Tag Archives: perfect

Vince Lombardi, one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports, simply didn’t believe in perfection. According to Lombardi, “perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Perfection in football–as I learn every year from my beloved Giants–may not be attainable, but perfection on standardized tests certainly is. Sure, perfect SAT & ACT scores are incredibly difficult to achieve, but more students than ever are achieving ACT perfection. How can a student earn a perfect test score? Probably not by accident. You may have heard legends of students who accidentally earned epic scores with no prior test exposure, but these tales inevitably describe academic prodigies whose lifetimes of intellectual exploration provided all the preparation necessary. The path to perfect scores resembles the ones that lead to gold medals and platinum albums: hard work, dedication, deliberate practice, and expert guidance. I’ve worked with many…

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Meet Martha, a motivated, overachieving high school student. Martha lives by the credo, “If it’s not perfect, it’s not done.” In college-level vocabulary terms, she is assiduous, diligent, and exacting. In short, Martha is a perfectionist. Her indefatigable commitment shows in her outstanding grades, yet she struggles time and time again on standardized tests. Why? Of all the reasons why great grades don’t necessarily translate to great test scores, perfectionism may be easiest to overlook. You might imagine that a unwavering commitment to always doing things right, no matter what the cost, would serve a student well on test day. But true perfectionism often impedes growth and hobbles progress. True perfectionism manifests as a refusal to make mistakes, which can lead to debilitating procrastination and toxic self-loathing. At its root, according to author Michael Law, perfectionism isn’t really about perfection: “It’s about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of…

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