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 your weaknesses and focus on those. And don’t bother doing more than review the night before.

Standardized testing, 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 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.