As a high school senior, Bailey Reimer had already developed a healthy balance between socializing and academia. The night before she earned a perfect score of 1600 on the SAT, she was listening to Cake at the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival.
“I could only go to one night because I had the SAT the next morning,” the Kansas University student says. “But I cared a lot about the test. I was all business once I got there.”
The day her score was posted, Reimer got up at 8:30 a.m. to check it online. She told her mom and a good friend the news before heading back to bed.
“I think my mom was really excited for me, she was happy,” Reimer says.
Reimer says a large portion of her graduating class at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School attends KU, but she has found dorm life affords the best opportunity to develop new friendships. “Hashinger has a really good community,” Reimer says. “Everyone is open to meeting new people.”
Reimer hopes to be a resident assistant in her dorm next year.
“I think it would be a good job for me, to be in a position to create fun things to do, get to know people and make sure people are as happy as possible,” she says.
After college Reimer is still undecided on a career but is set on participating in an outreach organization.
“I’m sure that no matter what I do later in life, after college I want to take a couple of years and do some kind of service, like Americorps or Teach for America,” Reimer says.
The first time Morgan Tichy took the ACT, she was happy with the 33 she scored in math and reading, and the 34 she scored in science. She was not crazy about her English score of 31. So she enlisted the help of an English tutor to raise her score in that particular section. She had no idea she would score a perfect 36 in all sections the second time around.
“My mom was speechless,” Tichy says. “I called her at work.”
Tichy, who hails from Missouri, was raised watching University of Illinois basketball but has since become a KU fan.
“I’m definitely a Jayhawk, that didn’t take long,” she says.
This fall, Kansas University awarded scholarships to five incoming freshmen for achieving perfect scores on their college entrance exams. They received scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $15,500.
Four of those students have provided their tips and tricks for outsmarting tests.
Emily Parsons, Manhattan:
• Don’t stress out about the material covered on the tests. It’s just what you learn in class.
• Take at least one practice test published by ACT or the College Board and use it to familiarize yourself with the format and the proper pacing for each section.
• Eat eggs the morning of the test and bring a granola bar or something for a snack at the break.
Bailey Reimer, Shawnee
• Standardized tests are long, boring and stressful. The easier you can make it on yourself, the better. I always made sure to wear something comfortable that I felt good in, my hair out of my face and socks so I could take my shoes off, but that’s just me. Also, always bring a water bottle and snacks.
• Know what to expect. Do a run-through of the exam, time yourself and see how well you do. This way you’re prepared when you start. I didn’t do this for the SAT and didn’t realize there were actually 10 different testing sections, so that threw me off.
• Don’t force it. Cramming the night or few days before won’t help. If you feel like there are areas you might struggle with, plan ahead and get a tutor the semester before. For the night before, do whatever you’d normally do, relax and get to bed early.
Nina Mathew, Pittsburg
• Do practice tests. This is one of the most important things and definitely the most important factor that helped me when I was preparing.
• Know the format of the test beforehand. You’d be surprised how much time you can save if you don’t have to read through the directions/instructions.
• Don’t cram the night before a standardized test. Take the night off and do something relaxing and fun to get your mind off of the next day. You’ve already learned everything you’re going to know and retain, so take it easy.
Morgan Tichy, Ballwin, Mo.
• Take your time and don’t rush yourself to avoid silly mistakes.
In the reading section, read all of the questions before you read the passage. The science section is entirely logic-based; the answers are all in the graphs and tables, nothing is knowledge-based, so take your time examining the information they give you.
• Take lots of practice tests beforehand. It will help you get your timing down, and you’ll become more comfortable with how the test is written. I had a one-on-one tutor for English, and all we did were practice tests.
• Eat a big breakfast beforehand and bring a snack for the breaks. Nothing is worse than having trouble concentrating because you’re hungry.