With 6 months left until Admissions Tests in November, what should you be doing to make sure you nail that test and get your dream offer?
In this post, we’ll go through your timeline of events from 6 months out until the night before. Follow it closely and get the score you deserve!
6 months to go: The Research Phase
183 days might seem like a lot of time, but it will fly by before you know it. Think about your GCSEs, in November you thought “Well I’ve got months to go, no need to start now, right?” Wrong!
There is a lot of evidence that proves early, spaced repetition is the best way to revise. You can cram in 8 hours a day for 2-4 weeks, but it won’t be as effective as revising 30 minutes a day for the previous months.
We recommend you take the time you have now to research the Admissions Test. If you’re taking the BMAT, read into the different sections, such as BMAT Section 2. The more you find out about each test at this stage, the easier it will be to plan how you prepare for them. The same goes for understanding how a test such as the LNAT is scored and how to plan a TSA essay.
5 months to go: Plan It Out
Without a strong Admissions Test score, all university admissions tutors have to work off are your predicted grades, make sure you maximise your score to stand out from the pack.
Now is a great time to plan how you’re going to nail the test. You’re still in revision mode from mocks and school exams so you’re in the right mindset for this step.
A great way to plan out your revision is to create a timetable starting this month and running all the way until the test date. Don’t worry if you have to change things up in future, this is a loosely structured plan which will give you an idea of how much time you have to achieve everything. We cover planning revision in more depth in our ‘How to revise effectively‘ article.
Although it might feel like wasted time right now, planning saves you a ton of time down the line. If you can wake up and just glance at your plan to know what you want to achieve that day, you save a lot of time each week.
Another benefit of the plan is that you’ll cover all topics equally. Of course, if you feel like you need more time on a certain topic, say Section 1 of the TSA, then you can allocate more time for it.
3 - 4 months to go: Intensive Revision Starts
You should also start developing strategies on how to answer specific question types. We have an article that discusses the different A-level essay question types and what they are really asking, to help you pick up easy marks and stop making silly mistakes. Don’t rely on yourself to figure out the best techniques for these.
2 months to go: Strengths and Weaknesses
At this point, you have a solid understanding of each section, the topics covered in them and the types of question you will face.
It’s now practice paper time… but hold on! Don’t just go ahead and do every practice paper you can find. Official past papers are a finite resource and should be used carefully.
There will be time set aside for topics you’ve just proven you can do perfectly. Also, there will likely be time set aside for topics you didn’t do so well on. Adjust your plan so you have more time for your weaker topics.
Even if you got 100% of the ENGAA Maths Section 1 Questions right, don’t take it off your plan entirely. Remember – spaced repetition. Spend less time covering it, but a quick refresh every few days/week will keep that section a strength.
1 month to go: Strategies and Final Brush Up
The final month. Everything you’ve been preparing for so far comes down to what lies at the end of this.
You can ramp up your preparation time from 30 minutes to an hour or two at this point if you feel it is necessary or helpful.
We recommend you use this time to go through the rest of the past papers available and brush up on all topics. Make sure to mark and identify strengths and weaknesses after each paper. All tests should be done under test conditions so you’re 100% used to the time available on the actual exam.
Now is also a good time to implement some auxiliary support. For instance, practising speed reading can be hugely beneficial for some tests, such as the BMAT, which are really time-constrained. Is it a pen and paper test? Get your hand ready to write for 2 hours straight but make sure you can write legibly and quickly!
You shouldn’t have any new topics or questions to shock you at this point, so now it is all about recalling what you know.
1 day to go: The Night Before
No need to stress. If you’ve followed the plan, you’re well and truly prepared. There’s nothing more you can do and there’s nothing more you should need to do!
Here are our final tips:
Finally, smash the test! We wish you the best of luck.
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