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  • Stacey

Mastering Standardized Testing: ACT, SAT, and Beyond

Updated: Mar 5




I started tutoring and teaching test prep in 2008 for a national leader in test prep and admissions. In the last 10 years alone in my private practice, I’ve worked with over 100 students on ACT and/or SAT prep.  The average score increase over all these students was 4 composite points on the ACT.  I’ve seen composite score increases up to 10 points, proving that these are teachable tests.


In addition to the ACT and SAT, I am an Executive Function Coach.  Since 2014, I’ve worked with over 200 students in this area, not to mention the hundreds I worked with through Chicago Public Schools’ AVID program.  Executive Function Coaching often includes preparing students to study and take tests more effectively.


Aside from the ACT and SAT, students of all ages take more standardized tests now than ever before.  In place of teaching cursive, typing, and grammar, standardized tests take up weeks of school each year.  For a complete history of standardized testing in the United States, check out this link:



Starting in 2020, college readiness exams have become optional at most universities.  However, that is starting to turn around.  Click here for an in-depth look at which schools are requiring SAT and/or ACT scores on their applications.



My bet is that ACT’s and/or SAT’s will become required across the board for college applications in the near future.


All that being said, I wanted to share my top 3 tips for test taking:


FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

-you CAN control

you attitude

your preparedness

your mental organization

your pacing

how you respond to challenges

-you CANNOT control

your teacher

what’s on the test

the format of the test

Do not waste an ounce of time or mental energy on the things you can’t control


ON MULTIPLE CHOICE, DECIDE WHAT THE ANSWER SHOULD BE BEFORE YOU LOOK AT THE ANSWER CHOICES

-answer choices are there to confuse you

-do not be tempted by wrong answers

-know what you are looking for


CREATE A CHEAT SHEET

-before you start reading the test, write down any important notes that you don’t want to forget

-formulas, dates, and names


For more test taking strategies and trends in testing, reach out to me!

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