Best ACT Prep Course

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by billyb, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. billyb

    billyb Member

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    Not sure if this is the perfect forum for this question... but I am in search for the best ACT prep course for my DD. Self prep with the old exams isn't the best option for her. She needs a hands on teacher/program and not an online one.

    This is a very well educated group so I thought I would ask if anyone here has used a formal ACT prep course (such as Princeton Review and the myriad others) and if it was worth it. Obviously the courses aren't inexpensive.

    Any help is much appreciated!
     
  2. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    The ACT/SAT are a necessary evil unfortunately. And there has been great debate, on SAF, over the topic of preparing for the test or preparing for the job. I can understand both sides to that argument. However, this is the standardized test to gauge all students across the board, home schoolers, top notch private schools, top notch public schools and regular schools that don't offer IB or AP level classes.

    Most students reach a plateau after 3 or 4 times taking these tests and then you must decide what to do. Its a huge cottage industry that folks are willing to dish out big bucks in order for their yuppy larva get into the school they think is necessary to be successful in life.

    So the cottage industry has a wide range of options to choose from, because there is money to be made. (my DS took these tests 9 times to get a 34/740). Of course there are the PR as you mentioned, prep schools and teachers (under the table) able to assist you or separate you from your money. Bottom line-What are your DDs goals and how motivated is your DD to her goals?

    My DS found his biggest gains when he attended NWP.

    Push Hard, Press Forward

    I hope this helped
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  3. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Wishful likes this.
  4. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    My dd didn't want to study with tutors. She found that there are many FREE and entertaining videos on YOU-Tube that are quite helpful for studying. Said browsing the videos is amusing and it doesn't feel like studying.

    Even though she is acing a Calculus course this year, her math scores were not as high as she would like. So she spent about 2 hours going over math basics with a You-Tube Video the night before the exam. And her math score went up 2 points...:). Unfortunately the English score went down a point... oh well... :eek:
     
  5. 845something

    845something Member

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  6. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

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    I did pretty well on the ACT, and I did take an in school prep course for it. But honestly, the prep course was almost worthless to me. Everyone was at a different level, and the teacher seemed to cater to the people on the lower levels(scoring in the mid teens). We spent the majority of the class going over what I felt was basic material. If your DD takes an ACT prep course in a classroom setting(ie with 20 or 30 other students being taught by one teacher) I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happens.

    I also took a PSAT prep course in school that I feel helped me quite a bit. It was a very selective course, and one had to score pretty high on the PSAT taken sophomore year to get in. My classmates were very intelligent and I learned a lot from them. We didn't have to go over basic concepts and we went over some of the more difficult concepts. The class was only 9 weeks and in those 9 weeks my score jumped about 40 points(in SAT terms, that is 400 points). However, while the class did help a bit, I think that the studying I did in my own was what really raised my scores a bunch. I would give the prep course credit for boosting my score about 10 of those 40 points, but I think my self prep is to blame for the other 30.

    The best thing to do IMO is buy a prep book and read what it says about the concepts. McGrawHill has this great PSAT prep book that I used, and in it it had a section where basically every single type of math question that could possibly show up on the test was explained in detail. I studied the section, and after I had memorized every concept, the only way I could miss math questions was through careless mistakes. I'm sure that there are prep books like this for the ACT/SAT too. This strategy might not work well for your DD, but it worked very well for me. However, I would recommend against using the practice tests in the prep book/s. They are really inaccurate imo and your DD is much better off taking real ACT tests that have been released.

    Your DD should try the SAT too. I'm an ACT person, but I know a lot of people that are better at the SAT. If she has a strong vocabulary and is able to write verg well, the SAT might suit her better.
     
  7. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

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    Sometimes the scale is what makes our scores go up a point or two and down a point or two. I once saw an ACT where -3 was a 35 in the English section. Often times, -3 is a 33 in the English section.

    Also TS, you might want to consider purchasing the scores explained when your register your DD for the ACT. It's imperative to go over the questions one missed if one wishes to improve.
     
  8. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    Billyb,

    This was our experience.

    Both my sons smoked the Math PSAT, but had problems with Verbal. We used a private tutor for each, spending about $30-40/hour for 6-8 hours. BTW, we didn't pay the tutor to watch them take the tests. He taught them the techniques which they employed while taking the practice tests at home. He then analyzed the results with them looking for consistent weaknesses, most of which were correctable.

    In both sons' cases, it was intimidation by and dislike of the Verbal section feeding off of each other. Once they learned the "tricks", it became more of a game. There are general strategies for test taking, but also tactics for standardized tests. The SAT and ACT even have their own individual peculiarities. There is a specific way to read each question. There are tricks and tactics which allow you to eliminate answers almost without reading the question, thereby giving more time to go back and check one's work before the buzzer sounds. The tactics are few and they are simple. Learn the skills and then employ them with practice tests. After doing that, DD/DS will walk into the test looser and with greater confidence.

    She should not simply grind through endless practice tests. she'll only frustrate herself. I'm sure you've heard of "practice with a purpose." The best athletes arrive at the game with a few butterflies, but also with confidence based on an attention to detail and technique during practices which he/she made meaningful. She needs to walk in with that same mindset.
     

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