Being in high school, teachers and peers may tell you that the SAT and ACT require prep work before going into the tests. This can include going to SAT prep classes or buying a book that not only tells you how to test well but also gives you practice problems in order for you to get a feeling of what it’s like to take a standardized test. However, all of these things are not necessary for someone to get a good score on these tests.
My family didn’t really know much about the SAT and ACT. I grew up an only child, so this was the first time that my parents had heard of going to prep classes or buying expensive books. Going into my ACT, I got a pretty low score. I didn’t feel like I was that prepared for it, even though my guidance counselor tried her best to make sure we all had proper materials. To me, I just didn’t really think that there was a way to prepare for taking subject specific tests and having a little amount of time to finish them. To me, it was stressful.
However, I wanted to go to college. And in order to do that, I chose to look into taking some prep classes. A couple of my friends were in them and they said that the classes help a lot and they spend a lot of time figuring out what’s the best way to get the best score. I thought that would be great, having the opportunity to get a better score could mean the chance to get into a better school down the line. But when I looked at the prices, I couldn’t afford it. My school didn’t offer free prep classes and the only way people could take those classes is if they found a program that they had to pay for. In some areas, prep classes are expensive, and if you try to get a private tutor, that could be even worse. I decided not to go that route. When I went into the book store, I looked at some of the prep books. Little did I know, some of these books would cost upwards of $100. My parents just couldn’t justify spending that much on something that I would only use for a week or so before the test.
I didn’t necessarily want leave the idea of getting some extra help before retaking the ACT, but it felt like I had no options when it came down to the money aspect. That’s when I decided to talk to my teachers about it. This was the best option for me, personally. Since they’re all experts in their subject, it was great to not only getting extra help for subjects that I didn’t understand or struggled with during the test, but also I could ask them what the best strategy was for their specific subject. Since you’re on such a constrained time period, it’s important to know what will be the fastest and most effective way to approach a question and then know how to answer it without it taking too much time. Getting help from them eventually did help me out on my SAT and ACT and I eventually ended up getting a much better score the second time around.
I definitely don’t think that prep classes and prep books are bad, I think they’re actually quite useful and you’re able to prepare for these big tests much better than someone who is just looking over some of the material the night before. However, I don’t think they’re the only option. The teachers that you have in high school are there to prepare you for college. This doesn’t just limit them to making sure you know the material for college classes, but also making sure that you know the material to take the tests to get into the college of your dreams. They’re pretty knowledgeable in their fields and they are able to coach you through the strategies that you will need to know in order to succeed on your tests.