How to Get Started With Test Prep

Advice on how to get the most out of the test prep process.

Here are some tips to consider as you begin the test prep process:

      • There’s no wrong time to get started. It can be easy to compare yourself to other families and worry if you’re starting the test prep process too late (or too early) but every student works at a different pace. Some families know that they’ll need to get started near the end of sophomore year, while other families want to make sure that they get the bulk of junior year behind them before embarking on the test prep process. Either way, if you’re considering using a tutor, your best bet is to start that discussion 4-6 months before your student takes the test for the first time.
      • Start with a diagnostic. A full-length diagnostic test for the ACT and SAT provides valuable information. The results can help you and your child decide which test to pursue, when to start test prep, and will allow your child to set reasonable goals.
      • Ask questions. The test prep/college admissions world is one of many facts and many myths and can be confusing and intimidating to wade into. It can also sometimes feel like other families have all the answers. But rather than getting your information from friends, you’ll want to get it from a test prep professional. When you ask questions and share your concerns, you get the facts you need.
      • Let the student set the pace. Some students need more time to learn something; be honest about that and start the test prep process accordingly. It may make sense initially to meet every other week—depending on school work and other commitments—and increase the frequency as test day approaches.
      • Consider how best to use the summer. For some students, summer is a great time to jump-start the process without the demands of school work, but this only works if the student is able to commit and focus. Students that start test prep during the summer but are not in the right headspace will end up with few gains, which can drag out the process and lead to student burnout. There is nothing wrong with students taking the summer off to decompress and recharge their batteries.
      • Be honest about extracurriculars/workload. If a student plays a sport or is likely to have other time-consuming extracurriculars, make sure to plan accordingly. For example, if a student plays on a team in the fall, they should probably aim to take a spring or early summer test and do the bulk of their prep in the winter months.

If you have any questions or want more information on test prep don’t hesitate to contact us.