How Studying in Academic Classes Can Improve Test Scores
If you think the only way to prepare for the ACT and SAT is by studying outside the classroom, think again. While it may not seem like class work would improve your abilities on these standardized tests, there’s information showing that it can. After all, exercising your brain is exercising your brain.
Interestingly, some statistics show that test prep doesn’t necessarily help your grades in academic courses. That’s because standardized tests don’t always improve cognitive abilities such as memory, attention and speed, according to researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Brown University. But there are some test prep skills that can carry over. For instance, learning to mentally organize reading material on the fly, break a large segment of time into smaller segments, and focus for a two-hour private ACT or SAT study session will certainly improve how you study and comprehend new material.
On the flip side, there are some solid statistics supporting the idea that studying in academic classes can help with test prep.
“In fact, high grades in eleventh-grade core courses are the strongest predictor of improved ACT scores. Students who started their junior year with a PLAN score of 17 (a little above the district’s average) and earned a B in their English class that year scored one point higher on average on the ACT reading test six months later. Students who flunked English actually lost ground and scored below 17 on the ACT,” according a report in UChicagoNews in 2008.
Multiple studies show a link between learning foreign languages and improved standardized test scores, higher academic achievement, and better reading abilities.
What about homework? Many students don’t like it and rush through it. A study performed at Indiana University School of Education found there wasn’t much correlation between the amount of time spent on homework and higher grades in math and science classes. However, there was a “positive relationship between homework time and performance on standardized tests.”
“The results from this study imply that homework should be purposeful,” said co-author Robert H. Tai, associate professor of science education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. ”And that the purpose must be understood by both the teacher and the students.”
So here’s your take-away: If a student wants to improve their scores on standardized tests, there are many ways to do so. Being purposeful about homework, developing overall solid study habits, and spending time learning a language can all lead to substantial improvement.