How to pass one of the biggest tests of your life. Standardized tests are a requirement for most college applications. They are one way for colleges to compare students from different backgrounds on the same scale. However, some students get nervous and do not perform to the best of their abilities. The best strategy to […]
How to pass one of the biggest tests of your life.
Standardized tests are a requirement for most college applications. They are one way for colleges to compare students from different backgrounds on the same scale. However, some students get nervous and do not perform to the best of their abilities.
The best strategy to combat the looming SAT, SAT subject tests, and ACT is to be prepared. There are many different ways to prepare, ranging from prep classes to online practice.
The SAT is an assessment of a student’s math, reading, and writing skills. The SAT subject tests are an opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery of a specific subject like Chemistry or U.S. History. The ACT tests students on math, reading, and writing like the SAT, but also tests students on their ability to read and analyze scientific data.
One way to prepare is taking a SAT prep class like the one offered here at CB, taught by Ms. Chrys Cassetta and Ms. Kelly Safford. SAT prep classes cover every section that is present on the SAT. In the class, students learn different strategies to answer the different questions in each section.
Students can also prepare by working out of preparatory books. To improve her previous score on her next SAT, Sophie Lee (’14) uses the Gruber’s SAT prep book and SAT blue book to help her prepare. She takes a practice test from SAT blue book and evaluates her weaker sections, then focuses her studying to those sections by working out of Gruber’s SAT prep book. The SAT blue book contains questions that were on previous SAT tests so Sophie feels that it is “the most accurate way to study.”
CB offers more standardized tests preparation with Prep Me on Family Connections. Senior Mary Fredericksen (’14) believes “Prep Me is very helpful.” After using Prep Me, Mary was able to succeed in the math portion, a section she was the most wary of taking. Not only does Prep Me have practice in the different areas of the tests but also recommends self study books.
All this preparatory work is helpful but needs to be tweaked for the different tests. In general the SAT is more strategical, while the ACT is more conceptual. One immediate difference between the SAT and ACT is the presence of vocabulary. The ACT does not have a section of the test that is devoted to testing a student on vocabulary. Even though the ACT does not contain a vocabulary section Sophie suggests that students “still use a variety of vocabulary in their essay.”
Some students like Mary believe “standardized tests are terrible way to assess a student’s true knowledge.” She feels that the “pressure behind the SAT and ACT distracts [her]” so she is not able to perform her best.
However, colleges still use them to help choose which students to admit so students should prepare for them to receive a good score.