Test preparation

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A group of students preparing for a test.

Test preparation (abbreviated test prep) or exam preparation is an educational course, tutoring service, educational material, or a learning tool designed to increase students' performance on standardized tests. Examples of these tests include entrance examinations used for admissions to institutions of higher education, such as college (e.g. the SAT and ACT), business school (the GMAT), law school (the LSAT or LNAT), medical school (the MCAT), BMAT, UKCAT and GAMSAT and graduate school (the GRE) and qualifying examinations for admission to gifted education programs.[1]

Preparation options[edit]

There are many resources and services on which students may draw as they prepare for standardized tests, including:

  • Mock exams: Mock exams are practice exams that help students prepare for the real exam. They are intended to give students a clear indication of the structure and content of the actual exam, as well as a snapshot of their current performance.[2]
  • Mind Maps: Mind maps allow students to visually organize relevant concepts and information, showing relationships among pieces of the whole.[3]
  • Study Guides: Various organizations and individuals produce published materials that students can incorporate into their preparation.
  • Courses: Many test preparation courses are designed to expose students to the breadth of topics tested on the relevant exam and guide them through the process of studying.
  • Tutors: A tutor is a person with whom students work one-on-one to improve academic performance, in this case on an exam.
  • Study groups: Studying as group facilitates collaboration and exposes students to different perspectives on the material.[4]

Resource providers[edit]

Most companies and educators that offer test preparation services also offer traditional (hard copy) and technology-based learning tools, such as books and other printed matter, software, websites, hand-held devices, or content for such devices. So do most test makers, publishers of self-help, instructional and educational materials, and makers of hardware and software.

Test makers[edit]

Third parties[edit]


Some test-preparation programs have been proven to help students improve test scores, [5] but others may have little effect.

Test preparation for the SAT and the GMAT is a highly lucrative field.[6]

A lot of people have criticism towards exams and testing in the primary and high school environment, the number one type of testing in Australia that receives criticism is NAPLAN. Parents and teachers have put forward numerous cases stating the stress it is having on children and how pointless it is.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jenny Anderson (February 17, 2013). "Schools Ask: Gifted or Just Well-Prepared?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Busch, Bradley (2015-12-03). "Practice makes perfect: why mock exams are great for students' brains". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-05-17.
  3. ^ Smart, Ursulua (2006). Exam Tips. SAGE Publications Ltd. pp. 162–166. doi:10.4135/9781446212127.n22.
  4. ^ Smartt, Ursulua (2006). Exam tips. SAGE Publications Ltd. pp. 162–166. doi:10.4135/9781446212127.n22.
  5. ^ American Book Company Validation Study
  6. ^ ltd, Research and Markets. "2020 Worldwide Exam Preparation & Tutoring Industry-Industry & Market Report". www.researchandmarkets.com. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  7. ^ "Time to take a breath" (PDF).