Paris Andrew, TIP’s Director of Partnerships and Engagement, is here to help gifted students. She used to run the residential programming at TIP’s educational programs, and she is completing a PhD in related areas, so she knows what she’s talking about.
Should I be nervous for the ACT? Will this one score determine my future? —Jaden, seventh grade
Absolutely not! Please do not be nervous about it: no colleges will see your scores when you apply to them in the future, unless you decide to share them. It’s a great way to take the ACT or SAT in a low stakes environment and get used to the idea of these kinds of tests.
Maybe it would help to understand why you are taking an above-grade level test at such a young age? I’ll tell you the same thing we tell TIP parents every year: we like TIP seventh graders to take the ACT or SAT because it helps parents and teachers better understand how far above grade level your verbal, math, and science talents go.
If you are like a lot of TIPsters, you probably routinely score 99s or even 100s on your regular school tests. That’s great, of course, but the only thing these high scores tell you is that you have definitely mastered grade-level material quite well. But how far above grade level do your abilities go? Do you read at the tenth grade level? College level? Are your math skills something a high school junior would be proud of, or are you closing in on Einstein territory?
Taking an above-level test tells you more precisely just how far above grade level your knowledge and skills extend. This is important, because this information can be used to place you in a class in school that meets you at your level, challenges you, keeps you from being bored, and helps you grow. It’s not about how smart you are or if you will succeed at a great college one day (after all, you have years and years ahead of you to learn even more before you head to college). It is about helping your parents and teachers understand what they need to do to help you reach your full potential.
If there is one thing I wish all TIP seventh graders would understand, it’s this: very few seventh graders get the opportunity to take the ACT or SAT this early. It is an honor and a credit to how hard you have applied yourself to your school work so far to even get the opportunity to test. You should be very, very proud of yourself, no matter what your scores end up being.
Please don’t let your nervousness overshadow the pride you should have about all you have accomplished in school up until this point. And remember: there will be plenty of time in your junior and senior year of high school to worry about your ACT and SAT results. For now, take a deep breath, get a good night’s sleep before the test, and follow these other test preparation ideas—then go on in that room with the older kids and tackle your above-level test determined to do the best you can. That’s all you really need to do.
Besides, testing early is a great way to get used to the ACT or SAT now, when the stakes are low, and that can only help you in the future. By the time you take the test for college admissions purposes, you’ll be an old hand at it—and that will help your score when it counts the most.
Good luck! Maybe you can even share some advice for other kids when you are done?
I’m really excited that I get the chance to get to take the SATs early! Although, I’m really worried because I’ve never been in a high school before. Also, my school counselor said that we will be in the same room testing with 10th GRADERS! I have mild anxiety and I am really nervous.
Additionally, I want to perform well on the test and I know we will be testing on a 10th grade+ level. So, what material should I review and go over? —Maddi, seventh grade
Maddie, did you know that we often hear from older students who are completely intimidated by seeing the younger TIP students in the testing room with them? It’s true! So claim your power, relax, see my answer to the letter writer above, and visit these tips before you go.
As for never having been in a high school before? I once heard a ninth grader describe it this way: “It’s just like being in middle school, only the building is bigger, the people are nicer, and it’s definitely more civilized!!!” So: no worries on that front!
Well wishes to you on your big day! You will do just fine!
Have a question for Paris? Use our submission form to get the advice you need.