At The Core is excited to bring you this guest blog, End of the School Year Stress: 7 Tips to Tackle the Reduced ACT and SAT Test Cycle, from Dr. Srinath Sampath, PhD, CFA®, founder of PrepAccelerator. PrepAccelerator offers free ACT Crash Courses and paid 13-hour ACT Boot Camps in the Columbus area. You can read more about Dr. Sampath below.
End of the School Year Stress: 7 Tips to Tackle the Reduced ACT and SAT Test Cycle
At the end of the school year, students, especially juniors, are trying to squeeze in end-of-course exams, AP tests, and ACT and SAT testing. Due to the snow delays that caused the postponement of the State ACT for most Central Ohio high schools in February 2019 and the longer reporting cycle that typically follows any State ACT, most students are only now receiving their scores. Additionally, some schools were able to schedule their State tests only in early April.
To help students handle this reduced test cycle, review these seven ACT and SAT test prep tips.
The bottom line is that juniors have much less time in 2019 to improve their scores than in prior years. Most juniors have only 3 remaining ACT test opportunities – the tests on June 8, July 13, and September 14 – and 3 SAT test opportunities – the tests on May 4, June 1, and August 24 – before early admission deadlines arrive this fall.
Here are 7 tips to help students maneuver through this compressed test-taking window:
- If you are still awaiting your score, unless you are already close to your target score (1-2 points away on the ACT or 30-60 points away on the SAT), please don’t squander time but, instead, continue your preparation for the ACT and SAT, even if you can study only 15-30 minutes per day. Every little bit helps.
- Spend some of this time memorizing math formulas and English grammar rules. Those of you who have attended our crash courses or boot camps already have some or all of the PrepAccelerator cheat sheets. Plan to know these formulas and rules perfectly before the end of this school semester. Do not delay memorization to the very end as this can only lead to disappointment.
- Do not postpone ACT or SAT test-taking until September and October, but, instead, plan to take the test in May, June, July, and August as well, until you hit or exceed your target score. I have had students who chose not to take the test over summer, woke up very sick on the September or October test date, and suffered through the test. Needless to say, their scores were nowhere near their targets. Once school starts, so does flu season, and students tend to fall sick in the new academic year. Additionally, you have new classes, new teachers, and all the disorientation that the busy high school lifestyle can bring.
- Ideally, you should give the June ACT and SAT your full effort so that you don’t waste the rest of summer on test prep. Juniors, remember that you have the entire college application process coming your way – this will be time-consuming and exhausting. If you are unable to achieve your target score during your practice sessions, push hard to get as close as possible to it by June. You can make up any remaining points in the later tests. Front-loading a strong performance in June is a very worthwhile strategy.
- Remember that finals and AP testing come your way in May and will compromise several weeks of ACT and SAT prep time. Colleges require strong GPAs from you, so do not neglect schoolwork.
- Determine your target ACT or SAT score by googling your dream schools and writing down the range of scores for students admitted by these schools in recent years. Most schools report this data, and it’s quite easy to find.
- Seek help immediately if you do not see the desired improvement in your scores. A relatively small upfront cost may well result in a strong score improvement, which, in turn, may result in admission to target schools and/or improve the odds of scholarship. Consider registering for our crash courses or boot camps, or do reach out to us by email or phone 614.495.6871 about our approach and fees for private 1-1 tutoring.
Our best wishes go to you for phenomenal success in standardized testing and in life!
Thank you to Dr. Srinath Sampath for your blog post! Dr. Sampath has a PhD in Statistics from The Ohio State University, where he won both teaching and research awards for his work. By day he is managing director, portfolio management, at a Columbus-based registered investment advisory firm. Dr. Sampath is passionate about improving the quality of, and access to, tutoring for standardized tests. His continuing goal is to provide instruction and materials of the highest quality to every student, and customized to the student’s specific learning style. PrepAccelerator offers free ACT Crash Courses and paid 13-hour ACT Boot Camps in the Columbus area. You can join PrepAccelerator’s no-spam mailing list for tips and early announcements of upcoming events.
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