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ACT prep class for AL?

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DD11 has a 17 yr old friend who will be taking the ACT for the fourth time in June. The friend needs three more points to qualify for the state lottery scholarship, which, in turn, makes the difference between being able to attend a 4 year school and starting in her major or starting at the CC for financial reasons. DD will also be taking the ACT in June as the end of year test for the file (and possible early college).


There is a 1 week long, 6 hour a day ACT "boot camp" focused on teaching strategies, where supposedly the average gain is 4-5 composite points. DD's friend wants DD to go with her. DD is willing. I think partially because the class is at a private high school, and she would get to "go to school" for a week ;). (if we could get the instructor to issue a locker for the week, DD would be sold. She has locker envy...)


We've never really prepped for tests. I haven't seen the point since I want to know where DD stands, but at the same time, since she doesn't use a calculator for AOPS (and for statistics, she's more likely to use R) and doesn't have much experience with timed math, I could see where having someone give her strategies other than "attack the problem headlong and crunch through it" could help, because I've seen her easily take 10 minutes on a single SAT type math problem that could have been solved much faster with a calculator or by substituting in the answers. And, honestly, my SAT/ACT/GRE days are 20+ years behind me, and calculators weren't allowed, so I'm not the one to teach her.


The instructor is OK with a 11 yr old in her class, and has apparently had talent search participants before. I do wonder how the other teens in the class would take an 11 yr old.


So....good idea? Bad idea??

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So long as DD11 can not be childish and distracting it shouldn't be that big of a deal.


The teacher has had kids in the course before and so probably has some basic strategies on how to minimize social issues. Since it isn't a normal class she should be fine. The intensive study, test prep class is a different atmosphere and many of those teens are going to be focused on themselves because they're there for a reason. Just coach her to be sure that she doesn't do a Hermione. She might know all the answers, but everyone hates a know-it-all.


Unless it's really expensive then I think its a good idea. Its likely DD11 will be welcomed but largely ignored since its a test-prep class. If she's paid attention to, then she'll mostly be treated like a little kid sister during breaks or viewed with mild interest and a goodnatured "wow, you're taking this class and you're 11? Wow, you must be so smart, I'm jealous" but it shouldn't be anything she's not already experienced several times over and knows how to deal with.


You feel that she'd benefit from the course and she'd have a friend in there with her so she wouldn't be alone and during the breaks she's likely to have a really positive experience with the whole thing. Go for it.

Edited by mom2bee
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I think it probably is fine since she wants to go and has a built in friend for fun.


Just in case you decide against it look at test prep books for the calculator strategies. I can't remember which math exam (we did ACT and the SAT subjects all lumped together) but I think Princeton did the calculator bits best imo. We had several prep books from the library for old exams.

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DS11 didn't use the calculator for ACT even though he have a scientific one with him because he finds it slower. His running out of time on science due to exhaustion pull down the composite. DS10 will take the June ACT for fun. DS10 is faster without the calculator when trying out the practice test on ACT booklet.


People here are very focus during test prep boot camp so no one is going to care about younger kids. She'll probably hear a lot of students talking about college admissions during break time. DS11 heard lots of test scores talk while queuing for the sign in for ACT.


She'll probably have fun attending.

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Interestingly, it's really no more expensive than most of the day camps that try to be educational for her age group.


I do find it humorous that I'd probably have a hard time getting her into any of the local math/science programs even for middle schoolers, since by age she'd be finishing 5th grade here, but the response from the ACT prep camp instructor is "Sure, send her-no problem!"


I think we'll try it. The hardest part will be the start time-DD is simply not used to getting up early, and that's probably good practice for the test itself!



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