How much TEST prep does my child need?
Every student has different goals and different learning needs. In order to understand the amount of prep that your child needs, please consult the steps below to gain a better insight:
STEP 1: DETERMINE YOUR ACT TARGET SCORE
In order to create a roadmap, we must first understand where you want to go. The ACT is broken down into 4 sections that are averaged together to create a composite score. This composite score is what colleges look at when determining college acceptance as well as financial scholarship eligibility.
The best way to determine your target score is to google your top college choices with the words ACT scores following. For example, if you had your heart set on OSU you would type in “Ohio State University ACT Scores”. The results would display the 25th percentile score and the 75th percentile score. In order to improve your chances for acceptance you should shoot to hit or exceed the 75th percentile score.
STEP 2: DETERMINE YOUR CURRENT ACT COMPOSITE SCORE
After determining your child’s ideal score goal, the next task on your list should be to determine what score your child is currently at. An old saying says that you can never get to where you want to go unless you know where you are currently at. Click here to download an actual ACT practice test. In order to gain an actual picture of the student’s performance, set aside 4 hours for the student to take the test without distractions and under the time limits provided.
Why should you put your student through the torment? The truth is that time pressure is a huge issue for many students. Learning to embrace the stress is part of improvement.
What if my child has already taken the ACT and has their scores? Awesome! Move on to step 3!
STEP 3: DETERMINE HOW MUCH TIME YOU HAVE TO PREPARE
Having enough time to prepare for the ACT is crucial. Since the ACT tests a lot of different concepts, it can take some time to master them all. If you are entering your senior year you have about 4 opportunities to achieve your target score. Tests are offered in July, September, October, and December. In order to apply for colleges the December test will be your final attempt.
Ideally, I would like to see students take their first ACT at the end of their Sophomore year in April. By taking the April test, students have the opportunity to apply for Test Information Release (TIR) which allows them to receive their test and answer document back to use as a study tool. In cases when the student starts early usually a very high ACT score can be achieved by the end of the students junior year. Say hello to freedom during your senior year!
STEP 4: DETERMINE HOW MANY PREP HOURS ARE REQUIRED
Here is a rough guide of the number of sessions needed to reach certain score improvements.
12 Sessions = 2-4 Point Increase
15 Sessions = 4-6 Point Increase
30 Sessions = 6-8+ Point Increase
Please remember that these are rough estimates and the point increase that the student can expect will be based on how much time they have to commit to the process. As you can see making significant improvement takes time. This is why starting early is the key. Students that try to cram for this test rarely see the improvements they desire. I recommend starting during the students sophomore year.
DOES YOUR CHILD REQUIRE LESS HELP?
CUSTOMIZED PACKAGES CAN BE CREATED TO FIT YOUR SITUATION AND BUDGET
SKILLS NEEDED FOR act MASTERY
English is the first section students will encounter on the ACT. I have reviewed over twenty previous ACT tests in order to know the specific grammar rules that are tested. Once the rules are mastered, students can expect a significant score bump in this section.
Math can be one of the trickiest subjects for students to grasp because concepts layer on top of one another. Many students have fundamental gaps in their understanding prior to starting ACT prep and these challenges need to be addressed first. Once the ACT core concepts are mastered more advanced material can be reviewed.
My reading curriculum helps students in two ways. First, I focus on improving a student’s reading comprehension. Once comprehension is addressed, I will then focus on improving a student’s reading rate. Both techniques are crucial in obtaining a great score on the ACT.
Many parents believe that their child has to be an expert in chemistry, biology, and physics in order to do well on the ACT science section. This is a myth! The ACT science section is actually a science “reasoning” test that interprets how well a student can use logic and determine answers from the data provided. With practice, students can improve their problem solving skills and increase their ACT science score.
Test Taking Techniques
Competence. Focus. Speed. In order for students to perform at their best they need to be confident in their abilities, pay attention to the question that is being asked, and be able to complete problems quickly in order to stay ahead of the harsh ACT time limits. I teach students how to handle each situation in a specific manner to cut down on lack of focus and careless errors. I also review guessing techniques that help improve the student’s chances of picking the right answer.
Time Management Techniques
Sometimes students understand the content of the ACT but struggle with the harsh time restrictions that the test imposes? I have access to real practice tests that will help the student get a feel for the real test. Mock tests are also available the week prior to the ACT in order to provide students with practice before the real test.