Quickly after beginning work as a tutor, I came to realize that parents are the black belts of scheduling. They not only have to keep up with a number of annoying adult responsibilities, but they also have to keep up with their children's calendars. Parents' organizational skills (and possibly their sanity) are put to a very difficult test daily. So, to all my expertly organized parents out there, in this post I hope to let you in on a scheduling detail that often slips through the cracks but can make a big difference in a student's SAT or ACT scores.
One of the biggest obstacles I face when preparing a student for the SAT or ACT is the student's test schedule. Far too often, my student is signed up for two tests that are only a month apart. For example, a couple of my past students have been signed up for an SAT in May and then another in June. This short turnaround gives me very little time to receive the student's scores and prep the student in the areas he or she needs to improve.
You might be thinking, "A month is a pretty good amount of time to study between tests." However, my dilemma is with when I receive my students' scores. After a student takes the SAT, it usually takes two weeks to receive the student's basic score. Then, it takes another 1-2 weeks to see the specific kinds of questions the student missed in each multiple choice section and to receive the essay that the student wrote. In the best case scenario, this gives tutors a week to know which specific areas their student needs help with.
Scores on the SAT and ACT are not games of chance. Good scores take a lot of hard work and practice. The writing and math section involve memorizing and applying many grammatical rules and equations. Improving a student's understanding of the essay and reading section takes practice. All of this takes more than one week to accomplish. Depending on the frequency of lessons and the amount the student would like to improve, I like to have a month or two after my student has received their scores to prep in between tests.
Do you have any additional thoughts or comments? Please feel free to add them in the comment box below. You can also see my ideal prep and test schedule at the end of this article. Check back in August for a new posting in which I will discuss college application essays!