Jim’s Blog: Test Guy

test kidsNext week, public-school juniors all across Wisconsin will take the ACT. If it seems like I haven’t been on the radio all that much these last six weeks, it’s because I have been traveling around the state helping kids prepare for the ACT. I work for a company that presents test-preparation seminars, and have done so (on and off) since 1994.

We teach the class a couple of different ways: either in two parts, on consecutive days or evenings after school, or all day on a Saturday or some other off-day. (If your kid attended an all-day test-prep seminar in Sun Prairie on Martin Luther King Day, at Monona Grove on Saturday February 11, or attended after school at West on the 15th and 16th, he or she spent their time with me.) Most of my classes are in the Madison and Milwaukee areas, or in the Fox Valley. Occasionally, I’m sent to Minnesota, and about once a year the company flies me somewhere. The last two Octobers I have taught in Massachusetts and New York. Three years ago, they sent me to San Antonio for a week.

As jobs go, it’s pretty great. If I’m teaching an after-school or evening session, I have the day free to do other work on the laptop in the hotel or some coffee shop somewhere. If I’m teaching all day, I have my evenings free. So there’s plenty of time to be a tourist (on my Massachusetts trip last fall I spent a day at Lexington and Concord) or to explore various congenial brewery tap rooms (as I did in the Fox Valley just last weekend).

If your kid is taking the ACT on Tuesday, February 28, I wish them luck. Tell ’em to pay close attention to the time in each testing section, and not to be be afraid to guess at an answer if they don’t know it. If they guess wrong, they don’t lose anything. If they guess right, it counts just like they knew it all along.

If only life itself worked like that.