No more tests for awhile, thanks.

Yesterday may have been a pretty crappy day, but today completely sucked. Here’s the recap:

I woke up on time today and everything went smoothly. I arrived at the test center on time, and I had all of my necessary supplies (a No. 2 pencil, my calculator, my driver’s license, and my admission ticket) for the ACT when I arrived at the test center. I took special care to remember to bring my calculator with me into the testing center the first time, so I wouldn’t repeat what happened last week with the SAT. The first two tests of the ACT went pretty well. The multiple-choice writing section was easy and I finished with a few minutes of extra time. The math section was difficult in a few areas, but overall it wasn’t too difficult. The reading and science sections were the two worst areas of the ACT, in my opinion, because the information that I needed to read in order to answer the questions was so large that it was impossible to carefully read and analyze the information and then proceed to answer the questions. I managed to make it through about 75% of the reading and science tests before the test proctor announced that five minutes remained. I quickly skimmed through the information for the remaining questions and guessed as best as I could. I feel that this test would be a poor representation of my reading and science skills because of the ridiculous timing standards set by the ACT company. I’m a very skilled reader– I scored in the 96th percentile for critical reading on the PSAT– and I read at a quick-pace, but I struggled to keep pace with the ACT’s standards. 40 questions in 35 minutes may not seem that bad, but when you also have to read four long passages, it’s difficult. The science section was worse then the reading section in the “way too much information to analyze in such a short time” department, but it had absolutely nothing to do with science. Basically it required you to read various graphs and tables and the occasional “student hypothesis” and then regurgitate the information back onto the answer sheet. There was a small amount of odd scientific vocabulary used in a few questions, but nothing major. Overall, I thought these two sections were “garbage” because they required more speed then knowledge or skill out of the person taking the test.

The essay portion of the ACT was not terrible, but I don’t feel that I did as good on it as I did on the SAT’s essay. The topics used in both tests were vastly different (I won’t mention anything else about the topics beyond that– I’m prohibited from doing so) and using a similar approach to both essays may not have been the most intelligent idea. I feel that my arguments on my ACT essay were fairly weak in comparison to those that I used on the SAT. Another complaint I have about the ACT is their decision to place the essay portion of the test after the behemoth of multiple choice questions rather then before it, like the SAT. Do you really expect students to write well after sitting in a chair, filling in bubbles, and answering questions for the past three hours?

Overall, I feel like I did much better on the SAT then I did on the ACT. Both are formidable tests, but the SAT provides a better test format that allows students to accurately show their knowledge within reasonable time constraints, rather then show how good they are at guessing in a ridiculously short amount of time.

Also, I felt ridiculously uncomfortable during the ACT. My desk was of the squeaky variety, so every slight move I made caused the desk to squeak noisily. Also, the chair was tremendously uncomfortable. During the 60 minute math portion of the test, I felt as if I was sitting on lumpy gravel. The wooden seat was a flat bench of discomfort that made me squirm in an attempt to alleviate the growing pain in my buttocks. This led to more squeaks and more distractions from the ACT, which probably didn’t help my score either.

I’m glad to be done with the SAT and the ACT and all standardized college-prep tests for a few months. Taking the SAT and then the ACT on back-to-back weekends probably wasn’t the best idea, but I think my performance on both tests was above average, even with the previously complained difficulties I had on the ACT. I’m going to take a few weeks away from the college test preparation and finish reading 1984. Then I’ll go back to preparing for the tests– this time I might actually study in advance for the tests rather then just “winging it “and preparing briefly the night before.

After the test finally ended at 12:30 P.M., I rushed home to change into my work clothes and scarf down a quick sandwich before leaving again to go to work. I worked from 1:30-7:15 P.M. It wasn’t a horrible shift, but I’ve had better. A customer stayed in the store, shopping, for twenty minutes after the final closing announcement had been made and the doors locked. Finally she took her items to the cash register after being mildly heckled/”encouraged” by a manager to hurry up and leave (it was done in a more respectful and courteous way, but when you’re asked, “Are you sure I can’t I help you with anything?”, repeatedly by the same person in a completely empty store, wouldn’t you start to think, “Hey– maybe they’re closed and I should leave now.”?

After being released from the hell known as work, I sped home and flopped on the couch for a while. My sister told me that she had lost her phone the night before, and some guy called the house to let her know he had found it and wanted to give it back to her. My parents, assuming the worst, made sure that my sister did not go to meet this person alone and my dad drove her to the gas station where the stranger who had found her phone said to meet at. I tagged along for the ride because I was bored and a bit curious. The meeting place was a sketchy looking gas station on the Southside, and the guy who had Meaghan’s phone was waiting outside the building. Meaghan got out of the truck, got her phone and thanked the man, and got back in the truck. It was a simple, clean exchange and the guy was just a person trying to help someone who had lost their phone. Fortunately there are some good people out there in this world.

The deadline for this blog is fast approaching, so I must end it here. As always, thanks for reading and commenting (although page views did go WAY down today, so make sure to tell your friends about my blog too) and keep reading!

-Will

2 thoughts on “No more tests for awhile, thanks.

  1. Was this the first time you’ve taken the ACT? I ended up taking it 3 times and your scores really do improve each time so if you don’t get what you wanted then you’ll just have to suffer through it again!

    1. Yes, this was my first time taking the ACT (I also took the SAT for the first time last week). I expected that I would have to take both tests twice, but I’ll have to see what my scores are like before I sign up. (I get my SAT scores in 11 days! HUZZAH!)

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