Utter Frustration with myself

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by af85, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. af85

    af85 New Member

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    For those of you that don’t know, ACT scores from the June 9 test have started coming out.

    Studying for the ACT has become a big part of my daily routine. I constantly find myself surrounded by test prep books because at this moment nothing else matters to me as much as the ACT. However I feel all this hard work and effort isn’t helping me. Here are my scores thus far:

    April 2018: Composite: 29
    English-24, Math-28, Reading-31, Science-34

    June 2018: Composite: 28
    English-28, Math-30, Reading-27, Science-26

    So I guess my superscore works out to be a 31 which is a positive, but I always strive for more. My goal, however, is to get all my best test scores on one sitting so I can apply to the “public Ivy League” schools as well. I also learned that the service academies only look at English and math test scores, my two lowest sections.

    Here’s where my frustration roots from. I genuinely put in a solid 50+ hours studying for that June 9 test: one practice test after another after another. I could honestly look myself in the mirror and say I put my best foot forward and gave that test my all. I guess I’m asking for words of encouragement. Things I should try to focus on or change about my study habits. I am going to give the ACT another go-around come July. But that is only three weeks away!! Also just an FYI, I learned early in my Junior year that the SAT is not the test for me, like emphasize not the test for me. Thanks!
     
  2. CBeaker

    CBeaker New Member

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    A 31 superscore is nothing to sniff at. I got a USMA appointment with a 31 superscore. But I understand your want to continue pushing yourself, which is something the academies always look for. There will be some tests you just don’t do well on. I’ve taken 8 ACT tests. I was scoring 28-28 for about 4 of those tests and then I scored a 26 the October of my junior year. I thought I did well but that test kicked my butt.
    My advice is if you’ve already signed up for the July test, go ahead and take it, but give yourself a little of a break from studying. You can fry your brain. Wait till the September test and then take that one if you aren’t happy with your July scores, but give yourself some breaks with the test. A 31 superscore is not bad at all, and neither are 28s or 29s.
     
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  3. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

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    Superscore is your friend.
     
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  4. GoCubbies

    GoCubbies Member

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    Have you considered taking the SAT just to see how you perform on that one?

    Some kids do better on the one test and not the other.
     
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  5. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB 10-Year Member

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    I suggest spending some time identifying why you aren't doing as well as you would like. Do you do much better on practice tests than the real thing? If that is the case, it may be test taking anxiety and studying more might not be the solution, talking to someone about how to get past that could help. If you are getting the same scores on your practice tests as the real thing, spend more time looking at the questions that you missed and understanding WHY you missed them. Doing a practice test doesn't help much unless you go back and learn from your mistakes. Your study cycle should be something like: practice test - score your practice test - go back and fix any mistakes you made - retake the SAME practice test (or just all the questions you missed)- repeat with a new test. Good luck!
     
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  6. BlueStar

    BlueStar Member

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    A few thoughts:
    1. Echoing that superscoring is your friend.
    2. What is your overall GPA? Remember, SAT/ACT scores are one component of your academic record that academies consider; they are not the only component.
    3. How far in math have you gotten in school thus far? Many people find that after precalculus and trig, their ACT math score increases. If you can take these courses at the college level, that could help even more.
    4. Perhaps you are studying/thinking about it TOO much. Yes, there is such a thing. When you walk into big tests, you want to feel prepared, yet calm. Test anxiety is real and can negatively affect your score.
    5. You have only taken it twice. Persist! And keep your chin up.
     
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  7. Dino10

    Dino10 Member

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    Glad to see that scores are coming out. DS is at Boys State so he had me check. Raised his from a 28 (two times) to a 30. Superscore is 30.25 so I assume they round down?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  8. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

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    I understand that you mean you want to have one instance of the test where each of the section scores in that instance is the highest of all your attempts, but the "one sitting" term used in reference to being impressive to selective colleges means that you crushed the test in your first and only sitting, "one and done." As someone else suggested, try the SAT as your test-taking skills may be better suited to that exam. Good luck.
     
  9. af85

    af85 New Member

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    Unfortunately that is not the case! The June test I just took was my fourth time taking the ACT, July would be my fifth.

    I appreciate all the advice given above. From what I read, this is kind of the game plan I have formulated for myself. I will focus mainly on getting my English score well up into the 30’s. This will give me a 30+ on every section and hopefully give me a superscore of a 33+. I feel like at some point my scores will plateau. However, I will fight through it.

    To answer your question above, I have a 3.85uw GPA and a 4.32w GPA. I just concluded calculus AB, and will be starting Calculus BC come August.
     
  10. jl123

    jl123 Member

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    Take the ACT again, try the SAT, and take a lesson from the Stoics:

    Set Internal Goals and Detach Yourself From Outcomes
    When you set goals, attach them to what you can control — your own efforts and attitude — and detach them from what you cannot — their ultimate outcome. One of the pillars of Stoic philosophy is not letting circumstances outside your control disturb your equilibrium. However, recognizing that much of life is out of your control doesn’t mean giving up your sense of agency or urgency; instead, it means focusing it on the only areas where you do have full control: your own actions.

    Instead of focusing on results — which are impacted by external circumstances outside your control — set goals strictly related to your own efforts. Instead of setting a goal based on the outcome, make it a goal to prepare as best you can, practice as hard as you can, and then perform to the best of your abilities. If you do those things, there’s nothing more you could have done, so why fret?
     
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  11. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    go to test, take one section only and sleep through rest, then go to another test and do the same. When you try to do it all at once your brain gets fried. Some of you think this is cheating I know, but the system is set up this way so it is called working smarter not harder.
     
  12. puzzled

    puzzled Member

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    I went from a 27 to 29 to 31. ACT sent my test back to me, so it was easy for me to see where I needed improvement. I worked on those concepts repeatedly while still practicing other sections. I do agree though, that some tests seem to be harder than others.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I agree with others that maybe you should try the SAT. There are kids that do much better on one test over another. Try doing a practice SAT and see how you do. Google ACT/SAT conversion chart so you can see

    I also have a different view point than most others here regarding how important it will be for you to get a better best sitting. My opinion is more like yours regarding the importance of the best sitting aspect. On this site it is constantly stated over and over again, have plan B, C, D, etc in place for the just in case you don't get an appointment, or a medical waiver.
    For the majority of USAFA applicants plan B is AFROTC scholarship. WELL, USAFA and AFROTC selection process is different in many ways, and one big difference is it is BEST SITTING, no superscore.
    ~ I am not sure which score they would take because I believe their min Eng requirement was raised and it is now 25 to move from applicant to candidate. If that is the case than your best sitting would not be 29, but 28. If it is still at 24 than it would be 29. If you look at the overall avg stats for a Type 7 hovers close to 30 best sitting. Type 1 and 2 hover over 31.
    ~~ Not saying that a 28 or 29 for AFROTC scholarship will not make you competitive, because we all know that it is the Whole Candidate they are looking at, but unlike USAFA the candidate pool does not start from a geo-centric aspect(MOC noms) and work up to national, instead it starts and ends from a national pool aspect. AFROTC could not care if 100% of the scholarship recipients all came from 1 state. It is basically the top X number of scholarship candidates get the scholarship.

    I am not trying to be a downer, just saying that I do get why you want to get that best sitting and as others have stated maybe the SAT is another avenue you may want to pursue.
     
  14. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    Did not even know this was a option.
     
  15. Tigger

    Tigger 5-Year Member

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    This is such solid advice! Understanding why you missed a question and learning from your mistakes is where true learning occurs :)

    Good luck!

     
  16. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    Remember, there are still some institutions that use highest single sitting scores...

    I just chatted with an acquaintance that is an admissions officer at a well-respected university (institution name withheld by request). She indicated that although their institution superscores, they would likely not look favorably at those applicants who "game the system" (her words, not mine) in order to achieve the highest possible individual component scores. Please use this approach with caution.
     
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  17. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I think what they are saying is in the end it would take you 4 times to get this done.
    ~ IE You would study your buttocks off for Eng. and be diligent on that portion. Than on the Math, Science, and Reading you just bubble it, come what may.
    ~~ I can't recall the scoring mechanism. I know one test (SAT or ACT) will knock you if the answer is wrong, but you still get credit for answering it..

    Personally, I would never recommend this at all for any candidate that wants to become an AF officer. USAFA/AFROTC/OCS will require they take the AFOQT. For AFROTC this can be a make or break exam. It is held during the fall of their sophomore year. It will be a part of their score for summer field training selection, and you don't get to re-take it every month or as many times you want to take it.
    ~ 2X and the exam may not be taken less than 6 months apart. It is not common to take it 2x. It is usually a 1x deal, unless you did poorly because the fact is they DO NOT superscore the AFOQT, hence you risk a lot by taking it the 2nd time.
    The AFOQT is like the ACT. It is timed and made up of 4 sections.

    On top of that if the OP desires to fly in whatever capacity (Pilot, CSO, RPA, ABM) they need to take the TBAS. This is again a timed test and is made up of multiple aspects.

    So impo, although this might sound like a good idea, I would think a better idea is to understand that for the AF, be it at USAFA, or AFROTC within 2 yrs from now you will be taking an exam just like the SAT/ACT all over again and this time you can't just keep re-taking it to better your score without being penalized. Or IOWS, it is really going to be your best sitting from the day you enter.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  18. Humey

    Humey Member

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    You havent mentioned if you have taken an ACT prep course. They do help and a 1-2 point increase would make a big difference
     
  19. af85

    af85 New Member

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    Yes I’ve tried a prep course. It helped enough to get me to a 29. But obviously I’m looking to get a composite score into the 30’s. My biggest regret this far in life is not being an avid reader when I was younger. My life would be so much easier today!
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
  20. af85

    af85 New Member

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    I know a 31 is an incredible score to achieve. But I personally feel capable of obtaining an even better score!

    I guess my biggest concern is that I know another young man applying to the service academies within my district. He’s got a 35 ACT. I know standardized tests aren’t everything, but that 35 will definitely catch my MOC’s eyes. My MOC puts the majority of emphasis on GPA and test scores. The website explicitly states, “all other personal achievements and extracurricular achievements will be factored into the candidate’s competitiveness only if he/she is deemed competitive academically with this year’s candidate pool.”