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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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