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10 Study Tips for US Exams

Nearly all highly ranked US universities require applicants to submit scores from one of the US admissions tests – either the SAT, SSAT, ICEE or TOEFL.

A strong test score is crucial to a successful application, and because these exams differ greatly from those on traditional UK or international syllabi, it can be really helpful to get tips from those who teach and mark the exams.

Having an insight into the style of questioning your particular admission test generally adopts, is probably one of your most valuable tools.

Using the experience of our valued teachers, we have collected some of the most useful tips for you.

10 Tips for Success:


  1. Ensure you get a good night’s rest before you sit for the exam. A well-rested mind is more likely to recall answers correctly.

  2. Read section directions before the test. Don’t assume you know what to do. There may be very specific instructions for certain questions and if you get them wrong, you could be throwing away valuable marks.

  3. Answer the questions you know first. Don’t get flustered because you have spotted a question you don’t know. Focus on the ones you DO know first, as finishing those will bolster your confidence and allow you to get them out of the way so you can spend some time thinking about the answers to more difficult questions you’re not as sure of.

  4. Eliminate incorrect answers. When faced with multiple choice questions, you may not know which is the right answer, but chances are good that you will be able to recognise the ones that are clearly wrong. This will make identifying the correct answer a little easier. If you can, try and come up with the correct answer before reading through the options. That way, if you are correct, your answer will be validated by one of the choices.

  5. Neat handwriting is important. You don’t want a marker to misread your answer and deduct marks from a question you actually answered correctly, simply because they could not make it out.

  6. Trust your instincts. Your first response is usually correct. Don’t spend time second guessing yourself. Keep a positive attitude. Don’t let your doubts and insecurities bring you down. Trust yourself and believe in your efforts.