Keeping Focused in Classes You Don’t Enjoy

By Tyler Mathena

Nobody likes every subject in school. Teachers love to pretend that their subject is fascinating to everybody because they like it, but it is pretty clear that is not the case. Many students are passionate about history, others prefer english, and some (like myself) love math and science. As a student, I know how difficult it is to justify learning material in classes that aren’t your favorite, but it is important to learn every subject.

Every subject, regardless of how bizarre or boring, can be applied to real life. Math is everywhere, every job has to write occasionally, and past events are extremely relevant and can help you understand why the world is the way that it is. Also, learning to pay attention and feign interest in these subjects can help you learn how to learn. In your future job, no matter what it is, there will be things you have to learn that you may think are not important. Learning these subjects that you do not like in school makes learning these skills much easier and can make you seem mature to your employer.

Additionally, if you walk into a class convinced that you are going to despise it, then you will. Keep an open mind and maybe you will be surprised. I have a history of disliking social studies classes, so I was not hopeful when I walked into the first day of Microeconomics. I kept an open mind though, and it turned out to be my favorite class of the semester. That single class inspired me to minor in business in college. Keeping an open mind can be tough when you know that you dislike similar classes, but it definitely pays off in the long run.

I know better than anyone that it is hard to stay awake in that one terrible class (we all have one!). Lucky for you, I have learned and stolen some tricks over the years that can make any class bearable. My best advice is to find a study partner. It is better if your partner enjoys the class because often their enthusiasm for the subject can rub off on you. Even if you both aren’t a fan of the class, simply studying with a friend can help. If you absolutely do not get along with anyone in the class, it can sometimes help to talk to the teacher before or after school and get them to honestly explain to you why they enjoy their subject. Again, the enthusiasm may rub off on you, or they may convince you that it is important by bringing something up that you never thought about.

If it is math that is not your thing, do not worry, you have MaThCliX! All of us here love math and it shows. Coming in often, even if you do not enjoy it at first, will make math (or any subject) at least bearable, if not phenomenal.

When Should I Take the SAT or ACT?

act-or-satWhen Should I Take the SAT or ACT?

By: Tyler Mathena

The SAT and ACT are daunting for many students. The scores on these two tests (or just one) can determine what colleges you can attend, what scholarships you can apply for, and whether or not you get into the honors program. All of these have the potential to impact your life, for better or worse, so it is best to be well-informed and prepared.

Everyone knows the magnitude of these tests, and a Google search for test taking tips returns over 18 million results. Most people know how, why, and where to take the test, but it is rarely discussed WHEN students should take it.

The reading and grammar concepts on both tests are mostly covered before high school, it is just a matter of recalling all of the rules and vocabulary. The math section, on the other hand, contains information that students learn in high school classes. After taking Geometry and Algebra, you should have learned most of the content, but do not be discouraged if there are questions you can not figure out! Some of these questions require a different approach or way of thinking, which is often where the strategy comes into play.

Even if you have not done all of the math courses to get a perfect score on the math section of the tests, you should still take it. I would recommend taking both tests at least once, starting towards the end of your sophomore year. This way, there is plenty of time to improve if you do not get the score you want the first time. After getting your score back, look over what your weak spots are and do whatever it takes to strengthen those areas. If you take the test again after studying from your previous results and do not improve, it may be wise to start working with a tutor once or twice a week to get to your preferred score.

For most college applications, you should take the ACT and SAT for the last time in September or October of your senior year. Most colleges have an option to submit your application early so that you know if you are accepted or not sooner. Early decision also automatically makes you eligible for certain scholarships at some colleges. The deadlines typically fall in mid-October to early November.

The SAT and ACT are important. These tests can determine what colleges you get into and how much you pay. Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long to take them. The best time to take the SAT or ACT is now. You can always retake it, as lower scores do not affect you at all, so get ahead of the game; you won’t regret it.

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