As the school year starts approaching, preparation becomes absolutely vital for those taking the ACT and SAT, especially those incoming seniors.
Perfect preparation is critical to maximizing your efficiency and increasing your test scores.
Preparation is so necessary that even ACT designates an entire page on their site to it: ACT Test Prep.
But what is perfect preparation? Simulation.
And what is simulation? Imitation.
In order to actually imitate a standardized test, students must be committed and disciplined. That means taking full practice tests in real testing environments. No music, no television, no phone.
Analogy: The most applicable analogy for a high schooler is that preparing for the ACT or SAT is like preparing to drive a car 55 mph on the highway. When you take an “untimed”, half-asleep practice test at the kitchen table, it’s essentially like driving 5 mph on a side street, with no other cars around.
In order to truly prepare to drive 55 miles per hour on the highway, you want to have practiced driving on a major road, with traffic, at a similar speed. You want to have simulated the situation as well as you possibly can.
Keys to Simulation and Perfect Preparation:
- Only use tools you will use on that Saturday. For example, use the exact same calculator you plan on using in the real test, and do NOT practice with your phone timer.
- Time yourself and be precise. If you don’t finish a section, don’t blow it off. Make sure you take notes of when you finished and which problems you struggled with.
- Take the test in an absolutely quiet place. The library is always a great place.
- Take full practice tests. During the real test you don’t get a 2 hour break in the middle of the test to nap. If you need to take a break, take it when you’d actually receive one in the testing center.
About the Author
Jordan Liss is a 21 year old entrepreneur and current student at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Liss passionately invented a patented product that helps students master the most stressful aspect of standardized test testing: time management. Since 2013, his company, Testing Timers, has helped thousands of students succeed and achieve their potential in the test room. Liss believes in the importance of setting stretch goals to challenge capabilities and to drive progress. Testing Timers strives to partner with the most elite tutoring companies nationwide.