Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Did your heart rate just jump after reading the header to this post? I hope that even if it did, you can take a few deep breathes as I describe a little bit about the best way to approach testing.

First, as I've said before- I think it is ideal for all Juniors to sit for both the ACT and the SAT between January and June of their Junior year. This way they can make an informed decision about the test that fits them best and that will allow them to put their strongest testing foot forward. I would then re-test for the test that was stronger to see if any (or all) of the sections can be improved.

Some people know that they cannot prepare for the test on their own. Some people feel that their potential is not being fully reached. For these people, a test prep class is a great way to have a structured study method that will both reduce test anxiety (through repetitive mock exams) and provide test taking strategies for how to improve your performance. ElRo partners with Revolution Prep to offer test prep in our building. If students find an option that fits for them through another company that is fine too. I am of the opinion that the commitment to studying, repetitive mock exams, and formal time allotted to prep are where the most significant score improvements are made. The brand you choose is less of the issue than is the commitment you are willing to make and the time you are willing to devote.

A mailing recently went out describing the summer test prep options at ElRo. I know, at the time, that these courses were not yet live on the Revolution Prep website. I apologize for that error, the letters should not have mailed without the site being up to date. However, the good news is that the site is now accurate and you can register for the courses online (fastest way to find the course is to enter our Zip Code: 10021). We are offering something new this year: an ACT prep course. For students that did better on the ACT (check out the conversion table here), an ACT prep course may help you become more familiar with the exam set up.

I cannot emphasize enough - the summer 2010 courses are intended for RISING SENIORS ONLY. I know the mailing went out to the class of 2012, but this was an error. Obviously, any family can opt to enroll in test prep whenever they see fit, but in my experience, the test prep is most effective when students start it no earlier than January of their Junior year.

You will also notice that the prep classes have a 'refresher' session prior to the test. This bonus session is designed to help students get back into testing mode since the actual exams are offered in September (ACT) and October (SAT) after summer prep courses have already finished. With holidays, summer vacations, the start of school, and all other scheduling conflicts, it was hard to pick the exact dates and times, but hopefully these will work for rising seniors that want to commit to prep during the summer. There will be additional prep courses offered at ElRo through Revolution Prep during the Fall Semester if summer is not convenient.

Finally, the main reason we partner with Revolution Prep is their reasonable prices. For students and families that show demonstrated need, there can be generous discounts to be had. See me right away for a scholarship application if you think your family may qualify. The discounts are determined based on a sliding scale of household income and outside factors like Federal Free/Reduced lunch status and family illness.

Remember - not everyone is an amazing test taker. But, there are amazing colleges that don't care. Check out the full list of Testing Optional Colleges (Schools that do not require any testing to be submitted) at