Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.

Throughout high-school, I maintained a 4.43 GPA. Likewise, when I took the ACT my junior year of high school, I scored a 32 on my first try, and a 35 on my second. I do not owe this to “natural intelligence”, which is a myth and a fixed mindset. Rather, I see myself as willing to grow from mistakes. By incorporating this philosophy into my test preparation, I found success.

One of the best methods that can be adapted to all types of learners is using past or similar questions. I purchased or found online review guides for the exam I was taking. Another important tip is to visit the websites of the test administrators; for example, ACT and Collegeboard post free practice exams online.

The next step is to take a diagnostic exam to find weaknesses and strengths. Then, most importantly, create a Progress Log in a notebook, a spreadsheet, etc. On the first sheet, make an overall “progress check” that breaks the practice exam up into its applicable sections, the date you took it, and the total questions missed.

Make a new entry in your Progress Log for the exam section you took. Break up questions by topic. For incorrect questions, mark why your answer was wrong and its topic. Now, it comes time to learn the way that works best for you: watch a video, read, etc. to understand what you missed. Each time, you should see your correct question intake increase.

Now that you have done multiple, you can get straight to taking exams and doing a modified, less thorough version of the log. Eventually, take the exam one section at a time; for example, I was receiving consistently high scores on Reading and English, but not Math and Science. After a while, I practiced only those two.

The key is practice. Once I exhausted all the resources, I looked for new ones. Once you take many practice exams, you will depend on your Log less, while your amount correct will increase. Shoot for the accuracy that makes the most sense to the score range you want to obtain. You can do it!

Dina from California
High School Senior
Vista del Lago High School