As discussed in previous posts in our Value of Test Prep Series, there is simply no substitute for a solid prep strategy, to ensure that your student performs their very best on college admissions exams or AP exams. To that end, no test prep strategy can be considered complete without a disciplined approach to timing and balance.
So, what exactly do we mean by timing and balance?
Timing in Test Prep
In order to avoid cramming for any significant test, it is advisable that students begin their test prep in earnest approximately 4-6 months ahead of their planned exam. For example, since most students will take the ACT or the SAT in their junior year, it’s beneficial to begin studying during the summer between 10th and 11th grade. Enlisting the services of an experienced test prep tutor the summer before your child’s junior year is an investment no parent will regret.
By embarking on valuable test prep sessions long before the actual exam date, students feel less stress, and are therefore able to devote their full attention to the material being reviewed. Rather than trying to absorb material from multiple subject areas all at the same time, by beginning the test prep process early, students can devote extra time to particularly challenging material.
In addition, by prepping over time, students are best situated to perform well during SAT or ACT review courses which are offered through our tutoring centers just before the actual test dates.
Balance in Test Prep
When it comes to creating a test prep strategy that will yield successful results, like all things in life, balance will prove to be key. To achieve balance, with a looming college admissions exam, or AP test exam, it is again optimal to begin the test prep process months in advance. Keeping in mind that college admissions offices are interested in seeing fully developed applicants, high school students need to showcase both academic proficiency along with extracurricular involvement.
Because college admissions officers take in account grades, test scores, and school or community involvement, it is vital that your student have every opportunity at their disposal to balance these three components. After all, if your student is an athlete, and their team continues winning, additional games or competition dates will be added to a traditional team schedule. Likewise, if your student is active in music or theatre, the potential for last minute rehearsals is a very real possibility, thus taking up additional weekends or evenings, leaving less time for test prep.
In effort to provide your child with every possible opportunity for success on critical tests, it is crucial that they have ample time to devote to preparing for these exams. Through beginning the test prep process well ahead of any scheduled exam, your child will be able to give their all to tutoring or small group classes, all the while being able to juggle their passion projects or extracurricular activities.
Make no mistake, when it comes to planning an Optimal Test Prep Program, an awareness of the importance of timing and balance simply can’t be undervalued.
At Achieve Academics, we recognize each student’s potential—no matter his or her learning style, strengths, weaknesses, or academic goals. Start off your student’s path to college on the right foot by preparing early and watch as your student reaps the benefits in the years that follow.
Achieve Academics, offers offer a variety of small group classes and one-on-one tutoring services that not only boost your student’s SAT, ACT, and/or AP performance, but also provide personalized strategies so that students stay engaged and proactive throughout their academic career.