ACT Prep Strategy:
I'm pretty sure you haven't heard fhis academic strategy before:
Okay, there's a catch. Give up, strategically.
That's actually one of the tips that I've had for my ACT prep students for years, and I've had dozens of students come back to me and tell me that it really works!
Let me explain...
For most students, your target score on the ACT is not a 36, so your version of an "A" does not require tackling all of the questions! Instead, it's best to be strategic and selectively "give up" on certain questions/passages, so that you can bank the time to focus instead on the areas where you are stronger or just give you time to just slow down and have a better chance of getting things right.
This is especially true on the ACT math, which typically is increasing in difficulty as you go through the test. Of the 60 questions, questions around 41-50 are typically more difficult than the first 40 questions, and the last ten questions have some of the hardest...
The next SAT exam is right around the corner.
Your goal is to set yourself up for success. Here are some recommendations:
WEEK BEFORE TEST
In my online course I recommend that students not take any full-length tests the week of the exam. You don't want to mess with your mental readiness by getting a score that's lower than your target, so focus any prep work on just small sections. You can grade to see how many you got right/wrong, but don't convert to a 1600-point scale.
This is also a good time for you to review your prep notes, make flash cards, and update your strategies for each section.
If you have not been to the testing center before, drive by so you know the location and identify where you will park and where you will walk to so that you are taking away as many unknowns as possible. You want the test day to run as smoothly as possible so you can bring your best game, and surprises about testing center location, how far you have to walk, etc can throw...
I’ve been working to help students prepare for the ACT and SAT for 14 years, and over that time I’ve determined there are four key factors to test prep success:
All four of these elements MUST be in place for you to be successful! You could even consider these to all relate like a math equation:
CONTENT x STRATEGY (PRACTICE + REVIEW) = SUCCESS
C S ( P + R ) = SUCCESS
For you to hit the target score you need for admission to your top choice schools AND to open doors for scholarships that make college affordable you need a plan for each of these four factors, so that’s what we’ll tackle in this post!
So first off when deciding whether to take the ACT or the SAT, it's important to note that since 2007 every college in the country accepts both the ACT and the SAT exam for admissions.
This means that students no longer have a college-motivated reason to take one exam over the other, but instead should take whichever exam they perform better on.
How do you determine that? Well we'll talk you through that, but first let's take a look at the basic structure of each test:
So I've received multiple questions from individuals who are planning out their course load and trying to determine whether to take Geometry or Algebra 2 after completing Algebra 1. It's an understandable question, so in this article I'll take a look at the arguments for both routes, but the short answer is either way is fine. Now let's take a look at the reasons for each route...
A Short History (and a little about test preparedness)
Parents, chances are pretty good that you took courses in the order of Algebra 1, Geometry, and then Algebra 2. You probably also only had to take 3 math courses in high school, and there was probably very little integration of geometry into your algebra curriculum. Since students were required to take the ACT or SAT (and usually with little to no prep work), it made more sense for students to take geometry before algebra 2 for test purposes so that they had at least seen some geometry before they took the test.
But things have...
College Board made a big announcement in January that they were going to be discontinuing the SAT Subject Tests, discontinuing the optional SAT essay, and also that they were going to continue working towards a digitally delivered version of the SAT.
What does this mean?
Dropped Subject Tests
The SAT Subject Tests were exams over individual subject areas that were used to supplement the primary SAT in the application process. Unlike the AP or CLEP tests, the SAT Subject Tests did not offer the possibility of earning students college credit.
The reality is fewer colleges have been requiring/recommending the SAT Subject tests anyways, with the ones who have been using the tests primarily being top-tier schools. So for most schools, this part of the announcement will not matter. College Board made this as a business decision, reflecting the fact that the demand for these tests was no longer there (amplified all the more by the COVID challenges to testing availability).
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