As high school students find themselves faced with the dreaded college entrance exams, both they and their parents will often ask “Does ACT prep work?” In short, the answer is likely yes.
The fact that a single test covering four years of knowledge can significantly impact a young person’s future can stress out even the most confident students and parents.
A student’s ACT test score is both a core consideration for college admissions and sometimes the only element considered when universities offer merit-based scholarships. Because of this, college admissions tests like the ACT and SAT are not something you want to leave to chance.
Test prep allows students to familiarize themselves with the test and become more confident in their abilities. These things alone make ACT prep effective. However, when done well, test prep covers even more. It finds opportunities for improvement, fills in knowledge gaps, and provides valuable test-taking strategies.
What Kind of ACT Prep will Help Your Student?
Parents and students should consider learning affinities, current academic performance, and personal goals when looking into test prep options.
The term “ACT prep” encompasses several things, including:
Each option varies in cost, time commitment, and effectiveness.
Oftentimes, students benefit from using several types of ACT prep at once. For instance, it may be helpful for a student to begin preparing for the ACT by taking a timed practice test. From there, they will have a better idea of what subjects and skills they need to focus on.
How Does Test Prep Help Students?
ACT Prep can help students achieve a higher score.
A recent study by the ACT revealed that students that took part in ACT prep activities increased their scores by an average of two points. Although it may seem small, a two-point difference can make a difference in admissions and scholarship or financial aid considerations.
The study also showed that confidence and working with a private tutor can further improve test scores on the ACT. For instance, test prep with The Learning Team results in an average increase of 3-6 points.
These courses prepare students in a number of ways. For instance, ACT prep allows students to become familiar with the test.
When practicing under mock-testing conditions, students better understand pacing and the testing environment. They also become comfortable with the types of questions and typical phrasing they will see on the test. This familiarity can go a long way in making a student feel more confident.
Another way ACT prep helps students improve their test scores is it can refresh or expand a student’s knowledge. The curriculum varies across cities and states.
Test prep gives students a chance to understand and engage with concepts they may not know as well. In addition, it allows students to identify areas of struggle and begin improving those areas.
Finally, the best test prep will equip students with test-taking skills and problem-solving strategies they can use beyond the test.
Don’t Stop at ACT Prep
Standardized test prep is only one piece of the college prep puzzle. It should not be viewed as a quick fix or the easiest path to get into school.
Colleges and universities look at much more than just test scores. While test scores can act as a positive first impression, they are never more than a foot in the door. Students should also focus on grades, extracurricular activities, admission essays, and their academic performance over time.
Ultimately, the ACT and SAT tests do not serve as a demonstration of everything you can expect in college, so they should not be the only form of college preparation a student does.
If your student is either starting to prepare for college or is already well on their way, The Learning Team can help every step of the way. We offer test prep courses, private tutoring, college advising, and more.