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College Corner: Mastering the SAT/ACT

CollegeCorner2Sm
[/media-credit] If you already took the Standardized Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT) at the end of your junior year, now it is time to take it again in order to improve your score.

To the class of 2014, you have arrived! You have successfully made it to your senior year. Now that you are here, there are a few things you need to start thinking about. First off, most of you already took the Standardized Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT) at the end of your junior year, now it is time to take it again in order to improve your score. This article will give you some tips on how to be successful this time around.

I remember it as if it was yesterday, taking the dreaded SAT test. Waking up too early on a Saturday morning, managing to swallow a piece of toast and an egg, navigating my way around a foreign high school campus to find the correct room and sitting for hours trying to fill in as many correct bubbles as possible before the time limit was up. For some of you this may seem like an exaggeration, but to those who despise standardized tests like myself, this is the reality.

Looking back on that day makes me smile, realizing that I made it through and it was a necessary evil to get to where I am at today. For many of you, there is that ideal score you have in mind that if you can just obtain, you will have a shot at your dream college. As your Academic Advisor my hope is to calm your anxieties and give you the tools to be as prepared as possible when taking the SAT and/or ACT.

My first words of wisdom are to know which test will better assess your strengths and choose that one. Most colleges will accept either test so choose according to your skill set. If you are unsure it may be helpful to take both to find out which one will be a better option for you. To learn the differences between the SAT and ACT please refer to this article.

Once you have determined which test you will be taking and have signed up through the testing website: SAT or ACT you will need to familiarize yourself with the material that will be on the test and also how the test is formatted.

There are so many test preparation options that it can become quite overwhelming. One of the options for our students is the Apollo Prep SAT course offered on our campus. The next class starts on Sept. 7 in preparation for the Fall SAT tests (please see Michelle Warkentin for more details).

California State University, Fresno, also offers test prep in a classroom setting. If you are looking for a one-on-one tutoring style, there are several private companies in the area that offer these services (Huntington, Kaplan, etc.). For you self-motivated students we even have an online SAT prep program called Prep Me offered to Fresno Christian students at no cost through the program called Naviance that we will be launching at the end of August. With all these options, I am confident you can find something that will fit with your personal learning style.

My next piece of advice is to be realistic when setting your goal score. If you already took the SAT once and got a total score of 1600, chances are pretty good that a 2100 is not a realistic goal. Celebrate the little improvements and know that although these scores are important, colleges look at many factors in addition to test scores.

“On average, juniors repeating the SAT as seniors improved their combined critical reading, mathematics and writing scores by approximately 40 points,” College Board stated. As for the ACT, 57 percent of students who took the test increased their Composite score.

Lastly, it is important to relax on test day and be confident in what you know. These tests are designed to assess what you have learned in high school and your problem solving skills. As with any test make sure you get enough sleep, eat a hearty breakfast and arrive to the testing site early. For more testing tips go to USnews.com.

I am so excited for the Class of 2014 and the start to a great school year. This is the first of many articles meant to inspire you and encourage you toward college success, let the testing begin!

For more opinions, read the May 23 article, College Corner: Wake up call.

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