Summer Test Prep Tips for Teens

Students working on their computers.
Summer test prep is sometimes necessary for teens determined to attend their dream college. Photo from Pexels.

Summer break: the time of the year most students look forward to is upon us.  While a break from the rigor of school can certainly be needed, summer is also the best time to help your teens get ahead with some test prep.

Focusing on college

Often when students reach high school they start thinking about college and determining if that is a good route for them in achieving their future goals. For those students considering going to college, admission tests are a must. The most common admission tests are the ACT and SAT. While the ACT and SAT help determine admission for certain colleges and programs, they also can be a factor in whether or not a student receives scholarships.

Greg Owens, owner of Toledo’s S.T.A.R.S. (Student Testing and Academic Resource Services), said, “ACT and SAT scores also sometimes play a role in the amount of scholarship money a student receives. Of course, test scores are just one factor in these decisions – GPA, class rank, activities, essays and letters of recommendation also play a role, but every data point matters when competing for admission spots and scholarship awards.”

The benefits of summer studying

Sometimes students need a little extra help to get the score they want. Summer is the ideal time for teens to get a jump on test prep because the break from school allows them to focus solely on preparing for the ACT and/or SAT without worrying about the everyday stresses of school.

With test prep centers, such as S.T.A.R.S., students can receive more one-on-one attention to help them meet their needs and unique learning styles. “We’ve found that every student is different and that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to prep,” Owens said.

S.T.A.R.S. offers group classes and one-on-one tutoring for the ACT and SAT/PSAT (preliminary SAT), and often students will take advantage of both, starting in a group class and then returning for one-on-one tutoring in the areas that they are the weakest. The classes focus on both developing the skills and knowledge of the content being measured by the test as well as developing test-taking strategies.

Never too early to start

And while it’s never too early to start preparing for the ACT and SAT, Owens explained that most of the students that come through his door are juniors. However, he said, “I am currently working with two 8th graders and a few freshmen who have goals of becoming National Merit Scholars and applying to really competitive schools. Some parents just like to start their kids on a regular routine as they would with sports training, etc., so they start their students early.”

So whether the focus is on getting into that first choice school, or to improve ACT or SAT scores to be considered for specific scholarships, preparation for the ACT and SAT is highly important. While schools work to prepare their students for those tests, sometimes that extra time and attention during the summer can give students the advantage they need.