It feels like every year, students (and/or their parents) are motivated to start preparing for standardized testing earlier. Although it is great to get an early start on building the reading, English grammar, scientific reasoning, and math skills tested on the SAT and ACT, it is important to make sure students don’t start too early. Otherwise, there is a risk for them to either become oversaturated with the exam and to burn out by the time Junior year arrives or to struggle with the material and become anxious about standardized testing.
At Academic Tutoring & Testing, we consider two main factors in determining when students are ready to take their college entrance exams.
A student’s current reading level: Most of the exam is reading based (even the math tests are almost all story problems). Strong readers are able to start taking the exams earlier than weak readers.
The math courses a student has completed: The ACT and SAT exams test concepts through trigonometry. Students should only attempt the exams after they have completed Algebra II.
For younger students who are motivated to build their skills for the ACT, we recommend signing up for our ACT Developmental Program, which focuses on helping students develop the skills they will need for success on the ACT. The program is specifically tailored to each students current level and main areas of needs.
Initial Exam Readiness Diagnosis:
Students are given a modified version of the ACT, which allows us to gauge their current levels on each aspect of the exam.
Once a student’s current reading level is determined, we help them build their reading ability through an ascending series of timed readings. Focused is placed on speed reading and overall comprehension skills. Students are also encouraged to choose fun, level appropriate, high interest books to read from our shelves.
Students are taught the most common concepts that appear on the ACT exam. Once they master the basic concepts, they complete an ascending level of real ACT questions on each topic. Focus is placed both on mastering concepts and learning how to recognize them on the exam. Students are also taught how to read math story problems for content and how to use techniques such as plugging in the answers, picking numbers, and making smart estimates to help solves problems efficiently.
The English section of the ACT is one of the easiest for most students to learn. Emphasis is placed on teaching students the basic grammar concepts that appear on the ACT. Once students master each concept, they complete practices quizzes featuring real ACT test questions.
Science Reasoning Development:
Despite its name, the Science section of the ACT has very little to do with actual scientific knowledge. Instead, it is almost entirely a measure of a student’s ability to read and interpret charts, diagrams, and figures. We use real ACT Science diagrams with our students to help them learn how to identify patterns, exceptions, and trends. Then we help them apply their observations to answer typical ACT questions.
Our ACT Developmental program runs throughout the year. However, there is nothing more important to college admissions than keeping up a strong GPA, and we find that our developmental program is often most successful in the summer when students have time to fully commit to mastering the concepts on the ACT.
If you’re interested in learning more about our ACT Development Program, please don’t hesitate to call us at 952-591-9437 or to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.