The Dominate Test Prep Podcast

40. Proven Principles of Perfect Practice, with Mike Bergin

March 02, 2021 Brett Ethridge / Dominate Test Prep
The Dominate Test Prep Podcast
40. Proven Principles of Perfect Practice, with Mike Bergin
Show Notes

The great American football coach Vince Lombardi famously said, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

When it comes to preparing for your standardized test, practice is obviously an important component of your ultimate success. But how you practice matters. So what are the components of "perfect" practice and what should you be doing to ensure that your practice sessions are as effective as possible and will translate to a high score on test day?

To help shed light on this important topic, we're joined in this episode of The Dominate Test Prep Podcast by Mike Bergin, founder of Chariot Learning and founding President of the Board of Directors of the National Test Prep Association. We discuss:

  • The 4 Steps of Deliberate Practice;
  • The distinction between "studying" and "practice" and the role that each should play in your test preparation;
  • The danger of taking too many practice tests;
  • How often you should take practice tests, and things you should do to ensure that they replicate the actual test-day experience;
  • Why some students perform worse on the real exam than on their practice tests, and what you can do to ensure that doesn't happen for you;
  • The important link between fun and practice, and how to inject some fun into your practice sessions;
  • Advice for students who are reluctant (read: scared) to take full-length practice tests and feel like they need to "know it all" before giving it a go;
  • How to know when you're ready for the real exam.

Study time is precious, so you don't want to just go through the motions during your practice and then wonder why your scores aren't improving. If you take to heart and implement the mindsets and strategies we discuss in this episode, we're confident that the benefits you derive from your practice will improve -- and by extension, your results on test day will improve as well. Enjoy!


Here are some studies and articles with additional tips and insight into effective practice:

  1. The Power of Testing Memory: Basic Research and Implications for Educational Practice, by Henry L. Roediger, III, and Jeffrey D. Karpicke
  2. Practice Testing Improves Retrieval, by Chariot Learning
  3. Practice Makes Myelinated Perfect, by Chariot Learning
  4. Deliberate Practice and 4 Not-So-Easy Steps to Success, by Chariot Learning


If you enjoyed this episode, we know you'll benefit from these other similar episodes of The Dominate Test Prep Podcast:

  1. Episode 2 - 5 Proven Study Habits for a Higher Score on Test Day
  2. Episode 15 - Overcoming Test Anxiety

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