Students (and their parents) are always looking for ways to improve SAT, GRE and other similar test scores. They often pay thousands of dollars for classes, books and other devices to increase those important scores. While those methods do work for some people, they are expensive and can be very time-consuming. There may be an easier and less expensive way to achieve the same results: mindfulness.
Now, I have written several times about the beneficial health benefits of mindfulness. However, recent studies have shown that mindfulness may help students increase their test scores on standardized tests such as the SAT or GRE. Mindfulness is a means of focusing the mind and clearing it of random thoughts which can interfere in the thinking process. It is very simple to learn yet a very powerful tool. Typically, it involves sitting quietly with your eyes closed while you focus on your breath, a number or some sound. As thoughts intrude, you simply acknowledge them as merely thoughts and allow them to disappear.
In a study published in the journal, Psychological Science, a group of researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara put a group of undergraduate students through a two week mindfulness study program. Prior to the program, the average verbal score of the group was 460. After completion of the program, the average score was 520. That is approximately a 13% increase which could make the difference between admission and rejection to a graduate program. A test group that was not given the mindfulness training but rather nutrition training,did not show any improvement
Several scholars of the brain functioning believe mindfulness can help keep the mind from wandering and reduce stress and susceptibility to worry.
So, if you are preparing for a standardized test, include mindfulness training in your preparations. There are various books available that can get you started. The best in my mind is "Mindfulness" by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
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