A lot of kids get stressed out by taking standardized tests. One person who has some tips to help is Sarah Hall. She has been a tutor at Bullis for about 10 years, and she works with a lot of students to help them prepare for ACT. She has a lot of tips that have helped.
Here are the top 10 tips she shares with her students. The following are direct quotes gathered from the interview:
1. Start early – the best way to prep for standardized tests is the summer before 11th grade; practice is the way to get better.
2. Each test is like reading a book by the same author – eventually you get used to the exact way they “talk” – questions are basically the same every time – they use different reading material, but you will use the exact same strategies to figure out answers.
3. Always, always, always use process of elimination – since there is only one correct answer, every other choice will have something wrong with it – find what’s wrong!
If I asked about Bullis culture how would you choose from these answers:
It is a kind, caring community with blue and gold colors
It is a kind community and kids wear blue and gold every day
It is a community where blue and gold are the values
It is a caring place where blue and gold show the community
Only the first choice is actually accurate!!
4. Try to take the ACT in December of junior year to get a “baseline” score – this can help show you exactly what to hone.
5. Make sure you pay attention to grammar rules – there are about 12 rules to know and if you can apply them – you can do well.
6. Try to take it again in February when you have had time to really highlight your strengths and work on skills you need to improve. Then – April or June should round out your testing and still leave you time to work more if you need to.
7. There are ways to manage time during the test – do not spend time on problems you simply do not know – it is a time suck – work on ones you can get efficiently
8. Annotating – that skill you probably hate in English is the BEST skill to use on tests and in life – when you get used to reading insightfully and finding key words and phrases, you will be better prepared to work efficiently on standardized tests.
9. Overall – practice only with real copies of ACT or SAT – you can get them directly from the overseeing boards that give the test – both ACT and SAT offer online tutorials which can help many students.
10. Always eat a huge breakfast with protein, fats and carbs - you will need the energy to sustain your attention! I recommend Egg McMuffins!