ACT prep northern virginia

One-To-One ACT Prep & SAT Prep: Washington DC & Northern VA

WHY DOES OUR PROGRAM WORK SO WELL? 
We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic. 

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to students’ homes on weekdays or weekends.

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Contact us to get started with your customized ACT/SAT prep program.  

ACT STEM Report

The ACT recently released a report based upon students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) college degrees. They found that 26% met or were above the STEM readiness benchmark. The STEM score on the ACT is meant to be an indicator of how a student will perform in a first-year college STEM course. More information can be found here: www.act.org/stemcondition 

The ACT science section is comprised of data representation, research summary, and conflicting hypothesis based questions. The student gathers required information from charts, tables, and graphs. It's good for the student to know the scientific method as well. The ACT math section tests pre-algebra, algebra I, algebra II, geometry, and trigonometry. The more difficult math questions are usually toward the end and so the student must also focus on pacing. 

Improving Test Scores

The key to improving test scores is to have the student take a full-length practice test. Based upon the results, a long-term plan is developed that involves practice assignments, timing drills, and additional full-length tests. The program is reassessed after each full-length practice test. This is why one-to-one is so effective. The tutor only works on the weaknesses for a specific student. The program is catered to the individual student and not a classroom of students. All of this takes place while leading up to the week of the test. It is not ideal to have gaps while prepping. 

Score improvement occurs after consistently practicing and learning concepts over a long period of time. Before starting a program, a full-length practice test is used as a baseline. The generated report reveals student strengths and weaknesses. For example, on the math section, the diagnostic report can reveal what the student has the most trouble with: radical equations, quadratic equations, slope, linear equations, distance, midpoint, etc.

In addition to knowing fundamental concepts, the student will need to know how to approach certain types of questions:

Know the Test – The first step to any prep program is to ensure the student knows the test. This consists of the following: timing for each section, number of questions, directions for each section, overall format, how the test and certain sections are scored, etc. Being aware of these will eliminate surprises and reduce test day anxiety. Most tests in high school classes are usually an hour long. ACT/SAT tests are new to most students and they usually don’t take tests at this length.

Pacing – Managing time is extremely important. Students may know the answer to every question, but only make it half-way through each section. Through administering hundreds of practice tests, we’ve seen this to be common. Students should plan on not getting stuck on every single question. Move on if a question stumps you. Regardless of the difficultly level, all questions are worth the same (except the new SAT will have an extended math thinking question). On the opposite hand, there are also those that rush and who do not recheck their work; even when there is ten to fifteen minutes left on the clock.   

Write, Bubble, and Erase – Each student can control his or her answer. Make sure to bubble clearly when answering. Also, be sure to erase all of an answer. These mistakes are normally careless errors. If a question is skipped on the current SAT, make sure not to bubble in that skipped space for the next question. Knowing where you are on your answer sheet is important. If you do skip a question, put a star next to it and skip it on your answer sheet. You can go back to it if there is time and it helps to remind you that you skipped that question. Always use a No. 2 pencil and write your essay as legibly as you can. The essay should be written on the lines only. The readers won’t see anything in the extra space margins.   

Make an Educated Guess – The student should answer every question on the ACT and new SAT. On the current SAT, the student needs to choose whether to skip or guess. There is a ¼ point penalty for answering incorrectly on the current SAT. Usually, students should guess on easy to medium questions, if they can eliminate two answers. For more difficult questions, students need to try and eliminate three answers before guessing. Using process of elimination will help narrow down answer choices.

With plenty of practice, students can be prepared to excel on test day! 

ACT Changes

The ACT has released a new practice test. Please email us for a copy. The changes aren't as significant as the SAT. You should get to know some of the updates:

SCIENCE

On the redesigned science section, there will be 6-8 conflicting viewpoint questions (there is usually 7), 12-16 data representation questions (there is usually 15), and 18-22 research summary questions (there is usually 18).

READING

Timing is still 35 minutes and there are still four passages (prose fiction, social science, humanities, and natural science - follows this order). There are 10 questions for a total of 40. The ACT introduced two short passages that address similar topics. The first questions are geared to the first passage.  The second set pairs to the second passage. The third will address both passages. 

ESSAY

The essay has changed dramatically. The essay section will now be 40 minutes instead of 30 minutes. It will still be optional and the essay score is not incorporated into the student’s overall composite score. The information in the prompt will be incorporated into the student's response. The scoring of the essay will also go through a change. 

The essay will have students evaluate various arguments, analyze evidence, and work to spark the student’s own ideas. They will be asked to review three opinions on an issue and develop an argument. Students analyze different points of view that are presented. Essays will now be scored in each of four categories:  organization, development and support, ideas and analysis, language use and conventions. Two different readers score the essay in the four categories on a 1-6 scale. Students will receive a score of 2-12 based upon these four categories. The score will be translated into a 1-36 scale. This changes from the old 2-12 scale.

Setting ACT and SAT Score Goals

It is important to set score goals based upon the student’s baseline practice test scores. You want to set score goals for each section of the test. The goals are based upon the middle 50% scores, for the last freshmen class, to get accepted to a certain college or university. This is why it’s especially important to take a full-length practice test as an initial diagnostic. Not only does it reveal the weakest areas for the student, but it also helps in determining score goals. Another important aspect to taking a practice test is that it will reveal how much prep is needed.

Local Virginia, Maryland and DC middle 50% ACT/SAT scores:

American University:

SAT Middle 50%: 1180-1360 (Critical Reading and Math)

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 27-31

Catholic University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 510-610

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 500-610

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 22-27

Christopher Newport University:

SAT Middle 50%: 1070-1230 (Critical Reading and Math)

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 23-27

Frostburg State University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 430-540

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 430-530

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 420-510

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 18-22

College of William and Mary:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 630-740

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 640-730

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 29-33

Georgetown University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 660-750

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 660-750

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 29-33

George Mason University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 530-630

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 520-620

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 24-28

George Washington University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 610-700

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 590-690

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 600-700

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 27-31

Howard University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 460-680

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 470-670

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 430-670

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 19-29

James Madison University:

SAT Middle 50%: 1180-1270 (Critical Reading and Math)

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 26-28

John Hopkins University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 680-780

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 660-740

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 660-760

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 31-34

Longwood University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 460-540

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 460-550

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 19-23

Loyola University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 560-640

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 540-630

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 25-29

Marymount University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 460-560

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 470-570

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 460-560

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 20-24

Old Dominion University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 470-570

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 460-560

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 18-23

Radford University:

SAT Middle 50%: 950-1100 (Critical Reading and Math)

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 19-24

Salisbury University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 540-620

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 540-610

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 530-610

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 22-26

Towson University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 500-590

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 490-580

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 500-580

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 21-25

University of Mary Washington:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 500-590

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 510-620

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 490-600

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 22-26

University of Maryland:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 620-730

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 580-690

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 29-33

University of Richmond:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 620-720

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 590-690

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 600-690

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 28-31

University of Virginia:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 630-740

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 620-720

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 620-720

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 29-33

Virginia Commonwealth University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 500-600

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 500-610

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 490-590

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 21-26

Virginia Tech:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 580-680

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 540-640

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 25-30

Washington and Lee University:

SAT Math Middle 50%: 660-720

SAT Critical Reading Middle 50%: 650-740

SAT Writing Middle 50%: 650-730

ACT Composite Middle 50%: 30-33