In a world of uncertainty and subjectivity, one objective, undeniable truth stands out: better takes practice. What athlete or artist would deny this? Yet, we sometimes hesitate to apply obvious lessons to stressful situations. How else to explain how many students take important and challenging tests like the SAT and ACT with no preparation whatsoever?
The College Board has observed this disconnect for decades, watching high schoolers pour countless of hours of practice into extracurricular activities while complaining how impossible the SAT is. Sure, the SAT is really difficult if you don’t prepare, but then again, so is performing in a high school musical or competing in club soccer. Everything worth doing is tough until practice makes it easier.
The College Board’s campaign to raise awareness of the connection between preparation and production is titled Better Takes Practice. While the overt intention of this campaign is to push adoption of the Khan Academy suite of prep resources, the message of dedication to improvement should resonate with everyone who has every striven and succeeded:
Working little by little, to get to a goal, we practice, practice, practice—so that when the game comes along, you already know what to do.
The truth regarding success in standardized tests is the same as that for football, cheerleading, ROTC drills, or any of a thousand different sports, arts, and activities. Better takes practice. Don’t over-complicate it!