Interesting Thought -------- All Test Takers Read In -------

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: July 2004 Archive: Interesting Thought -------- All Test Takers Read In -------
By Whightknight (Whightknight) on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 12:35 pm: Edit

I am sure we have all been squeezed for time one test or another during our massive test taking experiences. I personally have difficulty completing the reading passages on the ACT, and so I began to ponder about how to save time. As I was reading a test prep book, I noticed that one of the tactics used to complete the ACT faster is to mark your answers in your booklet in groups, and then fill in them on your answer sheet in those groups, instead of one by one.
How many of you guys have done this?
I must say it is pretty effective, and I would highly recommend it.

But as I kept on thinking, I decided to test out how much time we test takers spent marking answers on the average test. Believe it or not, on the ACT we spend about 10 minutes of the total time allowed for the test marking in answers. For the SAT, it is probaly similar.
Perhaps this is why the practice tests are always a little easier than the real ones: simply because we have more time.

I just timed myself marking 40 filled in dots on a piece of paper, and then I proportioned that according to how many ovals there were on the ACT. (60 math+75 reading+40 science+40 reading) And so 10 minutes of our time is spent filling in circles.
Do you think the test taking companies know this, and already adjusted time limits according to that? If not, we need to do something about it.

And then it comes to this: Can't one just simply make a few marks in the correct oval when they answer in groups. And use hand-scoring to check his/her test purposely, because they just barely filled in the ovals - enough to recognize that that answer choice was what they picked - but perhaps not enough for the test checking machine to know it, but only another human through the hand-scoring service, and thus you would also save time. A lot of time.

The average oval to fill in takes from 1.5 to 3 seconds. If we just slightly marked the correct ovals - which would take less than 1 second, and made sure we marked our answers in groups - which actually does save some time, we would save up to 5 or 6 minutes on the test in all. I don't know about you, but any few seconds I can get on a test, I want, whether it is for finishing the test or rechecking some answers.

So yeah, I tried the group marking and it works well; now I need to try my second hypothesis - slight marks corrected through hand-scoring to save time. Would this work?

Feel free to input your own thoughts, I just thought this could help a lot of people who are struggling with time, and any people interested in slight trivials like marking in ovals, that eventually amount to meaningful minutes. Sorry for the long post!


By Conker (Conker) on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 01:11 pm: Edit

Interesting thoughts, but I have a question about this:

"Perhaps this is why the practice tests are always a little easier than the real ones: simply because we have more time."

Why would we have any more time bubbling for practice tests than we do on real ones? If anyone is not using bubble sheets for their practice tests, than I recommend doing so ASAP!

By Whightknight (Whightknight) on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 02:04 pm: Edit

I never use the bubbling practice sheets, so I guess I answered that way simply because I always get a piece of paper and right down the letter of my answer, instead of bothering with the bubble sheets, but perhaps I should to get a better reflection of the time I will have.


By Feuler (Feuler) on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 03:55 pm: Edit

I can't remember if I do that for the SAT, but I almost always do it for other tests. Usually I do it by pages of the test book- do two facing pages, bubble them in, turn the page, continue. That seems to be the most time-efficient to me. Also, it's important not to have a very sharp pencil, so that you can fill in the bubble in just a few strokes.

On some exams, like the NLE and AIME, where there is plenty of time but it would be a disaster for a single bubble to be misread, I just wait until the last 10 minutes or so of the test to bubble anything, but in that case it is to eliminate erasures that might be misread, not to save time.

As for the marking lightly and hand-scoring thing- there was a discussion here awhile ago about the "straight line method"- supposedly if you just get one of those fatty pencils you can just draw horizontal lines through each bubble and the machine picks it up. I don't know for sure if this works, but I'm pretty sure it would, and if you hand-score it would certainly work.

It is unfortunate that most standardized tests are so time-based that something like more efficient bubbling can improve your score...

By Jaredthegreat (Jaredthegreat) on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 01:12 pm: Edit

I've found that the ACT bubbles are significantly smaller than those of the SAT, so less time is wasted with them. Also, as dumb as it sounds, bubbling from the inside-out reduces the time required to fill in a bubble. And if it takes you three seconds to fill in one bubble, you're dead. Try to get down to between half a second and a second per bubble.
I used a mechanical pencil and sharpened the "lead" by rubbing it in one position against a piece of paper. This makes it so that you have a nice wid e, but still sharp and dark-writing edge. Then filling from the inside-out takes off another couple tenths of a second.
I haven't yet tried doing it in groups, but since you have to make less trips from your test book to your answer sheet, that would a lso make sense as a time-saving method. I'll try it on my next practice test.·

By Sagar_Indurkhya (Sagar_Indurkhya) on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 03:18 pm: Edit

Does anyone know of any good sites to find bubble in practice sheets?

By Vtran31 (Vtran31) on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 06:07 pm: Edit

the SAT underground says you canjust do a slash through the bubble and it'll work. it'd save time, but I'm pretty scared to try it out....

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