Master Shimada: Lighting a Fire Under Your Essays Since 1998

August 27, 2013


Drawing by Jacob Lutz

Twice a semester, Project Manager Nadyne Shimada will terrify the seniors with a column packed with everything they should have completed ages ago.  This month, she talks ACT’s and SAT’s, while simultaneously testing your literary knowledge and close-reading skills.

Good luck, you will need it.

By Nadyne Shimada

— Mary, Queen of Scots, is said to have had “In my End is my Beginning” embroidered on her cloth of estate while imprisoned and awaiting execution. Many of you may be able to feel her ennui. Your final year of high school may seem like a “prison” with day long regimentation, demands to perform, and uniforms. Soon rivers of blood red ink will meander over your research papers, some of which will meet their fate in the raging pyres of doom, a conflagration too great to be extinguished by your flowing rivulets of tears. Yearning for an end to the unrelenting pain, you just want this year to be over as soon as possible.

To others, this school year began with anxiety—college applications, scholarship applications, and essays to write—oh my! Your heart sings “Where do I begin, to tell the story of how great a kid I am, this great love story of a youth you should accept, a youth for which there are no precedents.” If you are a Bio-Med scholar, your RIA project involves cloning yourself because you need another you. If you are an Engineering Scholar, you are developing a Time-Turner to defeat the linear march of time. There is just so much to do; how can you possibly complete all those applications, write all those essays, and maintain your grades with dwindling time and meager reserves of energy?

Believe it or not, all your Project Managers were once like you. Let me clarify that statement; some of us had fashion sense (unlike some of you) and we went from high school into college. Because I think you all need to leave us, The Catalyst has graciously granted me a column to keep you apprised of what you need to do, and when.

“To begin at the beginning…”, as Lewis Carroll said, register for the ACT or SAT. The majority of colleges and universities in the United States require one of these entrance examinations as part of the application process. You have to register on-line so have a debit or credit card on hand. It will take you approximately one hour to set-up your account before you even register for the test so plan accordingly. If you are planning to attend CNM, you may elect to take one of these exams or the Accuplacer, which is free. You can take the Accuplacer at CNM, with Ms. Vicki, or with me.

The deadline for the October 26th ACT is September 27. The fee is $36.50 without the writing, and $52.50 with the writing. You have until September 6 to register for the September 21 ACT but have to pay a late registration fee of $23.00. The website is Fee waivers are available so see Ms. Vicki.

If you are registering for the SAT, in addition to a debit or credit card, you will also need a recent “head shot” meaning a picture of you, facing the camera, without other people in the background. Try to look “normal” because the picture you upload will be matched to the picture ID you bring for admission to the test. The deadline for the October 5th test is September 6th and the fee is $51.00. Again, see Ms. Vicki for fee waivers.

Determining which test to take requires you to evaluate your skill set with a critical eye. If you perform well on standardized tests which are constructed like classroom tests and quizzes, are a fast and effective reader, and can maintain your focus for 40 to 60 minutes at a time, then you should consider taking the ACT. If you have good verbal skills, including the ability to handwrite a five to six paragraph essay in 25 minutes, consider taking the SAT. While the ACT has an optional essay, writing on the SAT is required. That required essay makes the SAT two-thirds verbal: an essay, reading (usage, mechanics, and rhetorical skills), and math (basic algebra, algebra functions and graphs, geometry, statistics, and logic). Each section of the SAT is 25-minutes and may require you to shift back and forth from English to math. You may wish to take both to determine which test gives you the highest composite percentile ranking. As you will recall from Algebra Data Analysis and Probability, the percentile ranking is a cumulative frequency distribution illustrating your ranking relative to others who have taken the test.

As you register for these examinations, you may wish to check the box that allows colleges and universities to send you marketing material. This is a good method for learning about a school you have never heard of, or one that has been under your radar. However, remember one critical fact; just because a college or university has sent you marketing material, it does not mean they will accept you if you apply. I am going to end this column with that happy thought.

My next column will focus on the match-making that defines the college admission process, as well as organizing your application process. By the way, to solidify my reputation for “evilness”, there will be a quiz on this article.

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12 Comments on “Master Shimada: Lighting a Fire Under Your Essays Since 1998”

  1. Walker Dobbins Says:

    Ms Shimada tries very hard to make us succeed. We all appreciate what she does.


  2. Selena Najera Says:

    This is a lot to follow and I don’t believe I am ready for all this.But, oh well I got to do what I got to do.I have studied but am not to sure if it’s going to better my score.I am going to take the accuplacer for CNM.


  3. Bryah Says:

    Considering that this is my second year of being a senior, I can say that everything she has said is correct about your senior year.


  4. Jose Cuervo Says:

    This is a very well written article, and I agree with what is stated 6 points on the ACT


  5. austin reed Says:

    slightly terrifying


  6. Jose Cuervo Says:

    Yay! ACT/SAT


  7. Brianah Maestas Says:

    She tries hard for us, and this i greatly appreciate.


  8. Jake Lutz Says:

    Have already taken the ACT and SAT. WHEW! Mrs. Shimada consistently scares me with her rapier-like wit and sharp writing skills. But even though I have already done all of that, I can confirm what she says.


  9. David Paszkiewicz Says:

    I would recommend doing what she says, or your essays will be burned, and she will enjoy burning them! ACT is the only one i look forward to :/


  10. Annett Says:

    There are umpteen boasts to fish pokemon the Berkley PowerBait Saltwater Eel such as
    it as a pastime. He’s got all sorts of ages and genders of
    people. Of course, there are many different types of river packages fish pokemon also for fishing.
    A park or parking lot works fine. Now we’ll head back home.
    We’re going to show you how to tie a” Dragonfly”.



  1. Opinion: Early Start for ASK Community Leaves Project Manager Nostalgic for the Change in Seasons | ASK Catalyst - August 27, 2013

    […] and new beginnings.  It also means that high school is over and you need to get out.  Please, get with Ms. Shimada immediately so you have somewhere to go next fall.  The Academy only has so many visitor […]

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