Why Taking Standardized Tests is Like Playing Chess

By Kenny Tan,  Founder of Kenny Tan Test Prep 

Taking standardized tests is a lot like playing chess.

  1. There are usually multiple ways to win. Just as there’s no perfect strategy in chess, there’s no perfect strategy for standardized tests. It varies based on individual personalities.
  2. We use process of elimination. Chess players consider the implications of individual moves just as test takers consider each possible answer.
  3. The ending isn’t obvious at the beginning. The end game in chess cannot be predicted by just examining the players. In the same way, solving a difficult test question often requires completing one step at a time.
  4. If you want to do well, you need a good coach. The best chess players are mentored by experts. The best test takers are taught by great teachers and tutors.
  5. You don’t need to win every time to do well. Just as your chess rating can go up if you win more often than you lose, you don’t necessarily need to ace every question to do well.
  6. The game is much easier with proper rest, nutrition, and preparation.
  7. You opponent can look formidable from afar and even more intimidating up close.
  8. Mistakes may hurt your pride but probably not cause permanent damage.

In what other ways might you compare a standardized test to chess?