For students doing test prep this summer

I can’t think of something so potentially important yet simultaneously a waste of time as test preparation.  Raising your scores can absolutely improve your chances of admission to many colleges—it’s important.  But the SAT and ACT don’t test your intelligence, potential to succeed in college, knowledge of geography or Shakespeare or anything else remotely connected to how smart you are.  They test how well you take standardized tests, which, unless you plan on making a living as a test taker, is hardly a marketable skill.

So here’s my advice for summer ‘preppers: if you're going to prep this summer, make it count.

The only thing worse than preparing for a standardized test is having to review and prepare for it again a second or third time because you aren't satisfied with your scores.  Whether you’ve bought a book, signed up for a class, or hired a tutor, if you treat the time you spend preparing this summer like it’s the last chance you’ll ever have to take the test, your score will reflect it.  Think of the amount of time and energy you expend this summer as subtracting from any necessary future efforts. 

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