Preparing for College


Victoria Martin

Preparation is key! Madison Roesler (21’) prepares for her SAT test in December.

Victoria Martin, Staff Reporter

In preparation for college, students take either the SAT or ACT to help a school determine if they will be a proper academic fit at that college. For students, knowing that the admissions office of their dream college will be looking at the scores of one or possibly two tests to determine if they will get in can be stressful.

Relax a little, though, and know that there are so many ways to prepare yourself for success. When test dates get close, Downingtown will sometimes host a preparation class or boot camp to help students prepare. Going to these review sessions will help a student fully understand a concept when they feel like their knowledge is a little questionable.

Another option for preparing for the SAT or ACT test is to purchase one of the many books that are available for sale.  For instance, Barnes and Noble carries practice books with full-length tests that include explanations that detail how to solve the problems. I recommend that you take a couple of practice tests to figure out where your weak points are and focus on that section when you are reviewing. The books provide an explanation of the types of concepts that will be on the test and how the scoring works.

For the SAT, an option the test taker has is to do the SAT with an essay question or without an essay question. Some people who are strong writers choose to include the essay question in hopes of improving their score. However, most colleges don’t require the essay.

I suggest that when completing the practice tests that you set a timer and to be sure that you are finishing a section in the time allotted. If you are not, you can rethink how you are taking the test. Some believe that as the test goes on that the questions become harder. One strategy is to start in the back of the section you are testing on and do the hardest questions first. The reasoning behind this strategy is that as the test goes on many times people tend to lose focus and want to be done. If you start with the hardest questions, you get them behind you and that when your mind begins to get tired and needs a little break, you will be focused on the easier part. This strategy is best for the math sections rather than the reading-based sections.

There are many strategies that people believe help them do better, so find one that works best for you and think about attending some prep classes to get you started.  Good luck!