So many voices tell us so many different opinions on the SAT and ACT. With all of this noise it becomes very difficult for anyone to cut through the confusion and figure out: “Where do I start?”
1. Do I prep for the SAT? or the ACT? or both?
CCPrep will recommend that most students prep for both the SAT and ACT. The only exception would be specific situations in which pervasive evidence or inadequate timing left would demand attention on only one exam. A diagnostic test taken before any prep has been given is not adequate evidence to suggest the SAT or the ACT only. Far too often we’ve seen students perform better on one exam without prep, but then once prep was given for both exams the results favored the other exam.
2. So what should be my first step?
CCPrep recommends that no actual SAT/ACT classroom prep or individual SAT/ACT tutoring begin until a student has completed his or her Sophomore year of High School. If you would like to do prep prior to that, we would recommend focusing instead on the skills needed (such as reading comprehension or performing as well as one can in one’s math classes).
CCPrep recommends the following timetable:
- AP Students, or students busy during most of Spring, should prep over the summer before Junior Year and be prepared to take the exams during the Fall of Junior years. If a retest is needed it can be done in the Winter or early Spring (depending upon Final Exam timing). Additional practice or tutoring can be offered to assist with the retesting.
- Students who are not in any AP Classes and have not completed both Geometry and Algebra 2 by the end of Sophomore year may choose to wait until after 1st semester finals for Junior year are completed to begin prep. These students would then take the SAT and ACT in Spring and, if needed, retest during the June SAT or ACT, again with additional practice or tutoring to assist.
3. Should I do classes? Or individual tutoring?
CCPrep recommends initial preparation should be done in a classroom setting (but a small group classroom). The structure of a curriculum ensures that all strategies are taught efficiently and that a student has a strong foundation to build upon. In addition, the presence of other students also struggling and working to improve themselves encourages and gives a competitive spirit needed with a subject as, we will say it, boring as the SAT and ACT can be.
The list of our current class schedules can be found here: www.ccprep.org/classes
Once a student has completed a course, and results are back from his or her exams, hopefully the desired score has been achieved and no additional preparation is needed. If an area or two of weakness still remains, individual tutoring on only 1 of the exams (SAT or ACT) is recommended. Our team of individual tutors has been trained to investigate the “Why?” That is, “Why is this student, with the knowledge of correct strategies, still missing these questions?” Working through practice questions with the tutor (along side homework) is the best method to achieve growth. Typically we recommend 2-3 sessions per area of weakness.
To schedule tutoring times with our SAT/ACT Tutors, calendars and bios can be found here: www.ccprep.org/itp
4. What if I’d just prefer specific advice for my student? Do you do consultations?
To better serve our customers, CCPrep now offers meetings with a test prep advisor. This service is for those who have taken real or practice SATs and ACTs and want help interpreting their scores. Additionally, the test prep advisor will help students and parents decide which tutoring options are right for them. The test prep advisor will analyze past practice test scores and actual scores to see if a student should take group classes, individual tutoring, subject tutoring, or take one of our free practice tests.
For those interested in college related advice, the test prep advisor can look-up SAT/ACT average scores for universities and let students know if their scores are within the range. However, the test prep advisor is not a college advisor and cannot let you know what school is the best fit for a student or give any college counseling. If you are interested, we can provide recommended Independent Educational Consultants.
To schedule a no-cost Parent Meeting please visit ccprep.org/parent-meeting