Wayzata High School grad writes book to help boost ACT scores
Plymouth resident and 2009 graduate of Wayzata High School Taylor Daily has spent countless hours during his more than five-year tutoring career helping students prepare for the often daunting ACT exam.
The exam is utilized to determine college eligibility.
Daily has since boiled down his methods and findings into a concise 60-page guide that preps students with the tools they need to succeed in “The One Hour ACT Guide” available as an ebook on Amazon.com.
The 21-year-old is a senior at Brown University in Providence, R.I., studying political science.
His ebook can be purchased for $2.99, and the young author plans to write more material on how to achieve the best score possible on the test.
Daily shares some of his experience and tips.
Q: Can you provide a synopsis of the book?
A: I’ve been tutoring the ACT for well over five years now. I started working at it when I was in high school and was getting ready for the test myself. As with many who take the test, I was nervous.
And I noticed many of my tutoring students were approaching me with very similar problems and were worrying about the same kinds of things. I usually tutor out of a guidebook, and I also noticed those books usually miss a lot of important elements about the test. And they’re usually written by people who haven’t taken the test recently and don’t really work with people on a regular basis.
So I thought I’d write about the most common things that I’ve found, and for how students can improve their test scores.
Q: What common causes have you seen that can lead to success on the ACT?
A: One of the biggest things I’ve seen is test anxiety. It’s usually brought on by being nervous about how important the test is because people always emphasize it.
People kind of see their score number as an inclination of their scholastic achievements and their potential for the future. And there are ways to kind of deal with that.
And the test itself has a format that’s different. The questions on the ACT are delivered in a way that many students have never seen before. They ask them in a way that they don’t in the classroom.
A lot of the book helps students come to terms with the format of the test and help students recognize the common elements, what kind of questions come up and how to answer them.
Students should know that a bad ACT score is not going to be the end of the world for them, it’s just one part of the very large spectrum of what many colleges consider in an application. It’s important for those taking the test to keep that in mind and relax a little bit.
Q: What spurred you to write this book?
A: I studied a lot for my own ACT exam. I did a lot of research and used a few different guidebooks. As I would work with students I was tutoring, we would discover and develop new ways to look at the test. So I built that library of strategies over time.
It was definitely something that I’d always wanted to do. I would hear students complain about problems with other books and I would say “the book tells you to do this, but I’m going to tell you to do this.”
So I decided to write my own book. You get these textbooks that are 500 pages long, and not all of it is very useful. So I thought “let’s just use only the useful stuff that you can learn very quickly and start the conversation about what the best strategies are.”
Q: Can you share some tips from the book?
A: One thing is in the science section. In the science section there are graphs and tables about experiments or scientific subjects and it’s very, very dense reading.
With my students, I worked with reading the information very fast so it makes the right impression in a very short amount of time. A lot of students can spend their time reading the text, and not enough time on answering the question.
This book can help you become comfortable with reading the information quickly and being comfortable with not knowing exactly everything that’s going on and answering the question.
Q: Aside from test anxiety, what are some of the biggest obstacles that students face walking into the ACT test room?
A: One obstacle is that they maybe have learned what’s on the test a long time ago and maybe learned it in a different way. So sometimes students will take geometry, for example, a year or two before they find it on the test.
And the test may ask questions in ways that a student has never seen before. A question may come up about the Pythagorean theorem, and the student may understand the theorem very well. But the test may disguise the question in a way that they’re not used to.
So they may read the question and not know what to do with it. When I work with students, we look at how the test can ask these questions in different ways.
Q: What else sets this book a part from other ACT preparation literature?
A: I’ve worked with a lot of different types of students. I’ve worked with students from my area and students from an inner city environment.
And I combine how different students look at the test and how different backgrounds apply to the ACT.
If I teach students and I see their struggles every day, I can get a better picture of how I can make this easier for them. I’ve tested everything that’s in the book and I’ve seen how it can work. And I think that’s very useful.
Contact Brian Rosemeyer at [email protected]