ACT

ACT PREP

Most parents of this generation’s college-bound students took the SATs, but today, the ACTs are an equally respected and effective means of strengthening your child’s college application. Virtually all colleges accept either test, and the ACT is an excellent—and imminently teachable—choice for many students, often a better choice than the SAT.

We know this because we’ve been doing ACT prep for over a decade. And our thorough knowledge of the test, test construction, and test takers means that we can maximize your child’s point gains. We go broad, and we go deep. We can pinpoint cognitive weaknesses (and strengths) and drill down into the micro-glitches that cause unnecessary errors on test day. Having tutored hundreds of students for the test, we can offer coaching to improve the distinct content knowledge and cognitive skills tested on the ACT: from usage and mechanics to rhetorical skills in English, from pre-algebra to precalculus in math, from finding specific details to summarizing entire passages in reading, and from reading charts and graphs to applying scientific method in science (and that’s just the beginning).

Over the years, we have amassed a wealth of data about the ACTs, and that knowledge bank helps us help your student. We’ve compiled an exhaustive question classification system; we know which questions test what skills and what error types each one is designed to elicit. And our proprietary practice test app enables us to collect, compile, and analyze data from each and every practice test your student completes. We can see the kinds of questions students miss most frequently, so we can focus our attention on the areas that need the most work.

But the fact is that your student will have a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses, so we don’t just apply what we know about the ACT uniformly. And that is, perhaps, our greatest strength. Our ACT tutoring services are personalized. We tailor each and every session for each and every one of our students. So if your child finds denominators, discriminants, or standard deviations difficult, we can work over time to build the knowledge and skills she needs to master the subjects. And if she has a sudden skirmish with semi-colons some Saturday,
we can address that too. Immediately.

ACT INFORMATION

How is the ACT different than other college admissions tests?

The ACT measures college readiness skills, which means that it tests the academic knowledge and skills that students have learned in school. ACT scores relate directly to students’ prior academic preparation and are predictive of students’ readiness for college. While all college admissions tests require critical thinking skills, students who take the ACT are evaluated primarily on their school-based knowledge and skills.

http://www.act.org/research/researchers/briefs/2004-1.html

What is on the ACT?

The ACT consists of 4 academic subtests (English grammar, high school Math, academic Reading, and Science) and a writing assessment. The subtests assess content knowledge and skills related to academic performance.

How is the ACT scored?

A perfect score on the ACT is a 36. The average ACT score in 2011 was 21.1. A student receives a score for each subtest (out of 36), and then the four scores are averaged to produce a composite score. The writing prompt is scored separately with a numerical score from 1 to 12, and this score is then factored into a combined English/Writing score.

http://www.act.org/research/researchers/briefs/2001-1.html
An ACT/SAT comparison chart can be found at: http://www.act.org/aap/concordance/

Who does well on the ACT?

The ACT is an academic readiness test. The more prepared students are for college, the better they will do on the test.

http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/cccr11/

If I take the ACT do I need to take the SAT?

No. All colleges in the U.S. and abroad accept the ACT. You may, however, still need to take the SAT II subject tests, depending on each college or university’s requirements.

Is there a disadvantage in college admissions to taking the ACT?

No. The ACT has been used in college admissions since 1959. In 2011, 1.6 million students took the ACT; 1.65 million took the SAT.

http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2011/trends-text.html#one

http://press.collegeboard.org/releases/2011/43-percent-2011-college-bound-seniors-met-sat-college-and-career-readiness-benchmark

Is there an advantage to taking the ACT?

Yes. The ACT responds to hard work. Students who put time into preparing for the test will improve their scores. Since the test is closely linked to college preparation and performance, it gives colleges and universities a clear indication of students’ abilities.

http://www.act.org/research/researchers/reports/index.html
Usefulness of High School Average and ACT Scores in Making College Admission Decisions, Richard Sawyer (2010)

Can I study for the ACT to improve my scores?

Yes. Since the test focuses on academic knowledge and skills, students can prepare for the test by studying relevant high school material. However, the test is best prepared for by choosing a curriculum that supports a student’s college preparedness. Given strong college prep courses, students can be expected to perform well on the ACT.

http://www.act.org/research/researchers/briefs/2001-2.html

http://www.act.org/research/researchers/reports/index.html
Benefits of Additional High School Course Work and Improved Course Performance in Preparing Students for College, Richard Sawyer (2008).

Do I have to submit all my ACT scores?

Each test date is submitted separately to colleges, so it is the student’s responsibility to submit multiple test dates if the college in question requires all ACT scores.

Do colleges combine subtest scores to recalculate the composite score?

Each college or university uses scores differently, and it is advisable to check the testing policies of individual schools. However, in general, if a school recalculates the SAT score using your highest subtests from different dates (super-scores), that school will also recalculate the ACT scores.

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