How Taking A Standardized Test is Like Hiking Yosemite

In October of 2015, I spent time in the US to go hiking and camping in Yosemite National Park with some friends.

One friend was in charge of selecting our hikes, and we had to choose between easy, medium, difficult, or very difficult. We chose an 8-mile "medium" hike where we would be able to see the park’s top sights.

The hike was supposed to take half of a day. We started at 8 a.m. By lunchtime, we'd hiked 4 miles and had an amazing view of Half Dome. With after-lunch laziness about to kick in, we thought about taking the bus back to camp, but since we were already halfway through our hike and at the top of the climb, we settled on hiking down since we thought it wouldn't be too challenging.

How wrong were we to assume it would be easy. Indeed, we did go downhill as expected, but that was followed by another uphill and then finally the last downhill. We ended up rushing in the final stretch to catch the last bus to camp, as the day was quickly turning into night. The result was that a medium 8-mile "medium" hike turned into a full-day, 16-mile marathon.

You may be thinking: What does all of this have to do with ACT/SAT test preparation? Everything.


First, you have to know what you are getting yourself into and prepare yourself mentally. You have to have the right mindset to do an important test or a marathon, if you don't, your chance of failure greatly increases.


Time Management

During the test, it is extremely important to manage your energy and especially your time. The ACT and SAT are hard tests, and you need to be at your best physically and mentally to be successful. Taking practice tests to increase speed, spending less time per problem, and not second-guessing yourself are all ways to manage your energy and time on test day.


Never Underestimate Yourself

Last but not least, you should never ever underestimate the path to get to your goal. Yes, you will need to work very hard to achieve your goal, but you are not alone. Be confident in your answer choices!