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CMU Student Interview w/ S. Zafar | Part 8: Finding the Right Method

S. Zafar, who attended Carnegie Mellon University, earned a 35 on her ACT, took 13 AP classes in high school, events' chair for FORGE (refugee empowerment club), the president of high school Amnesty International Chapter, and the president of Undergraduate Economics Journal at Carnegie Mellon.


 

Key points S. Zafar shares:

  • "Going over the thought process I had when tackling Science section questions and why my initial answers were wrong enabled me to improve immensely in the Science section."

  • "Creating a schedule in which you lay out every topic covered in the exam and how you plan to cover them in the given time frame is a wonderful tool to ensure you have enough time to cover all of your bases."





Q: You earned a phenomenal score on your ACT. What were some of the key strategies that helped you prepare for the test?

A: My studying for the SAT enabled me to grasp a large amount of the material on the ACT, as I found the reading and math sections to be incredibly similar, so I would definitely suggest studying for both tests consecutively (if you are planning on taking both). I additionally found timed practice tests to be the most helpful in my preparation.



Q: Which section did you have the most trouble with? Why?

A: The section I had most trouble with was the Science section-as it tests one’s reading comprehension on scientific topics instead of what I originally assumed- writing out Chemistry and Physics equations.



Q: Did you dedicate extra time to focus on and improve in that particular section?

A: I dedicated extra time to going over the questions I had gotten wrong in the Science section and writing out why and how I got them wrong. Going over the thought process I had when tackling Science section questions and why my initial answers were wrong enabled me to improve immensely in the Science section.



Q: How often did you study for the test? Did you study daily or weekly, etc?

A: I would often study on weekends during the school year, as I didn’t want to sacrifice my coursework; however, during summer break I spent every day studying for the SAT, ACT, and SAT subject tests. Creating a schedule in which you lay out every topic covered in the exam and how you plan to cover them in the given time frame is a wonderful tool to ensure you have enough time to cover all of your bases.



Q: What resources helped you study and prepare for the ACT?

A: I found Khan Academy and previous ACT tests to be the most helpful in my preparation. Although third party resources can be helpful in the beginning, I wouldn’t suggest basing your score off of third party test preparation company tests because they are often inaccurate and don’t always reflect the topics covered by the test.




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