test prepSo you’re not sure about test preparation at all, but have friends whose teens have been preparing since 10th grade!  Should you have done the same?  Now that your student is a junior, where do you begin?  Don’t all test programs teach the same material?  At this point, the most important question is does my teen REALLY need one-on-one test preparation?

Here are the 7 major reasons a student should prepare for the SAT/ACT in a tutorial setting:

  1. You have a VERY strong student who is looking to get into one of the top tiered schools. Key strategies, mindset training, and validation will give that strong student the edge she needs to typically break 30 on the ACT and 700 on the the SAT. (Most students in this category need very few hours of tutoring, merely ‘tweaking’.) Many of our students who are within those higher score ranges have often gotten a perfect score!
  2. You would love for you teen to be the recipient of grant money. The best way to insure that happens is to to make sure your student gets scores that are higher than the range of the majority of applicants. (This is public information.) For example, if a particular university’s high end of ACT scores is 27 or  1300 the SAT, and your teen scores are a 31 (ACT) or 1400 (SAT), your student will most likely be offered thousands in scholarship money.
  3. You have a student who has anxiety or ‘just doesn’t test well’, but is a good student and gets excellent grades. Such students need not only to learn proven test-taking strategies, but even more important, learn techniques to boost confidence and quell anxiety.
  4. Your teen has a crazy schedule. (Get serious, Harriet! What teen doesn’t?!) One-on-one sessions are ideal as they are scheduled based on the student’s schedule and availability. (Please note that students get more than twice as much done in a tutorial setting vs. a group; therefore, fewer hours of instruction are necessary.)
  5. Your student is totally clueless about the exam and realizes that going it alone is not enough. Groups are too distracting and squeezing in test prep without someone to answer to is difficult and unrealistic.
  6. Your teen has been taking weekly practice tests for the past month or two and the scores have plateaued. This is where one-on-one coaching can provide the necessary edge to boost those scores. (NOTE: The public school test prep is about doing a lot of practice tests and very little or teaching of skills or strategies.)
  7. You want to ensure that the time and money spent studying for the exam pays off. FACT: ALL levels of students benefit more in a tutorial learning environment over a group setting.

            Ideally, now that your student is a sophomore or junior what should you be doing?

For parents of sophomores:

  1. Make sure your student keeps his/her grades up. It’s still the most important piece! Preparing for these exams during the sophomore year is typically a crap shoot in terms of return on investment – both time and money. The only prep I would recommend is our half day PSAT Prep Workshop. This workshop provides an excellent overview of our key strategies, so the student has a confident sense of approach going into the exam.
  1. The summer before sophomore or junior year is the ideal time to take an efficient reading training course. This is where students hone in on improving their reading speed, comprehension and focus. Types of reading addressed are newspaper, fiction and non-fiction books.
  1. Read, read, read! If your student is not a ‘reader’ have him read movie or concert reviews. Then have your student write the author’s take in a complete sentence. Here’s the link to our Recommended Reading List.

For parents of juniors:

  1. Do your research and find out what program is best for your teen. Make sure the program includes the foundation piece – teaching reading efficiency, not merely strategies and practice exams. Recommendations from friends are a good place to start, but make sure the program has a way to assess in order to satisfy YOUR teen’s levels and needs. (See below.)
  1. If BreakThrough is your choice – and we hope it is – your teen will take the first step with our 60 Second Better Test Assessment: ACT or SATTM? as well our SAT/ACT Skill Set AssessmentsTM.  Then in the scheduled BreakThrough Test Prep Strategy Session, a personalized game plan will be formulated based on information gleaned from the assessments, a prior test score(s), and GPA. This game plan will ultimately determine the better exam, when it should be taken and how many hours of test prep will be required based on student’s needs and level.

I invite you to schedule your complimentary Test Prep Strategy Session at our center so you can find out more about our innovative approach. Call 301.299.4380 now.



Our tutorial programs are filled through October 19.

If you are a junior and want to get ready for the PSAT, click here to find out about our PSAT Prep Workshop offered at the Waldorf School in Bethesda. CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED!

Call now to find out about SAT or ACT tutoring!



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