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

Nervously, I walked into a big room and sat down at a small desk. Since I had been homeschooled my entire life, I had never been required to take standardized tests with the rest of my school district. The proctor gave a few brief instructions and then told us to begin. I picked up my pencil and began to work. In my home studies, I had always scored high on reading and math tests. Why would this be any different? As the test droned on, I had an uneasy feeling that this endeavor was not going well at all. When the proctor called time, I wanted to cry. Foolishly, I had not spent a single hour preparing for the ACT. I remember examining my final score of 21 in utter disappointment. Was I a failure?

Over my junior year, I took the ACT and SAT three times each. I took over fifty practice tests, studying for hundreds of hours. Rather than taking the test over and over again without varying my strategy, I bought several study guides and spent my free time reading award winning test preparation books. I regretted not beginning the process of studying for these tests earlier, so I engaged my younger brother in studying with me. First, I analyzed the test to see which types of questions I missed. Next, I created flashcards of math equations, english rules, and scientific concepts. Finally, I reviewed the principles and drilled myself with practice questions. Graciously, my parents paid for me to attend a test preparation class, where a private tutor assisted me in my concentrated studies. Each time I took the test, I gained confidence. At last, I was able to take the test without severe anxiety.

Rather than seeing the testing as an obstacle to my success, I saw the test as a new challenge that I must overcome. When I applied to my dream college, I was honored to receive their presidential academic scholarship. The hours poured into my preparation finally paid off. I am grateful for the lessons of hard work and dedication that I learned solely from test preparation.

John from Illinois
High School Senior