This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Huntington Learning Center. My son received a practice test and results as part of our information gathering on the Huntington Learning Center test prep program. All opinions remain my own.
With my oldest now in high school, testing matters. The stakes are higher, and we started thinking about college already.
I know we aren’t alone.
Summer months are ideal to do college visits (we aren’t there yet!) and ensure your child is ready to take the SAT or ACT. In my day, we simply showed up to take the test and hoped for the best. Sure, a couple people may have done test prep, but it was a rarity.
Today? ACT and SAT test prep is the norm. Without it, your child ends up at a disadvantage. Huntington Learning Center offers test prep for both SAT and ACT with proven results.
Walk into a center, and you’ll see the posters sharing the test score improvements of their students. I walked in unconvinced of the necessity of test prep for my child.
I walked out with a plan for him to do the Huntington Learning Center test prep next summer with the intention for him to take the test “for keeps” at the start of his junior year.
Why? Ironically, he took the SAT earlier this year for a special program he wanted to join and scored fairly well, a 1400 as a freshman. Naturally he’ll just get better as he gets older and takes it again, right?
Actually, when we looked at his specific results, he may be close to maxing out his score without test prep help. That’s why we plan to enroll with Huntington Learning Center.
After reviewing his results with the center director, I realized the true impact test prep can have, whether your child already has test taking challenges or scores fairly well.
9 Reasons to Enroll with Huntington Learning Center
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You find the right test for your child
Back in the day, I took both the SAT and ACT, and I scored fairly similarly on both tests. To me, they were pretty interchangeable, and I assumed that remained the case.
It turns out that about 95% of kids score better on the ACT than the SAT. And schools pretty much all accept both tests, without expressing a preference for one over the other.
The SAT is 50% math and 50% English. If you aren’t strong in math, Huntington may suggest the ACT, which is only 25% math.
Aside from that, the SAT tends to word questions in a way that trips up students. The ACT writes more straightforward questions, so students can get to the answer more readily.
Before you start, you get a baseline
Every child who enrolls with Huntington Learning Center test prep takes a practice exam. If you expect to take the SAT, you take a practice SAT. If you plan to take the ACT, you take a retired ACT exam.
This lets you see the scores you likely would have achieved on the test, although our center director let us know that the practice tests are more difficult so students score lower on them than on “real” tests, especially the SAT.
The baseline goes beyond simply a score, however. You see every question you got right and wrong, along with its difficulty level and subject area.
This lets you know if you have a child who misses the easy questions because he reads them too fast and misses the important parts of the question (yep, right here). You also see exactly what subjects your child is and is not proficient in already, feedback you don’t get from taking a real exam.
The Huntington Learning Center test prep aids in school, as well
While the main focus of the test prep is to improve SAT and ACT scores, the Huntington Learning Center test prep program focuses on overall strategies for studying and test taking that students can and should use in school. Test taking strategies apply beyond the high stakes exams, something I never thought about before.
As my child learns how to best take tests and even how to study for them, this translates into better overall test taking. Our school district holds tests at 90% of student grades with daily work just 10% of the grade. If my child can learn to take better tests, this improves his GPA overall.
For that reason alone, I almost signed my freshman up on the spot. It was definitely a deciding factor in my resolution to have him – and his sister – do Huntington Learning Center test prep between their sophomore and junior years of high school.
Each program gets individualized to your child
With the baseline results, the test center creates a specific tutoring program and schedule for your child. You choose the test date you want to aim for, and your schedule aims to prep your child for that date.
The number of sessions and the content covered within those sessions varies by child, as well. The lack of a one size fits all program means you don’t pay for what you don’t need.
For example, my son did very well with US and World Literature content questions. However, he did poorly with questions dealing with synthesis of the passages. While the goal remains to keep his high scores high, the focus of his sessions would be on the weaker areas to improve that content knowledge.
The tutoring goes beyond just drilling facts
Successful SAT and ACT tests require several skills. Not only do you need the content knowledge, but kids must have strategies for each section, as well.
The Huntington Learning Center test prep focuses on three areas with the tutoring: content, strategy, and practice. Repeated practice gains familiarity so that students can focus on what they know rather than on the fact that they’re taking a high stakes test.
Each test has different strategies to maximize performance, and the strategies vary by student. While some strategies apply to just about all students, your child’s personality and strengths ally themselves with specific strategies their tutor can teach them.
When you put all those three aspects together into a comprehensive tutoring plan, that’s how Huntington Learning Center shows a 226 point increase in SAT scores on average.
The tutoring plan adjusts throughout the program
When you first enroll in the program, you sign up for not just the hours but how the tutors will spend the hours. Based on the baseline test, the tutoring sessions get divided amongst math, critical reading, writing, essay, and testing/review hours.
The initial assignment comes based on the review of the practice test. As your child goes through the program, however, they may more quickly latch on to one subject matter or another may prove more difficult to master.
Throughout the program, your child takes additional practice exams to monitor improvements. Based on the results of those tests and feedback from the tutors, the center director may redirect hours to maximize the overall program effectiveness.
Huntington Learning Center test prep tutors fit your child
Every tutor employed at Huntington Learning Center who teaches SAT or ACT prep has to score over 90% in the subject they tutor for the SAT and over a 30 on the ACT. That’s their current score, not the one they took in high school.
Students usually have a different tutor because of this for math and English because of the qualifications of the tutors. Additionally, they may see different tutors during the week because of their schedules.
In addition, each tutor works 1:1 with your child. That ensures the exam prep runs at your child’s pace.
That said, students and tutors must be a match. The center asks that you work with the tutor for at least two sessions before you request a switch, as some subject areas are just flat out less fun than others. If a tutor doesn’t mesh well with your child, it isn’t simply a “too bad, so sad” situation.
Your child has the opportunity to practice at home, too
While there technically is no graded homework, the more students reinforce what they learn in the center at home, the faster they improve. This is part of the reason so many families do SAT and ACT prep during the summer when there isn’t the pressure of school and homework in addition to the prep.
At the start of the program, expect your child to have about an hour of homework or so a week. As the program goes forward, they may end up with two to four hours per week of work at home, depending on the student’s motivation.
With Huntington Learning Center test prep, students gain access to the online prep. They can take extra practice tests, watch instructional videos, and review vocabulary. It helps them further develop test taking and time management skills, as well.
When students take the practice exams and grade them, they see the questions they got wrong and can walk through the solutions via video. If the video doesn’t help and students remain stuck, they simply print off the problem area for the tutor to assist in the next session.
Parents remain a part of the program progress
One of the hardest parts of signing up for a program this intense is the worry that it won’t have the impact I need. Thankfully, Huntington Learning Center keeps parents in the loop.
In addition to the initial test review where the center director goes through your child’s test and recommendations, the center offers periodic conferences to review your child’s progress. This lets you see the change in test scores and what your child has gained.
In addition, parents have access to the online prep students can (and should) do. They can see the progress their children make on that front from how much time they spend to the test results.
Have you thought about Huntington Learning Center test prep for your child?
Get the details and more information about their exam prep here.