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Upcoming Prep Classes

Our prep class schedule is available below.  Our students increase an average of 152 points on the new SAT.  88% increase by at least 100 points.  Some students even increase by more than 300 points.  Our ACT students typically improve between 4 and 6 points.

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FALL SCHEDULE  

Prep for the December SAT

  • Premium SAT/PSAT ® Class  - Tues/Thurs,   4:00 to 6 pm, October 23rd - November 29th.

SPRING SCHEDULE

Prep for March 9th SAT

  • Premium SAT/PSAT ® Class  - Tues/Thurs,   4:00 to 6 pm, January 29th - March 7th

Prep for May 4th SAT

  • Premium SAT/PSAT ® Class  - Tues/Thurs,   4:00 to 6 pm,  April 26th - May 2nd
Supplemental Prep
  • Advanced Language Training for the SAT/ACT-  This ten week course is designed to help bolster critical reading and grammar skills.  Begins October 15th.  Students may attend one or two times per week.  This class should be taken following or concurrently with a Knowledge Guides group/individual course.  More info

Feel free to contact us for more information or to sign up.  Or, you can sign up online.

Premium Program description:  https://knowledgeguides.net/sat-psat-programs/premium-program/

Intensive Program description:  https://knowledgeguides.net/sat-psat-programs/intensive-program/

Intensive Verbal Prep

Course Description

 Advanced Language Training for the SAT and ACT is for the student who needs extra help on their English language and writing skills. The course focuses on writing, grammar, and reading comprehension skills needed to succeed on the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests. It is ideal for the student whose first language is not English, or for the student who wants to reach their full academic potential. Topics covered in the course includes:

  • Common idiomatic phrases
  • Metaphors and similes
  • Synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms
  • Common roots, prefixes, and suffixes
  • Grammatical skills
  • SAT vocabulary
  • Composing essays
  • Mondays/Tuesdays, September 10th - November 13th from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. 
  • This class should be taken following or concurrently with a Knowledge Guides group/individual course.

The goal of the class is to help students increase their scores on the SAT and ACT, but it will also improve students’ performance on AP Exams and other courses, as well. Instructional activities will include in-class writing, discussion of important concepts, and critical thinking exercises. Some light outside reading and writing assignments will be necessary to supplement the class instruction. This will be a very beneficial class, but it will also be an interesting and enjoyable. 

Learn More

 

Things to consider when you register

When you are ready to sign your kid up for the SAT or ACT, there are some important details to consider.

First, when choosing a test site, most people just consider convenience, which is understandable.  But, it is a good idea to also consider the test location.  Sometimes the largest sites with the most kids can also be the most chaotic and involve longer wait times to get started and be the most distracting.  I recommend looking for a site that is smaller in terms of number of test-takers.

Secondly, when you choose a test date, try to pick a date when you’re kid doesn’t have too much going on.  For example, if your kid is involved in football or band, it might better to wait until the end of the season.  Or, if taking the test during the season is necessary, try to find a test date that coincides with a home game so that your kid isn’t out too late.

Finally, take note of the SAT and ACT dates that offer test verification so that you can get a copy of the test after the fact.  This way, your kid will be able to review the test and correct what he or she missed.  This will help your kid prepare for the next test and give him or her a better shot at a high score.

Here’s the link for SAT’s Question and Answer Service(scroll down to “Question and Answer):  https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/verifying-scores

Here’s ACT Score Verification(scroll down to “Score Verification Service”):  http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/scores.html

 

Which kids stand the most to gain from test prep?

I assert that about 99% of students can benefit from preparation. Unless the student is in the top 1% on the ACT or SAT, he or she has room to improve.

In making your decision, look at the admission factors at the colleges your child is applying to and decide if a better score would make a difference with respect to admission or in the bid for a scholarship.

Look at where your child currently stands. How do their class rank and test scores compare with what it usually takes to gain admission to those colleges?

For example, say your child has an ACT score of 26 and is in the top 5% of their class, and you have determined that they have a very strong shot of being admitted. You have decided that they do not need a higher ACT score to get in, but you are not sure about scholarships.

Next, you call the school and find out that if your child raised their score to a 28, they would qualify for a $3000 annual scholarship. This is a situation where they stand to gain a lot from raising their score. $12,000 is on the line — getting a score of 28 will not be easy. It will take some work and I would advise that you locate the best preparatory program available to you and go for it.

Excerpt from The Parent's Guide to the SAT and ACT by James Pipkin

When should kids begin preparing for the SAT and ACT?

It’s better to begin early than late to prep for the SAT and ACT

Over the years, I have heard so many parents say that they wished that they would’ve had their kids start preparing earlier.  In my experience, the parents start seeing their kids gain confidence and see real improvements in the scores, and they wonder how much better their kids could’ve done if they had had more time.

Starting early has several advantages

First, it gives students an opportunity to become more comfortable with the test and understand what skills and concepts are being emphasized.  Second, it gives students more time to review math and grammar concepts that need to be refreshed or reinforced.  Third, starting early gives students more time to learn pacing strategies and get used to working under a time crunch.  Fourth, it gives students more time to improved their reading comprehension and vocabulary.  Fifth, it gives students more time to take the test more than once.

When to start

Ideally, you should early in their 10th grade year or in the Summer before.  This gives students time to prepare for their sophomore PSAT which is in October.  Also, beginning at this time is more relaxed because there is very little pressure so it’s easier to focus on the underlying skills that the tests are measuring.

If you aren’t able to begin during the 10th grade year, you still have enough time to begin early in the Fall of their junior year.  This gives you a chance to prep for the October PSAT and later Fall SATs or ACTs, as well as tests in the Spring.  This gives you a chance to focus your strategies on multiple tests which you can assess and use to set final goals.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this post or prep in general.  Also, here is a link to a timeline from Khan Academy that might be helpful:

Master Timeline

College Prep Tips for 11th graders

11th Grade Year: All College-Bound Students Should Take the PSAT in the Fall

Honors students need to take the PSAT as juniors to try to qualify for National Merit Awards. In addition to the scholarships given to Award Finalists, students may qualify for other merit scholarships and special scholarships given out to National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Students.

In my experience, students who are commended or become semifinalists receive a lot of interest from colleges who want them to attend. The colleges vigorously recruit these students because it brings prestige to the college that they choose to attend.

Other awards given to students who score high on the PSAT the fall of their junior year include the National Achievement Award, given to African-American students, and the National Hispanic Achievement Award, given to Hispanic students.

11th Grade Year: All college-bound juniors should consider taking the SAT and ACT in the Spring.

Taking the SAT and ACT during the junior year is important because if the student can get a good score, he or she can focus on taking college visits and finishing applications during the summer and early part of the fall of the senior year. Having a good score by the spring of the junior year will open doors and give the student more choices and more time to find the right fit. 

In addition, if the student does not get the score up to what they need, they have an opportunity to work on it in the late spring or summer before their senior year and then take the test during the fall of their senior year.

I strongly advise against postponing the SAT and ACT to the senior year — in other words, not taking either test at all until the student is a senior. It may take a few months to address any weaknesses the student may have. It is best to work on these deficiencies prior to the student’s senior year, if possible.

College Prep for 10th Graders-Continued

Honors Students

Taking the PSAT test as a 10th grader is very important for honors/AP students. It will indicate if they have a decent chance at qualifying for a National Merit Award as a junior.  Sophomores who score above 1300 may be able to score high enough as juniors to qualify.

Also, as with non-honors students, taking this test will give the student a diagnostic test that will indicate strengths and weakness. This will be valuable in determining how to set up an SAT program and in providing a baseline to which to compare the next PSAT and subsequent SATs.

Test familiarity increases with each testing experience. All 10th graders who plan to attend college should consider taking the PLAN test as well. The PLAN test is made by the same people that make the ACT. It tests the same skills that the ACT tests and will give you a score that would indicate how you would do on the ACT. The purpose of the PLAN is to provide the student with practice and a diagnostic tool.

College Prep for 10th Graders

This post includes some test prep suggestions for students heading into their 10th grade year.  This will be followed by posts with suggestions for Honors 10th graders and posts for 11th graders.  Please feel free to contact us to respond to this post.  You are welcome to ask questions or make comments.

First, I will provide some suggestions for students in regular classes and then give some suggestions for honors and AP Students in subsequent posts.

10th Grade Year: Take the PSAT during the Fall - Non-Honors Students

Most school counselors will urge their Advanced Placement (AP) and honors-track students to take the PSAT their 10th grade year. However, many schools do not encourage non-honors students to take the PSAT. This is unfortunate because many of these non-honors students will wind up going to college. Talk to your child’s counselor and school administrators and make sure you get your child signed up for this test. Taking this test will benefit non-honors students in several ways.

First, it gives them a diagnostic test that shows strengths and areas needing improvement. Having this knowledge in the 10th grade year will help you determine if you need to sign your child up for remedial tutoring. You may then use this as a baseline to track improvement on the next PSAT and later SATs.

Second, it will be valuable as a practice exercise in which your student will become more familiar with the PSAT and SAT. They will learn the standard test format including question types and content.

Third, they will have an additional chance to practice their test-taking skills. My experience is that students become better test takers with practice, so take advantage of every opportunity. Finally, if they do well — for example, score better than the 70th percentile or so — on the composite score, you may want to prep them for the 11th grade PSAT to try to qualify for a National Merit Award.

Excerpt from The Parent's Guide to the SAT and ACT, by James Pipkin

Select dates that let you order the test release.

Parents can order a copy of the actual test that your child takes on certain test dates.  This provides critical information about pacing and focus and what areas the student needs to work on.  If your child is preparing for the SAT and ACT this Spring, consider signing up for this service.  You can sign up when you register.

The SAT option is called the Question and Answer Service and is available for the
May test.  This is not the same as the Student Answer Service which only gives you an overview but doesn't provide the test questions.  College Board charges $18 for the Question and Answer service, but it is worth it.  Here's a link to more info:    https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/verifying-scores

The ACT version of this service is called the Test Information Release and is available for the 
April and June tests.  The ACT charges $20.  It's worth it.  Here's a link to more info:  http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/scores/request-a-copy-of-qa.html

If you have any questions about these options or other questions about the tests, please contact me.  The office number is 817-451-6200

SAT or ACT: Which is better for you

Many parents come to a crossroads regarding which admissions test would be best for their child. Many stick with the test that is more prevalent among colleges in their area. For example, the ACT is more prevalent in Oklahoma and Arkansas, whereas the SAT is more popular in Texas. Surprisingly, this is not because colleges in these places exclusively require one test or the other. In fact, I do not know of a single school in any of these three states that exclusively requires either test. Therefore, students should choose according to what is best for them.

The best approach for nearly every student is to take both tests. A student may elect not to send the scores to schools from any test until he or she is ready. For example, say a student plans to take both tests during the spring of their junior year but is not sure how they will do. They can decide not to send the scores to any colleges until they find out how they did. There is an additional fee but it might be worth it just to relieve some of the pressure. If they like their, scores they can go ahead and have them sent to the colleges to which they are applying or they can decide to take either test again and then send the scores.

Another reason to take both is that some students may do better on one test than the other. This may depend on a student having skills that are better suited to one test more than the other. For example, students who know all the key math formulas have an edge on the ACT because these useful formulas are not included in the test instructions; students must know them. In contrast, these formulas are present as part of the SAT instructions so students do not have to know or memorize them.

Sometimes a student may feel more comfortable with the nature and design of one test over the other. I had a student last year who did well on the ACT math section but poorly on the SAT math section. This difference appeared consistently on both real and practice tests. She was above the 60th percentile on the ACT math section and around the 40th percentile on the SAT math section. The only explanation I could come up with was that the layout of the ACT fit her better. Taking both tests will give the student feedback that he or she can use to decide if another test is a good idea and which test on which to focus their preparation. If the student does considerably better on one test, they should probably study for and take that test again.

Excerpt from The Parent’s Guide to the SAT and ACT by James Pipkin, 2007