23-24 ACT Test Dates Cover

ACT Test Dates for 2023-2024

ACT Test Dates 2023-2024

Planning for the ACT is the key to success, which is why it’s important to know which test date is right for you. Test dates for 2023-2024 were released by ACT.org last week along with the regular registration deadline, late registration deadline + late fees, and the photo upload and standby deadline. As far as this summer, students still have the June 10th and July 15th test dates, which are great options for students with hectic schedules or a heavy academic load during the school year. Keep in mind, ACT Prep for the September 9th ACT will most likely begin mid-July. 

Picking a Test Date

Choosing the right test date may seem overwhelming, but we are here to tell it’s not! Take a look at your academic load for the year and see where you can manage to add in test prep on top of your classes. Students will want to prioritize about 8-10 weeks prior to the chosen test date. Typically, students meet with their tutor once a week for an hour and a half sessions. Keep in mind, you will have about 2-3 hours of ACT homework to finish each week before your next tutoring session.

Now, let’s talk about extracurriculars. What sports are you involved in? Are you in the school play this year? Don’t start prepping for the ACT if you’re right in the middle of your season or preparing for your opening act! You will feel completely overwhelmed studying for the ACT on top of practices and games or rehearsals and you won’t be able to put your best foot forward towards the test. Wait until you are finished with extracurriculars to start preparing for the ACT.

We have multiple options to help you reach your goals including Private Tutoring, Semi-Private Tutoring or our ACT Prep Course. If you have no idea where to start with the process, we always recommend establishing a baseline score by taking a Free Practice Test at one of our locations. 

If you need help figuring out which test date is best for you and how best to prepare for the test, please reach out to us

Contact Us Today. 

 

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Upcoming Events

Advice for the Upcoming Digital SAT

The SAT is currently in the process of transitioning from its current format to a new digital version. Here are some key facts about the timeline of the change and how it might impact your (or your student’s) prep process. 

For more information about the difference between the two tests, please check out this post.

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You may have heard that the SAT will soon transition to a digital format. Indeed, the transition has already begun. International students taking the SAT this semester (spring 2023) will take the digital version of the test.

For US students, the fall 2023 PSAT will be digital, and the digital version of the SAT will be administered starting in spring 2024.

What does this mean for students? 

Class of 2024

For students in the class of 2024, the digital version will likely not be a concern. These students took their PSAT in the fall of 2022. Future SAT administrations in the spring and fall of 2023 will all be using the current (paper) version of the test. This includes all test dates through December 2, 2023. Most students will complete any standardized testing for their college applications during that first semester of senior year. 

Class of 2025

Things get a bit more complicated for the class of 2025. These students will be taking the digital PSAT/NMSQT in October of 2023. We generally don’t recommend PSAT prep, as it isn’t a great use of time and resources for the overwhelming majority of students. 

However, if we do recommend PSAT prep for a student, we often suggest they take the SAT that is closest to that PSAT date, to make the most of the preparation time they have spent. For the class of 2025, though, the SAT administrations surrounding their PSAT will be quite different. Preparing for the (new) PSAT will not translate directly into preparing for the (old) SAT.

Our recommendations are always tailored to individual students, and we encourage you to reach out to us with questions! But the class of 2025 will be dealing with both versions of the test; the new, digital version will be what they see on the PSAT and in the spring of their junior year, while the old, paper version will be the tests administered during the fall of their junior year. This will make SAT prep for these students more complicated, and might be one of many factors that leads students to consider the ACT instead. 

Class of 2026

For the class of 2026, we would not recommend students begin their prep process until the spring of 2024 at the earliest (the end of their sophomore year). By this point, the transition to the digital SAT will be complete. 

At this point, the major concern for students interested in the SAT becomes the availability of practice materials. Any time a test is redesigned, a lot of the available material becomes obsolete. For a student who is already near their goal, this is less of a concern, but for a student hoping for a significant improvement, they might work through the available resources quickly and then be left scrambling for practice material. This will be a significant consideration in our recommendations for the class of 2026, and possibly beyond, depending on how much additional material is made available moving forward. 

SAT timeline

As always, we’re happy to answer any questions you have about these changes and what they mean for you! 

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The New Digital SAT

How Different Is the New Digital SAT?

How Different Is the New Digital SAT?

The SAT is currently in the process of transitioning from its current format to a new digital version. Here are some key facts about the difference between the two tests. For more information about the timeline of the change and how it might impact your (or your student’s) prep process, please check out this post.

Digital vs Paper

The new SAT will be digital, unlike the current version, which is mostly administered on paper. Some schools have administered computer-based SAT School Day exams. This is not the same as the new digital SAT. The current computer-based SATs have been the same types of exams as the paper tests, whereas the new digital SAT has significant differences. 

Length

The new exam will be about 2 hours and 15 minutes long, including a break, compared to the current exam, which is about 3 hours and 20 minutes, including breaks.

Sections

The current SAT has 4 sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (no calculator), and Math (Calculator). The new digital test will have just two sections: Reading/Writing and Math. The new Reading and Writing section includes a lot of topics that would have been tested in the current Reading or Writing and Language sections. Questions about grammar and punctuation, reading comprehension, and charts and graphs are all combined into one section. 

Computer Adaptive

The new test is computer adaptive. Each section is divided into two modules. Depending on how you perform in the first module, the second module will be easier or more difficult. According to College Board, “being adaptive means we can fairly and accurately measure the same things with a shorter test while preserving test reliability.”

Passage Length

Currently, the Reading and Writing and Language sections are passage-based, with multiple questions coming from each passage. The new Reading and Writing section does not follow this format. Each individual question is based on its own short passage.

No-Calculator Section 

There will no longer be any no-calculator Math section. A calculator will be allowed on the entire Math section. (There is a built-in calculator, or a student may bring their own.) There are, of course, more differences than we have included here! This is just an overview of the changes to the test. 
SAT timeline
If you have any further questions, please reach out to one of our tutors. 

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What is ACT Prep?

What is ACT Prep?

What is ACT Prep?

ACT prep refers to the process of preparing for the ACT exam, which is a standardized test used by many colleges and universities in the United States to evaluate a student’s readiness for higher education. ACT stands for American College Testing, and the exam consists of multiple-choice questions in the areas of English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning, and is typically taken by high school students in their junior or senior year.

The goal of ACT prep is to improve a student’s familiarity with the exam format and content, and to help them develop the skills and strategies needed to succeed on test day. This may include improving reading comprehension, math skills, grammar and punctuation, time management, practicing with sample questions, and test-taking strategies. ACT Prep can also help students gain confidence in their abilities and reduce test anxiety.

Students may choose to take the ACT exam multiple times, and many find that their scores improve with additional preparation and practice. A higher score on the ACT can improve a student’s chances of being accepted into the college or university of their choice, as well as potentially qualify them for scholarships or other forms of financial aid.

Working with tutors or taking courses to improve skills and knowledge in the subject areas being tested is one of the best ways to help prepare for the test. Knowledgeable tutors can help students think differently when it comes to the ACT, especially if students have taken the test multiple times and keep getting the same score. Using proven strategies, tutors are able to unlock new and different ways of approaching the test allowing students to increase their overall composite score.

 

 

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Are ACT Prep Classes Worth it

Are ACT Prep Classes Worth It?

Are ACT Prep Classes Worth It?

The answer is: it depends on your goals. This course is designed for students who enjoy a small classroom setting (between 3-6 students) and feel comfortable learning with a other students scoring in a similar ACT range, specifically between a 19-26 composite score. With that taken into consideration, and if you want to improve your score 2-5 points on the ACT, then an ACT prep class is a good fit for you. 

We know that when students take an ACT prep class, they want to know exactly what they’re getting out of it and what they can expect from the experience. Our goal at Get Smarter Prep is to ensure that every student who takes a class with us understands exactly what they’ll learn, how long it will take them to see results, and build confidence when it comes to taking the ACT.

So, here’s a quick rundown of what our ACT prep classes entail:

– 20-hr Course Instruction (8-week course) meeting 1-2x per week for 2 hours each session. Students will have approximately 90-180 minutes of homework per session.

-Learn about all four sections of the test (English, Math, Reading & Science).

-Learn strategies for solving problems in each section so that you can complete them efficiently and quickly.

-Get more practice under your belt by taking a practice test, midterm and final. Each of these tests are full-length, proctored ACT tests from previous real ACT’s. Our students will have taken three full-length ACT’s before taking the official ACT, which makes them more comfortable in a real-life setting.

-Get feedback from your tutor on the ACT’s you’ve taken to be able to see where you’ve improved and what you still need to work on.

Are ACT Prep Classes Worth It? In short, yes. However, it does depend on whether or not the student puts in the effort, mindfully completes the homework and is engaged in class. If students can do that, then an ACT Prep Class is 100% worth it. 

Our tutors want to be a resource for you, sharing their expertise and knowledge in a way that helps you better understand the material and achieve your goals! GSP tutors have a combined 100 years of experience working with students, and we’re excited to get to help you achieve your ACT goals!  Start Today.

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Week Leading up to the test

Planning for the Week Leading Up to the Test

The week leading up to the ACT can be very stressful. Here are some tips for focusing on the most important things to help ensure your success!

  • Sleep.

I know, you’ve got a thousand things to do and it’s Simply. Not. Possible. But here’s the truth: there are an immutable number of hours in each day. Only a certain number of things can fit into those hours. If you have more things than hours, you have to prioritize. Making a decision to sacrifice sleep is also a decision to sacrifice test performance. This is science, and you’re not exempt from scientific reality.

If you’re already in the habit of ruthlessly going to bed on time, that’s fantastic! If you aren’t, it’s time to begin to cut down on your sleep debt this week. Please don’t think you can stay up all week studying and go to bed at 8:00 PM on Friday night and make it all up. The math just doesn’t work. Think about what you might be able to skip or postpone until after the test, and get to bed earlier.

  • Keep studying.

If you’ve been preparing, you should feel pretty ready by the week before the test. (If you haven’t been studying, and you know you’re not prepared, consider not taking the test.)

Continuing to practice your strategies this week is a great idea. Pick a couple of specific things that you feel you could still improve on. This isn’t the time for radical changes, but maybe you want to decrease your time per Reading passage by one minute. Maybe you need to review punctuation questions one more time, or spend some more time with geometry formulas.

Spend a bit of time each day studying, if you can. But don’t skip sleep to study, don’t plan to take eighteen practice tests this week, and don’t practice when you’re not feeling at least mostly calm, focused, and alert.

  • Eat well. (But don’t make drastic changes).

This is not the week to start a juice cleanse or to cut out sugar completely. It won’t hurt, however, to eat a few more fruits and vegetables. And if you’re not in the habit of eating breakfast, start now! Breakfast on test day is important, and starting a week ahead will give you a chance to see what works best for you. Does cereal leave you hungry ninety minutes later? Do eggs and bacon make you feel sluggish? Maybe smoothies are more your speed?

  • Get everything ready ahead of time.

Make sure your admission ticket, ID, pencils, calculator, watch, and snacks are all ready to go, well in advance. Double-check batteries in anything that needs batteries. Make sure your calculator is approved by ACT. Put everything in one place Friday evening, so that the morning is as simple as can be.

  •  Take it easy on Friday, and wake up early on test day.

Don’t plan to spend Friday working on ACT prep. Use Friday to relax and get to bed early.

In the morning, leave yourself plenty of time to wake up, eat breakfast, and get to the testing center. If you end up with extra time, take a quick walk or read a bit – anything to make sure you’re fully awake, especially if you’re not a morning person!

The ACT can be a stressful experience, but preparation is key! Having a clear plan and getting plenty of rest can ensure that you’re ready to face the test and reach your goals.

By: Audrey Hazzard, Premier-Level Tutor

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Early Decision vs Regular Decision

Early Decision or Regular Decision?

Early decision or regular decision? What is the difference, and which one is right for me? You’re not alone if you aren’t quite sure which one is going to be a good fit for you. Let’s break it down.

Is Early Decision For You?

Early decision deadlines vary slightly, with most falling on November 1 or November 15. Colleges will notify you usually mid-to-late December. This option is ideal for students who have clearly identified their first choice for college. However, students may only apply to one school and that application is binding, meaning that if a student is accepted under ED, they must withdraw all applications to other schools as they are now committed to attending that school.

Statistics show that there is an increased acceptance rate for applicants who applied during early decision deadlines, compared to those who applied to those same schools during the regular decision deadline.

Other advantages to ED are that your application will be seen by admissions officers sooner and you will be competing with fewer applicants. Students will also know sooner if they are accepted.

On the flip side, there are a couple of disadvantages that students do need to be aware of. You can only apply to one early decision school and if accepted, you must attend, which means you can’t compare financial aid offers between multiple schools.

Is Regular Decision the Right Choice?

Regular Decision application deadlines usually fall between January 1 or January 15 of your senior year but can range from November 30 to March 15. Notification dates are typically by April 1. Regular admissions are one of the most common application options since students can apply to as many schools as they want under this option. 

There are advantages to this choice. This option gives students more time to submit applications and achieve higher ACT scores for additional scholarships. If students aren’t sure which school is the best fit for them, it gives them more time to decide. Unlike early decision, there is no pressure to commit early if accepted. Another big advantage is being able to compare financial aid offers from multiple colleges.

A couple of downfalls of RD are that students will have to wait until later in the spring to hear back from colleges, which is always a busy time of the year for seniors. Most students submit their applications for RD, so your application may not stand out among the majority of applications.

Bottom line, the application process will be different for every student. Before you apply make sure you weigh out the advantages and disadvantages to each option. As always, if you need help deciding which option is right for you, reach out to us. Our college counselors are here to help!

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Asking for Recommendations

How to Ask for Recommendations

It’s that time! Time to start thinking about and asking for recommendations. Many colleges require two recommendations; some even require three! Additionally, while a college may not require a recommendation for admission, it may require one for scholarships.

A recent article on the College Admission Book website gives three key pointers for asking for recommendations:

* Ask in person. No emails. A personal request is most thoughtful.
Do not ask for more recommendations than you need. Pick two teachers and use the same two for all your applications.
* Say “please” when you ask and “thank you” when the teacher agrees.

Additional Pointers:

There are four more pointers I would like to add to their list:

* Choose your recommenders wisely: someone who know you well, a teacher who taught you recently, perhaps a teacher who teaches a core subject.
* Give your teachers ample amount of time to write your recommendation. Don’t make them feel rushed for your lack of planning.
Give them 90 days
. The more time they have, the better your chance of getting a wonderful recommendation will be.
* Make sure to send them a hand-written thank you note after they have written your recommendations.
* Let them know which college you decide to attend.

Recommendations are also important for internships and jobs. Future employers want to know that that information on your resume is truthful and true to your real life experience. They want to know not only if you are qualified for the job, but also if you will be a good person to have around the office. Different jobs and industries place differing levels of strength on the resume versus interpersonal skills. For example, a human resources manager works with other employees all day and needs to have strong communication skills, whereas a forest fire lookout does not interact with people as frequently.

If you would like to know more about which jobs would be suited to your skills and interests, a good resource is our Career Assessment!

Although asking for recommendations can be intimidating at first, by following these simple steps you will get the hang of it in no time!

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