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

Although I have excelled academically throughout high school, I struggled to tackle the ACT. My first ACT ever, I scored a 22, and the next I scored a 23. Being a straight-A student, I was mortified and knew I had to put in work in order to get into a good university. Although my final score of a 31 was not astounding, not many students can say their score jumped nine points. That being said, I can personally advocate for the practices of repetition, observation, and meditation as of means for anyone to improve on any standardized test.
By far, the most helpful strategy I practiced was taking practice tests. Throughout my junior and senior years of high school, I must have taken at least 40 in all. By taking these tests, I became acquainted with the types of questions that were asked as well as answer choice patterns. This allows for more room for time management and overall less stress due to familiarity.

Although practice tests are helpful, observing people who have mastered the test is key. I would often search up videos of people taking sections of the ACT in timed sessions as they would state their thought processes out loud. This is helpful because it activates visual and auditory learning, which results in better retention of information.

Finally, I would practice mediation. Although this may not be the answer for everyone, I would meditate in order to focus my mind and keep myself from daydreaming as well as to combat mental exhaustion. This is very helpful for the reading and science portions of the ACT considering they are very short on time and any lapse in focus, even for a few seconds, can damage one's score.

Many students believe that there is little room for improvement after receiving their first test score. I hope to relieve their self-doubt and perhaps be a testimony as to why this doesn't have to be true. Standardized testing may be easier for some than others, but at the end of the day, anyone can compete.

Joanna from Missouri
High School Senior
Hazelwood West Senior High