GENERAL ADVICE FOR STUDENTS
If you’re interested in the SAT, ACT, GRE, or another standardized test, don’t just pick a date out of thin air and head off to the testing center. Strategy is involved in preparing for college and university exams.
Just Starting Out: Test Prep Advice
Your test is looming on the horizon and you need to prepare. Whatever you choose, do something! Almost anyone can bring up his or her scores on tests like the SAT and ACT, but it takes work.
Managing Stress as Part of Test Preparation
Standardized testing has become one of the most stressful parts of the college admission process. The stakes seem higher than ever, and the complexities more confusing. At the most selective colleges, low test scores are, in some cases, used to exclude rather than include students. That is because, at these institutions, enough strong applicants apply that the schools have the luxury of asking for almost everything from almost everyone.
However, you choose to plan your test prep, so don’t worry too much. It’s not good for your health, and it won’t help your performance. In fact, it could negatively impact your schoolwork, family life, and involvement in the things that really matter. Do add regular reading and writing to your life beginning as early in high school as possible. This is good for your brain, and will help you in all your other coursework.
Test Prep is Just One Factor of Preparing for Admission
At most colleges, test scores are just one factor in students’ files, where scores generally “fit” what is already evident in course selection, grades, recommendations, and other evidence of performance and readiness for college. Also keep in mind that test scores will be evaluated in the context of other factors, such as student background, learning disabilities, attention disorders, or significant family or personal obstacles.
As you explore colleges, look for schools that fit you well, and carefully research their testing requirements before making a test preparation plan. You can use colleges’ reported test scores, particularly the middle-fifty-percent range, as one indicator of your admission fit at different places. Then keep up your class work during junior and senior years. Persistence can make the most difference in the long run.