ACT season is a stressful time for both parents and students! Along with the stress of the test itself, there seem to be a million different tutors, strategies, and books that all offer different test-taking tips. In this blog post, we want to show our readers how we tailor our ACT test prep classes to the specific needs of each student.
What makes our ACT prep classes stand out?
To develop students’ ACT-taking skills in English, we start by teaching them five to ten strategies. These strategies have been proven time and again to increase test scores. However, the strategies we use are not a stagnant list. The Learning Team changes, switches, and tailors these strategies to each individual student.
In addition to strategies, we focus on reviewing grammar and punctuation rules – verb tense, comma usage, independent vs. dependent clauses, and more. Knowing basic grammar and punctuation fundamentals is critical to succeeding in the English section. We also focus on areas that make taking this test so difficult, such as academic stamina and test anxiety.
Developing reading section strategies for the ACT depends on the reading comprehension and the student’s reading speed. After we determine this, we build strategies around working with the student where they are.
One thing we try to do is teach students to “leave a breadcrumb” trail in the passage. This trick helps students familiarize themselves with the text as they read. It allows students to have more awareness of the text and to eliminate answers as they go. This middle ground between close-reading and skimming enables the students to move quickly through the text while still retaining information.
Most importantly, the tutor and student focus on side-by-side coaching. This coaching style involves the coach modeling how they would complete the section and then having the student work through each passage type implementing these suggestions.
Math is one of the most challenging sections to coach because it depends heavily on the student’s foundation from middle school and high school. Therefore, this is the most individualized part of our tutoring.
We review the basics and even remediate areas that students especially struggle with. Once we create the foundation, we teach students how to approach the problem through the “backdoor,” or using the answers to guide the students’ work.
Although guessing on a regular test should be frowned upon, guessing on the ACT is a reliable strategy if a student is crunched for time. We teach students how to recognize complex problems and put down an answer that’s more than just a guess, but a hypothesis based upon the answers given.
And finally, the most feared and hated section of the ACT: Science. However, it is the easiest of all other sections to raise a student’s score. Although the time crunch is severe, only about six questions in the entire section require any background knowledge.
It comes down to reading only as much as needed, managing time carefully, and closely reading the graphs, tables, and diagrams. That is to say, for the ACT Science test, strategy is vital. We teach a few fundamental science facts, and then we show our students how to quickly find the key pieces of information needed to determine the correct answer.
In addition to our ACT prep classes, The Learning Team also offers full-length practice tests and individual ACT tutoring. Whether you are hoping for a higher score on a specific section or looking to feel more comfortable with the ACT exam, our tutors are well equipped to prepare you for the ACT. Get in touch with us today to get started!