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not feeling great and ACT is tomorrow

homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
So, anyone have any advice for our D21? She woke up yesterday with a bad sore throat and a cold. Stayed home from school and downed lots of ginger tea and zinc lozenges and Sudafed. I gave her NyQuil for the first time and she slept well but today she feels the same which is pretty bad. I insisted she go to school since it's so hard to miss class and keep up. She got up, made some tea, and is giving it a shot. There is no way she's in good shape to take the ACT tomorrow. She had planned some last minute review this week but I don't see that happening now. She couldn't even crack a book yesterday to do any homework.

Any advice? She studied all summer and her score inched up two points from first practice test. She has not, though, taken many full tests. Just one in June and one three weeks ago. She definitely feels like she should have done more of those. Our original plan included doing another one last weekend but then things got busy around here and she thought she would just do one after school this week and then, as luck would have it, she got sick. I've signed her up for tomorrow's test and October's test. We were going to evaluate at that point and decide if she wanted to try again in Dec or be done or wait until spring for one more test.

How to decide if she doesn't go tomorrow? On one hand, she's been studying and I know it's going to be hard to keep up that pace for another five weeks because she's slammed with homework and EC practice. On the other hand, I can't see how she will be able to concentrate with a dripping nose and a headache. Even if she's taking meds, she's no where near 100%. Part of me just says bag it and try in October but stuff happens and maybe something will happen on that date that doesn't make it ideal either. The other part of me says just go. At the very least, maybe she can focus enough on the first half of the test to do well on English and Math. All of the schools on her list superscore.

I'm guessing you will all say just leave it up to her and that's what I think I will do...but I have heard those stories about ACT giving kids grief if they do poorly on one test and then well on the next. Not sure if that should be part of our consideration or not.

Anyone out there have kids who have taken the test with a bad cold? How did it go?
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Replies to: not feeling great and ACT is tomorrow

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7266 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My D has been sick for big exams more times than I can count. She takes Dayquil or some kind of non-drowsy OTC, brings cough drops, and just plows through.

    I think the bigger issue is that it doesn't sound like your D is as prepared as she could have been with practice tests and such. IMO, it's better to be as prepared as possible and go in hoping for one and done.

    That said, I would definitely agree with leaving the decision up to her. The good news is she's only a junior so it's not like her last hope to getting the score up before applications.


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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @momofsenior1 good point. Maybe this is fate? Lol. I should ask D21 if she wants this five weeks before the Oct test to take more full tests. And then we need to plan those out and make sure she does them.
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1226 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I feel for you - D21 has been complaining about her stomach and throat all week! And a stomach bug has been going around. Luckily, last night she said she was feeling better. She did the August SAT so hasn't done much more to prep for the ACT. Either way, she probably still would have gone tomorrow and just done her best.

    Fingers crossed yours comes home today feeling better!!! If she's up for it, I'd say get her to bed early, forget last minute cramming, and she how she does.
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1173 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 13
    For a last-ditch effort, have her swallow a clove of crushed/minced raw garlic (spoon it to the back of the tongue quickly, don't attempt to chew and chase it immediately with copious amount of water!) Not pleasant, but my go-to remedy that sometimes seems to work. Supports the immune system. If she really feels bad tomorrow, I'd let her sit it out, as it's still early in the year.
    edited September 13
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @NJWrestlingmom I hope your D feels better too! Now I'm trying to look at it this way - we won't get our money back and this score doesn't have to be a score she uses and she could even just look at it as a "practice" test since she needs to do more full tests anyway. As long as she can take it seriously enough to not bomb , I guess she should try to go. The hard part is that colds feel the worst in the morning so I think it will be hard to figure out how her symptoms are when she first wakes up. She will really have to decide tonight and then stick with her plan unless she wakes up with different symptoms that make her feel worse than today. Not even worth it as a "practice" test if she's feeling really bad. It wouldn't be effective practice if she can't concentrate at all.

    What I don't want to happen? She decides to go and then gets there and just feels awful and gets a poor score. That would hurt her confidence even if she could use her cold as an excuse. Testing is such a psychological thing with her. She stresses herself out for big tests. I keep telling her that's why she's starting testing so early. She's got so many tests dates left until she applies to schools that there really should be absolutely no stress on fall of junior year ACTs.

    I just imagine myself with a bad cold having to concentrate on a super fast-paced test for 3 1/2 hours and it seems impossible. When I have a cold, I can take daytime meds and get through the day but I rarely have to do anything that would require such concentration!
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  • STEM2017STEM2017 4076 replies96 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 13
    What I don't want to happen? She decides to go and then gets there and just feels awful and gets a poor score.

    I believe you have a chance to cancel the test immediately after taking it without penalty. You might consider this if she does take it and feels strongly that she did poorly.

    Wishing her well, I know it's a tough decision.
    edited September 13
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @inthegarden Ew! I'll run that past her. Can't wait to see her expression when I suggest that. She just called and asked if I can get her at noon. Not feeling well and she's confirmed that she won't be missing much in her last two classes. Shoot.

    And this is why I also planned for her to start testing early. One never knows what will happen on test day. We will wait until later tonight to decide what to do....maybe if she wants to take it then she should just try a section tonight to see if she can get through it. That would give her a chance to see what the bad cold/ACT feels like. Could help her make a decision.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @STEM2017 Thanks. I forgot about that. I'll let her know that's an option.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1433 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If she was my daughter I would not let her take it tomorrow. She is a junior and has plenty of opportunity to take it the next 6 months. She also doesn't seem to be as prepared as she would like to be, so why take-it if you are not 100% your best? So you lose the application fee, who cares if she takes it and doesn't get the score she wants, she will be taking it again right? I would plan on her taking it in Oct and maybe a second time in Dec and then be done with it. Many kids will improve taking the test a second time anyways. Just my 2 cents..
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  • blossomblossom 9824 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The best way to reduce the stress around high stakes testing? Lower the stakes.

    This seems very obvious to me.... if she feels fine- she goes. If she feels lousy, can't concentrate, and is likely to be blowing her nose and infecting everyone within 30 feet she stays home.

    This is not an air traffic controller walking off the shift, leaving a bunch of planes to collide mid air. This is not the head of the CIA going to take a nap in the middle of a complex operation overseas where 50 people could die if the wrong decision is made in a split second. This is a HS junior who got a cold.

    Let her sleep it off. And by the way- this is just one reason why test optional schools went test optional!!!!
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1226 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The ACT doesn't let you reschedule without penalty? My brother pushed back the August SAT to November. Maybe because there was more notice? If she's really not feeling up for it, maybe call and see if they will let you push it.
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1173 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yeah, I know, @homerdog ;0 And it does seem to work best for me if I do it at the first hint of symptoms...seems to ward off a new sore throat but not sure that it does much once it becomes a full-blown thing. I take it anyway, figure it can't hurt (though it can burn a bit going down).
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1433 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If she doesn't take the test you lose what, $68? This is one of the most important tests in HS she will ever take, money should not be the reason to take the test tomorrow and I believe the OP is full pay at Bowdoin so I think her family can afford the test fee?
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4227 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So on the contrary one of my son's Act tests (took it 3 times) he had a 100 fever but wanted to take the test. It was useful as a practice test and didn't do that bad but of course most likely done better. On another one he didn't look or feel so well either. I think sometimes these kids bring this on through stress /anxiety etc.

    If she is feeling OK I say get it done. But check to see if Oct is available. If it is then just call it a day and have her get better. If she needs more time then Oct seems perfect.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We would lose $55. She wasn’t taking the writing. The money is not an issue. I already have her signed up for Oct. if she doesn’t go tomorrow, I will sign her up for Dec test. Not ideal and it’s close to finals and a little farther away but not a deal breaker.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    But the plan was to study this summer and she did a lot of work. She did take two full practice tests and worked her way through almost all of the Erika Metzler books and College Panda Math. She also took four more tests but just one section at a time depending on which subject she was studying for that week. The idea was to do all of this and take two fall tests and be done. She has very little time to study now that school has started. Gets to bed around 11:00 every night as it is just with homework. Can’t very well tell her she needs to start ACT practice at 11:00 at night.

    If she doesn’t go tomorrow and shoots for Oct, she will really have to try to prioritize ACT practice on her weekends. She usually has a good six hours of homework already on weekends. She will not be thrilled with that. I know lots of kids go through this. I’m just bummed because her being sick means she will now need to study more during school time and we were trying to avoid that.
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  • gone2mrrwgone2mrrw 2 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    While I am extremely sympathetic to your daughter, I would just ask you to also consider the other high stressed busy kids that will be in that room for 4 hours with your daughter. Most have also studied hard, many are taking this test as their last shot before college apps are due. Not only could your daughter being sick (sneezing, blowing her nose etc) affect their ability to give it their best shot, but she also might be infecting the entire room of 20+ students with whatever illness she has. Just a thought.
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  • blossomblossom 9824 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If she's prepped, she's prepped. This is not like passing the bar exam where one detailed question about some arcane point of law you didn't learn in law school might be the difference between practicing law and not (at least until the next test).

    She studied hard. She takes it. Based on her score, she decides if she wants more prep or not.

    She studied hard. She can't take it, because she doesn't want to give 80 kids her bug. So she takes it next time. What exactly is to be gained with more prep between now and the next testing time-- is something magical happening during these prep sessions????

    For a kid who approaches testing with anxiety- this seems like a good way to reinforce that anxiety. I'm sure she did a lot of work this summer but it's not like her brain starts to fry once school starts, right? She's not going to lose her prep..... there is zero risk that a new math concept is going to be created in the universe between now and the October test date. Zero.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5057 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @blossom I think she needs more full test prep. She only took one full test after the initial test and her overall score went down. She got fatigued. She was scoring three-four points higher on each section over the summer when she took them individually. Then, on the full test she took three weeks ago, all of that gain was lost. Now, it could be just that one test. S19 bounced around a lot on his full practice tests during the summer before he started testing and, in fact, also had his worst test before his first real try. But she flat out told me that she felt the test was harder when all of the sections were taken together. No kidding. So is she prepped for content? Yes. Could she prep more for stamina. Yes.

    And I hear everyone about getting someone at the test sick. I wouldn’t want that. I’m not sure that would be the deal breaker though. Lots of kids sick at school right now and I’m pretty sure a decent number of them will be taking the test tomorrow.
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  • 3kids2dogs3kids2dogs 134 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 13
    Oh no @homerdog! I'm so sorry for your D. If it were me/my kid, unless she was too sick to go (doesn't sound like it, sounds like a "just not 100%" situation), I'd have her take it.

    If she usually gets test anxiety or if you think that this illness might be a physical manifestation of stress, being sick might be a "good" thing - expectations are a bit lower; she can "blame" a low test score on not feeling well.

    She may very well go in, take the test and absolutely rock it because there are no expectations.

    The seniors taking the test tomorrow are the stressed ones; she has no reason to stress at all. She has lots of test options ahead of her.

    Not sure if this matters, but just as a reminder - the October ACT and the PSAT are one Saturday after another. My daughter has been prepping for the October ACT - just full tests from here on out as well for the reasons you stated (fatigue) - but it's not as much time as you'd think, because she also wants to take a couple full PSAT's between now and October. I'm thinking at most (with Homecoming and one other weekend taken up completely by fun stuff), she'll be able to fit in two more full ACTs, which is not a huge amount of additional prep.
    edited September 13
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