劳伦斯维尔高中(Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ)

By Tiffany Sorensen



Early January is an ideal time for introspection and changes that will lead to self-improvement. As such, students planning to take the ACT or SAT should take this time to meditate on their test prep goals for 2019, as well as lay out a plan for how to go about achieving them.

High school students can adopt the following goals to guide themselves through their 2019 test prep.

Select test preparation strategies that suit you, rather than solely relying on your friends’ experiences. Some students may mistakenly and exclusively draw upon test preparation strategies that their friends have recommended. Note, however, that the techniques that work for your friends may work for you, but this is not a given. Consider all of your study options before narrowing them down to the ones that suit your needs.

When making decisions about study techniques, catering to your unique learning style should always be a priority. A kinesthetic learner and a verbal learner will likely not find the same technique equally productive. This is why you must know what your learning style is and determine which methods work for that style. Luckily, this information is widely available on the web.

By only taking test preparation advice from friends who could have different learning styles than you, you may miss out on discovering the methods that are most effective for you.

Test multiple review techniques, including those that have proven unsuccessful in a traditional academic context like the classroom. Another mistake to avoid is immediately rejecting a review technique – i.e. writing notes by hand or utilizing flashcards – whether common or unconventional. Both conventional and less common techniques can be effective, even if the technique has been less successful in the classroom.

Deciding which review techniques to utilize for ACT or SAT prep should be a judgment call based on your own preferences and educational history, as well as contextual assessment. In other words, before you decide to discard a specific study strategy, be sure to test it on the exam that you will be taking. A technique that did not serve you in English class may still prove useful on the ACT or SAT.

Remember that the success of your admissions portfolio is not solely dependent on test scores. Standardized test scores comprise one of numerous important factors in your college admissions portfolio. Many students worry themselves sick when they do not get the ACT or SAT score they want. Others dedicate an excessive amount of time to test preparation, at the expense of other endeavors that impact their chances of acceptance.

For a healthy and beneficial 2019, remember that extracurricular activities, GPA, letters of recommendation and other college application factors should receive an equal amount of attention.

College admissions counselors are aware that standardized test scores are not always an accurate representation of a student’s abilities. This is why they look at a variety of documents before making a decision about an applicant.

The good news is that a low standardized test score does not always constitute an automatic rejection. However, a low test score combined with weaknesses in other areas might. Attend to all components of your college applications for the greatest chance of admission.

The new year is here, so it is time for a new perspective on test preparation. Start by making these promises to yourself, and be sure to keep them on hand for future reference.