LAURA GALLIGAN STAFF WRITER
This is a stressful time at ASL. Many students are taking the SAT or SAT subject tests this weekend, AP exams start next week, and the June SAT date and finals are just a few weeks away. Students are trying to prepare for these exams to get the best results possible. Some of the most experienced members of the ASL community gave their advice for test-taking success.
The College Counselors
“You don’t want to flag halfway through the exam,” College Counselor Kristin Dreazen said. She recommended eating a good breakfast the morning of and getting a good nights sleep for two or three nights leading up to the big test. “Sleep deprivation is cumulative,” she said.
“You should start well in advance,” College Counselor John Reilly said, adding that last-minute preparation is not the best idea. “You should work on it incrementally and build up to the AP,” he said. He and a student who he was meeting with both agreed that students should at the last minute stay positive.
“Get the main ideas, and then put the details in context of the main ideas,” Director of Academic Advising and College Counseling Patty Strohm said. She agreed that you should get plenty of sleep.
“Do essay questions in outline form without evidence in front of you,” History Teacher Michelle Gerken said. “This shows you what you don’t know. It balances conceptual framework with specific evidence. It also helps if you write it out [by hand],” she said.
Math Teacher and SAT tutor Tony Bracht suggested, “For the SAT reasoning test, get a really good night’s sleep, chill and don’t stress out or cram. It’s more of a test of your reading and reasoning, so cramming a bunch of facts in doesn’t really help you. For the SAT subject tests, there might be an element of cramming, because it’s more like a final.”
Social Studies Teacher and instructor for the critical reading and writing portions of ASL’s SAT class Meg Bailey said, “On the essay, know yourself. Some people are better off spending more time planning, and some are better spending more time writing. Everyone is different”
“When I was studying for my AP Physics exam, I locked myself away and did practice problems,” Maria Blesie (’13) said. “I didn’t even review my notes that much. I just did practice problems until I understood them.”
Suryansh Rastogi (’13) also recommended taking practice tests, but for the SAT. “It’s all really about understanding the questions, because they all have similar reasons for their answers. The night before, check over formulas if you have problems,” he said.
Along with practice and rest, Ben Wolfson (’13) said, “Stay focused during the test and drink lots of water. Keep breathing.”