Test Preparation: An Evil Necessity

Before you begin any test prep program, you need to identify which test is the best match for you: the SAT or the ACT. Then, determine how you best learn.  The colleges really do not care which you submit, so it just doesn't make any sense to prep for the SAT if the ACT is a better test for you.

 

If you do not learn well in group situations, then taking a class with 30 others is not going to help you. If you do not learn well on your own, then buying a test prep book and thinking you'll do it yourself is not going to help. 

 

The SAT or the ACT? 

 

I like to use this analogy for the two tests: Think of your mind as a balloon. The ACT measure how much air you currently have in your balloon. It favors  students who can easily go from A to B to C in a systematic manner. The SAT measures what your maximum capacity is for your balloon and rewards students who can jump from A to C without having to stop at B along the way.


But how do you know which test is the better one for you? There are two ways to find out.

 

1. If you have taken both the PLAN and the PSAT, you can compare your results. The scoring is very different on the two tests, but you can compare your percentiles. Let's say you scored in the 87th percentile on the PLAN Reading component and the 78th percentile on the PSAT Critical Reading. Clearly on this one component the ACT is the better test for you.

 

2) If you haven't taken both of these pre-tests, then you need to take a practice exam for each one. Here's how to do that.

 

A) Go into your school's guidance department and ask for a practice copy of each exam. Always prep with real College Board and ACT exams. Simulated exams are no substitute for the real thing.

 

B) Take the practice ACT. You don't have to do it all in one setting. Just do one section at a time.

 

C) Upload your answers to my online Test Prep program. The program will score your test, but more importantly it will analyze your answers to determine your strengths and weaknesses.

 

D) Repeat steps 2-3 for the SAT. 

 

I will provide you with an ACT-SAT Conversion Chart so that you can directly compare your results. Once you have this information, you're ready to begin your test prep in earnest, clearly focused on the one test that gives you the best chance of scoring at your optimum level.

Let's talk first about the ACT. About one-third of the students I've worked with over the last 25 years do significantly better on the ACT than the SAT, to the point that they only send their ACT scores to the colleges to which they are applying. But why? And how do you know if the ACT is a better test for you?

 

For starters the ACT has long been more of an "achievement" test than an "aptitude" test like the SAT. To that end the questions are more straight forward, free of some of the "tricks and traps" of the more intuitive SAT. One of the best parts of the ACT is that there is no guessing penalty. If you don't know the answer, just pick one.

 


The SAT is the student-preferred test on both coasts, but I'm not sure why. It may be a carry over from decades ago when certain colleges would only accept the SAT and not the ACT--but those days are long gone.

 

The SAT is more intuitive in nature and carries a guessing penalty, though I prefer to call it a "guessing reward," when used properly. It consists of three parts: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. There is also an essay. Most colleges only use the Critical Reading and Math portions for admission purposes, though you must take the Writing and complete the essay as well.

 

 

 


Self-Paced ACT / SAT / PSAT Preparation

This option provides unlimited access to Triumph Learning's PSAT/ACT/SAT prep site. There are four advantages of using Triumph College Admissions for your test preparation: 

 

1) It includes all three of the major tests you will be taking: PSAT, ACT & SAT.

2) TCA is self-paced so you can work on it as you have time.

3) It specifically targets your weakest areas; provides drill, instruction, and quizzes in those areas; and, then retests you to ensure that you have learned from the time you have invested.

4) Most importantly, TCA only uses actual PSAT/ACT/SAT exams, not simulated ones that most test prep companies use.

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Self-Paced ACT / SAT / PSAT Preparation

$500.00

This option provides unlimited access to Triumph Learning's PSAT/ACT/SAT prep site. There are four advantages of using Triumph College Admissions for your test preparation: 

 

1) It includes all three of the major tests you will be taking: PSAT, ACT & SAT.

2) TCA is self-paced so you can work on it as you have time.

3) It specifically targets your weakest areas; provides drill, instruction, and quizzes in those areas; and, then retests you to ensure that you have learned from the time you have invested.

4) Most importantly, TCA only uses actual PSAT/ACT/SAT exams, not simulated ones that most test prep companies use.


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Individual Tutoring for PSAT, SAT, or ACT

Not everyone has the self discipline to tutor themselves. Some students need a real person either sitting next to them or skyping on a computer monitor to get inside their heads to see just what they are thinking and why. For those students I offer one-on-one instruction for any of the three major tests you will be taking: the PSAT or the ACT or the SAT. You can sign up for more than one, but you can only do one test prep course at a time.

 

As an English major with over 25 years experience teaching the Critical Reading and Writing portions of these exams, I have first-hand knowledge about what you need to know. And whereas I began my college career as a math major, I am wise enough to turn that part of your instruction over to someone else who is much more qualified than I am to help you with the numbers.

 

These Skype sessions are during the evening hours at a time that is convenient for you. I utilize the same Triumph Learning software that is used in the self-paced test prep; you just get much more individualized help.

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Individual Tutoring for PSAT, SAT, or ACT

$1,500.00

Not everyone has the self discipline to tutor themselves. Some students need a real person either sitting next to them or skyping on a computer monitor to get inside their heads to see just what they are thinking and why. For those students I offer one-on-one instruction for any of the three major tests you will be taking: the PSAT or the ACT or the SAT. You can sign up for more than one, but you can only do one test prep course at a time.

 

As an English major with over 25 years experience teaching the Critical Reading and Writing portions of these exams, I have first-hand knowledge about what you need to know. And whereas I began my college career as a math major, I am wise enough to turn that part of your instruction over to someone else who is much more qualified than I am to help you with the numbers.

 

These Skype sessions are during the evening hours at a time that is convenient for you. I utilize the same Triumph Learning software that is used in the self-paced test prep; you just get much more individualized help.


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