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How Conard Can Help You Ace the SAT & ACT

By: Maggie Heller

These days, it seems like the number one stressor in the lives of juniors and seniors, as well as their parents, is the SAT/ACT. While Conard High School certainly encourages students to push themselves in these tests, the faculty understands the challenge students face in preparing for these tests on their own. Therefore, Conard offers a variety of resources to alleviate some of the anxiety of studying for these important tests.


While students may not look forward to the mandatory PSAT each year, the test is actually a fantastic prep tool. If you’re planning to take the SAT, the PSAT gives you a great foundation in your test-taking abilities and tells you almost exactly what to expect when you take the real SAT. If you’re leaning towards the ACT, it will help you tremendously to be comfortable in a test environment. If you want to give yourself the best chance when taking the real test, it is critical that students take the PSAT seriously and use it as the unique practice tool that it can be.

Once you receive your PSAT scores, you may wonder what to do next. The recent partnership between the CollegeBoard, which runs everything SAT, and Khan Academy makes understanding and improving your scores simple. Once your CollegeBoard account is linked to Khan Academy, Khan Academy will receive a full breakdown of your score, allowing it to tailor specific practice activities to the areas in which you are weakest. The practice that it gives you is personalized, so you skip unnecessary practice in your strongest areas and spend more time on the specific skills that challenge you.


Additionally, feel free to stop by the College/Career Center, next to the cafeteria, to ask Ms. Barry about practice tests, as she may have former SAT tests that she can give you depending on the time of year. Seeing the format of the tests and reading the questions that have actually appeared on previous tests can boost students’ confidence when they’re taking the test for real and, as well as give them an understanding of common questions, concepts, and phrases.


Our very own Conard Library has several SAT and ACT workbooks. While you can’t write in them, the practice and tips they offer students are invaluable. Feel free to take a look the next time you’re in the library. If you’re looking for even more practice, the West Hartford Public Libraries also have an even wider variety of SAT/ACT guides and test prep books that they will lend you - all you need is a library card.


The task of preparing for the SAT and/or ACT may seem daunting. But with all the free resources that Conard High School offers, it doesn’t have to be. Try them out yourself - I doubt you’ll be disappointed!

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