The results for the January SAT and the February ACT should be in your inboxes by now, and for many juniors this was the first time taking these big tests. Not surprisingly, many feel the scores were below expectations. So…now what?
Lower than expected scores result from three general sources: lack of preparation, test anxiety and time management.
Many students believe that it makes no sense to prepare for the SAT or the ACT — you either know it or you do not, and the chips fall where they may. However, what student would say that about a history or math test at school? Or a final exam? Or an AP exam? We expect to study for those tests, so why not the SAT or the ACT? Yes, they look different than a school test, but they still test concrete skills for which you can and should prepare. The better you understand the design of the test and identify your skill strengths and weaknesses, the better you can begin to prepare to beat the test.
Some students know they have test anxiety, others may experience it but be unaware of its presence or impact. When we get nervous before or at a test, our mind starts to race and loses focus. We spend time worrying instead of taking the test. We fall back on bad habits and start to rush and make careless mistakes. Mastering the mood of the test is critical to success, a confidence which comes from familiarity, preparation and positive imagery.
Time management tends to impact the majority of students, particularly on the ACT, which uses time to help build its curve. When we have trouble with time, we either run out of time with questions left unfinished or undone, or we rush through a large portion of the exam, making mistakes in the process. Better time management comes through practice and preparation as well as understanding the design of the test that allows for developing efficiency strategies for each test section.
Before you take the next SAT or ACT, seriously consider taking a test prep course to address these key performance issues.
To learn more about what we offer for test preparation, contact us — we can help.