|Overview||Best Instructors||Our Approach||Curriculum||Test Strategy||Test Psychology|
The Xceptional Advantage – Psychology Behind The Test
Overview / We Pioneered this Approach
Students preparing for a standardized test face a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety. Along with general anxiety of performing well on the test, they are anxious about how to prepare as well. We incorporate psychology into our classes and it is one of the core strengths of our course offerings. We have developed a curriculum that integrates the linkage between psychology and test performance. Xceptional Prep pioneered this original approach, helping students channel their stress in an effective way, and it is a unique aspect to all of our courses. We are one of the only test prep companies that includes this unique aspect, and we provide students with the necessary skills to manage and navigate the psychological aspects of test preparation and performing to your potential on test day.
Our curriculum is an immersion approach that encompasses a holistic test prep experience. Strategy and content are important to test preparation as well as is class structure, but psychology is also an integral part of test preparation. Other companies may gloss over the psychological aspects of the test taking process, but we firmly believe that our psychology component provides students an additional advantage to an already well established and comprehensive curriculum. This core advantage helps students to focus, master their anxiety, and perform at their peak on test day.
Your mental mindset plays an important role in how you perform in the course and on your official test. We want students to enter our test prep courses with a positive mindset, a clean mental slate, and a “can do” attitude. Students’ beliefs in their abilities, and more importantly in themselves, is essential to realizing their potential. Many students come to our courses for our integration of psychology. They also desire the human interaction that a live classroom course provides. In a live classroom course students feel motivated to achieve a common goal: their personal best test score.
At Xceptional Prep we believe in the human element. With our approach, students are better able to relax, focus on the task at hand, and devote all of their mental energy into doing their personal best on the exam. We give students the tools necessary to excel.
Performing to Your Potential
Our goal is for you to perform to your potential on test day. Many factors lead up to your exam day and we navigate the psychology within the course and give you skills and confidence to reach your potential and peak upon test day. From our foundations of psychology lecture to our “game day” psych talk — we’ll help you maximize your score.
Our psychology discussion motivates students to reach their full potential and allows them to come to the test center with a relaxed mindset, and thus perform better on their examination. Our approach begins with understanding the psychology behind the test, not only of students’ own mental mindsets, but what variables are working for and against them within the test itself and within each subsection. Motivation and cognitive psychology are introduced into the classes to help students keep a positive approach and perspective throughout the test. This gives our students a mental edge when they take their official exam.
When you enter the program we assess your skills and determine your starting point. Then based on your progress we implement a plan to guide you on your path to peak performance. We are not defined by our limitations, but by our potential. A Xceptional Prep course will motivate you to reach your full potential.
Anxiety and Stress
Preparing for a standardized test can be one of the most stressful experiences of the admissions cycle and of your academic life. The anxiety and pressure, for some, can be overwhelming. Pressure can come from many angles: peers, siblings, parents, your own goals, professors, and counselors, all which can translate into added strain into an already stressful situation. Unfortunately anxiety and stress can lead to fear and crippled test performance.
We discuss stress in all of our classes: how to manage it, what to expect, and what is considered moderate stress that leads to optimal performance. External and internal causes of stress are discussed in addition to how to address test anxiety. Every student’s stress level is relative to their own internal stressors and relative to external reference points; other students might cope with the same situation differently. We focus on a study plan that results in a moderate level of stress or the “sweet spot” that leads to peak, optimal test prep performance.
We make studying for test prep as stress-free as possible. Many students who enter our classes are anxious, scared, and even fearful of their test performance. These students count on our ability to help them through these heightened emotions and states. We reduce stress by clearing a path to the goal of your own personal best test score.
Instructors help students reduce stress and anxiety levels by adequately preparing them for all sections and subsections of the exams. Every aspect of the test will be covered so that there will be no surprises when it comes to test day. This results in optimal levels of stress needed to do well on the test. Taking practice tests helps further reduce stress by desensitizing the test taking experience, as well as making students familiar with the test format, content, and time constraints. Students come into the test center with confidence knowing that they have prepared as best as they could, and are ready to take the test with a clear and focused mental mindset.
We Keep Motivation High and Help Students Avoid Pitfalls
We believe that a prep class not only has to teach, but motivate because students’ effort is a part of the prep process. Your effort and mindset are a big part of test prep success. We discuss psychology to help guide you through the prep process and avoid the pitfalls that you might encounter.
Our courses introduce a number of motivational theories relevant to test prep. Student motivation can be influenced by any number of subversive external factors. Motivation can also be affected by internal factors and faulty comparisons which can lead to performance deficits and pitfalls. Pitfalls can occur when students meander off the test prep path and are subverted or blocked in their path to success. Our approach combats these pitfalls and results in the motivation and drive to improve on tests and to avoid these potential hazards.
Our focus on motivational theory helps students set appropriate goals which match their aptitude, resources and drive. By initially discussing motivation and helping students keep high motivation on their path to success, we continually help students work around and solve potential problems which could decrease overall motivation towards the goal.
Throughout our course, students may become frazzled or disappointed when they are unable to solve a test question correctly. Our instructors are trained to motivate students to try other methods of solving problems, and to help students look at the problem in a new light until they find a solution. Instructors motivate students to keep practicing until they see results and master the material. Each student has the capability to perform at a certain level and instructors will guide students to reach that level. Motivation needs to be high throughout the course so that students are working hard and performing at their optimal level.
All of our courses provide live instructors in the classroom. This gives our students a significant edge over many other test prep students. Online courses, weekend only courses, video courses, etc., don’t afford this touch. Those students are at a disadvantage because they don’t get to work with an instructor in-person or over a full-length course.
Many students take a test prep course because they find it difficult to prepare on their own. Having a live instructor in the classroom provides support to students who feel overwhelmed or bogged down. Student tensions and stressors are best managed with an instructor who has been through it all before, who knows the ins-and-outs of the exam and who understands the stress and anxiety that comes with it. Our courses provide the Human Edge with real interaction from caring instructors who dispel stress and motivate students to succeed.
When left to their own devices, some students who prepare on their own do not have the best study approach and end up shortchanging themselves. Having a live instructor and classroom support helps these students successfully navigate their way through the exam. Our test prep classes make the best use of students’ time and they provide structure and a study plan that has worked successfully for tens of thousands of students.
Taking a live course holds students accountable for coming to class, completing their homework assignments, and taking practice tests. Instructors in the classroom motivate students to complete their work and give their best effort. They also direct students and clear potential test prep obstacles that may hinder student test performance. Our instructors provide lesson plans and assignments that address and improve on students’ weaknesses resulting in an increase in test scores. We have found that students have a clearer focus and perform better when in an interactive classroom environment. We believe a live instructor led course is clearly superior to an online, weekend-only, or video course.
Our courses are offered as an immersion experience. We want students to immerse themselves into our six week courses and commit all of their mental energy to test prep. In academics, 6 weeks is not a long period of time and test scores can easily be worth much more than that, in relation to time spent in school and grades. We want students to commit 100% to their test prep course, just like they are on an important academic mission at a significant moment in their life. Students who commit 100% to their test prep course and take the course seriously will do their absolute best. When a student is “all in” when preparing for a test, he or she has the best possible chance for success. The drive, the desire, guts, independence, heart, tenacity, the ability to survive, thrive, and succeed upon adverse conditions is the hallmark of the human spirit. Throughout the course, students should be committed, dedicated, focused, and completely immersed to the task at hand.