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Ready for reality?

Cindy Ramunno

We’ve all heard the story: A kid with a great grade-point average, excellent people-skills and a quick wit bombs the ACT test, or the SAT, to get into college.

How can that be? Maybe he or she wasn’t prepared to take the test. Maybe the kid just isn’t good at taking tests, or maybe he or she stayed up all night the night before worrying about it.

Whatever the case may be, there’s help.

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is taken more frequently at East Coast schools. If you want to attend a university or college Back East, or one of the Ivy League schools, the SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a must.

Western colleges and universities accept the ACT, including those in Colorado.

Most adults prepare for certain situations in life, whether a job interview or a class reunion.

Why not prepare for the test that’s going to help you get into a college or help you with scholarships? You also want to make sure you get the right help,without paying a fortune.

Gary Rito, director of instruction, curriculum and staff development at the Eagle County School District, insists there is no magic book or tool that will help your score soar.

“Kids who do well on those tests read a lot of challenging material,” says Rito, adding that it doesn’t have to be boring reading either – a well-written novel will do. “Vocabulary is the key in those tests – and reading helps with vocabulary.”

Both tests are designed to measure what kids know. Councilors at Battle Mountain High School and Eagle Valley High School agree that if students take core courses and college preparatory courses, they usually do fairly well on the ACT or SAT.

“We have kids take a test their sophomore year and the preparatory test as juniors,” says Anne Leavitt, a councilor at EVHS .

Leavitt’s department offers Web sites students can access, including collegeboard.com sat.org.

Also on offer is a seminar Feb. 24 and 25 for $65.

“There is a lot of free help out there,” Leavitt says.

Both ACT and SAT offers free brochures with sample questions, as well as free materials. Leavitt also emphasizes a good, strong class-load.

Jay Schmidt, a counselor at Battle Mountain High School, says the most important way to prep students for those tests is a good college-prep load.

“The valid research shows that if students take the core program, they do better than the state and national average,” says Schmidt, who suggests workshops and free material may help. “The ACT and SAT CD that comes from the publishers is also a good tool, but it is around $25.”

So what are these experts saying?:

Get the most out of the classroom; take appropriate classes, a good college-prep load; and while you’re in high school, enjoy and take advantage of your education, learn as much as you possibly can.

For more information, call 328-2930 or 328-8960.


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