Unfortunately, one of the biggest parts of a college’s application and acceptance process is something known to many of my friends as “The Number Game,” and I’m sure that many of you can take a guess that this refers to the ever-so-exciting standardized tests. For some, standardized test refers to only the ACT or the SAT, but for other it’s also means SAT IIs, AP tests, and IB tests.
Quite a few students wait until the beginning of their senior year to take there ACTs/SATs while IB tests are junior and senior year and the SAT IIs and AP tests can take place any year you elect to take them. For me, I decided to get a head start on my ACTs/SATs.
I decided to take a practice round of each test at the beginning of my second semester of junior year (I believe in February). While I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my SAT score of 1760 (out of 2400) I was very pleased with my 30 (out of 36) on my ACT! After giving it some thought, I decided to retake both. June 7th was the test day for the SAT and only a week later, on the 14th, I had to take my ACT. I studied for both, mostly the SAT, hoping that my studying would pay off. After the grueling 4 week wait to receive my scores I was pleased to see my SAT score go up to an 1850, but even more excited about the fact I got a 31 on my ACT!
This improvement in both my scores show that proper preparation for standardized tests does pay off. So for those of you that are worried or stressing over standardized testing, don’t! Just be sure, that if you are nervous, to prepare yourself properly. The best way to study for these types of tests is to familiarize yourself with the format of the tests by using practice tests. You can find all types of study aids at any book store and most are in the $20-$30 range (depending on how much study material is in the aid).
A great way to prepare for the SAT is to take the PSAT if your school offers it. The PSAT is the Pre-SAT, a much shorter version that familiarizes you with the format of the SAT and also gives an accurate score as to what you will receive on your SAT. Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors are eligible for taking this test. I was forced to take it, but taking it definately helped me in the long run!
SAT IIs are much similar to AP tests. Both test only in a certain subject area and can help with placement during your freshman year of college. While AP is more likely to earn you credits, the SAT IIs are more so used for placement. I took the Literature SAT II and scored 610 (out of 800) and Mathematics level 2, scoring 690 (out of 800).
There are also many study aids available for these tests. But know that while the SAT tests your reasoning ability, the SAT IIs are more like the ACT in the sense that they test your knowledge of a certain subject. SAT IIs are not required, but most colleges, but some do require you to take them. Or if you are looking at a school that “recommends” them, that’s just saying that you should take them, only in a much nicer way!
So don’t let the numbers game scare you! With proper preparation, you can beat any test that comes your way!