Scholars after school: ACT and SAT tests take over first weeks of summer for MHS Students
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For Vinai Kumar, senior, summer didn’t start until June 3rd. The final school bell on May 25 meant the inauguration of two weeks of rigorous study for the SAT II subject tests, a series of exams doled out by the college board to test one’s knowledge of individual topics of study.
“My first week, it was just reviewing a bunch of the content. That week also, I had a bunch of other things. It was the week after school so I was going to a bunch of grad parties and stuff,” Kumar said.
By the second week, Kumar began taking practice tests in abundance to bring up his scores. Seeking a quiet space for study, he packed his books and drove to Barnes and Noble Booksellers each day at noon, where he remained until 4:30.
“I saw all of the errors I was making consistently,” Kumar said. “I would review that material and then fix my mistakes and take more tests.”
Ashley Bendl, junior, has begun studying for the biology subject test she will take in August.
“I just took the AP Biology course so I feel like if I don’t study a little each week, that information is gonna seep out of my head a little bit,” Bendl said. “It’s definitely important to reinforce the knowledge that I already have on the topic.”
Far away from the omnipotence of the SAT and ACT exams, Bendl views subject tests as a minor part of her impending college application.
“Where the big standardized tests are like thirty percent of your application, the subject tests are probably around five percent,” Bendl said. “But that doesn’t mean they’re not important.”
The subject tests are not the only exams on the docket for this summer. The ACT offered on Saturday, June 10 will be the penultimate exam of its kind available for seniors who are applying to college in the fall.
Michelle Li, senior, will take the ACT for the final time this week. For Li, her weeks of preparation have revolved more around the facets of the test than the information in its contents.
“I’m just taking a lot of tests, mostly in subjects that I am weak in,” Li said. “I’m definitely the worst at science so I do a lot of practice to try to find the patterns and work on timing.”
While not keeping a schedule as demanding as Kumar’s, Li strives to work on a piece of the exam each day to refine her skills.
“I try to do a little passage every day to keep the information fresh in my mind,” Li said.
Devin Haas, senior, took the SAT last Saturday. Like Li, Haas worked more by simply taking practice exams than by learning any new information because of the skills-based nature of the SAT.
“The thing with the SAT and the ACT is that it’s more just practicing than studying in my mind because I need to ensure that I can get the right answer in the amount of time that is given,” Haas said.