You know that improving your ACT score is a powerful way to increase your chances of admission to college and improve your odds of finding more merit aid and scholarship opportunities too.
Given the stakes, it makes sense that preparing with someone who knows the ins and outs of getting a good ACT score is the smartest move. But finding a test prep program you feel is a good fit for you can be really challenging because there are so many options to choose from and it can be hard to tell which prep options will lead to your greatest improvement.
Should you take advantage of the free programs available from the test maker?
This seems like a good idea. After all, these companies make the tests. They clearly understand what will be covered. But, precisely because they make the tests, they don't have a vested interest in teaching you the strategic hacks that will get you an immediate score boost. Also, test makers - or those affiliated with them like Khan Academy - don't make the best teachers.
Should you work with someone live and in person?
It might work for you, but it can also be a bit of a hassle to find the time in your schedule, commuting back and forth, and having to sit through a lecture for hours at a time. Also, while in person tutoring and classes are the right fit for some students, if you need any extra help, you'll have to pay more for it. Because you generally pay an hourly rate for tutoring or a lump sum for a set course, if you zone out or need to review a lesson, you're going to have to invest more money to review that information with your teacher or tutor.
What about on-demand online test prep?
On the surface, many parents think on-demand online ACT prep courses would be impersonal. But taking the Netflix approach to test prep has incredible advantages. My students get full access to their Quick Prep course for a full 6 months or their Complete Package program for 12 months. They can come back time and time again to review and continue to improve at no extra charge.
And while you may feel disconnected from your teacher if you work with a company where you never talk to the same person twice, here at Higher Score Test Prep I get to know my students. I see my students' progress through their practice tests. We exchange comments in the the course and emails when they have questions. I make myself available to give additional guidance.
Here's an example from an email exchange I recently had with the mom of one of my students who was looking to improve his ACT score even more than the 4 points he had already achieved. (Names have been changed to protect the family's privacy.)
Jonathan was finally able to take the ACT in December and recently received his scores. He is scheduled to take the test again in 3 ½ weeks, and particularly wants to raise his math score.
His Reading and Science scores were good (35 and 33, respectively) and frankly with the dyslexia it seems an uphill climb to improve on the English (24). So, we figured the best way to raise his score was with the math, which he is usually good at…but somehow, he received a 24. We were not able to sign up for a copy of his test since it was administered at his school rather than at a testing center. His overall score was a 29.
Any advice appreciated!
Here's my reply...
I was so excited to see Jonathan's scores come in just now. A 29 is exceptional. I hope he is so proud of his 4 points of improvement so far!
I have some thoughts regarding next steps and specifically how he can improve his math score. But, before I offer them up, I would like a little clarification regarding his dyslexia and how it impacts his reading.
The reason I ask is that he got such a high score in reading but you expressed doubts regarding his English score improving. In my experience, those two scores track more closely together so I'm wondering if there may be a chance to pull even more points from the English section as well as math. That said, I would love your insight on this because you know intimately how it impacts him.
At this point, I want to make sure I'm giving him guidance that will help him bring over every last point and, dyslexia aside, his current scores (and, in fact, all 3 of the scores I have on file) are indicating that he's a slow-off-the-mark student. It looks like he warms up and improves consistently throughout the exam so I have some thoughts about his test date approach that might help shift that pattern for him.
I look forward to learning more so I can help Jonathan come up with a new game plan for cracking into the 30s!
Susan provided some clarification...
Jonathan is extremely verbal and can often do well on reading comprehension. Writing is the hardest part, and after that, grammar. Next is choosing the most appropriate word, since many words sound alike, and it is easy for him to mix them up. Punctuation is challenging! He is almost seventeen but still doesn’t understand when to use a comma. He did say he would like to squeeze a few more points out of the English section, if possible; so all suggestions are welcome.
He agrees that he is slow to warm up, so good observation on your part!
He adopted these strategies and, yesterday, I received this email from Susan...
Jonathan's scores came in today. Are you ready? Drumroll, please….
Total score of 32! Broken down into 27 math, 33 science, 30 English (!), and 36 reading.
He is pondering whether he is done at this point or whether to give it one more try. Regardless, he is thrilled! Just wanted to share!
Thank you for all your help,
If you're playing along at home, Jonathan improved his ACT score by a whopping 7 points throughout his journey. He added 3 additional points in this last effort by refining his approach.
Every student has a ceiling score - the highest ACT or SAT score they can possibly achieve. But many students get off the improvement train before they've hit that highest point.
I'm here to help my students continue to forge ahead with personalized feedback. I can do the same for you, helping you focus on the areas you most need to continue working on in order to improve your ACT score as much as possible.
Online test prep doesn't have to be impersonal. And, in fact, because of the flexibility of my courses, you can leverage them over and over for greater improvements at no extra cost to you.
You can begin your journey towards higher scores today for free with the Insider's Guide to the ACT & SAT or dive right into the same course Jonathan took - ACT Complete Package - to see your very best improvements.