In this video, Mike offers ideas, advice, and test-taking strategies for maximizing your score on the ACA exam. He begins with general tips that will put you in a position to succeed before you start the exam. Then he talks about the ideal approach to answering questions that will help you use your time efficiently, and choose correct answers.
- [Instructor] In this movie, I'll cover some ideas, advice, and test-taking strategies for maximizing your score on the ACA exam. First, let's consider some general things that can help get you in the right frame of mind before the test starts, and put you in a position to succeed. If possible, clear some time in your schedule beforehand after the test. You can use the time before to do some last-minute review, and you can also avoid rushing to the testing center, which can make you feel stressed. Likewise, to minimize stress, try not to schedule the exam anywhere near major events or deadlines for work or school.
On test day, dress comfortably. If you're heading to a testing center, it might be a good idea to dress in layers so you can adjust if it's too hot or too cold in the testing room. Also, if you can, pick a time slot that fits your personality. If you're a morning person, take the test early, when you feel rested and alert. Or if you hate mornings, take the test later in the day. In any case, make an effort to get enough sleep the night before the test. It's also a good idea to avoid consuming extra caffeine on test day. Just stick to your usual intake and try to aim for being alert, not wired.
Also, be sure to eat well before the test to maintain a consistent energy level. Now let's talk about things you can do during the test itself to get your best possible score. Probably the single most important thing to do is to pace yourself. Try to move consistently and steadily from question to question. Remember, the test is timed. You have 50 minutes to answer 40 questions. That works out to an average of one minute and 15 seconds per question. Don't rush through any of the questions, even the ones you're certain you know the answer to.
Taking just a few extra seconds of attention can help you avoid making careless mistakes. On the other hand, if you get stuck, mark the question for review, and move on. You don't want to spend too much time on any one question, because the questions aren't weighted. Every one is worth the same amount of points. Go through the test in a linear fashion, from the first question to the last. Answer the easy questions, and mark the ones you skip or aren't sure about, then go back and work on the marked questions later. There are three reasons why you should answer the easy questions before coming back to the harder ones.
First, knowing that you've completed part of the test relieves stress and builds your confidence. Second, since this is a timed test, you need to invest your time wisely. Use that time to answer the most questions that you can. And third, as you go through the exam, you may find information that can help you answer the harder questions. Another important thing is to take your time with reading each question. Don't skim, read every single word. And don't even look at the answer choices until you're sure you understand the question.
And then, be sure to read every single word of each answer choice. Now let's talk about strategies for answering multiple choice questions. Some people find it helpful to think of a multiple choice question as a set of four true/false questions, where only one is true. The others, which are false, are known in the testing business as distractors. They're worded to distract you away from the correct answer by sounding right or at least sounding plausible. And you can deal with them by treating each choice like a true/false question and selecting the one you feel is most true.
Another strategy is to read the question and form an answer in your mind before you look at any of the answer choices. Then choose the one that comes closest to the answer you came up with on your own. Now let's talk about guessing. No matter how much you prepare, there may be questions where you just have to guess at the answer. Here are some tips to improve your chances for guessing right. First, look for unique terms. Words that distinguish one choice from all the others. If a certain key term appears in just one choice, and another similar term is repeated in the other choices, go with the one containing the unique term.
Also if there are two choices that have almost identical wording, one of them is probably the answer. But if two choices are so similar that they're both basically restating the same thing, eliminate them, because they can't both be right. If the choices contain a range of numerical values, choose the one in the middle. Distractors tend to be at the extremes of a range. And finally, be on the lookout for opposites. If two choices are exact opposites, one of them is usually the answer. Now let's talk about the situation where you make a choice, but you weren't too sure about it, and you marked the question to review it.
When should you change an answer choice? There's a body of test taking research that shows your first hunch is usually your best option. So don't change your choice unless you have a specific reason to do so. Like maybe you found new information in a different question that makes your original choice obviously wrong. Next, let's talk about test taking anxiety. Now a little bit of anxiety can actually be a good thing. You want to be focused and alert, so having a little bit of adrenaline flowing can help you, but too much anxiety can impair your memory and decrease performance.
A good way to manage anxiety is to simply be well-prepared, and if you did the self-assessment we saw in an earlier movie, you will be well-prepared. Then once the test starts, keep up a good pace, stay positive, and don't be afraid to smile when you're sure you've got a question right. And just try to relax. Take some deep breaths, stretch once in a while to stay loose. And finally, remember that you don't have to be perfect to pass the test. You need to get a little more than two-thirds of the questions right. If there are a couple of questions that you just don't know the answer to, take your best guess using the tips that I mentioned earlier, and don't worry about it.
If you prepared well, you'll stand a very good chance of passing and getting your ACA status.
- Understanding the benefits of ACA certification
- Creating a personalized study plan
- Identifying your audience
- Starting a design project in InDesign
- Using design elements such as typography, graphics, and color
- Working with layers
- Creating multipage layouts
- Adding text, images, and interactive elements
- Exporting, packaging, and saving files
- Registering for the exam
- Taking the test