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How To Ace Graduate School Entrance Exams

How To Ace Graduate School Entrance Exams

    Every student’s nightmare: Another life altering standardized test. To make matters worse, it’s increasingly likely college seniors won’t be able to find a job after graduation. You might have heard your friends talking about graduate school. Is everyone doing it? You don’t need to look far to see: Graduate and professional school enrollment is on the rise across America.

    The recently unemployed, college seniors, and those looking for a career change are lining up. A high test score may be the only difference between your acceptance into graduate school and a place in the unemployment line.

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    A major criticism of these exams is that, to perform well, you need to enroll in an expensive test prep course. Thankfully, there are some relatively free steps you can take to rock these entrance exams.

    1) Start Hard. Finish Easy.

    Dr. Ben Bernstein, owner of Dr. B Performance Coach, suggests, “Don’t wait to study the hard stuff. Determine right away the sections that give you the most trouble. If you avoid the more difficult material and focus only on the easy stuff, you’ll get more and more nervous and sabotage your chances to do well.”

    2) Prepare For Material You’re Not Familiar With

    For The LSAT:

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    Professional LSAT Tutor Steve Schwartz offers a tip to ace the hardest part: “Make simple diagrams for the logic games.” “Creating a solid diagram will save you a great deal of time, so make one on the bottom of the page (there is no scrap paper on the LSAT). For each “if” question in the games, draw a small diagram next to that question. I always tell my students to save their work from previous questions, rather than erasing it. This allows them to look back at it later in the game. A few minutes here or there are crucial in allowing you to finish in the allotted 8 minutes and 45 seconds per game.”
    For The GRE:

    Bara Sapir, Founder and Executive Director of Test Prep New York, provides advice for students who may struggle with the Math section: “The math on the GRE is 7th, 8th and 9th grade math. If you find you¹re getting particular things wrong, any straight math book will do to learn the material.”

    Homework Spot’s math section is a great place to start for those of us who need to learn middle school math.

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    3) Be Ready For Anything:

    Law school graduate and Public Relations Director at Brio, Sara Lien, discusses the issue of your test taking environment: ” The best advice I can give is to simulate test-taking conditions. I don’t know about the GRE but the LSAT is VERY time sensitive. Have a clock next to you while you answer each section. Also, if you don’t answer all the questions, it is not such a bad thing because it is based on how many answers you get right and blanks don’t count against you.”

    Note: Unlike the LSAT, incorrect answers on the GRE do count against you, so you might want to consider CBAD if you need to guess. CBAD is a trick teachers use to guess on a multiple choice test. The rationale is that the correct answer is less likely to be first or last, so you’re better off guessing in the middle.

    4) Don’t Break The Bank

    Marist College media professor, Mark Grabowski, Esq., offers this tip on what to purchase to prepare for the tests: “Be wary of the prep books that are sold in bookstores. They often make up their own questions, which may not be indicative of the kind of questions you’ll find on the actual LSAT. Instead, purchase official previous tests by going to the Law SchoolAdmission Council’s website, LSAC.org.”

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    5) Finally, Relax

    Jeanne Perdue, Editor of the award-winning Zeus Technology magazine, says, “I took the GRE to get into the Master’s program in Petroleum Engineering at University of Houston. The thing that works well for all major tests for me is to get a very good night’s sleep the night before (no crammingor all-nighters!) and to do something that relaxes you before the test so you’re not over-nervous.”

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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