What is Green Test Prep?
High SAT and ACT scores are important – but elusive. Over the past decade, I’ve spent over 15,000 hours designing a system that makes them easily attainable.
Green Test Prep is an online, self-guided, step-by-step SAT and ACT prep system that improves its average student’s scores by over 215 points on the SAT and 4.66 points on the ACT.
The system requires no outside help or assistance. The results cited above were obtained via independent study – without any tutors, teachers, or advisors supplementing the instruction of the program. Everything students need to achieve higher scores is incorporated into the program, and my personally-trained support team is available to our students 24 hours a day.
However, if you’re looking to further boost the results of your students, there are things that schools, teachers, and independent advisors can do to take the system’s score improvements to the next level.
This guide will show you how to maximize the effectiveness of the Green Test Prep System.
How does Green Test Prep work?
Please watch the video below for a walkthrough of the system:
Instructional Video for Teachers
Green Test Prep comes with systems for the Old SAT, New ACT, and New SAT. Each system presents 45 “sets” of work, each containing a number of assignments and lessons within. The best outcomes are achieved by students who finish the curriculum in its entirety, exactly as ordered. The full curriculum takes our average user about 120 hours to complete.
Each set of material takes approximately 90-120 minutes for students to complete. Six of the “sets” are composed of full-length, timed, graded diagnostic tests, which take four hours to work through. Students may choose to divide the 45 sets up into smaller chunks and finish them over the course of several days – or even weeks.
The key to the Green Test Prep system’s success: it allows students to study consistently – students who put in even 15 minutes per day, every day, will see results far superior to those of their less consistent peers.
There are three “stages” to the instruction provided by the program:
Stage One: Material
Students are taught how to find, identify, and document their material weaknesses through repeated exposure to real exam material. They’re taught how to break down each problem into its smallest material elements (grammar rules, math formulas, etc.), prioritize which ones to study, and then find the best ways to master their usage.
These tests are, first and foremost, tests of material mastery. Without the right facts, figures, and formulas, students will never be able to act strategically. This is the foundational stage of the system.
This stage is also where teachers will be especially valuable. The system shows students how to answer all their own questions and points them to the relevant resources. Additionally, our support team can answer any questions that arise during study. However, there are instances in which a hands-on, in-person explanation can be helpful – and this is where teachers can make a big impact.
Fortunately, teachers won’t need any specialized training to provide this support.
Stage Two: Strategy
Here, students learn the best approaches and techniques for each section of these tests. While the material tested by the SAT and ACT is the same as what you teach in school, the strategies required for effective testing are slightly different – this is why many A+ students still receive sub-par test scores: they know their stuff, but not how to use it on these exams.
Students spend weeks applying the material they’re learning to real practice problems, enhancing their efficiency, speed, and accuracy while learning to navigate the particular intricacies and idiosyncrasies of these tests.
Stage Three: Application.
Toward the end of the program, students shift their focus to realistic testing conditions, concentrating more of their attention on timing, pacing, and test-taking skills. The Green Test Prep System has students complete 6 full-length diagnostic tests throughout the course of the program. These assessments are crucial for students and their teachers to accurately identify the areas that students are mastering and other areas where weaknesses still need to be shored up prior to sitting for the actual exam. In order to accomplish this assessment with truly accurate results, a realistic testing environment can be a boon to improvement.
In this stage, schools and organizations can provide realistic testing environments for their students to take timed, proctored exams with teacher oversight, under the exact conditions that they’ll face on test day. These experiences will reduce student anxiety and improve overall testing performance.
Everything is Sequenced and Solved
Green Test Prep is a self-guided curriculum. The order in which the material is presented has been carefully planned over more than 15,000 hours of instruction and testing. Teachers and administrators won’t be required to set up lesson plans or structure homework assignments for their students – everything is taken care of internally.
The most valuable thing that teachers and organizers can do for their students: make sure that they stick with the program and follow its lessons precisely as outlined. The program takes significant effort and time, and this is where the human touch becomes important. If you can help to motivate your students, support them when they have questions on the material, and keep pushing them through the structured lesson plans on a daily basis, you’ll see results. That’s what the next section of this guide is all about.
If your students are motivated, they’ll be able to fly through the program without any outside assistance. Everything is structured for their own empowerment – the lessons are delivered in sequence, all the tools they need are provided, and there are resources available for every imaginable question that may arise.
But as an educator, you’re surely aware of the true key to education: motivation. If students aren’t motivated to begin a program, nothing will spur them forward. And if they hit roadblocks during their studies, they can often lose their motivation rather than charging onward.
Starting the program can be as big an obstacle as any. The main reasons why:
- Students feel that they can’t possibly improve (false), or they have so many points to gain that even beginning to work is futile (also false). They see these tests as impossible to conquer, and they’ve developed a sense of futility surrounding the process.
- Students don’t see why they need to improve their scores. They haven’t connected the concept of higher SAT and ACT scores with the notion of them providing broader educational opportunities, which in turn leads to further empowerment for them to accomplish all of the things that they want to achieve in their futures.
Both can present real roadblocks. But both are also easy to solve. Here’s how you, as a teacher or advisor, can solve both problems:
- Make a promise to your student(s): if they can get through their second practice test (Set 16) without improvement, they’re allowed to stop. Here’s the thing: this won’t happen. Over 98.5% of our students see drastic improvements between their first and second practice tests. But it gets even better: students start to see things “click” within hours of using the program – they see their weaknesses catalogued, dissected, and eliminated. They start to become more comfortable with the format. Rather than getting a long-term commitment, get a SHORT TERM commitment – the same way that people trying to get in shape should try to work out for just 5 MINUTES a day – once they start, the snowball is rolling.
- Read this guide with your student(s): guide to setting internal goals. Once you do, they’ll never doubt the purposes behind their studies again.
Once your students have begun the program, the ball is already rolling. Many students will be able to keep their daily commitment and see steady improvements. But if you want to track their progress and assist them when they get stuck, there are two things you can do:
- You can log into their accounts at any time to see how far they’ve moved through the program, and how their practice tests are progressing. You can watch our quick VIDEO GUIDE to see precisely how this works. You can skip to 11:49 if you want to see the material focused solely on progress tracking.
- You can set up a weekly “self-reporting” session with your students to collect questions and offer assistance. You never want to “nag” your students into continuing their studies – it’s counterproductive. However, if you set up a weekly support session in which students can ask questions, air complaints, and ask for the help they need, you’ll create a supportive, helpful ecosystem in which students continue to improve. We recommend reading our guide to self-reporting sessions, later in this manual, that will show you how this is done.
If you set up weekly support sessions, you’ll create more active reporting and a way for your students to share any difficulties that arise during their studies. You’ll also get an opportunity to celebrate your students’ efforts and improvements. Praise goes a long way. In most cases, this is all you’ll need to do to ensure continued progress through the system, without any active knowledge of the system itself.
Note: More system-specific questions will be addressed later in this guide.
If you find that a student isn’t participating in these weekly checkups, and if a review of his or her score tracker reveals that work isn’t getting done, here are some simple tips:
- Approach the student and ask how you can help. Don’t scold or place blame – this is counterproductive in every imaginable case. Just say that you’ve noticed that their prep has stalled, and you’re wondering if there’s something you can do to help. In many cases, this alone will be sufficient. If not:
- Set a small commitment. Don’t give lagging students the vague goal of “continuing their work,” or “working harder.” Instead, set a small, manageable goal for them to complete. For instance, if they’re stuck on Set 7, ask if they think they can get through Set 9 by next Friday. That’s two Sets of work, or about 3-4 hours of work, that they’ll need to complete in two weeks. That means that they’ll need to put in about 20 minutes a day to achieve this goal. Sometimes all students need to respond positively is for their teacher to set a “doable” goal.
- Offer them a time and place to complete their prep work. If you have a study hall or other place available for them to complete their work on a reliable schedule, this is ideal. Students who’re explicitly given a structured time and place to complete their work will do so consistently and successfully. This will be addressed in more detail later on in the guide.
- Be sure to set their daily commitments up on a calendar. Vague labor commitments rarely, if ever, get met. Break down their work into small chunks and put it on their calendars. Look at their calendars with them and ask them precisely when they might have 20 minutes each day to complete the work – before, during, or after school, and then write those time commitments down. Once the work is scheduled, it will both seem more concrete and get adhered to regularly, and be seen as the small daily commitment than it actually is. Even the prospect of “two hours of work” can seem daunting – but seeing a light peppering of 20 minute chunks of time throughout the week is far from intimidating. Most students shower and brush their teeth for 20 minutes a day – and these aren’t time commitments they’re afraid of. Put SAT and ACT prep in the same light. Green Test Prep’s system is designed to fit easily into any student’s busy schedule. Helping your students to plan their time (or, better yet, giving them a specific time and place within school to study) will lead to better results.
In all but the most extreme cases, these small steps are the only ones you’ll need to take to ensure adherence to the program – and because the system itself provides all the structure and guidance necessary for score improvements, your only job is to make sure that students keep working through it in the order presented. So long as students stick with it, huge progress is inevitable.
Later on in this guide, you’ll learn precise suggestions for the more specific, program-related issues that may arise during their progress through the program. Next, however, it’s important that we address one of the largest issues facing most schools – when should your students take their official exams?
Scheduling: When and How Should Your Students Take Their Official Exams?
Students should never take official SATs or ACTs “just to see how they score,” nor should they pick arbitrary dates for their tests. These all too common practices are detrimental to students motivation and their overall success on these exams. Green Test Prep outlines a plan of action that ensures these missteps are avoided. Your students should only register for their exams when their diagnostic scores match their goal scores.
You can read my guide on setting target scores here.
You can read my guide on how to take a diagnostic test here.
Later in this guide, you’ll also learn how to set up an ideal proctored testing environment for your students to get even more accurate diagnostic results.
The process here is simple:
- Have your students start their prep as early as possible. This leads to less stress, a smaller daily time commitment, zero time pressure or artificial deadlines, easier management, and higher scores. Students can start studying as early as their freshman year, and we recommend that they do so.
- Have your students take regular practice tests to figure out where they’re scoring. Green Test Prep recommends administering these tests, or having students take them on their own, at least once every 8 weeks – more often if they’re Juniors with less time to prepare.
- When a student’s practice test scores match his or her target scores, it’s time to take the real thing. Not a second beforehand!
Of course, if a student is in his or her Senior Fall, the clock is ticking regardless of scores – another reason why it’s so essential to start early. You don’t want the date, rather than your students’ scores, determining when they take their tests. Students should only take their tests when they’re ready to do so – but if they’re Seniors, they should be taking the November round of exams so that they have a chance to take a backup test in December and January (students can submit scores after their application deadlines if they’re significantly higher than their first rounds).
One key thing to note: Green Test Prep always recommends taking at least two official tests. Having a backup test reduces anxiety, enhances statistical variance, and acts as an insurance policy. You can read about the importance of backup tests at the end of our SAT and ACT dates calendar here.
This makes June a less-than-ideal time for students to take their first official test. They’ll still be able to take another test in the fall, but they’ll need to stay prepped all summer to do so. It’s much better if students take their first round no later than April (for the ACT) and May (for the SAT) so that they can take the June round of either exam as a backup. However, if a student only feels ready for the June test, it’s still advisable to take it – there’s a good chance that he or she will hit his target score and finish the entire process without waiting until the next season.
You can find a full list of test dates, along with registration procedures, here:
SAT and ACT Dates and Registration Calendar
If your students need fee waivers, you can get that process started using the following links:
“When to take your test” is usually presented as an over-complicated issue. However, if your students set realistic goals, prep consistently, and gauge their scores through the use of consistent practice tests, they can walk in and take the real thing as soon as their practice test scores hit their targets. The Green Test Prep System shows students how to systematically plan for their test dates and to routinely gauge their scores so that nothing is left to chance.
Setting Up an Ideal Diagnostic Testing Environment
Students can use my guide to taking realistic practice tests to get an accurate idea of their scores on their own time and in their own homes.
However, nothing quite beats the real thing. Taking a full-length test in your kitchen doesn’t really reflect the environment or timing conditions that students will face during their actual exam. This is where school facilities can be leveraged most efficiently.
If you have the resources, one of the best things that you can do for your students is provide them with periodic “testing sessions” in which they can take their full-length diagnostic exams in realistic conditions with other students present. Mirroring the actual experience is a beautiful way to eliminate the normal anxiety that accompanies this process. As educators, we all know that having “the jitters” on test day can derail even our best students’ efforts. By providing your students with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the environmental conditions that they’ll encounter on test day, you’ll produce the “roller coaster effect” – most things are scary the first time around, but there’s only so many times you can do something before it becomes humdrum. This makes theme parks boring for thrill seekers – it also makes the SAT and ACT extremely manageable for students.
Note: Students will need to take real, official practice tests during this process. They should NOT take third-party tests designed by anyone other than the official testing bodies, the College Board and the ACT organizations. Only legitimate, previously-administered exams from the creators of these tests provide reliable diagnostic scores. It’s imperative that these diagnostic sessions use official materials. We’ll provide a list of these materials and where to find them in a later section.
The process is simple:
- Set aside a room with enough desks to fit all the students who want to take their practice tests on the given date and time.
- Have a teacher or counselor proctor the exam. All this means: he or she will start the students, give timing deadlines for each section, prevent chatter and distractions, and monitor the students throughout the process. Testing proctors do not provide help for individual questions – only for the “administrative details” of each question. If a student wants to know how to fill in his bubbles, what the rules of a particular section mean, etc., teachers can help – but they shouldn’t answer question-based inquiries.
- Announce these sessions when you first acquire Green Test Prep and set aside the room(s) as early as possible so that students can plan ahead effectively.
- Make these sessions optional. Students shouldn’t be forced to take their practice tests on a specific date, and they may not be ready yet – instead, these should be offered as a resource to help students who want to take the process more seriously.
- The best time(s) to offer these sessions are on weekend mornings, to replicate the real experience of taking the tests. Offering them after school will do the trick, but realize that students will be tired and a bit unfocused at this time, so scores may not be as high as they would be otherwise.
- Ideally, you’ll alternate between SAT and ACT diagnostic sessions. A single room and proctor can administer both, but he or she will have to be aware of the timing deadlines for both tests, and it may be a bit distracting for students to hear timing guidelines for the test they aren’t taking. If you decide to mix sessions, have students taking the different tests sit on different sides of the room to keep things organized.
Our System teaches students how to grade and analyze their practice tests, so teachers won’t need to be involved in this process. These in-school sessions are simply a way to provide a more realistic testing experience.
The number of students at your school, and the number of students interested in participating, will determine the number of rooms and proctors that you set aside for this purpose, but you can easily proctor as many as 60 students in a single room so long as you have the space and the desks.
You don’t need to worry about cheating etc., because students will already have learned that these tests are for their own information and enlightenment. There’s no reason to go over on time, go back to a previous section, or look over another student’s shoulder – the purpose of these exams is simply to figure out precisely where they stand and what they still need to improve – a philosophy that will be deeply inculcated into your students by the program itself.
SAT vs. ACT: Which Prep System Should Your Students Use?
The Green Test Prep System comes with systems for both the SAT and the ACT. Because colleges don’t prefer one exam to the other, it’s important that your students pick the test that they prefer most, and which gives them the best chance for competitive scoring. Every student is different, and some students will do far better on the SAT than they will on the ACT and vice versa.
Teachers and students can use the following guide to make this decision quickly and easily:
Don’t pick a test arbitrarily, and don’t have your students begin using the system until they’ve picked the best test for them. This small investment of time will yield big results in your students’ overall scores.
What resources (books etc.) are needed for success?
To use the Green Test Prep System effectively, students will each need Flashcards, a Graphing Calculator and a Digital Watch.
Students will also need a set of books for tests and practice questions. You can see a full list of all resources used with Green Test Prep here or click on the following link:
Green Test Prep Book Requirements
Students can purchase these books on their own, or the school can provide them if necessary. It’s important that each student receive his or her own set of materials for effective study.
Why does Green Test Prep require these books?
Many test prep firms offer proprietary practice materials within their programs. We don’t believe in this approach for three reasons:
- Official practice tests are essential. You can’t offer a realistic testing experience or get credible diagnostic testing scores by creating your own tests. If you want realistic scores and a realistic idea of what the tests are like, what taking them is like, and what material will be present, you need real exams from the actual test maker. Anything else is deficient.
- Firms that publish these books spend millions of dollars crafting and printing these problems, and often have ex-test-writers on staff. These are fantastic resources already in place – we at Green Test Prep spend our time crafting curriculum and study plans to master these problems, but we view the problems themselves as a supplement to an effective program.
- The third-party firms that publish these problems have rapid turnaround. When the tests change, they can rapidly print new editions and practice materials to accommodate students. We keep our focus on mastering the problems, rather than crafting the problems themselves, which often become disposable in rapid iterations. One of our greatest strength as a company is that we digest these new materials in a comprehensive way and deliver a fresh, robust curriculum to our Green Test Prep students almost immediately after publication of these new materials.
- The materials listed above are the best available supplementary books on the market at present. Anthony-James Green, Green Test Prep’s Founder, constantly evaluates and updates the materials recommended. Make sure that your students have the official tests or testing booklets by the College Board and the ACT at the very least. Ideally, you’ll get the extra practice materials, too. No student should study for more than one test, and the total set of materials for each test will cost $35 to $45 per student.
What if you already have other texts available?
If you already have other testing materials, feel free to use them for practice, but not for diagnostic tests. You can do a quick search on Amazon to see the rankings for every SAT and ACT book on the market. If you have a relationship with another publisher or already have materials on hand, those will be fine for homework assignments and practice sets. The books listed above are the best in our experience – but any book printed by a reputable publisher with decent reviews will do the trick. Again, just be extremely sure that your students take their diagnostic tests from official, real exams published by the College Board or the ACT. You don’t want students taking a Barron’s or McGraw Hill test to figure out where they’re scoring – you want only ACT and College Board material for this purpose.
Aside from the books, you’ll want to make sure that your students have a scientific calculator, which is permitted on both of these exams. Students can purchase their own, or you can provide calculators for them. Lists of approved calculators are below:
Calculators allowed on the SAT
Calculators allowed on the ACT
Additionally, students will need an enormous amount of flashcards to use the system effectively. Flashcards are an essential element of the program – documenting, cataloguing, and consistently reviewing your areas of weakness is the most important part of the Green Test Prep System. The flashcards are indispensable!
Expect students to burn through at least 300 flashcards working through the program. I’ve had students create as many as 1,500. The trees are not fans of our test prep program, but the flashcards are integral to the effectiveness of the system.
We do not recommend online flashcards. Paper flashcards create longer-lasting memories when they’re crafted, they’re more versatile, and they can be read and organized more easily. Encourage students to grab a bunch upon starting, or provide your own.
Finally, it’s very important that each student get a DIGITAL watch. A large-faced, cheap digital watch is extremely important for any student taking the SAT or ACT. Time-awareness is one of the cornerstones of our system. Students must not use cell phones or other distracting devices to prep, timers often aren’t allowed into the testing centers, and watches with standard faces don’t provide the precision necessary for my techniques. A simple watch like this will do the trick – whether your students get them on their own or you provide them, they’ll make far more than $10’s worth of difference in your students’ results.
Enhancing Communication with Parents
Parental support and involvement is a key element of test prep success. Parents can help to motivate and support their children throughout this process. Additionally, as a school, you may want to let parents know precisely how the program works and what their students are going through – it’ll set their minds at ease and allow them to assist whenever possible.
Parents will be able to:
-Keep their kids on track and monitor their work at home
-Talk their kids through rough patches and demotivating incidents
-Assist in the college planning process
-Provide the support that their kids need for in-home practice tests (if/when not utilizing the practice exam days offered at your school)
Anthony’s first recommendation is to give all the parents at your school a free copy of his book, Test Prep for Parents, which has already helped thousands of parents to assist their children with this process. It covers everything from setting up the right study environment and “proctoring” exams, to enhancing motivation and providing monitoring for their kid’s progress.
You can find a link to the book here:
Note: whether or not your parents have children working through the program, we still highly recommend offering them a copy. It’s free for them and you, and it’ll help them to prepare for this process in advance and enhance their children’s academic profiles. This book could just as easily be titled “How to Help Your Kid to Get Better Grades in School,” but Anthony wrote it specifically for the “test prep crowd.”
Next, you can feel free to show parents the “for teachers” video at the start of this guide, and this guide itself. While the video and guide were meant for teachers and advisors, they’ll show parents everything they need to know in order to assist with the process and fully understand the program.
If you’re tracking the results of your students, we recommend sharing those results with their parents in the form of a simple email. This will work wonders in keeping the process holistic. If teachers or advisors notice that certain students are lagging, they can also contact parents directly to ask what insights they’re getting at home.
Finally, if you’re registering your students for the PSAT/PLAN/SAT/ACT, then parents should be alerted well in advance so that they can be sure to get their kids to the test on time, and also so that they don’t put their kids through anything in advance of their tests that might derail their scores.
Some of the following activities are poisonous for student test results if they occur within one week of testing:
-Flights and time zone changes
-Late night parties
-Permitted drinking of any kind
-Changes to medication
-Any form of travel or location change
-Lack of proper nutritional planning
-Sleep deficiencies of any kind
If parents know to avoid these things, and know in advance when their children will be taking their tests, their kids will get better scores. It’s essential that you give them this information.
If your children need financial assistance to take these tests, that’s something that the school will need to apply for on its own. Links are here:
If parents will be registering their children, they’ll need the resource below:
SAT and ACT Dates and Registration Calendar
Make sure to pick the right test dates for your students by using the information under the “Scheduling” header.
Be sure that parents receive this information early, and also be sure to get confirmation for registrations. Numerous parents forget to register, or register incompletely, before the deadline. There are many stories of students walking into tests for which they weren’t registered because parents never got around to it or didn’t do it properly. Needless to say, this is devastating to students that have worked so hard to prepare effectively.
One last word of advice: let parents know that:
- Their children can and should take a backup test. They can find the reasons why this is so important in the SAT and ACT dates calendar linked above.
- If their children get great scores and hit their goals on round one, they can cancel their backup tests with no penalty (other than the loss of their registration fee). If a student gets the scores he or she is looking for, the process is finished – no need to take another if you’ve already exceeded your goals! You or the parents will simply need to contact the College Board / ACT to cancel the registration.
How Teachers Can Help Students with the material covered in the Green Test Prep System
The Green Test Prep System is a self-contained system that was specifically designed to eliminate the need for tutors and outside instruction. However, there are supplements to the program that can both enhance results and provide parents with peace of mind and confirmation that your school is doing everything possible to help their children succeed.
First, it might help to let any concerned counselors or teachers gain a deeper familiarity with the system, what it teaches, and how it works.
- Every teacher and counselor at your school will be provided with a teacher account, which they can use to peruse the system and understand its methodologies in depth.
- THIS VIDEO will give a 19-minute overview of what’s taught, along with the key strategies, tactics, and elements that may be unfamiliar to your teachers and counselors. Watching this one quick video will give teachers and counselors all the information they need to assist their students, answer their questions, and understand what they’re working through.
Your teachers don’t need to be “certified” in any of my methodologies, nor do they need to practice them or learn them. Simply understanding what they are will do the trick – their pre-existing knowledge and mastery of their subjects will do the rest.
What can you teach IN CLASS to make things even better?
Do you want to gear the curriculum that you teach in class toward these tests? The great news is that you don’t really need to!
The New SAT and ACT both reflect the very same math, grammar, and reading lessons that you already teach in school. They’re meant to reflect the CORE curriculum, and, for the most part, they do. If your school curriculum teaches the basics of algebra, geometry, arithmetic, English grammar, reading comprehension, and essay writing, then there’s no need to change anything about what you’re teaching.
What we DON’T recommend: teaching test-specific material items in class.
Every student will come to these tests with different material strengths and deficiencies. If your Junior year curriculum emphasizes trigonometry, and you want to spend a bit more time focusing on the specific trig concepts tested by the SAT and ACT, fantastic! If your sophomore year English classes already teach the proper use of commas and semicolons, and your English teachers want to take a look at the English/writing+language sections of the ACT/SAT to figure out precisely how these concepts are tested on these exams, it’s not a horrible idea.
However, these steps aren’t particularly necessary. Ninety percent of what you teach in school is already geared toward these tests, and the alterations required by the tests are somewhat limited. Our System will teach students every material lesson necessary to get perfect scores, so if students haven’t taken the relevant class in school, or if they’ve forgotten certain material from past lessons, there’s no problem.
The actual strategies and tactics required to use these principles are covered thoroughly within my program, and there’s no need to reflect these lessons in class, especially because they sometimes run counter to the way that these subjects are traditionally taught (for instance, creating a great “hook” is a fantastic idea on most essays, but a horrible idea for the SAT essay).
Optional: Prep Coaches
An easy way to help your students without much effort or training is to designate certain teachers in your school as “Prep Coaches”. Setting up student-specific office hours or study sessions to answer students’ specific prep questions can enhance their motivation and their speed as they move through the Green Test Prep System. While this step is not in any way necessary for student achievement, any time great instructors are made available to students to support their educational goals, the outcomes are enhanced.
Some students might be having a lot of difficulty with percentage problems. Other students might be struggling with prepositions. The goal is not to set up classroom courses or training guides to teach these subjects – the System will do that for you. Instead, it would be extremely helpful to simply allow students to address their problems to the relevant instructor(s) on a regularly-scheduled basis.
If students can receive periodic, individualized attention to answer their problems, they’ll thrive.
All of the necessary material and answer explanations for every single practice problem will be provided within the System and its accompanying texts. The teachers designed at “Prep Coaches” can simply provide the human touch.
Only two groups of teachers can play a role in this process:
Any high school math teacher will be able to teach the concepts tested by the SAT and ACT. Some of the problems themselves might be a bit strange – the strategies and approaches are a bit wonky – but the material tested is in the wheelhouse of any high school math teacher.
If the math teachers at your school want to grab an official testing booklet of the SAT and ACT and look through the math section, it’s recommended that they do so. They might have certain topics that they haven’t taught in a while and need a bit of brushing up on. But for the most part, there’s no specific training or additional work required.
If students can access their math teachers outside of class to ask them questions, this would be ideal. Even if teachers make 15-30 minutes/day available to help students with specific questions and issues, this would be a huge help. Sometimes, it takes a one-on-one explanation, and the “human touch” to get students through a roadblock.
If your math teachers so choose, they can also look through the Table of Contents for our ACT and SAT programs, check out all the lessons with a “math” label, and work through the different lessons to get a deeper understanding of the test-specific methodologies that we teach. This will make their help that much more effective. The TOC for each program can be accessed by entering the program (New SAT, ACT, or SAT) and then clicking the TOC link in the “My Documents” tab on the left.
Your school’s English teachers will have the most relevant skill set for these exams. They’re the ones who will be able to offer assistance in the reading, English/writing+language, and essay writing portions of the program.
Again, there are no facts or concepts tested by these exams that your English teachers don’t already know.
The English/writing+language sections test basic English grammar rules that will be familiar to, and teachable by, all of your instructors.
The reading sections of both tests no longer require any vocabulary words or tricky facts, and the System provides a step-by-step process and strategy set for reading each passage and answering each question.
The essay sections of both tests require specific, particular planning formulas and templates that the System provides in full.
However, English teachers may be required to help students:
-Gain a deeper grasp of grammar rules that they don’t currently understand
-Improve the grammar and sentence structure of their essays
-Improve their reading comprehension skills through focus on main idea, tone, and purpose
English teachers are encouraged to both:
- Look through official essay, reading, and English/writing+language sections of both tests to understand precisely what students are being asked, in what format, and why.
- Take a look through our program to understand the strategies we teach for each of these three sections. They’re intuitive and easy to follow, and if your English teachers understand the methodologies that we teach, they’ll easily be able to assist in helping their students to use them.
Again, no “special certification” is required. Your English teachers simply need to understand what’s on these tests, along with a basic grasp of the strategies we urge our students to follow. That, along with their innate teaching abilities and experience, will be more than enough to turn them into invaluable resources for any of their students facing unexpected difficulties.
If your English teachers make themselves available outside of class for 15-30 minutes a day to provide individualized instruction, or if they monitor the “study times” suggested below, then they’ll be doing everything they need to in order to enhance their students scores.
We also recommend that they read all the lessons in the Table of Contents for the SAT and ACT systems labeled English, Writing+Language, Reading, or Essay in order to get a firmer grasp on the strategies and lessons that Green Test Prep teaches, and to brush up on any extremely specific concepts that they might not have seen in awhile, but that these tests feature frequently. These Tables of Contents can be found within each system in the “my documents” tab on the left of the program.
What about other teachers?
No other teachers at your school aside from Math and English teachers will need to do a thing. They can certainly assist in holding prep study sessions, but will not be called on for curriculum support.
The science section of the ACT has nothing to do with science – it should more accurately be called the “reading graphs and charts and understanding what they say” section.
If you’re curious, you can see my guide to the ACT science section here.
Green Test Prep teaches a comprehensive set of strategies and approaches to conquer the science section. This section requires no knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, etc. – students can get a perfect score with no understanding of any scientific topic.
However, if science teachers do want to offer their assistance, they’re more than welcome to read the Table of Contents for the ACT program (found in the “my documents” tab to the left of the program) read all of our strategies for the science section, and take a look through a few official science sections and their answer explanations. This will be more than enough for them to assist with ACT science if your students are requesting the help. However, in 99% of cases, a simple review of the section itself, a viewing of answer explanations, and a deeper dive into our strategies will do the trick.
As for history, social studies, art, etc. – none of those topics are covered on either of these tests at all. The reading section requires zero outside knowledge, and the essays don’t require a single outside fact, date, or quote.
Your other teachers are totally off the hook. They may still be utilized for the SAT Subject Tests (a Spanish teacher is the obvious choice to help with the SAT Spanish exam, and a US History teacher is the obvious choice to help with the SAT US History exam), but those are outside of the scope of our program. You can see our a quick guide on the SAT Subject Tests here.
Setting up “Study Times”
If you so choose, you can set up special study times or study halls at your school devoted to SAT and ACT prep. All students will need during these times will be:
-One of their practice books
-Their approved calculator
-Access to a computer, phone, or tablet – the System is accessible through any internet-connected device, so as long as they have an internet connection of some kind, they’ll be able to receive their lessons and complete their assignments
Ideally, these study times can be proctored by an English or math teacher, who will be able to monitor your students and answer any test-specific questions that arise. Alternatively, any subject teacher can effectively supervise these sessions and point students to designated teachers or to Green Test Prep support for further clarification.
The purpose of these study times won’t really be to instruct. Rather, it will be a dedicated time during which students can continue their daily studies. If you’re worried that students won’t study on their own, this can be a great way to get daily commitment from your students and make sure that the test prep process is moving along.
These times will allow students to study consistently. Daily effort is the key to improvement in any endeavor, and by carving out a special time for students to devote to their studies, schools will reinforce this message and easily enhance student performance.
In most cases, these “devoted times” will be more than enough to keep your students on track. If you want to take a more active role in the process, there’s one last thing you can do to take things further:
The Self-Reporting Process
You cannot punish a student for failing to study for the SAT/ACT. Failing to study for these exams is a form of self-punishment. Students who don’t follow through with their studies are creating a more stressful, less promising college application experience for themselves.
Most students will have no trouble working through the System – it’s designed to be simple, straightforward, and sequential. However, there will be times when certain students seemingly can’t be bothered. In these cases, the self-reporting process can come in handy. This process “forces” students to create their own support network, which can unhinge their resistance and get them back on track. Here’s how it works:
At the start of each week, students must report the following during their in-school study sessions (or to the ambassador in charge of their progress):
- A) What are the three specific things you’re finding most difficult as you study for these tests?
- B) What’s your plan for tackling them?
- C) How can we help?
The psychology behind this reporting system is simple: by reporting three specific items that are holding them back, even the most reluctant students will need to take at least a cursory look at their materials. Students cannot simply say, “I don’t like math,” or “I hate the essay.” This approach makes students take a closer look, which is the first and most essential step toward breaking down the barriers of resistance.
If a student says that he “hates math,” all your teachers need to ask is this: “what, in particular, is bothering you in the math section? Can you show me?”
If a student says that she “can’t do the reading section,” same thing: “what, exactly, is bothering you in the reading section? Can you show me?”
Notice three things:
- This requires no test specialization on the part of your teachers.
- This will reveal those students who haven’t even taken a look at their materials, and who are clearly putting them off.
- This will highlight the granular nature of these tests. Every section is composed of specific parts and elements, all of which can be mastered. Once students fully realize this, they’ll start to progress through the System more confidently.
For most students, this exercise will be a fantastic way to verbalize their issues and request help more proactively.
For instance, if a student says that he’s having trouble finding evidence within a passage, defining the tone of a passage, and figuring out the main idea of a passage, these are all issues that any English teacher can tackle.
If a student says that he’s struggling with dividing fractions, balancing inequalities, and finding slopes, these are problems that any math teacher at your school can solve.
Again, it’s important to note that the System will show students how to solve these problems – but sometimes, students can benefit from a personal explanation, or just the support of a teacher they know and trust.
More importantly, this process forces students to focus on their greatest and most frustrating weaknesses, which is the entire core of the System itself. By identifying, labeling, cataloguing, and prioritizing their weakness, students are taking the learning process into their own hands and crafting the most efficient program possible. This self-reporting process takes these steps even further.
For the vast majority of your students – the ones who are studying routinely, but need a bit of help – this process in and of itself will work wonders. But what about the students who simply won’t study?
How to Spur Reluctant Students
What if a student has nothing to report? It might sound something like this:
“I don’t know, it’s all fine. It all makes total sense. I’m fine.”
If you hear something like this, ask the obvious followup questions:
“Are your scores improving?”
“What have you learned recently?”
You can easily track student scores from within the program – just skip to 11:49 within the video link to see all the information you need on tracking. If a student says something like this, and he/she truly is excelling, you can easily see for yourself within his or her account. Sometimes, students simply like to forge ahead on their own. If you see practice test scores moving upward, and if your student can easily report specific recent learnings, all may be well.
However, more often than not, this sort of response is another way of saying: “I’m not actually studying.”
If a student says that he/she “is doing fine,” or if a student has an extremely broad, unspecific answer, such as:
“I don’t like math.”
“Reading is hard.”
It’s usually a sign that he’s not doing the work. The System teaches students how to break down each section into its components, so “I don’t like math” is a clear indication that the student isn’t using the System.
If a student gives a broad answer like this, the follow up question that needs to be asked:
“What in particular don’t you like about math? What sorts of problems are tough?”
Notice that this isn’t scolding or accusing – it’s simply pushing the student to define his own needs and, in some cases, to actually look at the material.
If, at this point, a student can answer the question, fantastic! Find a few problems presenting his issues and work through them together.
If he can’t, set a small, specific goal:
“Why don’t you work through these six math problems, and we’ll work through any that you can’t solve together?”
“Why don’t you work through one reading passage, answer the questions to the best of your ability, and then we’ll review them together?”
“Why don’t you try writing the outline of your essay, and then we’ll take a look at it together?”
This process, routinely implemented during study sessions, can make all the difference in the world. Effective test prep, just like all other academic endeavors, is all about momentum, and if you can just get the ball rolling through a few specific actions, reluctant students will often pick up the pace.
In the case of recalcitrant students, or those who simply refuse to study or take the process seriously in spite of the above steps, there are a few more things you can do:
-Contact their parents and let them know the situation. Ask if they have any insights into the issue, and encourage them to set up proctored study time at home to continue the process outside of school.
-Let parents know that our support team will be able to answer all of their and their child’s questions, and that they won’t need to learn any elements of the tests on their own. Send them the link to our support page here:
-Before doing so, let the student know that you’ll be contacting his or her parents if some level of effort isn’t put forward. Oftentimes, this is enough to get things going. In my career as a tutor, I rarely used the threat of “ratting a student out” to his parents – but when I did, it was remarkably effective in and of itself.
Sometimes, students just “don’t see the point” of the SAT/ACT, and because they’re not getting a grade on their report card, they don’t see the need to prep. My guide on motivating students can help, but if it doesn’t, getting a parent involved can be an effective maneuver.
If, despite parental involvement and teacher assistance, a student is still not willing to study, this is beyond the scope of any test prep program. This may be an emotional or disciplinary issue best tackled by the counselors at your school, or by the family of the student(s) in question. Fortunately, these cases are exceedingly rare and almost every student that engages with Green Test Prep sees enormous results from their efforts!
That’s All There Is to It!
Using the steps above will help you to push your motivated students further, to unplug any “blockages” in the prep process, and to spur on unmotivated or disinterested students.
There’s nothing more you need to do to get your students higher test scores, and all of the suggestions above are optional. Again, it’s important to note that our average score improvements (over 215 points on the SAT and 4.66 points on the ACT) were obtained without any resources or assistance outside of the program itself.
Your role as a school is simple: keep your students on track, and provide enhancements if and when necessary. Otherwise, the Green Test Prep System will take care of the rest!
Don’t hesitate to reach out by contacting [email protected] with any questions or requests for additional materials. Our support team is here to help, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure a smooth, successful test prep process for you and your students!
Thanks for reading, and please enjoy The Green Test Prep System!