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

The ACT consumed hours and months of my life in Junior year. The test was a big determiner of college acceptances, rejections, and everything in between, so I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Going into my first of four ACT’s, I didn’t crack open a test-book. I wanted to see what my blind score would be, and how much studying I would have to do from there to reach my goal. Having my starting point at a score of 28 encouraged me, but I knew I could do better. From the months of December 2018 to April 2019, I poured over every practice exam, book, and ACT-related material I could get my hands on. I would go through the books front to back, completing every practice test in between. I would record my number of incorrect answers, see why I got them wrong, and would make sure I got less wrong the next practice test. Most of the books also provided excerpts as to how to do better if you were struggling in a specific section. I learned for the Reading section that it was most useful to skim the reading first, then go straight to the questions. Timing is very crucial when taking any standardized test, and it’s easy to get distracted by strong diction and lengthy paragraphs. Another trick I learned is that for the Science section, it’s best to completely ignore the excerpt, and jump right into the questions. This method is similar to my strategy for the English section for the same reason: distraction is a big waste of time. The test books were filled with pages upon pages of useful tips like these that I mastered and applied while taking my real exams. Time after time, my score raised, and I ended with my goal score. My hard work and diligence paid off, leaving me with a rewarding feeling. While studying and practicing for this standardized test seemed like a nuisance, I was ultimately satisfied with the amount of work I put in, producing my desired outcome.

Lauren from California
High School Senior
Corona Del Mar