The SAT and ACT are significant criteria for college admissions and require advanced preparation in order for your student to achieve their best possible score. Test scores can make or break a student’s chances for college acceptance and scholarships. Most experts, including Susie Watts, a private college counselor and test prep coach in Denver, Colorado, believe that a good test prep course can help to improve students’ SAT and ACT scores.
Below are five tips to find a good SAT and ACT test prep course:
1. The teaching is most important for a successful SAT and ACT course. The information in most test prep courses is similar, but a good course will have a qualified teacher that is highly motivated to coaching students. The course should be taught by a test expert with experience, not necessarily a high school teacher or someone who has only scored high on the SAT and ACT.
2. The test prep course should be affordable.. Spending more money will not guarantee a better test prep course. Paying more does not make a course better nor does a big name make it more effective. The value of the class depends on the experience of the teacher, quality of the material and dedication to helping students succeed. Parents should consider all of these factors before signing up for a SAT or ACT course.
3. Students should practice on real SAT and ACT tests. A good test prep course only utilizes tests that are published by the College Board and the ACT. This helps students become familiar and know exactly what to expect. Having this experience makes for a much less stressful test day.
4. The test prep course should focus on content and strategies. A comprehensive approach to test taking includes practicing materials with review and explanations as well as specific test-taking strategies. Students need to understand the content of the test, but they also need to know how to approach each part of the test with test-taking techniques that enable them to improve their scores.
5. An SAT and ACT test prep course should fit the needs of your child. The test prep course should be small enough to be beneficial, ideally no more than 9 or fewer students. The course should not take too much time away from homework and other activities. The course should make valuable use of the time, once a week classes should be sufficient. An important part of the class should address anxiety and stress relief by introducing and practicing relaxation and mental preparedness.
Parents should always read the fine print of any test prep course. There are no score guarantees in spite of what you may be told. Students are usually given the opportunity to retake the course, but parents do not receive their money back.
Improvements to a student’s test scores, even slight, can make a difference in college admissions. That’s why preparation for the SAT and ACT tests contribute to the overall success of a student’s chances for college acceptance.