The Chronicle

The Student News Site of Springfield Township High School

The Chronicle

The Chronicle

Test Taking Advice from a Senior

As sophomores and juniors alike head into taking the many kinds of standardized tests available: the Pre-ACT, various AP tests, the SAT and etc, it’s important that they are properly aware of what the test entails. Here, Sophia Gatti, a sophomore, asks Ayla DiBattista, a senior, questions about test preparation. 

How did you study for the SAT? 

For the SAT, I would recommend that you definitely start early. Khan Academy is a great tool that I used to prepare for both the PSAT and the SAT. You can take diagnostics and it’ll tell you where you’re struggling and will focus the material on those areas. It’s a really great way to take the SAT because it’s really a different type of test than I had ever taken before. I saw a tutor a few times before the exam but it’s not really necessary. I know people that did whole programs to prepare for the SAT and I know people who solely used Khan Academy and they got very similarly high scores. It’s really more about the energy you put into it than how you study. 

How many times would you advise taking the SAT or ACT?

I would probably say no more than three times, not including practice exams. If you’re still not scoring where you’d like after two tries, try switching it up either by taking the other test or by trying a new resource. 

I would advise that you sit down and practice the exam a few times before you take it. If you do end up using Khan Academy, it’ll naturally incorporate practice exams into your practice schedule but I would still advise it otherwise. It’ll help you understand what’s being tested but also will help you gain a sense of where you will score. However, if you’re scoring lower than you’d like on the practice exams, try not to stress too much, especially the night before, everyone tends to do better on the actual test day. 

How would you say you can guarantee a 5 on an AP Exam? 

Well, while there’s no real way to guarantee a 5, I would say that if you put in a consistent amount of effort into your preparation year-round, it’s way more achievable. If in November, you find that you’re not fully understanding a concept and you put the work in to understand it, you’re much more likely to do better than if you just let it go because it’s likely that your misunderstanding will just be exacerbated over time. 

I’m really scared that I’ll have gaps in my knowledge when it comes time to take the exam. For example, in AP Lang, I’m scared that I’ll completely forget how to write a rhetorical analysis by the time it’s May. What do you think I should do, or what have you done to combat that? 

With these exams where the content is drawn out over the year, it’s helpful to make study materials that you can use at that moment and for the actual exam. I know that when I took AP Lang, I was similarly anxious so I wrote out exactly how to construct an RA and any tips that I thought I might need to carry it out. Similarly, for APUSH, for each unit, I would construct a list of events and concepts, and then I used that to review. Additionally, practice is really key. If you feel that your knowledge is slipping away, it’s up to you to talk to your teacher to get additional opportunities to practice; I promise they’ll pay off. 

What would you say is just a general study tip for both AP Exams and for the SAT/ACT? 

If you really just start studying in a sustained manner early, it’ll enormously improve your score because you’re not remembering something that you reviewed last night or three months ago when you learned it but something that you have been continuously remembering over time. If you really get into the habit of studying and really work with the material for a while, you’ll definitely do better. 

What should I do if I’m nervous about taking the exam? 

Nerves are so natural. Taking tests is nerve-wracking, but have confidence in yourself. Your teachers know what they’re talking about. Our teachers here are really good at teaching the material and the test because they are separate things. If you’re struggling, they are a fantastic resource, as are older students who have already taken the course. We all have resources and study materials that we’d be willing to share if you just ask. 

Do you have any final advice for me? 

Take a deep breath. Nothing matters as much as you think it does, and there’s always room for improvement. Take your time, do your best, and you’ll be fine. 


Leave a Comment
Donate to The Chronicle

Your donation will support the student journalists of Springfield Township High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ayla DiBattista, Senior Editor in Chief.
Ayla DiBattista is a senior at Springfield Township High School. Aside from reading and editing, she loves to hike, travel, take pictures, and read. Previously, she wrote mainly for the Features or Art sections but recently has been writing for sports. She also is President of Youth and Government, Co-president of Book Club, and works at an internship for the Chestnut Hill Local.
Donate to The Chronicle

Comments (0)

All The Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *