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

Before taking a written or standardized test of any sort, such as the ACT or SAT, obtain a practice test. These can be found electronically, on amazon, or in most stores, such as Barnes and Noble. Work through the entire test without outside help and time yourself. That will establish a baseline, so you know what can be solved quickly and what needs the most work. From there, learn the parts you didn’t know. For sections such as English and Reading, it works well to do a section, read through the correct solutions, and then repeat. It gives you a feel of how the mind behind the test operates. For a section like math, it is important to find not just the problem you missed, but to identify the concept you don’t understand. Go to a parent, tutor, or math teacher (outside of class) and ask if they can explain the concept. Then find other problems regarding the same concept and practice, practice, practice. Additionally, even if you are pressed for time on the test, don’t freak out and try to answer as many questions as possible. Continue to read through the entire questions so you can get a higher percentage correct, and then, on the last 20 seconds, bubble all the remaining numbers down a single line, such as all B or all C. For this reason, it is important to A, bring a watch so you know how much time is left, and B, pace yourself. If you find yourself stuck on a problem, make note of it and move on to something you know how to do. Most standardized tests don’t award different numbers of points per difficulty so you’re better off getting five correct that you know, than spending all that time hoping you got the right answer for one. As always, get a good night of sleep before the test. Study a bit every night for a couple weeks before. Don’t cram the information the night before; you’ll remember nothing. Eat a balanced breakfast, and drink some water, but not a ton, or you won’t be able to focus on the questions. And most importantly, relax, you’ve got this!

Zoe from Nebraska
High School Senior
VJ and Angela Skutt High School