Many of the skills necessary to perform well on the ACT require consistent practice over many years, and some require intense, short term preparation. Fortunately, school provides an opportunity for some of this, but to score significantly above average students must go above and beyond the expectations in school. Here is how we break down ACT preparation. It is never too early to get started.
ACT Prep Long Term Checklist (Years)
Make sure your child is reading at least 30 minutes per day and that the reading material is at a reasonable level. They are more likely to read what they find interesting (e.g. Star Wars fan fiction), even if the information has little academic value. That is fine, the simple act of reading will gradually improve their comprehension, vocabulary, and reading speed.
It is also important that they work on logic puzzles or logic games fairly regularly to develop their critical thinking and reasoning skills. There are many entertaining apps, video games, board games, and more that they will enjoy. Make sure they are exposed to a wide variety of challenges, and not the same ones over and over.
Make sure your child is keeping up in their math classes. Despite what you have heard, there is no such thing as being naturally good or bad at math. Mathematical proficiency comes from practice and hard work. There is no link between math skills and genetics, but there is a strong link between math skills and things like work ethic, attitude, focus, and how early in life the person was first exposed to mathematical concepts.
Here are the essential ACT skills that require students to practice consistently for a several years. Notice that ALL of these are important skills for life in general, and not just the ACT. On average, students who work on these skills regularly will be more successful in college and end up with higher paying jobs than their peers.
- Reading Comprehension
- Reading Speed
- Basis Mathematics
- Reasoning Skills
- Writing Skills
- Control of Test Anxiety
ACT Prep Short-Term Checklist (Months)
Most students will take the ACT for the first time during their junior year. Determine the test date and then begin preparing during the one to three months leading up to the test. Students should plan on taking the test more than once. The first attempt can be treated as a trial run or diagnostic so they know what areas need improvement.
While the long-term checklist contains important life skills, the short-term items are much more specific to the ACT and may not transfer to other areas. The math and English sections measure technical knowledge. It is imperative that students review the basic rules and concepts of mathematics and grammar that are emphasized on the ACT. A good ACT prep book or ACT prep class in Salt Lake City will direct students to the important topics. Amazingly, it is typically the most basic of concepts (e.g. factoring, averages, percentages, ratios, triangles, etc.) that give students the most trouble.
Perhaps the most important aspect of short-term ACT prep is taking practice tests and mindfully reviewing errors in thinking. The ACT is a reasoning test so students need to use concepts in unfamiliar ways to answer questions. After working through a wide variety problems students begin to identify patterns and shortcuts. They learn to eliminate absurd answer choices and take educated guesses. They also learn how to optimize the use of their time by skipping difficult problems, using their calculator efficiently, and underlining important information. Some students will pick up these skills on their own though most will need to be coached. High Performance Tutoring has an incredible team of trained ACT prep tutors in Salt Lake City who know how to assess every student and build a customized plan to have maximal impact on their ACT score.
Here are the big things students need to be doing in the few months leading up to the ACT.
- ACT Specific Math Concepts
- ACT Specific Grammar
- Testing Strategies
- Passage Mapping
- Data Interpretation
- Practice ACT Tests
ACT Prep with High Performance Tutoring
At High Performance Tutoring we are proud to have the most incredible team of ACT prep tutors in Provo, Salt Lake, Ogden, and everywhere in between. Our tutors are knowledgeable, well-trained, and have amazing personalities. Most importantly, they have proven track records for raising ACT scores. They have access to our state-of-the-art curriculum which they use to create a customized program for every student. Tutors work one-on-one with students during the months leading up to the test to ensure they are putting in the short-term preparation needed to achieve a high score.
Give us a call at (801) 508 – 4080 if you are getting ready to sign your child up for the ACT. We are happy to help you create the optimal study plan for your child. Even if the ACT is still a few years off, we have plenty of advice to offer regarding the long-term items we mentioned above. Also, fill out our short online registration form to sign up for our newsletter. We will send you lots of useful information regarding the ACT that will help you effectively prepare your child during the years or months leading up to the test.