Setting A Goal
It’s one of the main questions we ask every single one of our students before we start any kind of ACT prep. What’s your goal? Why do you want that goal? Is it because you’re trying to get into a certain college or are you trying to obtain a scholarship? Either way, having a goal in mind makes it a lot easier to distinguish what to do and what not to do when students start preparing for the ACT.
When do I choose a goal?
As soon as possible. Keep in mind, that may look different for every student. However, for the majority of students the best time to start preparing is the end of sophomore year or beginning of Junior year. It also depends on your academics and which classes you’ve already taken in high school. The math portion of the ACT is heavy in Algebra, so if a student is taking Algebra II as a sophomore, then end of your sophomore year is a perfect time to start. If you are a Junior and taking Algebra II, then the end of your Junior year is more appropriate.
If you already have a college or university in mind and know what type of ACT score you need for admittance, then you might be a step ahead of everyone else. Or, if you need a certain ACT score for a scholarship, that is a fantastic reason to reach your goal!
The best way to start preparing early is to take a Free Practice Test to establish a baseline score. We offer those every Saturday morning at Get Smarter Prep. Once you have a baseline, we can determine how best to prepare for the ACT. Some students may need a full 15-hour Private Tutorial to reach the highest score possible. Other students are a good fit for one of our Standard or Advanced Courses. We won’t know how best to prepare until a baseline is established, so take advantage of our practice tests.
Why set a goal?
Setting a goal is one of the most assured ways of meeting a goal. A Harvard Business study revealed amazing statistics relating to goal setting and success. The study found that 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals. Go ahead and write down your goals and then share them with your tutor, parents, and those who are supportive of your goals.
Is my goal realistic?
That depends. Are you willing to shift activities around to accommodate sessions, complete homework, and put in the effort? Our tutors have seen increases up to 12+ points for students who are dedicated to their goals. If a student only wants a 2-3 point increase, the same dedication applies to the student who wants a larger increase, it may just look a little different. It depends on the level of tutor, the length of test prep, and if students are willing to put in the work to meet or exceed their goals.
If you’re having a difficult time setting a goal or don’t know what a good goal should be, then contact us. We are happy to help students figure out what an appropriate goal is for them and work towards reaching that goal!
ACT Testing Accommodations
At Get Smarter Prep, we understand some students may have testing accommodations to be used on the ACT. Our tutors are happy to allow those accommodations with proof of official ACT accommodations, IEP documentation or 504 plan. We will honor those accommodations on the ACT Practice Test, Midterm, and Final as well as how our tutors instruct their students with official documentation.
We want what’s best for our students, which is why ask for documentation (official email from ACT) prior to testing or tutoring. If you don’t have an official email from ACT yet, we will make exceptions for current accommodations in high school such as an IEP or 504 plan. However, it is the students’ and/or parents’ responsibility to set up testing accommodations from ACT.
You can see the ACT Policy for Requesting Accommodations Here as well as the ACT Accommodations Eligibility Requirements Here.
- Extended time.
- Computer use for essays.
- Extra and extended breaks.
- Reading accommodations (like an audio test format)
- Use of a four-function calculator for math sections.
- Multiple-day testing.
- Small group setting.
ACT Private Tutoring is the best option for students with testing accommodations. Private Tutoring is designed for students who need more time to grasp ACT strategies, manage time within their allotted time frame and/or better understand how to maximize their accommodations. Students will take three proctored Practice Tests with Private Tutoring all with ACT accommodations.
Choosing the ACT, SAT or Both
Choosing the ACT, SAT or Both
This debate may be familiar to many of you. ACT? SAT? Both? Some students and families enter junior year with a perfectly clear answer to those questions, but the reasons behind those decisions may be less clear. Do any of these sound familiar?
- He’ll take the ACT, of course. He wants to attend a school in the Midwest.
- We’re an SAT family. Her older brother scored much better on the SAT.
- Of course I want to prepare for both exams!
The ACT and SAT originated in different places, for different purposes, and developed different reputations over the years. Despite the many changes to each test, some of those perceptions persist.
The SAT, originally developed by the College Board for use in admissions to elite, northeastern schools, remains more popular on the coasts than in the Midwest. The ACT came later, designed to provide an admissions test for regional and public universities that didn’t use the SAT; it is still more popular in the Midwest than the SAT.
Although these regional patterns persist regarding which test students tend to take, the initial reason for those patterns – which test your college of choice might accept – no longer holds. The final school to accept the ACT finally did so in 2007, meaning that the choice of which test to take is really up to the individual student.
So, choosing the ACT, SAT, or Both? There are differences, though, between the ACT and the SAT, that one should consider when deciding between the two exams, and they don’t have anything to do with the geographical distribution of your college list.
First, how strong are you at math? On the SAT, math counts for half of your score, while on the ACT math makes up only ¼. That’s a significant difference. Consider, also, how well you’ll fare without a calculator, as the SAT has a section that must be completed without one.
How much do you want to improve your score? Because of changes to the SAT in 2012, there is much less practice material available than for the ACT, which means fewer opportunities to practice and improve your score. If you’re looking for a significant boost, you might lean towards the ACT.
How much do you struggle with timing? The timing on the ACT is more difficult for some students. The SAT provides more time per question, which might be an asset. Taking a practice version of each will help you to know if that is the case for you.
A final consideration is that the SAT, during and since the redesign, has been a bit unstable. There have been data breaches, score delays, and debates over how the new scores stack up to the old ones.
If you know you’ll be taking an ACT through school, or (for those who haven’t already taken it) you plan to prepare for the PSAT, those factors might influence your choice as well. The goal is to prepare for only one exam.
The ACT (or SAT) is only one part of your college applications, and your college applications are only one part of your life. Preparing for both tests – or choosing the wrong one – is a recipe for doing more work than necessary and taking time away from other activities and classes that make up your high school career.
By Audrey Hazzard, Premier-Level Tutor
Fall 2020 ACT National Test Schedule
As of June 23rd, ACT has added three new national test dates to the Fall 2020 schedule, creating a total of eight dates available for fall testing. Never before have students had this much availability to take an ACT in a three month period. ACT sited the changes to “help meet the demand for testing caused by COVID-19-related cancellations and social distancing requirements that limited test centers’ capacities this spring and summer.”
ACT will still move forward with online testing and superscoring beginning in September 2020, however they will wait until 2021 to rollout section retesting.
Students have numerous options and on days other than Saturday to take an official ACT for admissions decisions, merit-based scholarships, and placement. Registration will be open toward the end of July, so make sure to sign up to receive important information regarding registration and deadlines from ACT.
Get Smarter Prep will have Test Prep Courses available for certain fall test dates, including Sept 12th and Oct 24th. One-on-One Private Tutoring is also available for all eight fall test dates. If you don’t know where to start preparing for the ACT, the very best place is with a FREE Practice Test. We offer Practice Tests every Saturday and encourage all students to establish a baseline for the ACT so that we can make the best possible recommendation for each unique situation.
Is Private Tutoring Right for You?
How do you know if private tutoring is right for you? What about classes or tutoring with a group of friends? There are a few items we need to look at before deciding which type of tutoring is a perfect fit for you.
One-on-One Tutoring is perfect for students with a significant difference in their sub-scores. For example, if Jane scored a 17 in the Reading section of the ACT, but a 24 in the English section, then she would be a prime example of why Private Tutoring would work in her favor as the tutor can target specific portions of the test. Our tutors will be able to spend different amounts of time in each portion of the test depending on where the student needs the most help.
Another reason to access Private Tutoring is due to a hectic schedule. We realize how busy your Junior year can be. Maybe a standard class won’t fit into your schedule, but private tutoring can be a lot more flexible and conducive to your calendar. Private Tutorials are usually scheduled for one and a half hour sessions and are typically between 6 & 15 hours in duration (4-10 weeks).
This type of tutoring is for students scoring within the same range as 1-3 other students. Whether you have a challenging schedule, want to work with your friends, or just want a more customized approach than our courses, Semi-Private Tutoring can be a good fit.
These tutoring-course hybrids allow for some cost efficiency (like courses) AND customized scheduling & unique curriculum (like private tutoring). The standard time frame for Semi-Private Tutoring is 20 hours, but 12-20 hour schedules are available based upon what each student of the group hopes to achieve.
ACT Prep Course
No matter what the situation may be, Get Smarter Prep offers custom tutoring to fit any schedule, classes to accommodate a wide range of students’ scores, and we work with each student to help achieve the score they need for the school they want.