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

Test preparation is important to me as a high school senior as colleges place great emphasis on standardized testing scores such as the ACT or SAT. As college admissions have become more competitive, it’s commonplace for students to make these tests multiple times to improve their scores. There are many free as well as paid resources available for test preparation, While some test preparation materials and courses may seem expensive, a higher score may pay for itself in the form of merit scholarships. I like to utilize any test preparation material available from my school, these are usually free for students. I also like to purchase books containing multiple practice tests as I have found that practicing entire sections or tests really helps identify weaknesses and improve my timing.

Flash cards are also a good resource for me. I use my phone a lot, and like to practice online. If I am in the car waiting for someone, I get my phone out to practice a few questions. I think most teenagers would relate to me when I say that I prefer using my phone to printed material. It is always best to take an initial test, as a practice one at home to establish a baseline and identify areas that need work. If one gets a very low score, it could mean poor mastery over content. Reviewing those sections from text books is helpful in such cases. For me, finishing a test within the given time limit was not an issue but strategy was. For some students reading the paragraph first that is provided for the English reading test on the ACT or SAT is better, while others benefit more by reading the questions first. When I identified what strategy worked for me personally, I was able to raise my reading score by several points.

My best advice would be to start early. I was able to raise my ACT score by 5 points as I had enough time to take the test multiple times. Many of my friends used test preparation companies as well and managed to improve their scores.

Omar from Missouri
High School Senior
Parkway South High