Indeed, you are going to have to do some TestSmashing. If you are already in the upper percentiles of whichever test, TestSmashing is just a little nudge, activating a perspective on the tests you are probably halfway to figuring out yourself already. If you are a low scorer, TestSmashing is going to be hard. Really, really hard, but not in the way you might expect. Instead, it’s hard because you have to change how you think about yourself, the test, and how to solve problems.
I’m starting to develop a program for low scorers to turn themselves around and dramatically improve their scores. If anyone wants to be a beta tester for this program, contact me and I will give you a pretty steep discount for a 4-session package to lay the foundation for a more successful experience with the test that is between you and your dreams. This isn’t test prep, its prep-for-test-prep stuff that will, I think, save you tons of time, money and agony in the long run if you take some risks and about three weeks up front.
In the meantime, some rules of the road for a low scorer:
- Be realistic and set your goals carefully. Dramatically increasing your score (say by at least 150 or 15 points, depending on the test, particularly if you are starting below the 50th percentile) is going to take time. It isn’t going to happen in a few weeks. If you’ve already signed up to take the test in less than 2 months, I would cancel. Even if it means delaying your applications by a year. Painful, I know, but you need to
- …be patient. This kind of change won’t happen overnight.
- You MUST find a way to transition from the self-concept “I am bad at tests” or, god forbid, “I am not smart enough to do well” to “I happen to have performed badly on some tests in the past, but I am working hard and will master the mistakes I used to make.”
- You MUST be prepared to acknowledge that you don’t know what you are doing, and that the approach you have taken so far isn’t working.
- Find a way to protect your ego through this process. Do something joyful, creative and fun on a regular basis during this Test Smashing period of your life.
- Be sure this is what you want. If it isn’t, it is an awfully time-intensive, ego-bruising activity to embark on if you don’t actually want to go to graduate school (or college).