Whether you have a student who is a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, now is the time to create a gameplan for taking (or retaking) the SAT or ACT. Keeping these exams in perspective is important as very often their importance becomes overblown – GPA typically trumps test scores!
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RISING FRESHMEN AND SOPHOMORES:
Parents need to think about college as soon as their teen enters high school. This does not mean taking a prep couse to prepare for the SAT or ACT early! It means making sure their student takes challenging classes, gets good grades, and if possible, develops reading as a hobby. (Colleges tend to look most closely at students’ grades as it reveals the academic ‘track record’.)
So your teen is not a ‘reader’: I recommend your teen take an Efficient Reading Course that focuses on improving reading speed, comprehension, and focus. The ultimate goal is to develop a reading range between 300 and 1000 wpm. When students learn how to read faster and improve comprehension, taking the leap to developing the hobby of leisure reading can realistically happen. FACT: Teens who spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day doing leisure reading, tend to score higher on standardized tests.
I consider our Efficient Reading Training the foundation program for test preparation. We will be offering a 6-week small group program beginning June 22. The program is also available one-on-one – we work out your preferred schedule.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RISING JUNIORS:
The summer before junior year is the ideal time to begin preparing for the SAT/ACT. ALL juniors will be taking the SAT this October. NOTE: Those who commit to studying over the summer/fall tend to do better on the SAT or ACT- since students are not in school, they are better able to focus on the strategies and skill sets. The program will run up to the PSAT date on Wednesday, October 11, Saturday test day: October 14, or the alternate test day: Wednesday, October 25.
The PSAT is almost a mirror image of the SAT and of course very similar to the ACT. Since the change in the SAT, the overlap in format and skill sets with the ACT is very significant. The junior PSAT is important as it provides a true reflection of a potential SAT or ACT score.
Now is the time to schedule your complimentary Test Prep Strategy Session to create personalized game plan for your teen. 301.299.4380.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR JUNIORS:
If your teen is presently a junior and is planning on taking the SAT on May 6, here is our 20 Most Effective Strategies. This should do it if your teen is already scoring high, but just needs a ‘nudge’. If your teen is planning on taking the SAT or ACT on June 3 or June 10, and needs a bit more review, now is the time to call! 301.299.4380.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RISING SENIORS:
So your plan is to take the SAT and/or ACT in the fall. Please note that for the first time, the College Board is now offering an end of summer test date – August 26. (This date will probably become the most popular test date so register now if you were planning on retaking the SAT then.) The first fall ACT is on September 9.
For those considering early action or early decision, the deadlines are usually between November 1 and December 15th; regular admissions deadlines tend to be between January 1 and February 15, and rolling anytime (though, better to apply as early as possible). Always check with the colleges you are interested in, as often the deadlines will vary from the ones listed above.
Any test given in September – ACT, September 9; in October – SAT, October 7; ACT, October 28, or November – SAT, November 4 – should work for most EA and ED schools.
The Ivies state January 1 as being their regular decision deadline. Early action or early decision deadlines are on November 1. That said, students can take the SAT as late as October for early decision/action (although the earlier the better) and as late as November SAT for regular decision.
THE OPTIMUM TIME TO TAKE AN SAT OR ACT
As we work with our students, we will recommend when to take the SAT, the ACT or both. Don’t know your teen’s better test? The 60 Second ACT vs. SAT Assessment will confirm the better exam. The 90 Second ACT and SAT Skill Set Assessment will further validate and also provide ACT and SAT score correlations!
Some students are ready to take the SAT and/or ACT in November or December. For those students who require more time to mature in their cognitive thinking skills and/or more reading and math under their belt, waiting until after the first of the year would be the better option.
Both the SAT and ACT are administered 6 times a year. (Beginning in July, 2018, the ACT will add an additional test date.)
Here are the 2017-2018 SAT dates.
These are the 2017-2018 ACT dates.
FYI: The ACT can be taken as many as 12 times; no maximum on the SAT. I would recommend no more than four times as more usually becomes counterproductive.
WHAT’S INVOLVED IN TEST PREPARATION TO ENSURE SCORE IMPROVEMENT
Generally speaking, students need to commit to a program that spans 6 -16 weeks depending upon level. Having a longer time to practice and internalize the skill sets and strategies better ensures that they will be used on test day!
Students are expected to study 20-40 minutes a daily. Daily practice is the only way to truly get a comfort level with the techniques learned.
The core of our test preparation program and certainly what makes us different from any other test prep is training our students to become more efficient readers – improving their speed and comprehension. Building on that, we then teach them how to identify the point of the passage. On the reading passages, the ‘trick’ to being successful and being able to finish without feeling pressed is having an effective strategy to quickly find the point.
Studies have shown that devoting a minimum of 40 hours can change test taking habits.
The homework can be described graphically as a ‘bell curve’ – less in the beginning and end and more in the middle.
When students begin test prep in the summer, they typically complete two thirds of the course before school starts and are then able to come every other week once it begins.
Typically we see our students improve 150-250 points!
HOW YOUR TEEN CAN BEGIN WORKING WITH BREAKTHROUGH TEST PREP:
Call now to schedule your complimentary Test Prep Strategy Session and create your teen’s personal game plan – ensure your teen’s test-taking success! 301.299.4380.
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