January 24, 2005 – Posted at 7:49 p.m. CST
JONESBORO -- “I haven’t been studying, I've been praying!” laughed Jonesboro High School Junior Nate Pyle as he grabbed his books out of his locker.
“I always tell them, if you want your score to change, you have to do something to what's up here in your mind. And a lot of times, it's just test taking skills, and a lot of it is speed,” said Senior Counselor Linda Hawkins.
And if writing slows you down, you may be in trouble. New changes to both standardized tests include a writing portion.
“When I took the SAT two writing, I didn't really like it. They only gave you 20 minutes for an essay, and who writes an essay in 20 minutes?” said Senior Charles Milner.
For now, the written portion of the ACT and the SAT is optional, but in the future, it's expected to become mandatory.
However, not every college is requiring a writing sample. By logging onto the ACT website, http://actrs19.act.org/app3/writPrefRM/ you can find out who wants more than your John Hancock.
“I think it could be a serious problem, especially with scholarships later on,” said Milner, “I would prefer that the scholarship people just read the essay you write for the scholarship and that's how they tell if you are a good writer or not.”
“Life is not really like that, it's not based on one test, and if you do well on that test, your going to succeed all throughout life,” said Pyle, “I think it's kind of putting a different spin on things then they really are, but I guess they have to do something.”
And while it's not mandatory right now, Pyle says it never hurts to test the waters.
“It's a good idea to at least try just to see, because some people's scores may go up drastically,” said Pyle.
Something every student hopes for!