Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with my hair stylist about ACT test prep. Her daughter will be a junior this fall, which means they are hearing a lot of chatter about taking the ACT test. The “plan of attack” that students have for this important test is sometimes baffling.
The student plan of attack often consists of:
Step 1: Don’t do any prep and just take the ACT test. Use the score as a barometer. (This costs about $50 and 4+ hours of time).
Step 2: Register for an upcoming ACT test and plan to study. (Most students have difficulty being disciplined enough to study during the craziness of a jammed packed junior year.)
Step 3: Take the test again. (Another $50 and 4+ hours) Slightly over 50% actually go up by a point or maybe two. Panic begins to set in for both parents and students!
Step 4: Register again. Take test again. (Another $50 and 4 hours) YET, ONLY 10% OF STUDENTS WILL IMPROVE TAKING THE TEST A 3RD TIME!! Now, they really freak out.
So, this plan costs nearly $150 for testing fees and about 15 hours on 3 Saturday mornings. Oh, and don’t forget the stress.
My suggested plan of attack is much different. Students should do significant ACT prep first. In our PrepStar class the goal is to take the test once and be done. Students take 3 practice tests in the class, so they get lots of exposure to the test. The difference is that we give them tools to go up with each test they take. By doing a significant amount of ACT prep (no matter the type), scores will go up.
It is important for parents to remember that the ACT is no longer just an aptitude test like it was when they were in school. It is now a serious competitions for college admissions and scholarship dollars. Help them develop a plan of attack for the ACT test that will result in success, not stress!!