Students approach standardized tests (and tests in general) in different ways. In this article, we’ll go over a few of those archetypes, and how you may work on changing your behavior to better fit the skills needed to do well on the SAT or ACT!
1. The Perfectionist
You’ve been studying for months now, and you’re obsessed with getting every question right. And we get it! You’ve been taught your whole life that perfect scores means perfect grades. But don’t let perfection get in the way of greatness! The SAT and ACT are graded on a scale, meaning 100 percent accuracy doesn’t mean the same thing as a perfect score. Normally, you can get a couple wrong and still score in the 99th percentile. Students who value perfection can often get hung up on certain questions they cannot answer, and may risk running out of time before they reach the end of the test.
2. The Rusher
You probably enjoy learning and have a lot of curiosity, but sometimes lack the patience or time management skills to slow down on a standardized test. You usually finish the test early, but it’s hard for you to want to go back and review your answers. Like on regular tests, finishing standardized tests early isn’t always a good thing. You are going to have to sit there anyway and wait for time to run out, so you might as well recheck your work!
3. The Stresser
The stress of a standardized test really gets to you. It’s three and a half hours in a room on a weekend morning to do something that is so important for college applications. It makes sense to be stressed! Being worried about your score just means you care about doing well, which is good! What isn’t good is letting that stress build up to the point where it hurts your score. If you feel overwhelmed during the test, take a second and a few deep breaths. We promise it will help!
4. The Winger
Some students manage to do quite well in school just winging it. They pay attention in class, sure, but maybe don’t spend as much time studying or prepping for tests (let alone standardized ones). If this is you, you may want to rethink what you need to do to prepare for the SAT or ACT. It’s a cumulative test over three years of high school curriculum, so unless you feel super confident about math you learned all the way back in freshman year, you may want to adjust your approach!
5. The Memorizer
Maybe you lean on memorizing as many facts as possible to get through school, which makes sense as that method will take you quite far! Standardized tests are no different: certainly a lot of the work you will do in preparing for them revolves around memorizing different equations and grammatical rules. However, that’s not all that comes with ACT or SAT prep. One of the primary things both tests look for is your ability not only to recall information, but to use it in context. Knowing a specific formula is only half the battle; the other half is knowing how to implement it.