The Dominate Test Prep Podcast

1. Top 3 Prep Tips for Any Standardized Test

August 30, 2019 Brett Ethridge, Dominate Test Prep
The Dominate Test Prep Podcast
1. Top 3 Prep Tips for Any Standardized Test
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to the very first episode of The Dominate Test Prep Podcast! We're coming out swinging, sharing with you the top three things we've seen from 14+ years in the industry that will empower you to have the best possible experience preparing for whichever standardized test you're studying for. These principles are universal, so whether you're just diving in or have been preparing for a while and need that little extra something to get you over the hump, we're confident you'll see an improved score on test day if you take these tips to heart.

In the "From the Mailbag" segment, we also tackle the question of why your standardized test is necessary in the first place, so be sure to listen all the way to the end for that.

Thank you for listening! We appreciate the support and encourage you to do the following so that you get the most out of this channel:

  1. Click the "Subscribe" button so that you don't miss any future episodes. We have some great shows lined up that we know you'll benefit from!
  2. Send us an e-mail if you have suggestions for future shows or burning questions about your standardized test or the admissions process that you want me to answer in the "From the Mailbag" segment. Who knows, you might just make it into a future show! Oh, and don't forget to e-mail me your "Why." I'd love to hear it.
  3. Head over to for additional test-taking tips, strategies, and comprehensive prep courses. We've got you covered with anything you need to help you dominate your test.

Study hard and we'll talk with you on the next episode. Until then, I'll leave you with the quote we opened this episode with:

"If you want to be great, you must embrace the boredom of consistency." -- Justin Su'a

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speaker 0:   0:00
If you want to be great, you must embrace the boredom of consistency. Justin Sewer. Hello, everyone. And welcome to the Dominate Test Prep podcast. My name is Brett Ethridge. I'm your host, and I am excited to welcome you because this is the first ever episode of the Dominate Test prep podcast. So I'm honored you're here. Thank you for listening. I'm excited to be here with you. And I'm really excited to share the information that I'm gonna share with you today. In fact, I wanted to get things kicked off with a bang. And so I thought back over my 14 year career in test preparation, and I thought about what has been most impactful most helpful to my students. The students who have ultimately gotten high scores moved on to some of the top schools. What has helped them? And so that's what I'm gonna share with you today. The top three tips to help you prepare for whichever standardized test you're preparing for. So I hope you're excited about that. I know you're going to get great value from it, but first, let me actually take a step back just for a moment Since this is the very first episode and answer the question. Why a podcast to begin with? Why am I starting the dominant test prep podcast? And the answer is fairly simple. I want another opportunity to be able to talk with you regularly to share valuable tips and strategies, but I already do some of that through my blog's through webinars that I host through my YouTube channel. To me, I view this is a way to go beyond just test preparation. Just tips. Tangible kind of nuts and bolts. How twos of answering different question types and really address the question. How to help you succeed in whatever that next chapter is for you now for most of you. If you're listening to this podcast, it's because the next step is school, maybe going toe undergrad for the first time, maybe going back to school in the form of graduate school or business school, law school, medical school. That is the next chapter for you. But there's so much more to that than just test preparation. There's the entire application process, the admissions process with resumes and essays and interviews. I want to be able to contribute value for you in those areas. What about how to actually create success? Once you're in school, you've gotten in. But how do you make sure to get the most of the opportunity to make sure you succeed in the classroom? That is stuff that I want to address on this podcast. What about life after school? What about your next next step? Right? I want to be able to address some of those things as well. And so, yes, we are the Dominate Test prep podcast. But we're gonna be about so much more than that. And in fact, if you have any ideas for shows, if you have questions burning questions or things that you want us to address, send them our way. Brett at dominate test prep dot com I welcome any and all suggestions, and if I can weigh in on it, I will. If I can't, I'll go try to find an expert to interview, to get you that information to help you succeed and dare I say dominate whatever. That next chapter is for you on your success journey, so I hope you're excited about that. With that, let's go ahead and get back to today's topic the top three tips to help you prepare for your state. So my first tip for you is drum roll, please, to maintain proper perspective or to have proper perspective, to go into the exam preparation with proper perspective. If you're just getting started. And here's what I mean by that you need to avoid the woe is me attitude. So many students view this as a burden. Is something dragging them down as a huge obstacle await that they're carrying around on their back. You know the attitude you take. The students that I have seen attack it with a positive mind, set a positive attitude. They get the best results. And in fact, that's what I would encourage you is to view preparing for your standardized test as an opportunity. Yes, an opportunity. You know, I've been largely influenced by my time in the Peace Corps. Some of you know, after I graduated from Duke University, I actually went straight into the Peace Corps Before starting my career. I spent a couple years working in rural Africa, helping with health, education and just all sorts of things. And obviously I saw situation where there was the poorest of the poor people living on a dollar a day, and I saw so many kids literally not able to go to school. They had to work in the rice fields or it was simply too far for them to have tow walk to get to school. Very few kids I knew or encountered completed high school, let alone went on to college or, God forbid, graduate school law school. So you even thinking about being able to apply and go to a kind of higher education. You're in the top 5%. Certainly maybe top 1% of people in the world having the luxury, the ability to pursue higher education toe better yourself. That is an opportunity, an incredible opportunity. And, yes, your standardized test stands between you and admission. I get it. It can be annoying to have to take these tests. I get it. But if you view it through that lens, you won't have the right mindset to do well to prepare effectively, to to do what it takes to create success. Whereas if you view it as an opportunity and you wake up every day and you sit down to take the practice problems and view it through that lens. I think it will totally change everything for you. Now. They're a couple other aspects of having the right perspective in the right mindset that I want to address a cz well and really one of the biggest tips I could give you along these lines is to spend a little bit of time reconnecting with your y two diving in and maybe even figuring out for the first time what your Why is your why meaning? Why are you taking this particular exam now? For some of you, you might be thinking, Well, I'm taking it because I have to write. It's required. If I don't do it, I can't apply. It is literally one of the requirements to to apply. Okay, I get that, and that's a fine answer. So then maybe my larger question for you would be Why do you want to go back to school in the first place? Why do you want to go to college? Why do you want to go back to grad school? Why do you want to go to business school? Because the answer to that question is what is going to drive your motivation I get a lot of e mails from students who say I need help with motivation. I am just struggling to stay committed, to stay motivated. What can I do to put in the work it takes to create success? Ultimately, And my answer for them is I can't motivate you externally nearly as much as you can motivate yourself internally driven by your why. Think about a single mom who might be working two or even three jobs to put food on the table for her kids? Do you think she lacks motivation now? It might be hard. I'm sure she doesn't love having to go to her second and third job, But do you think she has trouble finding the motivation to do it? No, of course not. Because her why is so powerful. The driving force that need to provide for her kids to create a better life for her kids is driving her to do whatever it takes. Same thing for you, as you think about preparing for your standardized test, your why becomes your motivating factor and the stronger you can connect with that. And I would even go so far as to say, Hey, you know, put pictures up on your screen saver on your computer or hang pictures in your room, maybe pictures of the university you want to go to, or maybe you. You know, maybe you dress up in a nursing gown, you know, nursing digs. If your goal is to go back to nursing school and you can start to envision yourself actually as a nurse or as a lawyer or whatever you're going back to school for, make it front and center. Make it visual so that you see it every single day as you're preparing for your test. So you're why is a big party of perspective? And the final thing I would say about perspective is to remind you that this is just a season of your life, right? I mean, there's the old sixties song. I think it was in the 60 by the birds, right to everything. Turn, turn, turn. There is a season turn, turn, turn If you don't know it, I'm dating myself by even knowing what that song is probably. But it's a great song. You should go listen to it. It actually has pulled from Ecclesiastes is from the Bible, which is just truth that there is a season for everything. And right now your season is taking the G matter G r E r s a t or else sat. But this, too will pass, right? You're not going to be doing this forever. So yes. In this season, you need to give it your all. There's no reason to hold back. Why would you not want to do absolutely everything you can't can to do the best you can in this season of your life? Might it mean not going out with your friends on a Friday night so that you can get up on Saturday morning to take a practice test? Yes, and I get it. That's disruptive to your current life. But guess what? You're not gonna have to do that every Friday night for the rest of your life. It's just a season, A few weeks, months at most, maybe a year if you really drag out the process. But hopefully it doesn't take you that long. It shouldn't ever take you a full year to prepare for your test. I'll get back to that with my next point, but realize that is just a season give it your all in this season and realize that you will be on the other side of this sooner than later. So tip number one maintain proper perspective now. Tip number two I just hinted at. And so my second big tip for you, if you're preparing for your standardized test, is to be consistent. In fact, that's what the quote at the beginning of this podcast was all about. Right. To be successful at anything, you need to learn to embrace the boredom of consistency, consistency, doing the same thing over and over again can be boring. And yet it's the key to success in so much of life, including doing well on the standardized test. You know, the mistake a lot of students make is that they'll work like really hard for a day or two and then take long stretches off. Sometimes they'll actually dive in and study really hard for a couple of weeks, and then life happens, and the next thing they know, it's been a month since they've done any practice problems, or even if you're somewhat consistent, may be your only studying on the weekends, And the analogy I would give is this think about if your goal were to lose weight, which do you think would be more effective going to the gym every single day, but only for 30 minutes. So doing a little something every day for 30 minutes or going to the gym for three hours on a Saturday, obviously doing a little something every day is going to get you better results. And you might be doing the math in your head and say, Wait a second, Okay, But it's actually more time if I go for three hours on a Saturday, right? No. Well, let's say you go Monday through Friday, right two and 1/2 hours. If you go Monday through Friday, 30 days a week. The point is yes. Even if you try to cram your exercise in 23 hours, you're gonna be really, really sore for a lot of days if you do it all on one day. But that aside, you're not doing anything for the next six days. You're not going to get his good results as if you just do a little something every single day and the same holds on your standardized test. And I understand that life can happen, it can derail you. I have students who they have the best of intentions. They get started there working for a few weeks, and then something happens in their family. Maybe they get laid off from their job. Maybe their wife gets pregnant, whatever it is, and they have to put their prep on hold. That's fine. I understand that things like that happen. But if that happens when you come back to your studying at that point, press the reset button, get started again. Commit to consistency. It will pay off in the long run. You might even have to start from scratch, so to speak, because what happens is you tend to forget some of what you have already learned and already studied. Whereas if you stay consistent, you are using the stuff that you're learning on a consistent basis. So it solidifies in your mind and you're less likely to forget it. So think about what you can do every day. Maybe it's just increasing the amount that you're reading by 15 minutes every day. Maybe you study vocabulary every day. Maybe you're working Ah, minimum of 5 to 10. Practice questions of each type every single day. That's something that we all have control over and we all can do. And it will pay dividends in the long run. I always say, you know, the time is going to pass Anyway, you're gonna wake up one day, and it's gonna be three months from now. God willing, Uh, will you be any further along in your prep? Well, if you do a little something every single day you will be or you might wake up three months from now and realize you've been hodgepodge and you're really no closer to success on Test Day. Then you are right. Now you have that choice. Consistency is the key. All right, So we have a proper perspective. We're gonna be consistent with our prep and my third tip for you. The third thing to keep in mind is to keep your eye on the prize to remember the objective. And what is your objective? Your objective? Your goal is to get right answers. Now I'm no, that might seem so basic and so obvious. Like What do you mean? That's my objective. To get right answers. The mistake a lot of students make is that they lose sight that that is what they're trying to do, and instead they fall down all sorts of rabbit holes. Your objective is not to impress your high school algebra teacher. Your objective is not to get a dual degree in trigonometry or something like that. You're not gonna get any college credit or graduate school credit for studying for this particular standardized test. Your goal is not to write the next great American novel. Your goal is not to write the next great grammar book, and so often students fall into the trap of feeling like they need to literally become an expert in each of the categories tested on a particular standardized test and lose sight of the fact that your test is really just a means to an end. Your goal is to get right answers, and so you need to study and prepare in a way that sets you up for success, for getting those right answers. And so, for example, a lot of the test that I teach like the g r e, the G Matt, the S. A T. I teach my students nontraditional ways of attacking question types, acknowledging the fact that again their goal is to get a right answer, not necessarily to make their high school algebra teacher proud. I know that a lot of standardized tests really tout themselves as being reasoning tests, not straightforward map tests or grammar tests or reading tests or logic tests. Depending on what test you're preparing for. There's always a reasoning element, and that means going beyond the textbook. That means learning to use the figures to your advantage and and using some of those types of strategies. You know, my engineering students tend to have the hardest time on certain standardized tests because they come into it with such a rigid, formulaic, textbook traditional approach because that's what they have learned in school, their whole academic career. And yet standardized tests, for the most part, do not always fit neatly into those question patterns, and so you need to learn to be creative. You need to learn to think outside the box a little bit. You certainly need to know the underlying content. I'm not telling you not to study the underlying content. I certainly teach that content. You need to learn that content, but you always need to do it through the filter through the lens of Okay. How will this, though, help me get right answers. Okay, I'm learning X, y or Z, But how is this tested? What do the question types look like? How can identify this? And how can I proceed to get a right answer? That is your goal. That is your objective. It is so easy to fall down so many rabbit holes, right? The YouTube rabbit hole, the Khan Academy, the rabbit hole, the fill in the blank of any random website you might end up on as you're googling different types of things you're trying to learn. And the next thing you know, you've clicked here and click there. And you watched this video in that video, and and you might feel good about yourself. And yet you might be learning stuff that a is irrelevant to your test or B. You're learning it in a way that literally isn't gonna help you get right answers. Because that is not how it's actually tested on your specific particular standardized test. So keep your eye on the prize. All right? So I hope these tips have been helpful for you. I hope you've been encouraged and motivated and excited. I hope you're feeling more confident in your ability to succeed on your test. I know that if you have the proper perspective, if you're consistent in your preparation and you keep your eye on your prize, you will absolutely dominate your standardized test. So we are almost done. I want you to stick around to the very end because we actually have two more short segments. At the end of every episode I'm planning on doing to additional segments, one is gonna be from the mail bag where I'm going to answer your questions and so feel free to submit questions to me that I can answer. But I think you're gonna get a lot of value from the answers to questions that had been previously submitted by other students. So stick around for that, and then I'm always gonna have an action item at the very, very end. So without further ado, let's turn our attention to the next segment from the mill. This'll weeks mailbag. Question comes from Robert Vasquez on YouTube. Robert, if you're listening Hello. So it wasn't actually a question this time, but it was a comment that he made on one of my YouTube videos and he said this. He said The G R E has no point, so that that was it. And actually that was the 2nd 1 of his comments. Another one of his comments was similar was actually even harsher, he said. Somebody needs to sue the people who make the G R E. Obviously, Robert was in a place where he was feeling very frustrated with whatever he was trying to learn or study about the g r e. Maybe just frustrated with having to take the g r E in the first place. And so I wanted to address Roberts concerns because I think it's probably a similar concern that a lot of you have had as well. And it actually goes back to my very first tip right from today's episode. That perspective is important that if you take that woe is me attitude, it's not going to serve you. And and that's really my response to Robert and to any of you who might be feeling the same way. And the question is, this will complaining about it do anything to help, and obviously the answer is no right. You're not likely to be the one person who somehow magically gets the requirement of having to take the standardized test completely thrown out, right? I mean, lots and lots of people have had similar complaints that Oh, it's you know, it doesn't really test my knowledge or it's not gonna be predictive of my success in the classroom, and and I've heard them all, And you've probably had those thoughts yourself, and complaining about it isn't going to do you any good. So as far as I see it, you have two choices. The first choice would be to refuse to play their game, to say Okay, well, you know, I just don't think that the g r E is important or the g r E has no point. Okay, So don't take the g r e, but then you might not be able to go to grad school. So really, it goes back to your why What are you ultimately trying to accomplish? And if you have a strong enough why and you realize that grad school in the case of the G R e or college in the case of the S. A. T or law school in the case of the L Sat is that important to you? Then you just have to do what it takes. You unfortunately have to play their game. You have to do all of the admissions requirements, and it will ultimately be worth it. That's what I said. Seasons of life. It will ultimately be worth it. It will ultimately pay off. And if you don't want to play the game, just understand that there will be consequences if you don't play the game. The alternative, of course, would be to buckle down, to do what it takes to work hard to succeed on the standardized test. Move past it and remember that it's just a season of some point. You're gonna be looking back on it, and you will hopefully grow from it. Your character will grow, your character will build, and you will be better off for the time investment that you will make in dominating your test. So those are the two choices you get to choose. Reconnect with your why, you know, one of the things that I always say and kind of live by is that energy follows energy, and wherever you invest your energy, that is where you end up having success in life, and you can either put your energy and your thoughts and your focus on negative things like how annoying it is to have to take this test where you can put your energy and focus on positive things like just committing and learning how to do well. And the energy will flow there and success will flow there and blossom there. And that would be right, my recommendation for Robert or you or anybody else who might be having similar thoughts. So I hope you found this helpful. If you have questions you want me to answer, please submit them each episode. I'm going to be responding to questions that I get either via email or direct messages on Instagram Facebook, my YouTube channel. Reach out to me, however you can. And who knows? I may just answer your question here on one of these podcast episodes, but even if not, I certainly will respond to you personally and look forward to helping. However, way are at the end of our very first episode, the Action Steps segment. I never want to leave you empty handed. I never want to just give you information and then leaving you or leave you wondering what to do with it. So here's the action steps segment. This is the most important segment of the whole podcast, because without action, really, there's no results. And so what is your action step from this podcast? Well, obviously you can take action on anything, but I would encourage you to spend some time connecting with your Why, maybe put on some music, go for a walk, go for a hike, sit in silence and pray. Meditate to whatever you need to to really get clear on your wife, because that is what's going to drive you to do whatever it takes to succeed not only on the standardized test portion of the application process, but really everything else I know. There's a lot of work. It's a It's a long and sometimes difficult and costly financially process to apply to school to end up going to school. But will it be worth it for you? And if the answer is a resounding yes and you keep that front and center, you do a little bit of dream building. I know it will serve you. It's absolutely worth taking a little bit of time blocking it out and reconnecting with your wife. So take action on that and then send me an email. Tell me what your why is I would love to celebrate with you. I would love to know. I always like to know why my students are just anybody who's listening or doing what they're doing. It's always fascinating to me to hear from students about the schools they want to go to and the programs they're going back to. I have had a guy in his eighties emailed me to say he's going back to try to get a PhD and, like microbiology or something. I just think that stuff is so cool. And he was telling me about why he wants to do that and and so send me your send me your Why at Brett at dominant test prep dot com, I would love to hear from you and then make sure to subscribe to this podcast. Tell all your friends about it. Guys were just getting this thing going. I want you to download every episode that would really help me out, even if it's a topic on a particular episode that you're not exactly interested in or maybe isn't 100% relevant to you. Just go ahead and download it, let it play in the background. You don't even have to listen to it. But that certainly helps me as more and more people start to learn about this podcast, so but definitely make sure to subscribe so that you're alerted whenever I do release new episodes. Because as I mentioned in the beginning, I'm gonna bring some really interesting and valuable stuff, not just about test preparation, but all aspects of helping you succeed on your journey to school, graduate school, higher education and beyond. So with that, I am signing off for this first episode excited to bring Maur great stuff to you. Next time, tune in to the Dominate test prep podcast. Take care of it. One