Suggestion for Realistic Experimental Sections, etc.

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Suggestion for Realistic Experimental Sections, etc.

Postby PDaddy » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:51 pm

Many people are aware that preparation should include regularly testing with five sections, one of which is obviously an "experimental section". However, most people falsely assume that knowing which section will be the experimental defeats the purpose of practicing with an experimental section. Here are some suggestions for adding the experimental section in a way that will simulate test-day conditions:

1) Even if, in your early stages of preparation, you have already worked the section designated as an additional/5th section, you can still build mental stamina by going through the steps involved in working its problems, and that has great value.

2) Use sections from the earlier months of your preparation as experimental/additional/5th sections, i.e. make sure it's your weakest area (LG, LR or RC). According to my next suggestion below (#3), it may not wind up as the experimental. You should generally not prepare with five sections until you have a solid grasp of the concepts and have taken a few four-section exams.

3) As for knowing what section is the experimental, there is a way to surpise yourself. Once you have finished a full test, complete with all five sections and a 30-minute writing sample, THE SECTION YOU DID BEST ON IS DESIGNATED AS THE EXPERIMENTAL SECTION. REMOVE IT FROM SCORING, but score the other four.

Note: That means you will never know which section is the "experimental" while you are actually taking the test, and any section could be fair game. The inherent potential for lowering ones own score will provide added incentive to work harder on all of the sections, and even create the necessary nervousness you must learn to work through. You want to learn to use nervous energy to your advantage, not try to eliminate the nerves.

4) Force yourself to do the pre-game "warmup", i.e., the instructions and form filling proctors walk you through to rev up your nerves before the test.

5) Do the analytical writing sections! If you practice with the analytical writing sections, you will not only build stamina, you may find yourself writing an essay that tips the scales in your favor at some school. Though only a small contingent of adcoms actually bother to read them, some adcoms will use them as tie-breakers or compare them against your personal statement to gage how much assistance you may have had in writing it. Don't neglect the writing sample portion of the test, because it can make a difference at some schools.

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Re: Suggestion for Realistic Experimental Sections, etc.

Postby hereyago » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:47 pm

just take 2 PT's in a row instead worrying about experimental sections

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Re: Suggestion for Realistic Experimental Sections, etc.

Postby Samara » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:22 pm

I don't understand why people would not try on the "experimental" section when doing PTs. None of the sections "count" anyway, it all practice.

And couldn't you just split up a PT into four experimental sections and then have a fifth score after four PT sessions?

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