Last week’s blog focused on what to do when your first or second round of test scores surprise you–and not in the good way. If you were disappointed with your Jan SAT results (or perhaps Feb ACTs when the results come in the next few weeks), we hope you’ll channel your energy in a positive direction and redouble your efforts in the next few months. Every SAT or ACT you take gets easier from experience, and if you put in a regular routine of effort, you can fully expect to go up.
There’s one thing I can tell you with certainty from more than 20 years of prepping students for college entrance exams: ALL students of the test can get the numbers they’re looking for IF they’re willing to put in the time. That’s right. High scores are not reserved for the brainiacs; ANYBODY can get great scores if s/he’s willing to do the reps. Some may have to work harder than others, to be sure, but great scores are there for everyone’s taking.
In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell asks why some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential. One of the main reasons, he finds, has to do with old-fashioned sweat equity, what Thomas Edison meant when he said, “Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.” In the chapter entitled “10,000 hours,” Gladwell discovers 10,00o is the magic number of hours that aspiring musicians, to take just one example, typically hit en route to becoming world-class and world-famous artists. “The closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.” Don’t worry, the magic number of hours is much more manageable for becoming a world-class standardized test taker; but rest assured, everyone has a magic number that virtually guarantees success!
It’s analogous to getting into great physical shape. I remember back in the day when you’d see an athlete all ripped up, six-pack abs–you know what I’m talking about–and think, wow, that dude or dudette probably spends half his or her life in the gym. Not necessarily so. Today, it’s pretty much common knowledge that a regular daily routine of diet and exercise yields great results.
For years at CollegePrepExpress, we’ve been promoting a regular routine of taking practice tests under simulated test conditions and studying the specific, finite bodies of material covered on the exam (for SATs that’s vocab, math, and grammar, for ACTs that’s math, grammar, and time management). Slow and steady wins the college entrance exam race. 25-30 min every night, six to seven nights a week, over a three to six months, and BAM, you’re going to the college of YOUR CHOICE.
Let us be your personal trainer and we’ll get you on a program of daily to-dos, including highly condensed materials for you to master as your scores take off for the stratosphere. Commit NOW to a regular routine of practice and study, practice and study, practice and study, and the entire application process gets a whole lot easier.