7 Tips to Tackle the Reduced Test Cycle

Due to a) the snow delays that caused the postponement of the State ACT for most Central Ohio high schools in February 2019 and b) the longer reporting cycle that typically follows any State ACT, most students are only now receiving their scores. Additionally, some schools were able to schedule their State tests only in early April.

The bottomline is that juniors have much less time this year to improve their scores than in prior years. Most juniors have only 3 remaining ACT test opportunities before early admission deadlines this fall: the tests on Jun 08, Jul 13, and Sep 14.

Here are 7 tips to help students maneuver through this compressed test-taking window:

  1. If you are still awaiting your score, unless you are already close to your target score (1-2 points away), please don’t squander time but, instead, continue your preparation for the ACT and SAT, even if you can study only 15-30 minutes per day. Every little bit helps.
  2. Spend some of this time memorizing math formulas and English grammar rules. Those of you who have attended our ACT Crash Course or ACT Boot Camp already have some or all of the PrepAccelerator cheat sheets. Plan to know these formulas and rules perfectly before the end of this school semester. Do not delay memorization to the very end as this can lead to disappointment.
  3. Do not postpone ACT test-taking until September, but, instead, plan to take it in June and July as well. I have had students who chose not to take the test in summer, woke up very sick on the September test date, and suffered through the test. Needless to say, their scores were nowhere near their targets. Once school starts, so does flu season, and students tend to fall sick in the new academic year. Additionally, you have new classes, new teachers, and all the disorientation that the busy high school lifestyle can bring.
  4. Ideally, you should give the June ACT your full effort so that you don’t waste the rest of summer on test prep. Juniors, remember that you have the entire college application process coming your way – this will be time-consuming and exhausting. If you are unable to achieve your target score during your practice sessions, push hard to get within 1-2 points of it by June. You can make up any remaining points in July and September. Front-loading a strong performance in June is a very worthwhile strategy.
  5. Remember that finals and AP testing come your way in May and will compromise several weeks of ACT and SAT prep time. Colleges require strong GPAs from you, so don’t neglect schoolwork.
  6. Determine your target ACT or SAT score by googling your dream schools and writing down the range of scores for students admitted in recent years. Most schools report this data, and it’s quite easy to find.
  7. Seek help if you do not see the desired improvement in your scores. A relatively small upfront cost may well result in a strong score improvement, which, in turn, may result in admission into target schools and/or improve the odds of scholarship. Consider registering for our crash courses or boot camps (details at PrepAccelerator.com/Events), or do reach out to us by email or phone about our approach and fees for private 1-1 tutoring.

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Srinath Sampath, PhD, CFA