I’m a Junior. When Should I Start ACT Prep? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get. And, the answer is usually … right now. You know the saying: slow and steady wins the race.
It may seem a bit early to be thinking of ACT (or SAT) test prep right now, but this is the ideal timing. In our experience, the biggest challenge that we see families run into is when they wait until they get their student’s score from a winter test or the school-administered ACT/SAT in March and then they reach out to inquire about test prep. By this point in the spring of junior year, we don’t have enough time to address all the content and strategies covered on the exams before the summer. And, we don’t have enough time to practice!
Work Backwards and Get it Done Before Summer (2-3 Official Tests)
Using a typical 4-8 month prep model, a student who wants to target a test anytime during second semester (February – June) should start at the beginning of fall semester. This will also give students an opportunity to test 2-3 times in the spring (giving ample opportunity to increase the overall score and the superscore). By the summer before senior year, they’ll also have to be starting college applications. By fall of senior year, college apps pick up and school has started, along with sports or other activities. All of these combined create stress and busyness.
Start With a Diagnostic
We highly encourage students to take a diagnostic ACT exam test with us to understand their current score and to help make test prep decisions that are able to be done throughout junior year. There is no need to wait until early April to learn where your student is scoring on the ACT. Diagnostic tests help students and families establish a likely starting score, something especially useful when thinking about future college applications and decisions. They also give students a chance to experience the timing and pacing of the ACT in a proctored environment – great practice for the official exam!