Our Proven Approach to ACT Prep
Students start with a full-length diagnostic/practice test to evaluate their current strengths and weaknesses. The test should be as realistic as possible, including timed conditions. General Academic has published 7 full-length, practice tests for the ACT.
Upon scoring the test, our tutors and managers will evaluate the student’s position and outline a roadmap for improvement. The tutor will discuss test-taking strategies and general tips.
Concept review comprises the bulk of ACT test prep. To do well, students must have a firm grasp of the tested concepts in all sections of the test. No amount of tips and tricks will compensate for not knowing how to solve an equation or how to identify a main idea.
As students strengthen their fundamental content skills, they must be able to apply that knowledge in new and novel ways on test day. The best way to ensure this capability is to work many test-like practice questions.
The process of ACT test prep is continual, and the duration and intensity of preparation will depend on the disparity between the student’s starting place and desired outcome. Most of our students will take a minimum of 3 full-length practice tests and 2 official tests.
According to ACT’s own research, taking the ACT multiple times is one of the most proven ways to earn a score increase. On average, 57% of students who took the ACT multiple times improved their score by an average of 2.9 points.
ACT Preparation Services
Private ACT tutoring ensures that your student is only spending precious time on the areas where they need help. Students generally meet with a tutor for 1 to 2 hours a week depending on the student’s needs and schedule.
We will start by identifying your student’s strengths and weaknesses through a mock test. Then, the tutor will work with your student to address shortcomings and reinforce skills in the tested subjects.
To maximize skill retention, the tutor will assign homework questions for the student to complete in-between sessions.
Our tutors & instructors are brilliant and charismatic:
- Equally skilled in math and English
- Self-accomplished and inspiring
- Gifted at working with younger students
Test prep classes are a great way for students to get a broad overview of the ACT and refresh tested concepts. We offer both standard (18 hours) and Boot Camp (30 hours) classes for the ACT. Courses will cover test-taking strategies and help students refresh their skills in all ACT content areas. There is significant instructor-led practice.
Our classes are capped at just 8 students meaning that every student will get tons of attention from the instructor, and every student receives a personalized study plan.
Standard courses are $1,000, and Boot Camps are $1,350. Students enrolling with 1 or more friends save 10%.
Students will participate online via video conference (Zoom).
Fall 2020 Saturday Courses (Virtual only)
Saturday courses meet only on Saturdays from 1 to 4pm for six consecutive Saturdays and total ~18 hours.
- September 12 – October 17 (closed)
Mock tests are an integral part of our ACT prep methodology. We use a diagnostic test to identify your student’s strengths and weaknesses, and we continually recommend additional tests to get students comfortable with the test format and structure.
We offer mock tests on most Saturdays at no-charge for current and future clients.
- The ACT with Essay mock test lasts approximately 4 hours; students should bring a calculator and a snack.
Students may take the ACT as frequently as they want and need to. Official ACT test dates vary slightly from year-to-year, but we generally recommend that they take the test up to three times throughout their Junior year of high school:
- Late October
- Early April
Testing multiple times allows students to set goals for themselves leading up to each test date, and to then revisit those goals and adjust their study plan accordingly each time they take the test. It also allows students to become more comfortable with the testing environment.
Beginning in September 2020, the ACT will also offer Section Retesting; students will be able to re-take between one and three individual sections of the ACT (in an online format) on any of the seven national ACT test dates offered throughout the year. This will add even more flexibility to the ACT preparation timeline.
The ACT is a 4-part test that lasts approximately 3 hours and includes one 10-minute break. Taking the optional fifth component, the ACT writing test, adds another 40 minutes and an additional short break.
The four multiple-choice sections include:
- English (75 questions, 45 minutes)
- Math (60 questions, 60 minutes)
- Reading (40 questions, 35 minutes)
- Science (40 questions, 35 minutes)
The ACT is designed to test students on concepts that they have learned throughout their high school career. This includes:
- Grammar, mechanics, rhetoric, and style for the English test
- Math through Algebra 2 (along with some Trigonometry) for the Math test
- Reading comprehension and analysis skills across a variety of genres for the Reading test
- Data analysis and scientific problem-solving skills for the Science test
Preparing for the ACT therefore does not require students to learn a significant number of new concepts; instead, students must continually review and reinforce their knowledge and skills based on their individual strengths and weaknesses, while also gaining familiarity and comfort with the test structure (including its format and timing).
For each of the four multiple-choice sections on the ACT, the student’s raw score is converted into a “Scale Score” from 1 to 36. The average of the student’s scale score from each section results in their overall ACT score, or composite score, from 1 to 36.
A composite score of 20 is at the 50th percentile nationally, but many selective colleges look for students who have scored in the the top 5% (31 or above). It is very important for students to pay attention to the median ACT scores of admitted students for the colleges they are interested in so that they can set their score goals accordingly.
The ACT’s essay portion is known as the ACT writing test. While this portion of the ACT is technically optional, students applying to selective schools are strongly encouraged to take it, as many colleges recommend or require essay scores.
The writing test asks students to write an argumentative essay about an issue of wide relevance to modern society. The test provides a description of the issue along with three possible perspectives, and students are tasked with writing an essay in which they state their perspective and support it with relevant evidence and examples.
The ACT essay is scored and reported separately from the multiple choice sections. Two different readers assign a score between 1 and 6 in each of four “domains”: Ideas & Analysis, Development & Support, Organization, and Language Use & Conventions. The two readers’ scores are added together, resulting in a total score between 2 and 12 in each dimension.
The best predictors of a student’s success on the ACT are good grades in school in core academic subjects like math, science, English, and history.
Therefore, the best way for a student to prepare is to ensure that they’re doing well in core subjects well before they plan to take the ACT.
Next up are standard good test-taking practices:
- Determine target score & what it takes to achieve
- Know the content and format of the ACT
- Identify subject areas that are weak
Core academics are king. There is no amount of tips and tricks that will help students ace the ACT if they do not know how to graph a quadratic or punctuate a sentence.
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