So you know that the PSAT – hence SAT – is going through some major changes. What you may not know is what that means for YOUR teen. What if your student is a rising junior – the first group of juniors who will be taking the redesigned PSAT and SAT? What is the optimum way to move forward and is preparation for a PSAT REALLY necessary? The short answer is a resounding, YES!

Here are 5 indisputable reasons why:

  1. Summer is the optimum time to work on the requisite skills for the PSAT and consequently the SAT and ACT. Students who begin one-on-one preparation the summer before junior year ultimately tend to score higher on the SAT or ACT. Why? They have the time and focus to REALLY learn and internalize the skills and thereby develop a comfort level with them. This is because they don’t have the ‘interference’ from schoolwork and extracurriculars. When school begins and students’ priorities obviously must change, they only need to come to their lessons every other week – just to maintain.
  1. If a student begins test prep in the summer, the mindset for preparing for the SAT or ACT is much different – in a very positive way. The pressure is off, as the student has already developed a confidence level with the skills and strategies– remember one doesn’t forget ‘skills’. That said, there is so much less pressure coming back for SAT or ACT prep as it’s merely review and practice testing.
  1. In working with the student in the summer/fall, we will know the student well enough to recommend which exam the student should take, as well as the optimum time to take the test(s). Is this student ready to take the ACT in December or should he wait until March to take the redesigned SAT or April to take the ACT?
  1. Many juniors are strong students and would benefit from test prep for the PSAT as they could score high enough to be a National Merit Scholar. Please note that this year there are $180MM in scholarships being offered which is three times more than last year. There are tons of scholarship providers, i.e., The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, United Negro College and many more.

BONUS REASON #5: Breakthrough Test Prep is presently offering a prepayment summer discount for rising juniors taking our premier one-on-one PSAT preparation: $75-$250 off a prepayment package. CALL FOR DETAILS. 301.299.4380. EXPIRES: 5.15.15.

What if one-on-one is not an option or my teen is in 8th, 9th, or 10th grade?

Clearly the optimum way to go is one-on-one for juniors as the PSAT is the best indicator of how a student would  score on the SAT or ACT.  If summer/fall one-on-one preparation is not possible, we offer a Quick Start Workshop in the fall just prior to the PSAT on October 11 at the Waldorf School. (Eight, ninth and tenth graders would also be welcome to this workshop.) The purpose of the workshop is to provide an overview of the key strategies of the more protracted one-on-one program. Students will be able to walk into the PSAT that following Wednesday or Saturday having a better ‘sense’ of the test as well as knowing how to apply some of the more salient strategies.

PLEASE NOTE: I do NOT recommend long-term test preparation for eight, ninth or tenth graders. In my many years of experience, I have found that most students are not mentally or emotionally ready to commit to test preparation. so it’s usually a waste of time and money. A half day workshop is more than enough!

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