Outsmart the Test!
Shawn P. O’Connor is the Founder and President of Stratus Prep. With more than seven years of standardized test prep and admissions experience, Mr. O’Connor provides personalized admissions counseling to hundreds of law and business school applicants each year. Mr. O’Connor also teaches LSAT and GMAT classes and tutors private individuals for these exams. Finally, Mr. O’Connor authored Stratus Prep’s renowned Law School Bootcamp.
Prior to launching Stratus Prep, Mr. O’Connor worked domestically and internationally for McKinsey & Company, Lehman Brothers, Mercer Management Consulting, and the Boston law firm of Sullivan & Worcester. In addition to his work in the private sector, Mr. O’Connor served as a legislative advisor to former Congressman James C. Greenwood and as deputy chief of staff and communications director for Pennsylvania’s former Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll. Mr. O’Connor is admitted to the bar in New York and Massachusetts. In addition to his work with Stratus Prep, Mr. O’Connor represents clients on a pro bono basis in international human rights and political asylum matters. Mr. O’Connor is currently working on a much anticipated book about attaining success in the New Economy.
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
Shawn O'Connor gives tips on how to be a better test-taker.
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
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