Getting Ready for the ACT and SAT
By Amanda, age 17, Kentucky
Two things are certain in high school - you'll take the ACT and you'll take the SAT. These are two standardized tests that can affect the college you get into. They can also cause high amounts of stress for high school students. Here are some ways to help you make the best of your testing situation.
Junior Jackie W. said the tip she believes most helpful is to learn time management. "Just relax, and if you feel like you're taking too long on a question, you probably are - just move on to the next question and then go back." Jackie went onto say, "Learn the format of the test beforehand."
If you know the format of the test beforehand, you'll be able to more readily budget your time. The ACT is made up of 215 multiple choice questions in the subjects of English, math, reading, and science, and takes just over four hours to complete. The highest score possible is a 36. The SAT also runs about four hours, and is split into 3 main sections: math, reading, and writing. It's composed mostly of multiple choice questions, but in the writing section there is one writing essay.
Katie X., also a junior, suggests taking practice tests. "I got the practice booklet from the guidance office, and also bought a study guide made available by The College Board. They helped a lot, and I think without them my score would have been lower."
The College Board, the group that produces the SAT, also produces SAT study resources. The most popular resource is a book that includes practice tests, test-taking tips, and sample essay questions. It can often be a great investment and will help ease some of the jitters you may feel about taking the test.
While some students felt it necessary to study for the first time they took the test, others wanted to see what score they would get on their own, basing their decision to retake the test on that score. "I didn't study when I took the ACT. I'm satisfied with my score, and I don't think retaking the test would raise my score any," said Brooke R.
"I'm really proud of my score. I wanted to take the test and have it based on what I had learned in high school so far, but I'm planning on retaking the test and studying, so hopefully I'll score even higher," said Teil B.
These tests are an important factor in college admissions, but it's helpful to know that you can retake the tests multiple times, and the schools you apply to will only look at your highest score.
Quick Tips♥ Start studying at least a month or two before you take your test. This will make it seem like less of a cram session, and you can make sure you truly know the material.
♥ Go to sleep early the night before. It can be tempting to stay up all night and study, but this can make you extremely tired during your exam.
♥ Eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast. Try some nice whole-grains with fruit to keep your mind alert and your energy up.
♥ While testing, focus on the questions, answer all the questions you can first, and then go back to the ones you don't know. This will help budget your time more effectively, and it will build your confidence.
♥ Remember, even though these are important tests, don't stress yourself out too much. You can always retake them.