The bane of every high school junior (and senior) is the standardized test. Nothing, not even the best Kaplan course, can truly prepare you for the SAT or the ACT. I remember feeling as if my entire future depended on whether or not I could score over a 1200 with Critical Reading and Math. Now I don’t want to call the SAT or the ACT overrated because like it or not, your score does matter; however it is NOT the only deciding factor.
I took both the SAT and the ACT and have very different views on each of them. If I had to recommend one of them however, I would recommend the ACT. Why the ACT? Well I think because the ACT is a new test that many counselors and advisors don’t know much about it isn’t sold as a ‘hard nose’ test like the SAT. I think a major part of me doing bad on the SAT’s (I scored a 1620) was because I was psyched out. Everyone talks about how hard the SAT was so in my mind, it became the hardest test in the world. While with the ACT I did 3 practice tests, didn’t think much about it and scored a 27 (equals an 1860 when translated to SAT scores, as many colleges do).
So for future test takers I have 3 R’s to follow:
Review: Do buy a book and look it over, it can only help online practice tests are good also. Take a course if you have the money and time, it will only help you!
Relax: Stressing isn’t going to help one bit. Neither is slacking off of school, or not getting sleep. Don’t let the SAT or the ACT rule your life, make time for friends and fun. Being overly worried about the SAT or ACT will only make you doubt yourself. Also don’t cram before the test, what you don’t know, you won’t know.
(No) Regrets: No matter what you score is, be happy that you tried your best. Also remember that the score does not make the applicant. So if you don’t score as high as you would like, don’t freak out. Re-takes are possible! And maybe you didn’t score as bad as you think!