When should a student complete the tutoring program - over the summer or right before the test during the school year?
The question comes up frequently enough that I figured I should put the information down for reference. There are two primary options for when to do tutoring and the details are given below.
- Have Tutoring Right Before the Test Date – the standard program is 10 hours, meeting once per week for 1.25 hrs each time in the 8 weeks leading up to the test date, with 3-5 hours of homework assigned in between each session. So the tutoring+homework is a ~40 hour commitment. This is the most common option, and for students who end up testing again or perhaps try the ACT later, they often return for 2-3 sessions to review strategies and concepts and to receive a study plan for their own prep. Students who sign up for the Gold Level Plan receive 4 FREE 1-hour group sessions in the 4 weeks leading up to the test – these sessions consist of a short lesson and content/strategy review followed by the opportunity to ask questions or review other material. (These Group Review Sessions can be added on to other packages for a small fee.)
- Prep over the summer – students with intense academic or extracurricular commitments during the schoolyear often elect to complete the tutoring program over the summer. There are positives and negatives to this approach. The obvious positives are the increased availability of time to focus on the material and complete all of the assignments. A potential negative is the risk that the material will not be as fresh in their minds if they elect to take the test 3 months later in December or even 6 months later in March. To mitigate this risk, I recommend students continue to practice the material, even just an hour each week to stay current and to sign up for Khan Academy for additional practice. Then, in the weeks leading up to the test, students often schedule a few additional individual or group review sessions to boost confidence and reinforce the strategies and concepts discussed. The 4 1-hour group sessions in the 4 weeks leading up to the test are free for students who sign up for Gold Level Plans and can be added on to other packages for a small fee – these sessions consist of a short lesson and content/strategy review followed by the opportunity to ask questions or review other material.
I have had success with students who have taken both paths, and there are clearly many effective ways to prepare for the test, but the above are my thoughts on how the two primary modes of preparation would look.