If your high school student is headed to college in the next year or two, there is a lot to do to get ready — including ACT and SAT preparation.
Mary Fisher of the Wellington Huntington Learning Center reminds parents that students entering their senior year and still planning to take the ACT or SAT need to develop a study timeline and strategy this summer. “A student’s SAT or ACT score is a critical component of his or her college application package, and for that very reason, it’s so important to plan ahead to prepare well,” Fisher said.
Huntington Learning Center offers parents and students a step-by-step exam prep checklist:
12 Weeks Out
• Develop a test prep schedule with the guidance of a tutor who specializes in SAT or ACT test prep.
• Take a full-length practice exam to get familiar with it. Huntington offers initial evaluations as part of its test preparation services.
• Evaluate the results of the exam to create a targeted study plan that will focus on weaker areas and capitalize on current strengths. Divide study schedule into major exam sections and sub-sections.
• Start getting familiar with multiple choice questions, response (essay) questions, fill-in-the-blank questions, improving sentence/paragraph questions and other question types.
8 Weeks Out
• Register for the exam. The Sept. 21 ACT registration date is Aug. 23, and the Oct. 5 SAT registration date is Sept. 6.
• Get familiar with the length of each exam and its sections, the approximate time your student should allow for each question, how each exam is scored and other important details.
• Work on speed. Students must be able to quickly identify wrong answer choices and manage their time well during the actual SAT or ACT.
• Continue to work on staying focused under pressure.
• Take two or more full-length, timed practice tests. Adjust studying to focus on weakest areas.
• Review the ACT and SAT test-taking tips.
4 Weeks Out
• Hone in on the weakest areas with timed section exams that concentrate on those areas.
• Focus on practice questions that are the most difficult for your student.
• Practice relaxation techniques to keep calm and focused during the exam.
• Continue taking full-length, timed exams.
Day of the Test
• Review the test-day checklist to make sure your student does not bring prohibited items to the exam and has everything he or she needs.
“To prepare well for the SAT or ACT, students should give themselves plenty of time to improve subject areas where they are not as strong, get acquainted with the exam and get comfortable with the test-taking setting,” Fisher said.