Even though I do my best to convince students and families that the standardized tests, the SAT and the ACT, aren’t nearly as important to admission as the media might lead you to believe, I still get begged for advice on how to do better.
Can test prep help? The College Board swore prep courses had no impact, but then they started selling prep services too. (Quick test. This is: a) ironic b) dumb c) confusing d) all of the above.) Students can raise their scores using materials from bookstores or online for low costs, or even free at the library. Those students, however, are self-motivated. They take practice tests and learn strategies. Those of you who are more inclined to log into World of Warcraft instead of cracking the books may want to consider a prep course.
The largest factor in test scores tends to be your stress level. So just RELAX! (According to my totally made up survey, one in five stduents has a complete panic attack during the exam. One in ten has nightmares about forgetting to put on clothes before showing up for the test. Weirdos.) While this may appear really hard to do, bear in mind the information from my last post on the tests: the tests aren’t nearly as important as your academic records, and college want to use your best scores! We really don’t care how many times you take the test. Yes, we might snicker about the student who took the test 20 times (while Collegeboard and ACT are laughing their way to the bank on your wasted test fees), but the truth is that even then we’re going to use the best scores, including mixing up the subscores from different test sittings to get the best possible total. The general data does show that most students have some improvement with taking the test more than once, but that’s a broad average and doesn’t mean you should go all nutty. I usually advise that if you feel you could have done a lot better, it’s worth another sitting, but if you really feel you put in your best, give it a rest.
So you can relax, secure that your academic records are much more important and that if you do lousy you can always do better some other time…and strangely, not worrying may just improve your score.
Also, I think the answer is ‘B’. Other than that, you’re on your own. Be seeing you.