By Carolyn Jiang and Olivia Nordstrom

I took my first practice ACT in the spring of my sophomore year. I began preparing for the ACT during the summer going into my junior year. I did this because during the year I am extremely busy with school and sports. I got a tutor at Academy Prep and began taking a test or two each week seeing a slight improvement in my scores each time. I was preparing for the September ACT. Then a mere three days before, I got my fifth concussion. I decided to take the ACT anyway, but I found myself struggling with time management more than I ever had without the concussion. I couldn’t finish the reading test despite it usually being my best score. The scores I received were good but not as good as I knew I could have done without a concussion. I decided to retake it in April. When preparing for this test, I did far less work. I hardly completed a full test. Yet somehow, these scores on the practice were the best I had ever done. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I had been in school and learned more, or was fresh from after Spring Break, but the scores made me confident walking into the test. On April 2nd, I arrived very early at Gilmour, sat in the car with a friend to hype ourselves up, and walked in to take the test. My ears get hot when I’m nervous or excited, and man they were on fire. When I went into the classroom, I saw around five people that I already knew, which made it less stressful. I took the test and to be honest, I’m not sure how I did. It felt hard, but I also had a confident answer for all but a few questions, so it’s hard to tell. I’ll find out in a few weeks and then decide if I need to take it again. One thing I will say though is that with many schools being test-optional, I am less stressed. I want to do well, but I know that for most colleges I could decide to not send them if they don’t help my application. Some advice I have for sophomores studying for the ACT is to take practice tests to find their weaknesses and focus on those. And don’t bother doing more than a review the night before.

Standardized testing is a topic that has been talked about in my household ever since I was in middle school. Being constantly reminded that getting a good score on the SAT is a must in order to go to a good college. With this idea, my parents have put me in SAT prep classes since the 8th grade. I have always just brushed them off because they didn’t come off as a priority until this year. This year is when things began to feel real. After years and years of college talk with my parents, my college application process was now starting. I did SAT prep classes all throughout the summer going into the Fall of 2021. In December of 2021, I took my first official SAT. I remember being so nervous that I could have thrown up. In the end, I didn’t do well enough, but it was a good start. So I began the cycle all over again. Right after the SAT in December, I started going to SAT prep classes again, leading up to the SAT in March of 2022. On March 12, the first day of spring break, I sat in the parking lot of Solon High School stalling. I felt a bit better because my friends were also taking it. And so it goes, I went in and took it and did a lot better than my previous one. Anyways, I think standardized testing is all a scam. There is no test that any student in the school has ever taken that is anything like the SAT or the ACT. It was purely a test created by the College Board as a way to earn money. High school students spend huge amounts of time and money studying for a test that they will never see anywhere else. A student’s whole entire future comes down to a four-hour-long test. A student’s smartness is measured by this test that is nothing like we have ever seen in school. In conclusion, I don’t understand standardized testing, but here I am, relentlessly studying to get a good score.