Here are some tips to consider as you begin the test prep process.
- Make your own plan. Start test prep whenever it feels right. Some families have questions starting sophomore year and are eager to get started for expert support. Others prefer to wait until summer or the fall of junior year. Just be sure the student has enough time to establish a strategy with the tutor and to complete the curriculum; on average we recommend 4-6 months prior to the desired exam.
- Never hesitate to ask questions. There is no question that probably hasn’t been asked by another parent. When you ask questions and share your concerns, you get the facts you need.
- Let the student set the pace. Some students need more time to learn something; be honest about that and start the test prep process accordingly. It may make sense initially to meet every other week, depending on school work and other commitments, and increase the frequency as the student gets closer to test day.
- Consider how best to use the summer. For some students, summer is a great time to jump-start the process without the demands of school work, but this timeline should only be pursued if focus and commitment are in sync. Students that start test prep in summer, but are not in a head space to be able to apply themselves, will end up with few gains and drag out the process longer, ultimately leading to student burnout. There is nothing wrong with students taking the summer off to decompress and recharge their batteries.
- Personalize the schedule. If a student plays a sport or is likely to be in a theater production or have other time-consuming extracurriculars, plan a test prep schedule around that. For example, if the student plays a fall sport, he/she should probably aim to take a spring or early summer test and do the bulk of the prepping in the winter months.