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Back to School Test Prep Checklist

By August 14, 2018August 16th, 2018ACT, SAT, Summer

There’s still a little summer left! Here are some tips to get a jump on test prep before life gets hectic:

Take a practice test.

Whether you’ve been prepping all summer in advance of your senior year, or you’re a rising junior and haven’t started prep, now is a good time to block out part of a day for a practice test.

A practice test can help you and your Compass director come up with informed answers to an array of questions – from whether you should focus on ACT or SAT, to when you should start prep, to how often you should meet with your tutors.

Determine where you want to be.

There is a lot of buzz out there about what constitutes a good score, but don’t get caught up competing with your frenemy’s self-reported 34 on the ACT. Check out the Compass Guide to College Admissions to get a sense of what scores will make you competitive for the schools you like.

If you are prepping for a fall test, get started with your tutor.

The fall tests come up fast and school gets busy right away. If you haven’t started with your tutors, or it’s been a while since you’ve met, schedule a couple of lessons to take place before school starts.

Start a habit of a little bit every day.

Take a few minutes a day to open one of your Compass books and review a topic that challenges you, like syntax, comma use, or parabolas. You don’t need to break your brain understanding a challenging topic in one go. Returning to a topic numerous times ultimately helps you to retain knowledge better than learning it thoroughly in one sitting.

Get a subscription to a high-quality magazine.

Pieces from journals like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Economist provide exposure to sophisticated vocabulary, effective arguments, and well-crafted sentences and paragraphs – areas tested in the various verbal sections of the SAT and ACT. Embrace active learning by looking up the definitions of unfamiliar words. Also consider subscribing to a service like Daily Writing Tips, which sends a daily email offering light takes on style and usage topics.

The Compass Team

Compass is one of the world's leading providers of in-home and online, live one-on-one tutoring for high school students aspiring to attend selective colleges.

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