PourMeTea wrote:How do you suggest we study in the last two weeks- cramming, reviewing, redoing old PTs, drilling, taking days off?
PourMeTea, I had come here to post the same question! I will do 5 more fresh tests in the next two weeks (65-69), but any guidance about how to space them and what to do in between them would be great.
(And Mike, I just saw your response about the retake schedule. You're always a step ahead! Happy to provide any suggests if they come to me.)
I know a lot of good stuff has been written about this on tls already, and I generally agree w/all of the common advice about not burning yourself out but keeping sharp -- but I'll add just a few more thoughts in case you find them helpful --
At the level that you guys are at, I'm assuming that you know pretty much everything this is to know about this test, and have strategies for pretty much everything that you need strategies for. People at lower levels might be able to make big jumps even up to the very end by learning new things or making sharp adjustments (for example, if you've approached Inference q's incorrectly the entire time, and finally figure out a system that works, you can get several more q's right just like that), but for both of you, it's much more a matter of just making sure you represent what is already in you at its very best.
To that end, I think it might be helpful for you to think about your final prep in terms of two specific goals
- On test day, you want to be as efficient and accurate as possible at the things that already feel fairly "automatic" or "goes-as-expected" for you (again, at your score levels, this is most of the test).
- You want to put yourself in position to react aggressively and confidently when you run into challenges.
Nine out of ten people go into the exam preoccupied with their weaknesses, and afraid of the challenges the test presents ("I hope I don't see this type of game" or "I hope I don't see a passage like Noguchi") -- this is kind of like asking a girl out expecting her to say no -- your fear makes it far less likely that you're going to get the result that you want -- this sort of fear is, I think, almost a way for us to brace ourselves for not meeting our own expectations, or not getting what we want.
The test is going to be hard. It will have challenges. Even if you are at the 180 level, there will be games that you can't totally visualize (at first), or questions that absolutely stump you (at first) -- the test is designed to pose challenges, and so it's useless to think something is going wrong
when you find something challenging -- for people at the very, very top of the scale, I think a huge key is to embrace these challenges, recognize that if a passage or game or question is tough for you it must
be tough for everyone else who is looking at it, recognize that it's your reaction
to the challenge that you are really being tested on, and that all your prep has put you in position to react better than anyone else who is sitting in that room with you. When everyone else is thinking "oh no, this is what i feared!" you want to be thinking "this is where i separate myself -- look at what I can do." Of course, like many things I discuss, this is far easier said than done, but I think both of you have put yourselves in a position where you deserve to have this sort of mentality, and I want to encourage it as much as possible.
I certainly think that at this point a test a day or something like that is way too extreme -- a test every few days, depending on your preferences, is ideal -- one reminder is to make sure you use these final tests to finish internalizing your timing strategies. Remember that this isn't about just planning your "ideal" timing (remember the point about challenges) -- it's about being comfortable with flexible and dependable timing systems that allow you to achieve your maximum score no matter where and when unexpected challenges arise -- and at your level, you want to make sure you don't have to waste time and energy thinking about and making tough decisions about timing (again, something pretty much else in that room will have to spend a lot of their energy doing) -- make sure you use your final practice to play out various timing challenges / develop automatic reactions to those challenges. Also, PourMeTea, I think in pm we talked about the tennis racket thing -- I noticed I was better at rallying in tennis than actually playing a match, and the reason why was that I was holding the racket loosely while I was practicing, and tightening my grip when a match started -- make sure you take your last pts as realistically (including your mindset, what you do before the test, etc.) as possible, so that you can carry on how to practice to how you play.
I also strongly encourage you to do as much big picture thinking as possible -- think of your brain as having all these various pieces of information scattered everywhere, and doing certain exercises/drills can help it organize this information a bit more neatly (I realize that a human brain doesn't actually work like that, but I hope you'll allow me that analogy). One thing you could do, for example, is write out, or type out, notes for a certain section, say, Logical Reasoning, then spend time organizing and prioritizing these notes. Or you can do something similar by skimming through the trainer one more time, writing down or typing (use your hands to make the actual words! don't just copy and paste!) points you felt were important, and then organizing and prioritizing them. As you know, I'm always a big supporter of developing your big picture sense -- in terms of the two goals listed initially, I am certain this big picture sense allows you to handle basic issues confidently, accurately, and efficiently, and I am certain it helps you react better than others do to the challenges the test presents.
This last thing I'll suggest is totally cheesy, so only consider doing this if you are, like me, a totally cheesy person --
Get a notecard, put on it a couple of reminders to get yourself in the right mindset, and look at it before the test -- my suggestion -- on one side, write "embrace challenges" (or the equivalent in your wording -- to remind to be aggressive attacking these challenges when everyone else is freaking out about them). On the other side, write "no one deserves this more than I do" (or your equivalent). I know that second phrase might sound arrogant, but the truth is that I know, from reading your posts, that both of you have put in an incredible amount of work -- far more, i'm guessing, than anyone else who will be sitting in that room with you on test day -- who deserves that top score more than you do? When you are that type of person, I think you naturally don't think about how other people aren't working as hard -- because you don't want any excuses or anything that will prevent you from working even harder -- I'm sure you focus far more on your weaknesses, or whatever you think your weaknesses are, and you don't sit around patting yourself on the back. On test day, it's time to focus on strengths -- it's your time to cash in, and get the prize you deserve for all the hard work you've put in. It's time to be aggressive and show off what you can do. Again, who else is in better position to react to challenges than you are? No one.
Whew! Got a bit personal there -- but I am really pulling for you two, and wish you the best -- hope that helps, and let me know if you need anything else -- Mike