ACT Test Prep; The Five Stages Of Grief

By Ilah Ross


1. It starts with denial, as grief always does. I refuse to acknowledge the fact that I am

sitting at my kitchen table on a sunny Saturday afternoon, hunched over a thick book of

ACT practice tests, pencil in one hand and the other hovering over the stopwatch. I

absolutely and wholeheartedly refuse to be here. In fact, my body and every fiber of my

being rejects this test each time I sit down to take it.

2. Then comes anger. I hate math. I hate this mechanical pencil with the lead that snaps

every thirty seconds because I accidently got 0.5 mm lead instead of 0.75. I hate the

college board for subjecting already mentally-unstable highschoolers to this grueling

standardized testing process. I hate the patriarchy, which has nothing to do with the

practice test in front of me, but I hate it nonetheless.

3. Next, bargaining. Do I really need to reach my target score? Is it really going to make a

difference if I skip one day of studying? If I don’t study today I’ll put in twice the effort

tomorrow, so technically it’s much more effective if I just leave right now.

4. Fourth, and the easiest to dwell on: depression. There is no escaping the fact that I am

sitting here about to take this godforsaken practice test. I find myself stuck on the fourth

stage often, wondering what horrible crime I could have committed in a past life that

brought me here today. Is there hope for the human race if we continue to subject our

young to this madness? I think not.

5. Finally, the stage I never quite seem to make it to: acceptance. I must admit that more

often than not I’ve already left the kitchen table and thrown my ACT book across the

room at this point, but let’s discuss it just for the sake of completing this list which I’m

also coming close to abandoning. After half an hour of internal strife, acceptance settles

over me and I pick up my mechanical pencil.