer to do it on your own often that that’s why we counsel people to consider, whether it’s Stratus Prep or another firm, to consider getting expert advice.  Because I sort of explain it: you’re going to do this once or twice in your life.  We do this a thousand times a year.  Clearly, we’re going to be able to help you do it a lot more efficiently.  I think this is the case in anything.  I don’t love working out, but I recognize that I need to work out, so I go to someone to help me workout.  It doesn’t mean I couldn’t do it on my own, but it means I'm going to have a more efficient, more effective process if I work with someone to help me.  It’s the same thing with the tests.  I mean, we work with numerous students from all the top undergrads - Harvard, Yale, Princeton - and it’s not that these students couldn’t achieve great scores on their own, but it’s that by working with us that process is just so much simpler.  There is less risk of error and the preparation goes so much more swiftly.  

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd