Our blog is dedicated to providing students with up-to-date information and advice on the college and scholarship search, as well as everything in between.

The only problem is, we’re not the ones actually experiencing these things on a daily basis–you are!

With that, we introduce to you: Recess

In this new Thursday feature, we will suggest a topic or question and ask you to submit a short essay, say, about 200-400 words about that subject that provides thoughtful advice to your classmates based on your experience.

Here are the rules:

1. Post your submission to the comment section below.

2. Submissions will be be open for 3 days.

The winning submission’s author will:

3. Receive a Cappex cap

4. Be featured on our blog as a guest blogger as well as our Facebook page

We know you all have amazing things to say and share with your peers. So here’s your chance.

Today’s topic:

The ACT and SAT

Whether you took the exams years ago or are going through it now, what, from your personal experience, is the advice you would offer up to your classmates.

We’re excited to hear what you have to say!

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  1. Elisa DiGiacopo says:

    I took both the SATs and ACTs. I took the Sats twice with little to no change in them even with classes and preparation for the second one. I did do better on the ACTs, but it was still the minimum to send into any of my schools. I am not a test taker and it probably doesn’t help that I second guess myself all the time. My advice is take both of them and send the better one in. I panicked when I didn’t do good on the SATs. If you don’t do good on one the other will help. Relax before taking the test and don’t second guess yourself. Take some classes, they did really help.

  2. Ernesto Villasenor says:

    The SAT and the ACT go hand in hand when it comes to college applications, and most (if not, all) colleges will take either or.

    During my college application process and my high school years, I went ahead and took both of the exams twice. The reason why I didn’t take one over the other was rather simple: the ACT is structured differently than the SAT and it offers a science section, one that is not included in the SAT. Also, there are ACT to SAT score converters (and vice versa), which came in handy in terms of submitting scores at the end of the ball park.

    Of course, taking the SAT II is required by a large portion of higher education institutions, most of them vary on the major in which you are applying to college (I applied as a Mechanical Engineer to all of the colleges, and the SAT II Math Level II was required from my behalf).

    I recommend for the SAT II exam to, in addition to taking the Math Level II, enrolling in the subjects that you have recently taken AP courses for, as the information is rather similar.

    Also, never leave SAT studying (or any sort of studying) for the last minute: this can determine whether you get a high SAT score or a HIGHER SAT score. You want to go with the latter in this situation, especially with the level of competition in recent college and scholarship applications.

  3. Claudia Swain says:

    The SAT seems like such a big deal the first time you take it. I remember my first time vividly, though the others have long since faded in my memory. That first time I was in seventh grade and had been selected to take it due to some sort of arbitrary ‘academic achievement’ requirement.

    To take the test student had to meet in the lobby of a church, an hour before normal school hours. I wasn’t used to waking up before dawn, and the cold darkness freaked me out as my mom drove me to the church. My mother, bless her, tried to keep me calm and boost me up for what I thought was going to be the worst experience of my short life. I’d heard things from older classmates, terrible awful things about students who sneezed during the test and were suspended. I wonder now how I could ever have believed such things, but as a kid I suppose I was much more trusting. Everything I heard and believed told me this test was going to eat me alive.

    Though we were only supposed to have two, I had so many pencils I couldn’t hold them all. My biggest fear was having all of them break and being unable to finish the test. This was also silly of me, as I am not even prone to breaking pencils, but I should state again that I was extremely nervous.

    Of the actual test, I remember nothing. I know I made it through though, and did several times in the following years. By my that time I took the SAT for the last time, it was more of an inconvenience than anything important. I’d like my story to serve as a reminder for students taking the SAT for the first time, or even the second or third time. These students should remember that, although it may be terrifying the first time, soon they will be so comfortable with the experience that their initial fear will seem a distant memory. As long as one can get through that first bit of terror, the rest of it is a walk in the park.

  4. autumn guill says:

    I took the ACT in December, and haven’t taken the SAT yet, though I plan to take it within the next year. I took an ACT prep class during first semester and it really helped me to score well. We took an English and a Reading practice test every week, so by the time I got to the test I was ready for those parts. During the Math and Science part my instructor gave us worksheets on each of the four different levels of math one is tested on and worksheets with just graphs for science. It did not help me very much. I guess what I am saying is that it is best to practice, practice, practice, but at the same time make sure that it’s a practice test, because the test is not going to be just Pythagorean Theory, or just imaginary numbers. Also with practice you become less stressed because you know the patterns of the English and Reading portions. You do not have to spend as much time reading the instructions, heck, you can even skip the whole page of instructions to the reading page. On the Reading portion, find what works best for you (reading the questions first, then reading the selection or reading the selection first, then doing the questions.) Good luck on your studies and on your test!

  5. Katie Strotman says:

    I’ve never been one that was fantastic on test; in fact, I usually choke when it comes to testing. So when the ACT’s and the SAT’s loomed ahead of me, I began to worry. I knew that these were an important factor to college applications, which is a direct line to my future.

    This realization scared me because of my past performances on test. Not because it was different from all the others but because this one required quite a bit more maturity than all of them combined.

    While my intention is to not scare anyone, it is too metaphorically “light a fire” underneath them. Students about to take this test need to sit down and figure out what this test goes over, and what you may and may not be good at so that you can focus on those topics that you feel uncertain about. Then keep going over these items until you can go into there saying that you did everything you could to get the grade you need.
    This is why I believe this test is a totally different thing from any other. It requires maturity to understand and comprehend what this test is all about. That was my biggest mistake and was not realized until I finally started applying to colleges. I didn’t get the best score because I didn’t go into that room as confident as I could have been. If I had just studied a bit more and realized what was expected of me, than I think I could have left that room knowing darn well that I did everything I could.

    Maturity was a missing ingredient and hopefully, after reading this, it won’t be a missing ingredient for your future test!

  6. Kate says:

    I have never been a great test taker. I always get nervous the nights before the test and then don’t study very well. I can’t say I’ve found a great study solution that works for me but everyone is different. Hopefully you have figured out your own method of studying now and can actually focus on practice test books unlike me. I was provided with both SAT and ACT books but did not take advantage of them the way I should have.

    I took the SAT test once and received a rather low score that I was not pleased with. I decided to try a different format so I took the ACT and liked it a lot better. The test was a lot less intimidating for me and I felt more successful. The ACT test has science in it. Also the reading comprehensions questions are in a much different format then anything I have ever seen. I advise at least knowing the format before going into the test and wasting time being confused.

    My first ACT test score was okay but I believed that I could do better so I tried again but I got the exact same score so I just left it be.

  7. Tricia says:

    The best advice that I could give on taking the ACT or SAT is to take it more than once, and take your first test no sooner than your junior year in high school. I did not take the ACT until my senior year, and by the time that by the time I got my results back, I did not have the chance to retake it and improve my score. I was required to take it for a very substantial scholarship that I missed out.
    My other piece of advice would be to know your weaknesses and focus your studying on that. If you are already strong in certain subjects, you won’t need to focus much more time than review on these subjects. That is where taking the test more than once comes in. Your scores will help you learn what you need to improve and what is already solid.
    When I lost out on the scholarship, it was not because of my overall score, which was actually above what it needed to be. My math score was too low. That leads me to my final piece of advice: know exactly the requirements of the school or scholarship that you are applying for. I was not aware that my scholarship required that I get certain scores on each part of the test.
    Good luck to everyone getting ready to take either test!

  8. Adrianna says:

    Throughout my entire high school career, teachers have taught us specifically to prepare for the ACT’s. The most important thing is not to stress out over it! The more you stress, the more you’ll freak yourself out for no reason!

    Here go a few tips to help you prepare…

    *Know the “in’s and out’s” of your graphing calculator – Having a graphing calculator and knowing how to use it will help you out IMMENSELY.

    *Take practice tests online or at home – The practice tests your teachers or the ACT website provide you are very close to how the actual test is going to be.

    *Have a good nights sleep and filling breakfast – It may seem trivial, but you’re going to be locked in a room for a few hours while taking the test. Trust me, you don’t want to be hungry, or tired unless you plan on having a miserable few hours.

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