Six Things to Look for in an Exam Prep Program

By Huntington Learning Center

Applying to college is exciting and nerve-racking for teens. All of the hard work of high school becomes incredibly important as teens bring it all together—the transcript, grade point average, letters of recommendation and more—and assemble their applications.

College entrance exam scores are a significant factor in admission too. Make sure your teen prepares effectively for the SAT or ACT with an exam prep program. What should you look for when selecting one? Here are six musts:

  1. Customized for each student – Studying for the SAT or ACT is made easier when teens know their individual strengths and weaknesses and can focus their study plan. Parents should make sure that their teens receive a diagnostic evaluation at the start of any exam prep program. That assessment of subject-matter knowledge and skills will serve as the baseline for the study program.
  2. Structured and scheduled – The most effective exam prep program will be scheduled based on teens’ precise needs in each exam subject and overall score goals (which might be driven by their college of choice). Certain subjects might need more attention than others, and thus, more time and focus.
  3. Highly knowledgeable teachers – Studying for the SAT and/or ACT is different than studying for a regular test. It’s best to work with tutors who are trained in college entrance exam prep. Teens will learn the best working with tutors who know the exams well and understand both the unique structure of each exam and the best strategies for exam preparation and success.
  4. A focus on test-taking strategies for each exam – The SAT and ACT are similar in what they cover, but there are many distinctions teens need to understand in order to adjust their approach to each exam. For example, students cannot use a calculator on the SAT math test. And in the reading test, students get 22.5 more seconds per question on the SAT than on the ACT. Bottom line: knowing such differences (and how to approach different parts of the exams) is critical.
  5. Test practice – The best test prep programs incorporate full-length, timed, practice exams. These help teens get comfortable pacing themselves on different question types and allow them to get a feel for the actual exam setting.
  6. Prep materials for outside practice – Let’s face it: to boost their SAT/ACT scores, teens need to put in the work outside of the hours they’re with their exam prep tutor. Additional resources and materials help teens practice questions and focus on areas/subjects on their own time.

Not all SAT and ACT prep programs are created equal. If you decide your teen needs individualized help, make sure you invest in a proven test prep program that has helped many high school students perform their best.

Huntington’s SAT and ACT preparatory programs are individualized for each student’s needs and focused on guiding students toward achieving success. For more about our process, exam prep curriculum and more, call us at 1-800 CAN LEARN.


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