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WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD START ACT/SAT TEST PREP STUDIES?

Ratnakar Poduri

4th July,2018

Students satisfied with ACT/SAT scores of 30 / 1400 have different prep needs than those who aspire to score 35/1560+ or want a National Merit Scholarship®. Your child’s desired scores, scholarship options and how committed he or she is to achieving them determine when ACT/SAT test prep and tutoring should start. ACT/SAT Goal Priorities When setting ACT/SAT scoring goals with your child, consider the main priorities of college admissions and scholarship committees:
  • Grade Point Average. GPA reflects the child’s school performance over time giving college admissions and scholarship committees a long-term view of the child’s efforts.
  • ACT/SAT scores. Research shows that students who master standardized testing achieve more competitive ACT/SAT scores and have more clout in college and scholarship application processes.
  • Extracurricular activities. Arts, sciences, sports, volunteerism, and citizenship show that students can add to the community both inside and outside the academic walls.
Maturity for ACT/SAT Test Prep Students must be mature enough to balance the priorities of maintaining their GPAs, preparing to make their best test scores, and increasing their opportunities for intellectual growth and personal development through extracurricular activities. Since GPA is the first priority of admissions and scholarship committees, some 9th graders may truly need to focus on raising their GPAs and learning basic knowledge before preparing for the ACT/SAT tests. If enrolled for test prep too early, students who aren’t mature enough may not study or use the tutoring to advantage. Talk with your child about readiness to begin tutoring for the ACTs/SATs, cope with the extra pressure and realizing that means making sacrifices now to increase college opportunities later. Deciding When to Start Tutoring Your Child for the ACT/SAT Starting too early can be adjusted. Starting too late has unalterable consequences. Many intelligent 11th graders become discouraged or don’t perform to potential because they didn’t know how to prepare properly and now have no time. After reviewing the issues, consider that starting ACT/SAT preparation in the 9th or 10th grade gives:
  • Time to maximize ACT/SAT scores.
  • Skill development in subjects beyond a student’s natural talents.
  • SAT/PSAT training first, as it requires less prior knowledge and helps improve GPAs.
  • Earlier testing so students can complete other college requirements.
Completion of ACTs/SATs before IB and AP junior year school curricula becomes considerably more difficult. Most students and their parents find sufficient benefit from starting ACT/SAT test preparation in late 9th or early 10th grade. Best practices indicate that by early 10th grade, students should start preparing for at least one exam. The benefits of starting then far outweigh the risks of waiting later to start ACT/SAT test preparation.