One of the first activities I like to do with my ACT and SAT students is to begin with the end in mind. In other words, before we do any test prep, we research the SAT and ACT scores for the schools the student is considering. Armed with the knowledge of what score a student needs, the real preparation begins.
Understanding what score you need on the ACT and SAT is the most important step in your preparation. Once you know the score you need, you can figure out how many questions you need to answer correctly and how many you can get wrong, skip or guess (note: even if you skip questions on the ACT, be sure to get an answer in the bubbles as there is no punishment for wrong answers).
This activity really demystifies things for students. Most students quickly learn that they don’t need a perfect score on the test to get into the school of their choice. In fact, the score many students need is actually quite achievable.
Take Trevor for example. Trevor is interested in attending the University of Puget Sound. In our first session, we got onto the school’s website and found out that most students that get accepted by the university score an 1800 or so on the SAT and a 27 on the ACT.
What boggled Trevor’s mind is what the score would mean in terms of a GPA. An 1800 on the SAT expressed as a percentage would mean a 75% (1800/2400). Scoring a 27 on the ACT, when expressed as a percentage, means Trevor would also need a 75% (27/36) to get into the school of his choice.
In other words, Trevor needs to get a C on both tests. That’s right, a C! Trevor is a normally a B+/A- student. When we went through the simple exercise of expressing his goal test score in terms of a percentage or in terms of a GPA, a big smile crossed his face.
“You don’t need an A on this test,” I told him. “You just need a C!”
This little nugget made the test preparation experience more enjoyable for Trevor. It was our first chance to get his attitude in the right mindset to let his aptitude shine.
Try it for yourself: if the ACT or SAT were scored like your GPA, what would you need to get? A C average? B average? Something totally doable? I would like to think so.
Learn more SAT test preparation tips by reading 2400 SCORES: 24 Life Lessons to Demystify the SAT and Boost Your Score. Contact CROSSWALK here for personal test preparation on the Monterey Peninsula or for Skype sessions on your time and schedule.