Stop shooting for a certain number of questions!

Just a quick, potentially high-impact tip here: Stop setting an arbitrary number of questions for yourself to complete during a timed section. This tip applies to all sections of the test: Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Logic Games. 

This post was prompted by an email this week from a student (let's call him CJ) who is struggling with focus. He's missing far too many (-2 to -4) of the easiest questions on the test. This one line stood out:

"I have noticed when I miss questions I am often trying to make it to a certain question number, instead of just working/focusing on the task at hand."

Ohhhhh… that's a disaster. As it turns out, CJ was shooting for an arbitrary goal of 20 questions per section. Even though he was trying to ignore the clock (well done, CJ!) he was still pushing himself to get to a certain finish line, rather than simply solving each question before moving on to the next. (Bad CJ! BAD!)

But it's awesome that CJ is self-aware enough to realize what he's doing wrong. If he can simply adopt the mindset that there's work to be done, and all he has to do is calmly, carefully focus on the work in front of him (question 1, then question 2, and so on) eventually he'll realize that the questions make perfect sense, and they'll get easier and easier. At that point, the inevitable result is that he'll move more and more efficiently through the questions.

Maybe he only makes it to question 19; he'll still be scoring higher than he is now, as long as he gets them right.

Or, maybe he'll accidentally make it to question 22. And if he gets all of those right, then he'll score higher than he can even dream of at his current level.

Thanks so much, CJ, for your thoughtful emails! Your introspection here indicates that you're a great candidate for improvement.