Guide to Choosing a Prep System:
Step 1: Start with an Online Program
Start with an online program.[/su_highlight] Online ACT and SAT courses are affordable and extremely convenient, you can start them far in advance of your test date, and they allow you to study on your schedule. If you work with a one-on-one tutor or a classroom course, you’re working on someone else’s schedule. This prevents you from starting early, taking things at your own pace, and building up a base. Online courses give you the flexibility that you need to succeed. Before you spend thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars on a tutor or course that “locks you” into a specific timeframe and way of studying, it’s wise to test the waters with an online program. Worst case, you’ll gain significant exposure to the SAT & ACT, learn some key strategies, and enhance your material knowledge. Best case, they’ll be all you need to get the scores you’re looking for.
Step 2: Assess Strengths and Weaknesses
Use your online course to build your material strengths and assess your weaknesses.
By going through an online course, you can build up your math, grammar, vocabulary, and reading skills on your own time. Material knowledge – the formulas, facts, and figures required by these tests – is the foundation of good SAT & ACT prep. If you don’t know how to find the area of a triangle or use a comma, no amount of strategy or tactics will help you. Find a program that emphasizes material knowledge first, and use that program to diagnose your material strengths and weaknesses for rapid progress.
Once you complete an online program, you won’t just have stronger base skills – you’ll also have a clear idea of what your biggest strategic and tactical weaknesses are.
Step 3: After Some Training, Take a Diagnostic Test to Figure Out Where You Stand
You don’t need an official SAT or ACT to figure out where you’re scoring. As a matter of fact, that’s a common mistake that many parents make! You don’t want to “wing” a real test that will be on your permanent record. If you take a real SAT from the College Board book or a real ACT from the official ACT book, and you take the test under realistic conditions (timed, graded, in a quiet place, on a good night’s rest, etc.), you’ll have a 99% accurate idea of how you’ll score on the real thing.
Try an online program for a bit, set a baseline score by taking a diagnostic on your own time, and then take another diagnostic a few weeks later to gauge your progress. If your online program has demonstrated its ability to raise your scores significantly in a few weeks, fantastic! Just keep working through the program until you get your target scores. Then, once you reach them, take an official SAT or ACT and be done with it! Just be sure your online program is using real College Board / ACT diagnostic tests when providing your practice scores- you don’t want to rely on the scores provided by any third party.
Step 4: Additional Options
If your scores still aren’t where they need to be after working through an online course:
A) Retake your online course again and concentrate on your weakest areas. Any good online program will allow you to retake the course and continue to build your skills. This costs $0 and presents zero risk. Often, once students learn material and strategies, they simply need to solidify their skills through repeat exposure.
B) Find a more hands-on option (tutoring or customized group coaching) to fine-tune your skills.
After you’ve taken a comprehensive online course, you’ll have an extremely clear idea of what you do and don’t know, what’s difficult for you, what’s easy, and what challenges you need to overcome.
If you’re stuck at this point, a skilled one-on-one tutor or comprehensive group coaching course may help you to take your scores to the next level. This is where the highly individualized nature of one-on-one tutoring really comes into play. Once you’ve gotten all the “commodity” learning out of the way, your tutor or coach can focus only on the hyper-specific, individualized elements of your SAT & ACT approach that need to be improved.
This is also where your teachers at school can come in handy. Most school teachers aren’t knowledgable about the SAT or the ACT, but when you have a specific idea of where you need help, they can assist in providing you with the material assistance you need to improve.
Step 5: Enjoy the Best Scores Possible.
If you follow this simple plan, you stand the best chances of getting extremely high SAT or ACT scores.
Looking for the best way to start? My online prep programs have higher student SAT and ACT score improvements than any other course, class, or tutor in the industry (345+ points on the SAT and 4.66+ points on the ACT, Better Business Bureau verified). They’re guaranteed to boost your scores between your first and second practice tests, they run on your schedule and timeline, and they’re the same programs I put my own students on at $1,000/hour to achieve world-class score improvements.
There’s a reason why my programs have the reputation that they do: over 98% of the students who complete my online SAT & ACT programs achieve their target scores without disrupting their classroom or extracurricular schedules.
You can find out more about my online SAT & ACT courses, upcoming SAT & ACT MasterClass, and one-on-one tutoring availability here.
I hope you found this guide helpful! The most important thing you can do at this point: get started! No matter what prep option you choose, it’s essential that you begin the prep process as soon as you can. If you begin early, you can achieve world-class improvements in 20-40 minutes a day without the stress and deadlines inherent in this process.
Thanks for reading, be in touch if you have any questions, and good luck with your prep!
Founder, Green Test Prep