Pairing a competitive ACT® score with a strong academic transcript provides the best opportunity for a student to attend his or her dream school. You might be thinking, “What is a top score on the ACT®?” In a nutshell, there is not just one “good” ACT® score. While an Ivy League school or local community college may be better a fit for a particular student, the ACT® standards of these schools are very different. That’s why the better question to ask is, “What is a good score for the school(s) my student wants to attend?”
This is why we suggest all students to begin preparing for life after high school by researching the interquartile range(s) of schools in which they may be intersected, and to then pick a goal score at the top or above that range. After a student identifies an initial score target, he or she needs to know how to get there. Here are 3 tips straight from the Revolution Prep experts:
1. Gauge Progress Using Full-Length Practice Tests
We know that students don’t want to take four-hour-long practice tests on the weekends, but we also know that students who don’t generally don’t see significant score increases. Practice exams increase familiarity with the test content and time constraints; provide valuable tools to identify areas of opportunity, and enable students to build the mental endurance needed to sustain peak performance from the first question to the last—think of it as athletic training for the mind.
2. Allocate Enough Preparation Time
The ACT® is far and away the most important test a student will take in high school, so it’s important for students to give themselves (more than) the proper time to prepare. While planning is not the flashiest part of the test prep process, it is an essential part of successful outcomes. Cramming is not the pathway to success on the ACT®.
3. Build Test Fluency and Apply Strategies
Just knowing the “stuff” isn’t enough to achieve an ACT® score that will be competitive at top colleges. This is because standardized tests are different than the tests students take in high school. Did you know that science isn’t really about science? That it may be best to not spend time on every math question? Or that there is no guessing penalty on the ACT®? As students become more familiar with the ACT®, they can arm themselves with strategies to avoid the ACT® traps, save time on questions, and reduce test anxiety.
Applying each of these tips can be the difference between students earning acceptance to the schools of their dreams, or and finding themselves on the waitlist.