Are ACT Prep Classes really that helpful?
I need an ACT score of at least 30 to get into a military academy. From my PSAT score, I'll probably get a 28. Will an ACT Prep class actually raise my score by two points or more? Thanks!
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Bear with me on this one. The ACT does not penalize you for guessing, right? So, you can successfully raise your score by knowing how to guess. Seriously. When my son kept failing the ASVAB, I taught him this technique and his score skyrocketed. They made him retake it and fingerprinted him! And he still nailed it!
Here's the trick. Do NOT just guess randomly. Say you were taking a true-false test that was written in Japanese. Can't read the questions. Ten questions. What do you do? If you just assign random T and F to the questions, you stand to miss them all. But, if you mark all of them T, or all of them F, you stand to get 4-6 correct. So, on the multichoice tests, I walk into the room with a letter in my head. Today it is "B". any question that I flat out cannot figure out or narrow down through process of elimination gets a B, and I move on. (really reduces stress too!) If I run out of time, all remaining questions also will get a B. If I can narrow it down, I take the letter that comes first in the alphabet. So if I narrow it down to B or C, I pick B. if it is A or D, I pick A.
The ultimate objective of these tests is to win without cheating. I know nothing about the prep programs, but I know my method works! Now, what is your area of weakness? Vocabulary can be addressed by learning roots - pyro - fire, etc. and I believe in flash cards. There are plenty of free learning tools on-line.
Another thing I do is rather than studying my areas of weakness, which of course are difficult for me, I work to improve my strengths. It seems counter-intuitive, but I am more likely to learn that which I already do well in than something I detest having to study.
You are obviously very driven, so I know you can do this! Fire back with any questions!
Blake Ashley’s Answer
I think this totally depends on your style of learning. If a class will force you to sit down and prep for the exam, then I definitely suggest you take it. However if you learn best by studying on your own and know that you will take the time to actually sit down and study without having a set time every week to do so, then I don't think you need to take the class. Personally, I learn best on my own so I did not take a class. It's all about knowing yourself and knowing what you need to succeed!
G. Mark’s Answer
This is a weirder question than most people would assume. The reason is that a lot of tests are intended to gauge the basic potential of a person to pursue some area of study or career. And there is a philosophy that says that if you take these tests "cold" and without preparation, that's the best and "fairest" estimation of your abilities or at least potential. I think many -- or most -- people would agree that if you practice a test over and over, you could be considered "cheating". After all, if you know what to expect to be asked, you'll have a better chance of getting the answer right than someone who was not prepared at all. There's also the idea that simply taking a "kind" of test and having experience and a comfort level with a "kind" of question, you'll simply be taking the most advantage of your innate potential without being bogged down by anxiety. So preparing for tests -- no matter how "unbiased" and "pure" they're intended to be -- will generally make a person who is unfamiliar with the setting or process or emotional situation and environment a better test-taker and have a better outcome.
Yes, you need prep classes. I've worked with 11th grade AP students whose English grammar and reading incomprehension skills were lacking" but improved several points after tutoring. I highly recommend getting an experienced ACT tutor. And practice until your score exceeds 30.
I also would recommend taking both the ACT (like you planned) and the SAT. Some students naturally do better on one or the other. After taking each once, and then doing a prep course or self-study book for the test you initially scored the highest on. Once you are comfortable, retake the test and see how/if your score changes and evaluate your next steps.