Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.
I am entirely convinced that standardized college admissions tests are 90% a matter of practice. If I could, I would go back and start practicing the SAT and ACT in 9th grade, so that by the time I have to take them for admissions, I am familiar with the testing style and questions. When you’ve practiced SAT questions enough, you begin to pick up the nuances of where they are trying to trick you!
I use Khan Academy, which I believe is the best resource currently available, to practice. I take full-length tests almost on a weekly basis to get familiar with the structure and practice managing my time well. I then review the questions I missed, watch videos on the failed concepts, and complete the specific practice questions Khan Academy provides.
Aside from simple practice, I have developed a few tricks for testing. My math usually got the lower score, so when I took the No Calculator Math section on the SAT, I did all the easy questions first. I answer the first ten questions in the first ten minutes, followed by five minutes on the five grid-in questions at the end, and then I spend the last ten minutes on the five more difficult questions in between, making sure to answer every one with an educated guess before time runs out. I follow a similar strategy with the Math with Calculator section. This way, I know I’m answering the most questions correctly by giving myself the chance to consider each question. This consistently scored me better results. A fun tip is to eat a mint or chew gum right before the Math Sections on standardized tests because they help clear your mind and refresh you!
Finally, find out which test is most compatible with your personality. I did better on the ACT and my brother did better on the SAT. Practice always helps, but you’ll get better results by finding which one fits better!
Nancy from Texas
High School Senior
Accepted at Texas A&M University