? All students benefit from a more structured approach to learning that includes active reading, vocabulary building, math fundamentals, writing, and strengthening study skills. Take schoolwork seriously and use your classes, home work and longer term projects to build up your reading, writing and math skills. If you have gaps in academic content, identify them early and work on improvement with peer tutoring, outside tutoring and help from teachers. Even older siblings can be a valuable resource!
? Performance issues (carelessness, focus, endurance) are addressed by acquiring better study habits; these can be targeted while the student is involved in any kind of academic work during the school year and over summers. Limit distractions and set aside time to do your work. More academics are not the answerit must be accompanied by targeting training in study skills.
? Understanding how to take a particular standardized test requires strategic preparation and should be done closer to the actual test day; too early test preparation and doing endless numbers of practice tests do not translate into better scores and can lead to burnout.
A good baseline at the end of the sophomore (preferable) or during the junior year can help families to plan early, and determine what things need to be addressed in order to achieve your best score on any standardized test. Taking a timed full length practice ACT exam is one way to identify gaps, since the ACT exam is more content focused, and thus can provide a good measure of where students need to focus their efforts. Practice tests can be found in The Real ACT Prep Guide.
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