Being prepared for the ACT will help eliminate stress for both you and your child, and will make the process go much smoother. Though most students won’t take the ACT until their Junior year, it’s important to start getting ready before that. Just how important is it to start early? Here are just some of the many reasons you should start your child’s ACT prep early, and a basic timeline of what you should be doing.
Why Start ACT Prep Early
You have to walk before you can run, put the horse before the cart - that sort of thing. Before your child can get ready for college, it’s important to get the necessary information together. Just some of the benefits of starting prepping early are:
- It greatly reduces the amount of stress in the Junior year. By starting a year ahead of the test, you can spread the studying and preparing out a lot more.
- With makes Senior year easier. Senior year is full of other things that need to be taken care of, like exams and college applications. Spreading out the ACT prep makes this year easier as well.
- There’s more time to prepare for the test - a pretty obvious benefit. But a great one that is worth reiterating.
- It gives your child more options. When you start preparing early, there are more potential test dates that he can choose from. It also means he has the time available to retake the test if needed.
- Ensures your child is taking the right test. By studying the test material early, your child can decide if the ACT is, in fact, the right test. Your child may be better suited for the SAT.
Basic ACT Timeline
As you can see, getting started with ACT test prep early has many benefits. Here is a basic timeline of what should be done in each year.
This is the year your child should start his test prep. Begin with a practice, or mock, test. You may want to encourage your child to take both a practice ACT and a practice SAT to ensure that you pick the test that is right for him.
Summer Before Junior Year
Since your child has already begun preparing, he should be well on his way to take the ACT his junior year. In the months preceding the test, he should really get into the test prep. Retake the practice test. Review basic math, English and science skills that should be on the test. Go over reading passages and meet with a test prep tutor to make the most of this time he has to study.
Ideally, you want your child to be completely finished with test taking by the end of this year. Since your child has been practicing for the real test for a year now, he or she should be ready to take the real thing, giving several opportunities to take the test. This is an optimal situation for a couple of reasons; one, your child may have miss certain test dates and this gives him more chances to take the test, and two, if he or she does poorly on the first test, he has the time to retest.
This is the year your child will need to focus on extracurriculars, filling out college applications and writing those college essays. If he or she has followed this timeline taking the ACT testing should have been completed already, leaving him more time to deal with other things.
With the ACT, like with many other things in life, it’s important to begin preparations early. It can help reduce the amount of stress you and your child will face, make the testing go easier, and make both junior and senior year go smoother.