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Fall ACT and SAT Prep: Preparing for the Upcoming School Year


August 1, 2018, by Chris Orr

As the summer winds down, our eyes turn to the upcoming school year. For seniors, the ACT and SAT in the fall represent the last opportunity to demonstrate a strong test score for early college applications. Now that you have recharged your batteries this summer, seniors should be preparing for the Fall test.

The SAT dates are August 25th, October 6th, and November 3rd.  Check out College Board for more information:

The ACT dates are September 8th and October 27th. Here’s the link for the Official ACT website for upcoming test dates and registration deadlines:

The earlier you sign up for the test, the more choices you’ll have to take it closer to where you live. In one case, a student was told she would have to travel to another state to take the SAT because all the local test centers were filled. Fortunately, we were able to work with her local high school so she could take it there. It is optimal for students to take the test in a school where they feel the most comfortable. The more relaxed and confident students feel entering the test, the more likely they will succeed.   

I have tutored students who have shown tremendous score increases within only a month or two. Ideally, I recommend parents and students start tutoring 3-4 months before the test date.  If we are closer to the test date, we can meet twice a week at an accelerated pace. From my experience, there is a correlation between the more practice tests a student takes and how much their score improves. Given that, I prefer students have enough time to take as many practice tests as possible.

The first few sessions are devoted to reviewing strategy and covering content to lay the foundation for the practice tests.  Strategy, Content and Practice is a time-tested approach I developed over the past ten years. This approach has helped many students of different levels improve their scores significantly. The student benefits from learning new perspectives and exploring customized strategies. Private tutoring sessions allow me to adapt my strategies to different learning styles and the students’ strengths.

A critical component is reviewing the practice tests that students take in-between sessions.  Unfortunately, many companies use practice tests that are not as challenging as the actual ACT and SAT. In fact, I discovered that some companies make their practice tests easier as the student goes through the program, creating a false sense of confidence.  My students benefit from reviewing the questions they answered incorrectly on the practice tests, then learning techniques to correct those mistakes on the actual test. Check out more about my approach in the next blog post, My Tutoring Approach: Strategy, Content and Practice.