Tips and Tricks for Preparing for a DSST Exam

Sometimes the toughest thing about taking an exam isn’t the exam itself, it’s mentally preparing yourself for it. Yet, most of us tend to spend the bulk of our time and effort prepping for the questions and much less time and effort prepping our minds, our bodies, and our spirits for what we’re about to experience.

DON’T FREAK OUT

“Prepping our minds, bodies, and spirits” sounds a lot heavier than it is. This isn’t rocket science. In fact, these are all things you probably know, but for whatever reason, you forget to do when the pressure is on.

Here’s what you can do to get yourself in a good place prior to the exam.

CONSIDER TAKING A PRACTICE EXAM

Practice exams do not include actual examination questions but provide experience answering questions similar to those that will be on the actual exam. All questions pertain to general terms and concepts within the subject area. Each exam contains multiple-choice questions and provides you with immediate score results. The results are not intended to predict how well you will do on the actual examination, but they will help you determine what content areas you need to study more and what the exam experience is like.  

AT ANY POINT LEADING UP TO THE TEST, REMEMBER TO BREATHE

For many people, the test itself isn’t the problem, it’s the fact that they psych themselves out. Taking tests is often compared to giving a presentation to a large group of people—even though you know the subject matter, you might still get nervous when it’s time to prove yourself. Try your best not to let it get to you. A nervous mind is a messy mind—and with all of the corners of your brain that you need to tap into, order is a friend. 

GET SOME SLEEP 

We’re all busy. Some of us could even be classified as ‘crazy busy.’ Our always-connected, always-on lives generally translate to sleep deprivation. According to an article in The Huffington Post, research has consistently shown that taking the time to sleep before an exam will benefit your test score more than four or five hours of staying awake staring at notes (that you probably won’t remember) will. In fact, the National Institutes of Health found sleep-deprived students have lower GPAs due to the fact that it impacts memory and concentration.

FEED YOUR BODY AND YOUR BRAIN

The night before and the day of your test, eat right and drink plenty of water. It may sound cliché, but it’s important to help boost brain power and stamina. The last thing you need is to be mentally or physically spent before the test even starts! You can read more about pre-test eating in this article from WebMD.

GET IN THE RIGHT FRAME OF MIND

When it’s time to take the test, get focused and stay there. Get rid of anything that might distract you from the task at hand—the test itself. Get into the right mindset by thinking about the subject matter of the test, but don’t rack your brain trying to dig up information from memory that’s too far gone or cramming in as much as you can right before you take the test. Read more in this article: Why Cramming for Tests Often Fails and What to Do Instead.

AND THEN TAKE ONE MORE DEEP BREATH.

You got this.

You can always contact the DSST team at 877-471-9860 or getcollegecredit@prometric.com

And remember, Peterson’s Test Prep is available at no cost to eligible military personnel and their families. Learn more.

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