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Time Management or Content:
Each time you take an exam, it is helpful to track your timed effort followed by an extra time effort, which provides a good starting point to think about whether you have fundamental content/comprehension issues or time management issues or perhaps both.
Assess Higher Level Weaknesses: Subject Knowledge vs. Time Management Issues
Not every student is alike. Many lessons include suggestions that apply to all students regardless of level or ability, however, a key part of this course design is to assess particular student weaknesses and address them. On the upcoming ELA exam and many others in this course, you will take a timed and an extra time version to assess your high-level weaknesses. We recommend students serious about their test preparation track their performance with one complete regulation time attempt and one extra time exam effort as required. Do you run out of time before completing Exam 1? If given all the time in the world as in your extra effort attempt, do you improve your score or are there underlying content and strategy issues that must be addressed?
If you score 80% or better on Exam 1, you are in an excellent position to excel at the SHSAT reading exam and demonstrate an ability to comprehend the content and deliver accurate responses under exam-like time constraints. If not, it is worth assessing whether your issues are broadly time related or content issues.
If your extra time results are a substantial improvement from the timed Exam 1 results, it is likely you have significant time management issues. Are you using the best passage reading strategy for you? Does it take you too much time to get the answer to each question? Although time management issues are not always the first to address and, in many cases, they do not improve overnight, students will have to get to the core of the problem to excel on the SHSAT or any standardized reading exam. As a result, you will see various time management related suggestions throughout the course. For example, students will experiment with different reading techniques in the course in order to identify their best strategy. Many books will highlight different strategies like skimming text or marking passages or reading questions first, and students too frequently never experiment with the different options. If you follow this course, you will methodically practice different techniques and assess for yourself — or with the aid of an instructor — your best reading strategy.
If your exam 1 and extra time scores were similar and below your target goals (a target percentile score of close to 70% is generally commensurate with the cut-off scaled scores of specialized high schools), then chances are you have strategy and content issues that no amount of exam time will overcome. Fortunately, preparation time and the lessons in this course will help you resolve both issues. Your main goal of analysis throughout the course will be to identify your problem areas and address your weaknesses.