Why Mistakes are Your Best Friends


We’ve had students of all kinds study with us to improve their ACT and SAT scores.  Some students are very serious about raising their scores, and some are a little bit less motivated to do much more than glance at some practice tests and hope for the best.  The best students (i.e. the ones whose scores improve the most dramatically) are the ones that are willing to work hard, but also cut themselves some slack.

We’ve seen students get so angry about answering  a problem incorrectly that they break the tip of their pencil- marking an angry, bold-faced X over the question… yikes…

Don’t be that student!

Every time that we find a question you’ve answered incorrectly, either in problem sets or practice tests, we have found an opportunity to learn something about the exam.  Remember, both the SAT and ACT are incredibly predictable!   That means that the type of question you’ve answered incorrectly will probably show up again, and again… and that’s actually great news!

When you’ve answered a question incorrectly, spend as much time as you can trying to understand each and every nuance of the question.  Whether it’s an ACT Science question, an SAT Math question, an entirely confusing reading passage, or a tricky grammar question, look closely at the problem.  What words confused you? What part were you unaware of?  How can you recognize this type of question again, and in turn answer it correctly?

Greet each mistake as an exciting opportunity.  Discovering and correcting mistakes are the only way to get better… And in turn the only way to reach our goal score…And in turn the only way to get into the best schools!

So… Don’t be afraid to fall down!


Paul Donaldson

Director at Higher Learning Test Prep

Here it Comes!

It’s about that time again.  The SAT exam takes place in just a few short weeks.  For those of you studying diligently with Higher Learning, keep your nose to the grindstone!  For those of you practicing on your own, cranking out practice SAT’s, and pouring over SAT books, a few words to the wise:

Quality is far better than quantity.  Your SAT scores will improve significantly if you are mindful about what it is that you’re trying to do.

The end game is your goal score.  The means to that end are working hard to gain an improved understanding of the SAT at large.  Sure, brushing up on grammar skills is important.  Making sure your Geometry and Algebra skill sets are strong is a must.  But the most important element of test preparation for any standardized test is familiarizing yourself with the test itself.

That means that careful analysis of a few SAT tests is better than high speed time trials on 10 practice exams.  Thoroughly examine the questions you’ve answered incorrectly, and determine exactly what you can do to avoid the mistake again.  And of course, know your goal score and what it will take to get it!

A few more words to the exceedingly wise:  Set up a free video conference with a Higher Learning Tutor.  We’ll make absolutely sure you’re prepared for the upcoming SAT and college admissions processs at large.

Paul Donaldson
Director at Higher Learning Test Prep