So you decided it’s time to prepare for your ACT and you are considering investing in working with an ACT prep tutor. That’s a great first step! Now let’s talk about how that works., and how working with a tutor is the best and most efficient way of preparing for the test.
This article will cover the benefits of ACT tutoring, how to find an effective ACT prep tutor, and what to expect while working with an ACT prep tutor.
The benefits of working with an ACT prep tutor
Why get a tutor? Preparing for the ACT is a big task. You will need to set goals and make plans for how to reach them. Knowing your goals and having the specific plan to meet them is essential to your ACT success.
However, this can be a daunting and sometimes impossible-feeling task if you do it by yourself. One of the biggest advantages of working with an ACT prep tutor is that they guide you through this crucial first step. This is invaluable.
Personalizing your test prep
Your ACT prep tutor will start by identifying your strengths and weaknesses.
Then, they will help you set a realistic goal and develop a customized plan for managing your study time and preparing for your test.
Don’t be worried – your ACT prep tutor will help you determine your goal score, and they will make a very detailed plan from “day one” to “test day”. This plan will be your guide for how to study for the ACT.
All you have to do is stick to the plan. Whew! This is a HUGE relief for many students, especially for those that get overwhelmed, or are just not good at setting measurable goals, and identifying their own strengths and weaknesses.
Helping you become a more efficient test taker
The ACT is a timed test so being efficient is crucial. Another benefit of working with an ACT prep tutor is that they will give you personalized tips to help you take the test more efficiently. These personalized tips can help you shave several minutes off the time needed to complete the test, and save you some stress over worrying if you’ll even finish at all!
If you want every advantage you can get before test day, then you need an ACT prep tutor to provide these tips for you. The fact that they are personalized tips means you won’t find them anywhere else, and that they’re aligned with your own unique needs.
Helping you understand the test itself
In order to be successful on the ACT you need to know a lot more than just the content. Getting an ACT prep tutor will save you hours and hours of research into the test, info about what you need to know to be successful such as test format, and subject specific approaches to each section, scoring, and more.
Last but not least, an ACT prep tutor will help hold you accountable and motivate you to complete all your assignments and practice tests. This is a particularly important benefit if you are a student who struggles to stay on task.
As you can see there are several benefits of tutoring which make it well worth the commitment, both for your score and your own peace of mind.
How to find an effective ACT prep tutor
Now that you see the benefits of working with an ACT prep tutor, let’s talk about the process of finding and working with an effective one. Platforms like Wyzant make it easy to connect with qualified, vetted tutors. You can also look for local tutoring companies through sites like Yelp or by doing a quick Google search.
Regardless of where you finid your tutor, there are essentially three things you want to consider when selecting one.
Make sure the tutor has recently taken and aced the ACT
Your tutor should have taken and aced the ACT test recently. This may seem like common sense but you need your instructor to be more competent with the material and the test than you are…or they won’t be able to help. And the ACT is a test that changes, so your tutor should be familiar with the format and content of the current version.
Simply asking for the tutor to share their test scores and dates is an easy first step when reaching out to a potential ACT prep tutor.
Verify they’re an expert at teaching ACT material
Know this….expert tutors are not always experts at ACT prep. Make sure your selected ACT prep tutor is an expert at content and approach for that specific test (or section of the test). Look for a tutor that is an expert in teaching the content as well as test taking strategies, and will be able to accurately diagnose your weaknesses and prioritize the biggest gains to your score.
You want your ACT tutor to provide comprehensive test prep guidance during your sessions and to provide independent practice outside the sessions. Independent assignments should be specific to your needs, not generic. Any expert ACT prep tutor can explain why particular practice will benefit you. Don’t be afraid to ask them specifically about these offerings.
Ensure the tutor has recommendations from trustworthy sources
Why are recommendations important? Unfortunately, just because someone claims to have experience tutoring the ACT and they tell you they have taken and aced the test, this just isn’t enough before paying for their services. Tutors should have trustworthy recommendations.
On Wyzant, these come in the form of ratings and reviews, which you can see on any tutor’s profile.
Don’t be afraid to ask for more references. An effective ACT prep tutor will not hesitate provide them, or to show you their own ACT score, share reviews and/or testimonials from past students, and provide data on average increase in scores from working with past students.
What to expect when working with an ACT prep tutor
Let’s assume you you’ve connected with an effective ACT Prep Tutor. What’s next? Let’s discuss what actually working with an effective ACT prep tutor looks like.
Setting a score goal
One of the very first things you will do with your tutor is set a score goal. This will vary according to what you are trying to accomplish with your score. Different colleges, universities, jobs, and summer programs all have different requirements.
If you have already taken the ACT, this discussion will include whether you need to raise your score as a whole or simply raise your score on one or more of the subsections. Before you can achieve anything, you have to know what score you want. Your tutor will help you with this.
Familiarizing you with the test
The next thing you can expect your ACT prep tutor to do is familiarize you with the test format, time restrictions, and other details. While this may sound trivial, it absolutely is crucial. The last thing you want is to be anxious on test day because you have no idea what to expect. And you never want to be wondering things like, “Oh no, I’m running out of time. Should I leave the rest blank or guess…which one is better for my score?”
Your ACT prep tutor should know this standardized test like the back of their hand, and they will make sure you will, too.
You can expect your ACT prep tutor to have the best resources pulled together for you, including but not limited to practice tests. (Practicing with real tests is, however, one of the best methods to get a realistic expectation of what to expect on test day.)
Creating a custom plan
After your score goal has been set and you are familiar with the test, your tutor will make a plan with you. This should be a full step-by-step projection of how you will get to your goal score before your test date.
This plan may include a schedule, including your lesson times each week for your ACT prep, along with homework assignments you will be required to do in between your lessons.
Most tutors will give a pre-assessment during the first session and they will use the results from this pre-assessment to develop your plan, prioritizing the lessons from your biggest weaknesses to your smallest weaknesses. This plan will be developed so that you are getting the largest gains in your score. Once you have a plan in place you can expect your tutor to help keep you on track so you meet your goal.
A quality ACT prep tutor will make the expectations of the tutor and the student very clear so that both parties know what they need to do to stay on track.
Strategizing for results
While working with your ACT prep tutor, you will discuss different strategies to employ on the different sections of the test. Knowing the material is crucial for performing well on the ACT, but just knowing the material isn’t enough to maximize your score.
Your ACT prep tutor will give you a systematic approach to each section of the test so you have a game plan for each section and can maximize your ACT score.
Reviewing practice tests and discussing opportunities
One of the last things you will do with your ACT prep tutor is spend time reviewing your practice tests and dissecting your mistakes. It is very important that you take the time to figure out why you missed questions, and if you have a misconception on a concept then your tutor can clarify that for you.
Your tutor will help you figure out why you missed each question. This will help you avoid missing similar questions going forward.
What to expect during your first ACT tutoring session
We have discussed overall what working with your tutor will look like, but sometimes that first lesson can be scary! You are meeting with a stranger and have no idea what is going to happen or what you need to do to be ready.
There is no need to be anxious! During your first session you can expect to spend some time just getting to know your tutor and letting the tutor get to know you. You will be working closely together over the next several weeks or months and it would just be weird if you didn’t know a little bit about each other.
Don’t worry – your tutor will guide the conversation so you have nothing to prepare. Just show up and be yourself!
Once you have gotten to know a bit about each other then you’ll likely set a goal score together. If you have already taken the ACT before, your tutor will probably request your test scores to help with identifying your strengths and weaknesses. If you haven’t taken the ACT before, your tutor will give you a pre-assessment in order to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Typically, no content is taught in the first session. If your first session is just learning random content, or your tutor skipped the important steps above, speak up and ask when they plan to do those things. If they sound like you caught them off guard and they hadn’t thought of those things, then you may need to find a more effective ACT prep tutor.
Your first session is important. You should leave feeling like you made the right tutor choice, have established a goal and have a plan in place to achieve that goal.
If this is not the experience you have in your first session, MOVE ON. Find an ACT prep tutor that will be worth your investment of time and money.
Your ACT score is highly impactful to your future. You deserve the best assistance possible to get your highest score possible. Excellent ACT prep tutors are out there and they are difference makers in the lives of the students they assist. GOOD LUCK on your ACT!