Rabu, 17 Oktober 2012
Studying hard for the ACT test is definitely not always the best way to get a high score. When I explain that the parents, they are as shocked as their teenagers are happy! The fact is that just working hard is no guarantee of a high ACT test score and at times, working hard studying can actually lower your score.
How To Study for the ACT Test
The most common mistake students make is, when in their finest moments of dedication and self-discipline, they resolve to spend a certain number of hours and days studying for the ACT test. This is totally backwards.
No professional athlete, for example, just resolves to spend a certain amount of time training without focusing specifically on what areas need to be focused on. The dedication and self-discipline should be committed to learning certain skills that will result in a high ACT test score, regardless of the time required. The goal is a high score: not a lot of time studying.
When NOT to Study for the ACT Test
The two most important times not to study for the ACT test are the night before the test and anytime you have been at it for an hour. Studying the night before the test just stresses you out and hurts your ability to go to sleep relaxed, at the very time you need a very good night's sleep.
Studying for more than an hour is a waste of time, as your mind needs a break in order to retain what you are studying. If you covered important information during the second or third hour of your marathon study session, that is information not likely to come to you on test day.
The best way to study for the ACT is to take a look at your current score, whether it is from a practice test or a real ACT, and determine what areas you need to study first. Usually, you'll find that the best way to study is by not studying the subject matter of the test, English, Math Reading and Science, but rather studying HOW to be an efficient test taker.
Selasa, 11 September 2012
Everyone who asks me to advise them on increasing their ACT score is concerned about doing well enough to get scholarships to help pay for college. It seems that this is a bigger concern than getting a score that is high enough to get them into the school of their choice.
The first thing that I tell them is that they have to be realistic. Increasing an ACT test score of 18 to a 25 is a lot more achievable than increasing a 25 to a 32, even though both increases are the same 7 point spread. That's not to say that it can't be done, but the higher your score, the more difficult increasing each point becomes.
In order to qualify for more scholarships, you generally need an ACT test score of about 25 to 27. How hard is that? Well, the national average ACT test score is 21.1, so getting 5 points above that really sets you apart.
The average test score for students of each state varies widely, from 18.7 in Mississippi to 24.1 in Massachusetts. This is also something to consider when you are setting a goal. The easiest thing to do is go onto the website of the college you are considering and, under the "Admissions" section, they will have the average GPA and ACT test score of incoming freshmen. They Financial Aid section will usually list the bigger scholarships and whether there are any minimums for GPA or ACT score to qualify.
The fact is that a lot can change between the time you are taking the ACT test and when your college admission packet is reviewed and scholarships determined. The best thing is to learn how to work smart instead of just working hard in order to make yourself a better test taker and thereby improve your ACT score dramatically.
Selasa, 21 Agustus 2012
One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Yet when studying for the ACT test, many very bright students do exactly this. They just keep working harder and taking more practice tests without realizing that the best way to increase their ACT test score is to become a better test taker.
Test Taking Skills Provide the Edge
It doesn't matter whether you are a straight A student or have studied for weeks for the ACT test. If you haven't mastered some basic test-taking skills, you will not be able reach your potential and get above a certain score.
Just knowing the information to answer the questions is not enough with the ACT test. The test is specifically designed to make time an issue, so you must be able to arrive at the correct answer quickly. This means that the faster student will do better than the more knowledgeable student!
Test Taking Skills Stay With You
Once you are in college, the skills that you learn to get a high score on the ACT test stay with you, helping you to earn a higher GPA, which means a better future all around.
What you do to prepare for the ACT, if you are studying smart, can help you not only get a high ACT score, but can also make college a lot easier for you and make you able to get a lot more out of it!
This is not to be confused with "studying the test" to take a shortcut and game the system. Learning test taking skills just enables you to perform to your full potential. And this is something that will put you well ahead of the majority of students out there, giving you the competitive edge!
Rabu, 18 Juli 2012
Every parent and student that comes to me for advice on the ACT exam wants to know the same question; what are the easiest things I can do to quickly raise my ACT score? The question doesn't come from laziness at all, but rather frustration. So many students put in long hours studying and don't seem to get results.
Why Student's Have Trouble Increasing Their ACT Score
The biggest problem that students face when trying to increase their ACT score is that they are doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. A focused plan makes all the difference. Otherwise, you may just be spinning your wheels and wasting time and energy.
You need to learn to quickly answer questions, manage the clock and know what to study.
Learn to Quickly Answer Questions
Simply retaking practice tests to "become a better test taker" isn't going to do much more than get you comfortable with taking tests. That helps some, but not an enormous amount. There are specific test-taking skills that have to be learned, such guessing, saving time answering questions, how to read the Reading / Science passages and more.
Time Management is Key for the ACT Exam
Every student struggles to get all the questions answered in the time allotted. There are two time-management skills that help tremendously, and they do not merely include "go as fast as you can." As a matter of fact, some students make the mistake of thinking that the "easy" questions are first, so they just hurry through them, costing valuable points.
Know What To Study for the ACT Exam
Knowing what NOT to study can be just as important as knowing what TO study to get a high score on the ACT exam. For instance, studying Trigonometry is not a good use of your time unless you are hoping to score above a 32. Memorizing the periodic table for the Science portion is also a big waste of time.
The key to a good score on the ACT exam is to be strategic and have a well thought out plan, dealing specifically with your strengths and weaknesses. This normally requires a study course that is designed to teach you "how" to take the test, as opposed to teaching you more of the same curriculum that is on the test.
Selasa, 12 Juni 2012
So many parents ask me what they can do to help their students get a higher ACT test score, and so many of them are doing the wrong things, that it can be discouraging. However, at least they are asking and can get the right information.
There are two categories of advice I give parents about helping their students get a high ACT test score. What to do and what NOT to do.
What NOT To Do:
First and foremost, don't ramp up the pressure on your student unintentionally by well-meaning, but misguided tactics. Spending a lot of money on tutoring or an ACT prep course may seem like the right thing to do, but that just puts more pressure on the student to make sure the money is not wasted. They need a confidence booster, not fear of increasing consequences of failure.
The other thing is not to nag. So many students plan to study and then, when their parents remind them, they choose not to study because they are feeling forced. Sometimes the best thing a parent can do is nothing; let them take the test the first time and do poorly, and then they will be more responsive to some gently suggestions.
What TO Do To Help Your Student Get a High ACT Test Score
The things that you want to do are to be supportive, but in a way that builds confidence. A quiet, reassuring "I know that you'll do well" goes a long way to reducing the Test Anxiety that can cause students to bomb on tests.
Also, involve your student in selecting an ACT prep course that is simple and not intimidating. If it is too long or too expensive, they will just feel more pressure to perform and anxiety over how they will complete the course.
Sometimes, it is a better idea to have them complete two shorter ACT prep courses, because after the first brief course, they may see results and opt for a second. It's much easier to climb a mountain by thinking one step at a time. Faced with a 10 week, 20 hour course, few students feel enthusiastic.
Selasa, 22 Mei 2012
I often get calls from parents and students panicking after a bad ACT test score. I tell them all the same thing; it's not time to worry yet! The good news is that when you really bomb a test, the fix to significantly increase your score is usually a lot simpler and easier than turning a pretty good score into a great score.
Step #1: Stop and Analyze
Before you panic looking at a low composite score, take the time to analyze what caused the poor performance. Ask yourself these questions:
Did you do poorly on all four subject tests or did just one or two drag down your overall score?
Did you have time to finish all the questions when you took the test or did you run out of time?
How were you feeling when you took the test? Sick, tired, full of anxiety?
Was this your first ACT test? Had you taken a practice test before this one?
Step #2: Figure Out a Game Plan
If you just did poorly across all four subject tests and you were full of anxiety or not feeling well physically, then the easy answer is that it may have just been a bad day. If you don't have a history of bombing tests, this is the most likely reason. Set aside 3 1/2 hours next Saturday morning and do a full practice test to verify that it just wasn't your day.
If you had trouble answering all the questions on time, then you need to hone your test taking skills in order to get through the test with time to spare. Any time you are feeling rushed, your score will suffer.
Step #3: Retake the ACT Test
Once you have figured out what happened and develop a strategy to address those issues, you will want to retake the test. Most students take it more than once, so don't feel bad.
If you need help putting a strategy together, get a good, inexpensive online course to help you.