I tutored H.’s older sister a few years ago, and she set the bar quite high by increasing her score from a 27 to a 32 on her first try on the ACT. H. actually scored an 18 on his very first test taken unofficially, so my approach with him was quite different than what I used with his sibling. He was also on an accelerated prep schedule, as he was planning on playing sports in college and therefore needed to get a score in by fall of junior year for NCAA coaches.
So, we started working together over the summer for an hour a week. Besides following my time management and test-taking techniques religiously, H. also spent time outside of sessions doing practice sections and exams, which really helped solidify his understanding of the concepts and techniques needed to raise his score significantly. After approximately 25 hours of prep and a string of practice scores in the 26-28 range, H. was ready to take the test in October.
As you can see above, the results on that October exam were not what we were looking for; H. had only gone up 3 composite points to a 21, well below what we all knew he was capable of. H. let me know he had been exhausted and stressed leading up to the test, which I knew can have a huge impact on performance on test day.
We didn’t panic, and instead signed him up right away for the next available test. We only met a few more times leading up to the December exam, and when the scores came back, we were all thrilled! H. had gotten a 29 composite score, his best score ever and more than enough for what he needed for college coaches.
I always tell students and parents to trust the process. There are no guarantees in test prep, but if you put in the time with a good tutor, the odds are definitely in your favor to increase your scores and greatly improve your likelihood of admission to a top university.