Test Prep…Timing and Balance Matter!

As discussed in previous posts, there is simply no substitute for a solid prep strategy, to ensure that your students perform their very best on college admissions exams (SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests) or AP exams.  To that end, no test prep strategy can be considered complete without a disciplined approach to timing and balance. 

So, what exactly do we mean by timing and balance?

Timing in Test Prep

Avoid cramming for any significant test it is advisable that students begin their test prep in earnest approximately 6-12 months ahead of their planned exam.  For example, since most students will take the ACT or the SAT in their junior year, it’s beneficial to begin studying during the summer between 10th and 11th grade.   Enlisting the services of an experienced test prep tutor the summer before your child’s junior year is an investment no parent will regret.

By embarking on valuable test prep sessions long before the actual exam date, students feel less stress, and are therefore able to devote their full attention to the material being reviewed.  Rather than trying to absorb material from multiple subject areas at the same time, by beginning the test prep process early, students can devote extra time to particularly challenging material.  

In addition, by prepping over time, students are best situated to perform well during SAT or ACT review courses which are offered at our center throughout the academic year or summer.  It is optimal to time the preparation when athletics or extracurricular activities are at their lowest levels, but close enough to the actual test dates. 

Balance in Test Prep

When it comes to creating a test prep strategy that will yield successful results, like all things in life, balance will prove key.   To achieve balance, with a looming college admissions exam or AP test exam, it is again optimal to begin the test prep process months in advance.  Keeping in mind that college admissions offices are interested in seeing fully developed applicants, high school students need to showcase both academic proficiency and extracurricular involvement. 

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Because college admissions officers take in account grades, test scores, and school or community involvement, it is vital that your students have every opportunity at their disposal to balance these three components.  After all, if your students are athletes, and their teams continue winning, additional games or competition dates will be added to a regular season schedule.  Likewise, if your students are active in music or theatre, last minute rehearsals are a very real possibility, thus taking up additional weekends or evening and leaving less time for test prep.

In effort to provide your children with the best possible opportunities for testing success, it is crucial that they have ample time to devote to preparing for these exams.  Beginning the test prep process well ahead of any scheduled exam, will give your students the opportunity to select the format that is best for their learning styles, from private or semi-private tutoring to small group classes, while being able to juggle their sports and extracurricular activities.

Make no mistake, when it comes to planning an Optimal Test Prep Program, an awareness of the importance of timing and balance given each student’s academic and extracurricular activities load simply can’t be undervalued.

At Vogel Prep Educational Services, we recognize each student’s potential, no matter his or her learning style, strengths, weaknesses, athletics or academic goals. Start your student’s path to college on the right foot by preparing early and watch as your student reaps the benefits in the years that follow.  

Vogel Prep Educational Services, offer a variety of small group classes and one-on-one tutoring services that not only boost your student’s SAT, ACT, and/or AP performance, but also provide personalized strategies so that students stay engaged and proactive throughout their academic career. 

Ellie Vogel

Vogel Prep Educational Services, 13951 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ, 85254