No matter the subject or skill
supposedly being tested, at its heart every test is first and foremost
a test in how to take a test. The first step in mastering any
test is to think of it not as an evaluation of your
intelligence, or of your worth as a person, or even of your skill level
in a particular field, but rather as a game or sport — and one in which you are playing against a human opponent.
That opponent, of course, is the person who wrote the test.
You will not be able to see this person — he or she will not be standing or sitting across the court or table from you as in a game of tennis or chess
— but the indisputable fact remains that this person does indeed
exist. The test did not simply drop out of the sky. It was
constructed by a human being who has a strategy for beating you (i.e.,
tricking you into getting a certain number of questions wrong), just as
the offense would have a strategy — a "play" — designed to deceive the defense in football, basketball, or soccer.
And just as the mounting of an effective defense obliges you to ask "What would we
do in this situation, if we were the team in possession of the ball?",
obtaining an excellent score on a standardized test obliges you not
only to study the relevant subject matter, but to learn to think like the person who wrote the questions.
a former test writer for the ACT itself and a composer of dozens of
practice tests replicating both the Grammar and Reading Comprehension
sections of both the ACT and the SAT for various prep guides published
by Barron's and other leading names in the field, Chris O. Cook can and will teach you how to think like such a person.
If he were still writing the test, he could very easily cause you to
get the questions wrong. As your tutor, he can very easily cause
you to do the opposite.