Expert: Students can plan to succeed on standardized testsWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Taking a college entrance exam can be one of the most stressful times in a student's life, but a Purdue University expert says it doesn't have to be.
Doug Christiansen, director of Purdue's Office of Admissions, says taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT) does not have to be a nerve-racking experience. Test results from the SAT and ACT are one of the tools colleges and universities use to determine which students to admit.
"Everyone can set themselves up for success on these tests," Christiansen says. "However, you can't spend a week cramming, go to bed early the night before, eat a healthy breakfast the morning of the test and expect to have fabulous success. The best preparation happens over time."
During the entire week before the test, Christiansen says, students should prepare to be relaxed.
"Try to clear your mind as much as possible," he says. "Go to bed early and eat a good breakfast each day of the week. Staying up late trying to pack one more vocabulary word into your already overloaded head is only going to make you more nervous."
Christiansen also says students need to remember that test results alone do not determine who will be on campus in the fall.
"Of course test scores play a role in deciding who is admitted to college and who isn't, but they are just one component in the admissions process," Christiansen says. "It's very important to do the best job you can do, but your college life doesn't hang in the balance should you happen to not score as well as you would like."
Christiansen says admissions counselors are looking at a student's total package to decide if he or she will be admitted. At Purdue, that package includes six variables:
Christiansen says students do not have to take both tests, because most schools will accept results from either the SAT or the ACT.
"If you are unsure about which test to take, make sure the schools you are applying to will accept either test," Christiansen says. "Then take a practice test for both exams. The test that feels more comfortable is probably the one you will be the most successful on."
For information about upcoming SAT and ACT testing times, students and parents can contact their high school's guidance office.
Source: Doug Christiansen, (765) 494-7014; e-mail, email@example.com