Changes on the ACT Math Test

Without any fanfare, ACT makes subtle yet significant changes to its test each year, which runs from September to June. The public gets its first look at specific changes when ACT releases its December test booklet to students who purchase it. There are two noteworthy changes to the 2016-17 ACT math test, as shown in questions 30 and 55.

For the first time, ACT is testing basic knowledge of combinations and permutations as shown in question 30 on December’s test (74H). It’s located in the middle of the 60-question test, before they usually start asking the more difficult questions. 


While ACT has included questions on determinants in the past, they also provided the required formula. December’s question 55 is the first one we’ve seen where students are expected to know the formula in this advanced math category.


Strategies for the College-Bound Student

boy w beatsFrom freshmen to seniors, there are worthwhile strategies that students can employ in 2017 that will vastly improve the college admissions process ahead.


For Freshmen

First-year students should create specific college application goals early on. Of course, their interests and plans will evolve as the high school years go by, but they can still make a timeline for college visits, scope out potential AP courses, extra-curricular activities of interest, and the like. By creating an overarching outline of their college preparedness plans now, freshmen can reduce the stress of college planning later.


For Sophomores

Many high school students wait until junior year before considering college admissions tests, but sophomores can get a head start. By encouraging your child to prepare for the PSAT, as well as research the right admissions test for their skill set (ACT vs. SAT), he or she can focus more clearly on optimizing scores in junior year.


For Juniors

Junior year is a tough balancing act. While maintaining a solid GPA and participating in activities, students must prep for the ACT and/or SAT. They should plan to take a test (or both tests) two or three times. At the end of the year, there are likely to be AP tests and possibly SAT Subject Tests.


For Seniors

Take a deep breath. For parents and students alike, the college application process has likely become a whirlwind. Don’t forget that the journey is just as important as the destination. The hard work and preparation he or she has put in will pay dividends in the future, no matter where he or she arrives for college in the fall.


At Dogwood Tutoring and Test Prep, we recognize that academic preparedness begins early on in a student’s life. That’s why we’ve identified and possess the tools and resources necessary to make your student’s high school career and college transition a positive and successful evolution. Whether your student is prepping for an algebra exam, the SAT or ACT, AP tests, or SAT Subject Tests, our one-on-one tutoring can make 2017 a year of life-changing academic growth. 

Test Taking is a Lifelong Skill

ben-girl-studyingFirst, a true story. A mom was waiting for her eighth-grade daughter to finish her tutoring session for SSAT test prep (for private school admission). As we talked about the strategies and testing methods we teach, she explained how impossible it was for her to pass the medical board exam on her first attempt. So she decided to do some test prep, where she learned the same test-taking skills we’re teaching her daughter… and she passed the boards on her next try.

Some people may think the benefits of test prep just evaporate after test day. In fact, professional tutoring builds skills that pay dividends for students throughout school, college and career. When Dogwood’s tutors prepare students for ACT, SAT or SSAT exams, we help to improve their lifelong skills in three main ways.

Identify and plug gaps in foundational skills

As part of our test prep process, when we help students improve skills in math, reading and writing, it also helps them perform better in the classroom. One-on-one tutoring can often explain and clarify challenging topics more effectively than a teacher can do in a classroom. For example, students with improved grammar and writing mechanics will go on to write better essays and papers in college and beyond.

Teach students how to apply appropriate test-taking strategies

Testing is complicated and frustrating for many people. Test-taking strategies help students approach questions more methodically and accurately so they can achieve their best test scores. Better test results in school and college classrooms lead to better grades. On graduate admissions exams like GRE, LSAT and MCAT, higher-scoring students will have better outcomes with admissions and scholarship money. Later in life, better scores on professional licensure exams will lead to rewarding careers in fields like medical, legal, financial, real estate, engineering and education.

Professional tutors hold students accountable

Without ongoing adult supervision, many students struggle with the tedious test prep process. Just like any sport or performance art, test prep requires practice, practice, practice. In their weekly meetings, Dogwood tutors coach and support students as they refine their study skills and remain accountable to the test prep regimen. When it really counts, we help students to establish priorities, organize workloads, manage deadlines and use scarce time more effectively. Test prep is hard work, but our students learn to remain calm and focused on demonstrating their hard-earned skills.

Professional test prep is an investment that pays dividends for a lifetime. In the short run, it will help your child become a better test-taker and stronger student in school. That means better chances for admission at more colleges as well as greater opportunities for scholarship money. Longer term, students will have the skills needed to become better learners and test-takers in college and career. Call Dogwood Tutoring & Test Prep today at 678-735-7555 to see how customized test prep can open doors for your child for years to come.

Is self-study right for your child’s ACT, SAT or SSAT test prep?

ben-girl-computer-sqspaceThere is a lot riding on standardized tests like ACT, SAT and SSAT. Whether your student is applying to college or an independent K-12 school, the competition for admissions and scholarship money can be fierce. You have several choices on how to prepare, including self-study and professional test prep services.

At the very least, your student may benefit from independent study using free online resources such as Khan Academy and College Board. Or you may find books or videos online or at the public library. Self-study can be a good option if your child is disciplined and organized enough to squeeze test prep into his or her already full workload of homework and extracurricular activities. The test prep regimen is tedious and ongoing, but there are no shortcuts to improving scores. Whether you choose self-study or get outside help, it takes plenty of dedicated study and practice, practice, practice.

How Do You Know When Outside Help is Needed? Does your child…

– have trouble prioritizing all his school work and other activities?

– get great grades but struggle with standardized tests?

– feel anxious when testing?

– know how to do the problems but run out of time on the test?

– score well but want to score even better?

How Will Professional Test Prep Help Your Student?

– We help you determine whether ACT or SAT is a better fit

– We answer your questions about testing and discuss your strategic options

– We assign two expert tutors, a math specialist and an English specialist

– Our tutors customize each lesson based on your child’s individual learning needs

– We coach and motivate your child to stay on track and make progress

Dogwood’s expert tutors are here to explain and clarify even the most challenging topics. We identify and plug gaps in students’ reading, writing and math skills, and teach how and when to apply our proven strategies. Those strategies help to manage time more effectively and answer questions more accurately. Strategies help students approach the test more methodically, so they are more confident and less affected by stress and anxiety.

One word of advice: avoid the temptation to take a test cold. If you’re thinking about having your child take a standardized test without any preparation, take a practice test at Dogwood instead. You’ll see the results with no risk, stress or cost. And you’ll receive a complete diagnostic report with much more usable info than a real SAT or ACT report.

At Dogwood Tutoring and Test Prep, we’ll help you navigate the complex maze of SAT, PSAT, ACT and SSAT testing. Call Ivan at 678-735-7555 to learn more about helping your student achieve his or her best results on standardized tests.