Carolyn Wilde isn’t afraid to go the extra mile. The 17-year-old junior from Lower Gwynedd stays busy with lacrosse at Wissahickon High School and also plays on a winter league club. But that’s not all – Carolyn is a big supporter of others. Carolyn was the manager of the varsity soccer team last fall, and she is in the Fans Club, a group that attends sporting events and other activities, encouraging school spirit at Wissahickon. When she isn’t on the field or cheering on her classmates, Carolyn spends time babysitting and working at a local restaurant.
With her active involvement in school and the community, it is no surprise that Carolyn went above and beyond with her standardized test prep. In fact, Carolyn ultimately decided to take both the old version of the SAT, as well as the ACT – just to see how she could do.
After hearing about A+ Test Prep & Tutoring from friends of hers, Carolyn began preparing for the SAT last fall and winter. She took the SAT three times and then decided that it may be beneficial to try the ACT and see how her scores compared. “It could only help me if I did well on it,” Carolyn thought.
Leading up to the April ACT test, Carolyn juggled school, lacrosse, and test prep sessions with tutor Melissa Nash in an attempt to shift her focus from the SAT to the ACT.
“Melissa was able to work around my schedule, which is constantly changing for lacrosse. I was about to meet with her around dinnertime or on Sundays, sometimes even twice a week. Her flexibility was really helpful,” Carolyn explained.
Carolyn and Melissa focused on ACT strategies, which differed from the ones she had used on the SAT. Carolyn said it was an adjustment to have the “no guessing penalty” on the ACT, and her pace had to be managed differently as well. “I felt like I was rushing through everything at first, but through practice tests, I felt a lot more comfortable with my speed and how I moved through it,” she said.
On the day of the test, Carolyn felt confident in her ability to take the ACT, thanks to her preparation with Melissa. She was able to raise her composite score from a 26 on the diagnostic exam to a 32 – a six-point increase.
Of the four sections of the ACT, Carolyn initially scored lowest on the Science section. “I hated taking it, because I didn’t like how it was formatted. We spent the majority of our time focusing on that, since it was the one I struggled the most with,” she recalled. “I ended up getting my highest score on the Science section, which just shows you that practicing will go a very long way.”
“The 32 was a wonderful achievement,” Melissa said. “It was the result of so much work and becoming very comfortable with the test. Thanks to her great SAT scores, she knew she could do it.
Stefanie Wilde, Carolyn’s mom, was very satisfied with the A+ experience. “We are thrilled with Carolyn’s scores,” she said. “We thought she would do well, but she certainly exceeded our expectations. A special thank you to Melissa who worked so well with Carolyn and was able to work around both of their busy schedules to fit in sessions.”
Now that she is finished with testing, Carolyn is beginning to focus on college applications. She has been meeting with a college counselor outside of school to help narrow down her list of possible schools. “I had a list of where I was interested, and once I got my ACT scores back it obviously opened up even more opportunities,” she said. She plans to study business and hopes to stay involved with lacrosse at the club level.
“Even if you have no doubts in your abilities to take the SAT or ACT, putting yourself out there and seeing how getting some additional help could improve your scores is definitely worthwhile – especially with A+,” Carolyn said.