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If you want a 30+ on the ACT, which programs do you recommend?


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I'm planning for 10th grade, and trying to make sure we get everything covered.  I had her take a practice test for English and Math, just to see where we are.  

 

English- 61/75, or a 26 - I Noticed several usage mechanics errors, so think we need to have a grammar program

Math 34/60, or a 22- we are just half way through Saxon Al 2, so I am thinking most of this will be covered later.  She only finished 40/60 in the time allotted, so of the ones she completed she just missed 6.  

 

My plans have been:

 

OM English Comp

Saxon Advanced Math or TT Geometry (maybe, if I think we need it)

Holt Chemistry

Holt WOrld History or American History

Holt American Government

 

OM Media Literacy

Rosetta Stone Spanish - 4 and 5- plus Duo Lingo

 

Our plans are DE for 11th and 12th, so I'm feeling the need to fill holes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Am I remembering right that Saxon has the geometry integrated? Or do they have a separate geometry course?

 

Either way, halfway through alg 2, assuming one has taken geometry, most of the Math on the ACT and SAT will have been covered. It sounds like test prep will help with being able to attempt more problems in the allotted time. Sometimes kids don’t use or even see quicker, more efficient ways to solve problems at first.

 

The ACT is a time crunch for sure, especially for a younger student who is just getting familiar with the test.

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Just keep in mind that a 30 on the ACT is about the 93rd percentile, so many students will not make it even if they work hard. 

 

The most important thing is to routinely work hard at the skills needed, which just so happen to be solid educational goals. Strong grammar and usage skills for the English section. The ability to read and comprehend difficult passages for the Reading section. Math needs to be quick and accurate through the standard high school level (there are just a few precalc questions). Science does not test science knowledge but science skills - reading and pulling information from a graph, comparing different viewpoints, and again reading and comprehending difficult passages. 

 

Prepping for the test can be very valuable but can't compare to working towards these skills on a daily basis through the years. So yes, use a grammar program. Choose challenging works for English, and specifically teach both close reading and skimming for information. Most of the science texts I have seen aren't great at teaching skills, but see the Magnet Man videos linked below for some help. Math is fairly straightforward, although many students benefit from practicing under timed conditions. 

 

Specifically to prep for test: Kaplan test prep book or online prep. Homeschool Buyer's Co-op usually puts on sale at least once a year. 

 

Taking practice tests that simulate actual testing conditions is important (not right now, necessarily, but well in advance of taking the test). That means following the protocol for timing, breaks, and so on. At least once, you want to leave the house as early as you would need to for a local testing center, travel about that amount of time, and take the test somewhere like a library. Some scores suffer because the student is used to sleeping in, and then taking their practice test whenever they feel like it, in surroundings that they choose. They won't have this luxury, and testing centers are not without distraction - there might be noisy construction outside, or people walking down the hallway, whatever. 

 

Watch and work through the Magnet Man videos for science, which trips many students up. This is one you could go ahead and do now, as it is fairly quick to work through and teaches skills that are valuable in science class. 

 

You need this practice test: http://bestactprep.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/printable-act-practice-test-pdf-2007-2008.pdf

 

and the first of eight videos: 

 

Prepscholar.com has some good advice and information. 

 

 

 

 

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My DD did both Test Rocker and Kaplan, but honestly, the best thing she found was taking practice tests. She spent many weekends taking practice tests out of the Real ACT book and then going over the questions she missed and why she missed them.

 

Of the two prep classes, she liked Test Rocker the best. It was not an actual class, but more of an on your own type preparation class with videos and then questions.

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The Real ACT prep book.

 

We are starting ACT prep and I just bought this, as well.  We are going to spend about a year preparing for it.  

 

OP - we are expecting dd to get about a 30, also (I feel like a jerk saying that).  I'm going to give her a practice ACT at the library (out of the house) to get a base score to work from.  Then, we are going to go through each section in the book, testing strategies, etc.  It comes with 4 online practice tests.  Going to have her take those (also out of the house), go through wrong answers afterwards, etc.  

 

My dd tends to have a lot of anxiety, so we are going to practice taking the test out of the house.   

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I'm planning for 10th grade, and trying to make sure we get everything covered.  I had her take a practice test for English and Math, just to see where we are.  

 

English- 61/75, or a 26 - I Noticed several usage mechanics errors, so think we need to have a grammar program

Math 34/60, or a 22- we are just half way through Saxon Al 2, so I am thinking most of this will be covered later.  She only finished 40/60 in the time allotted, so of the ones she completed she just missed 6.  

 

My plans have been:

 

OM English Comp

Saxon Advanced Math or TT Geometry (maybe, if I think we need it)

Holt Chemistry

Holt WOrld History or American History

Holt American Government

 

OM Media Literacy

Rosetta Stone Spanish - 4 and 5- plus Duo Lingo

 

Our plans are DE for 11th and 12th, so I'm feeling the need to fill holes!

 

I'm just curious, what is OM?

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I second the Real ACT Prep book. 

 

We honestly did very little prep apart from a few practice tests so my kids would have a sense of how to manage their time. I made sure they all had very solid math backgrounds. Knowing my son's weakness is grammar, I had him go through EGUMPP (an online grammar program) as a refresher a couple of months before he took the test. That was it. 

 

The ACT is a knowledge test. Personally, I think there's not really much that test prep you can do for the ACT, unlike the SAT. With the exception of the science (which is mostly data analysis), you either know the material or you don't. Barring any test anxiety, which I know is a major issue for some kids, getting a strong math and English background and knowing how to manage your time on a timed test will go a long way towards scoring well. 

 

(Edited to clarify.)

Edited by ghostwheel
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I don't think life works this way.  A Book doesn't make your student a good tester, or the kind of person to retain information, etc.  That said, Saxon is a great program and if used consistently, as designed should give you 700-up SAT scores which would translate to 30's in ACT..

 

But what I would do if I were you is sign up for a Mathnasium or similar SAT prep math course.  Even though it's SAT maybe it will help; you can ask them.  I guess math is math so it should help.

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I think Math prep would probably help.  You can score a 22 on the Math with a few months of Pre-A (no Agl, no Geo, no Alg 2), so I would wonder if going back and cementing some basic math concepts from Pre-A and Algebra would help.

I disagree with this score estimate for most kids, unless perhaps you have a kid taking AoPS pre-A. Average kids can't score a 22 on the math section with only a few months of Pre-A. I do agree that math prep will help.

 

The ACT is a knowledge test. Personally, I think there's not really much that test prep you can do for the ACT, unlike the SAT. With the exception of the science (which is mostly data analysis), you either know the material or you don't. Barring any test anxiety, which I know is a major issue for some kids, getting a strong math and English background and knowing how to manage your time on a timed test will go a long way towards scoring well. 

 

I also disagree with this. Prep for the ACT can absolutely increase your score. Even if all you do is take numberous practice ACTs and look at why you missed what you missed each time, your score should increase overall. Time management is super important on the ACT and repeated taking of the test should increase your familiarity with the test & thus the number of questions you are able to answer.

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Average kids don't get a 30 on the ACT, either.

:laugh:  You are absolutely correct! Thanks for bringing me back into this particular thread's context.

 

I was going to add that I have an "average kid" who was at that "several months into" a Pre-A text when she took the ACT for the first time & her math score that time didn't get close to the number you posted, thus my knee-jerk reaction to your comment.  :coolgleamA:

 

I looked up a couple of tables & a 30 Composite is 94%. A 22 on the math section is 63%. A 26 on English is 82%. Now, OP's kid is in 9th grade, so she has a couple more years to grow.

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I also disagree that the ACT is a knowledge test. DD19 took it once and scored a 30 with no prep. However, DD17 (who actually earned better grades in high school than DD19) scored a 24 with no prep and a 29 after several months of weekly 1-on-1 tutoring. Neither are average students; both have high GPA’s and took very rigorous loads throughout high school. I don’t think scoring a 30 can be considered a given/goal for every student. As someone else pointed out, it is 94th percentile nationally.

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Thank you for all the advice, I do think this DD is capable if a 30. She was in Gifted when she was in public school, and was the top student on her grade through 5th grade. She's still 14. I am having her do one section at a time, she scored 27 on the Reading and should do the science in the morning. We've done no prep, this was a trial to see what I needed to do next year. Her math score could have been brought up if she had worked faster. We need to work on speed! She just completed 40 out of 60 questions in the allotted time. Of those, she missed 6.

 

I like the idea of getting up, driving to the library, znd taking the test there. We live an hour from the closest testing center, apparently our local school does not administer it anymore.

 

If she wants to go to the school she has her eye on, I'm going to require a 30.

 

For those of uou who prep for this test, how often do you do so? And at what age/grade? I was thinking I might have her take it once next fall, as a sophomore, to get a baseline. I wanted her to finish Al 2, znd part of Saxon advanced math, and to start Chemistry. Then maybe one sophomore spring, and Jr. Year maybe do every month until she's in the 30s? We will get some of the books mentioned, and look online for more help.

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I would continue to do test prep and sample tests at home until you are in the range you want her final score to be. Then, have her take the real thing. The results don't cone back fast enough (sometimes) to schedule the next test.

 

The reason I no longer suggest a "baseline" is because the ACT has been known to cancel kid's scores for "cheating" if they get too high of a score after a lower one. So, prep until you are in the range. A 2-3 point improvement is ok, so just make sure she's close on her practice tests.

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The reason I no longer suggest a "baseline" is because the ACT has been known to cancel kid's scores for "cheating" if they get too high of a score after a lower one. So, prep until you are in the range. A 2-3 point improvement is ok, so just make sure she's close on her practice tests.

Wow, really! That seems so wrong.

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I do think the ACT is a bit of a game.  It requires speed and accuracy that comes naturally to some and not to others and the divide doesn't always make sense.  I know mediocre students that race through it and do great.  And hard working, high GPA, intelligent students that have test anxiety and struggle with it.  I do think it is a knowledge test and our state treats it as such.  But there are MANY reasons a kid might not show their knowledge well in this format.  It is extremely tight for time.

 

My own kid started the ACT in middle school through a talent search.   Our state requires an annual standardized test and this is an easy way to do it in a format that can pay off. I think it's absolutely fine to do a baseline.  BUT I don't think doing standardized testing back to back looks good or is very likely to yield large changes in score.  I do think it's rare to bump up more than 2-3 points if you're testing less than 6 months apart.  Even with tutoring and prep.  My kid has gone up 4 composite every year with jumps as high as 8 points in individual areas and it's never been an issue.  But all his tests have been a year apart and he is hopefully taking it for the last time this spring as a junior.  If you have a sophomore, I think it is absolutely fine to sign up for the April test and then plan on doing it again next spring hopefully for the last time.   High quality academics combined with maturity combined with comfort of the test format has done the most good here.  I would also say, my kid has consistently done better with the real test than with practice tests.  Some kids get more anxious and do worse.  Another value of that baseline score and an early test experience.

 

I will say, keeping a rolling review going of math concepts has helped with the ACT and with math in general.  We have worked through many ACT math prep books, just doing 3-5 random problems a day alongside a regular math curriculum. 

 

My kid struggles most with the science section.  That is ALL pacing for him.  And the fact that it is last probably plays too.  He would have zero problem if time wasn't so tight on that.  Practicing the pacing on that recently seems like it is going to pay off.  He is working with a tutor this spring to refine for the first time.  He already has a great sophomore score and is just looking for a little bump at this point to keep all doors open. 

 

I think some familiarity is good, but I wouldn't do hours and hours for a year at the expense of high quality academics.  This spring is the first time my kid is actually prepping.  And working with a tutor has kept it to a few hours a week so that has been money likely well invested for us. 

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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Interesting on the accusations.  I'm really curious about backstory because I know plenty of people including us who've never been tagged for big jumps.  Wonder if there is site specific backstory or comparing answer sheets from students in the same classroom, etc?  There was a case here a couple years ago where an entire classroom of test takers scores were invalidated for some reason. 

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Interesting on the accusations.  I'm really curious about backstory because I know plenty of people including us who've never been tagged for big jumps.  Wonder if there is site specific backstory or comparing answer sheets from students in the same classroom, etc?  There was a case here a couple years ago where an entire classroom of test takers scores were invalidated for some reason.

There's a long CC thread about this here. It seems to be a combination of a jump in scores (5+ points) plus similarity to the answers on another student's test, although some people said they were not given any reason beyond the jump in scores (11 points in one case). And in the case of that thread's OP, the new higher score (25 as a senior, after scoring 17 and 19 as a junior) was actually replicated 3 months later with an identical score on a test taken at a different HS with a different proctor and different students, and no evidence of similar scores at that one, and yet ACT invalidated *both* of the 25 scores. The only grounds for appeal are that ACT acted in bad faith when it invalidated the scores, which is impossible to prove, so appealing is fruitless. The problem is that it often takes 5 months or more before ACT contacts the student saying they are invalidating the scores, at which point many seniors have already been accepted to colleges, have accepted scholarships, etc. Their only recourse then is to retake the ACT and hope they score within 3 points of the previous score in order to have it reinstated.

 

I have no doubt that some students really do cheat, but I also think innocent people can get caught up due to a coincidental similarity in bubble sheets, when they genuinely earned the increased score through hard work. So I do think that taking a "baseline" ACT with zero prep can be risky, especially if the student may be capable of a significantly higher score with good prep. Better to take several practice tests under simulated test conditions, and then take the ACT when the student feels well prepared.

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For those of uou who prep for this test, how often do you do so? And at what age/grade? I was thinking I might have her take it once next fall, as a sophomore, to get a baseline. I wanted her to finish Al 2, znd part of Saxon advanced math, and to start Chemistry. Then maybe one sophomore spring, and Jr. Year maybe do every month until she's in the 30s? We will get some of the books mentioned, and look online for more help.

 

DD prepped for 3-4 weeks immediately before the test. She took it for the first time fall of 10th grade and then one second time February of 11th.

 

I would not do the test more than 3 times. Doesn't look very impressive to the college to see that the student needed seven tries.

Also, when we see students with a large number of test dates, we notice that scores often do not improve further.

Edited by regentrude
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There's a long CC thread about this here. It seems to be a combination of a jump in scores (5+ points) plus similarity to the answers on another student's test, although some people said they were not given any reason beyond the jump in scores (11 points in one case). And in the case of that thread's OP, the new higher score (25 as a senior, after scoring 17 and 19 as a junior) was actually replicated 3 months later with an identical score on a test taken at a different HS with a different proctor and different students, and no evidence of similar scores at that one, and yet ACT invalidated *both* of the 25 scores. 

 

This story is completely bizarre. If a student were cheating, wouldn't one think they would shoot for actually a good score? Who would cheat to get a 25 on the ACT???

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This story is completely bizarre. If a student were cheating, wouldn't one think they would shoot for actually a good score? Who would cheat to get a 25 on the ACT???

That's a pretty decent score in my neck of the woods. Generally if a kid has a 25 around here the parents will make sure you know about it.

 

Athletes may cheat to qualify academically.

 

There are plenty of decent schools that a 17 vs. a 25 would be a huge difference in admissions.

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19 to 25 is only a 6 point increase. I had Dd14 take a baseline test last summer. I was going to have her take it each summer. I expect her to raise her original score by about six points. Would it be better at this point to take it several more times probably showing modest gains or once more as a junior? I would hate for her to be accused of cheating.

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Okay, I had heard you can take it 12 times, apparently most people don't :) Good to know! So once in spring of sophomore year, twice as a Jr? With a few weeks of prep ahead of time? I think time management will be the hardest part, since we don't ever have timed tests or even class periods.

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We start taking it in the seventh grade. My eldest took it four times and my second will take it eight times (as she is still trying to get the scores needed for the top tier of state financial aid.) It really depends on your goals. As far as having the scores canceled for cheating, I have never heard of scores being canceled simply do to a jump in scores. Rather there was likely confirmed/suspected cheating at the center during that test and innocent students got swept up into the audit. My second daughter had her scores canceled during one test. There was an inconsistency during the exam that may have led to cheating. My daughter wasn't directly accused of cheating, but the result of the investigation was that there were too many inconsistencies in the scores of that room and so all scores were canceled. We were offered a retest for free if we wanted to fill out the added paperwork.

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Okay, I had heard you can take it 12 times, apparently most people don't :) Good to know! So once in spring of sophomore year, twice as a Jr? With a few weeks of prep ahead of time? I think time management will be the hardest part, since we don't ever have timed tests or even class periods.

 

My two cents:  the president of a test prep company told us that some kids don't peak until summer/fall of senior year.  Presumably that depends on the kid.

 

If time management is a concern, try the SAT, which has slightly more time per question.  I think kids should try both anyway - there are plenty of free SATs available online.  The ACT is known as a speed test.

 

I don't see a point to taking an official test cold when it's a simple matter to take it at home instead.

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This story is completely bizarre. If a student were cheating, wouldn't one think they would shoot for actually a good score? Who would cheat to get a 25 on the ACT???

In my state, a 22 is required for the lottery scholarship, so there are a lot of kids just trying to get to that score. A 25 would be in the automatic admissions range for state residents for many non-flagship schools. There are entire high schools with average ACTs in the teens.

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For those of uou who prep for this test, how often do you do so? And at what age/grade? I was thinking I might have her take it once next fall, as a sophomore, to get a baseline. I wanted her to finish Al 2, znd part of Saxon advanced math, and to start Chemistry. Then maybe one sophomore spring, and Jr. Year maybe do every month until she's in the 30s? We will get some of the books mentioned, and look online for more help.

 

 

When and how often to prep depends a lot on the student. My oldest did more prep and took more practice tests than my youngest; she is my clutch performer who likes to be prepared. That level of prep would have just made my youngest too anxious to perform well, plus it would have had a negative impact on her enjoying life in general (she obsesses). I actually dialed back the prep as the testing date approached, and she did none for over a week beforehand. If I could do it again, I would not have scheduled an April junior year test for this student. I would do less targeted prep and schedule the May test, which would have given her a lot more time to pick up math skills just in class.

 

Are you talking about having her do practice tests or the actual test? imo, no reason to do the real test to get a baseline, just do a practice test that simulates testing conditions as much as possible. No reason to do a real test until she is close to her target score on practice tests. 

 

Regarding DE: part-time or full-time? CC or uni? Check the rigor of classes and choose them carefully. Nothing at the CC near me compares to what we did at home, with the exception of some of their science classes (the ones required for their healthcare programs). 

 

This story is completely bizarre. If a student were cheating, wouldn't one think they would shoot for actually a good score? Who would cheat to get a 25 on the ACT???

 

Someone who got a 19 on their last one. 

 

A 25 is above the national average; about 79th percentile. It is a good score. And there are many scholarships that require a good score, not an amazing one. 

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I also disagree with this. Prep for the ACT can absolutely increase your score. Even if all you do is take numberous practice ACTs and look at why you missed what you missed each time, your score should increase overall. Time management is super important on the ACT and repeated taking of the test should increase your familiarity with the test & thus the number of questions you are able to answer.

 

That was actually my point. Sorry if I was unclear. As I mentioned, learning to manage time is a really important part of the ACT. That's also why I recommended the Real ACT practice book, which is pretty much just all practice tests. Also, as I mentioned, test anxiety is very real for some kids, and taking practice tests can help alleviate that considerably. My recommendation was to take actual practice tests and focus on building a strong background in math and English, because that's really what goes a long way towards improving scores.

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FWIW, my DS is in 9th grade, public school. He took the ACT at the end of 8th grade and the PSAT 9/10 test at the beginning of 9th grade, and his PSAT scores were noticeably better due to time and the kind of questions. Several people here recommended we try both to see if he was more suited for one or the other and after taking the PSAT, we are sticking with SAT prep. He is a slow worker. His ACT results clearly showed it was speed that was bringing his scores down. It might be worth it to try a SAT practice test if your college accepts them. 

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FWIW, my DS is in 9th grade, public school. He took the ACT at the end of 8th grade and the PSAT 9/10 test at the beginning of 9th grade, and his PSAT scores were noticeably better due to time and the kind of questions. Several people here recommended we try both to see if he was more suited for one or the other and after taking the PSAT, we are sticking with SAT prep. He is a slow worker. His ACT results clearly showed it was speed that was bringing his scores down. It might be worth it to try a SAT practice test if your college accepts them. 

 

I do not think the ACT vs PSAT9/10 is a useful comparison and gives insight into ACT vs SAT.

 

The PSAT itself is significantly easier than the SAT, and the PSAT9/10 is specifically designed for sophomores and even easier than the real PSAT.  Of course it will be a lot easier than the ACT which is a test for late juniors/seniors.

 

You have to compare the actual SAT with the ACT in order to determine which is more suited for your student.

Edited by regentrude
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I do not think the ACT vs PSAT9/10 is a useful comparison and gives insight into ACT vs SAT.

 

The PSAT itself is significantly easier than the SAT, and the PSAT9/10 is specifically designed for sophomores and even easier than the real PSAT. Of course it will be a lot easier than the ACT which is a test for late juniors/seniors.

 

You have to compare the actual SAT with the ACT in order to determine which is more suited for your student.

I think this is true with regard to the PSAT10 (I don’t know which one is meant, there is no 9/10 but there is an 8/9 and a 10, both easier than the regular psat).

 

But the (revised a couple of years ago) regular PSAT *is* supposed to give you an idea of how they would do on the SAT, by multiplying the PSAT score by 10. I don’t know how accurate that actually is and don’t have any personal experience confirming that yet, but that is what the College Board says.

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19 to 25 is only a 6 point increase. I had Dd14 take a baseline test last summer. I was going to have her take it each summer. I expect her to raise her original score by about six points. Would it be better at this point to take it several more times probably showing modest gains or once more as a junior? I would hate for her to be accused of cheating.

 

We're in exactly the same boat. I admit that reading this thread makes me nervous, but I also suspect this is all being overblown. Have you seen this pdf? (Bah, I can't link it. Try googling ACT gains from 7th grade if you want to see it.) Anyway, it shows that 7th graders raise their score by an average of 9.4 points by 11/12th grade. As far as I can tell, these are NOT the kids being accused of cheating.

 

It sounds like the kids being accused are seniors who raised their score by more than 5 points in less than a year. Considering that the average senior will raise their score by 0.6 points, I guess I can see why they would be flagged.

 

I don't think anybody needs to worry about taking a baseline test in 7th-9th grade. It does not sound like these kids will raise any eyebrows if they increase their score by several points from year to year.

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I do not think the ACT vs PSAT9/10 is a useful comparison and gives insight into ACT vs SAT.

 

The PSAT itself is significantly easier than the SAT, and the PSAT9/10 is specifically designed for sophomores and even easier than the real PSAT.  Of course it will be a lot easier than the ACT which is a test for late juniors/seniors.

 

You have to compare the actual SAT with the ACT in order to determine which is more suited for your student.

 

That's good to know. Thanks for the insight. 

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I think this is true with regard to the PSAT10 (I don’t know which one is meant, there is no 9/10 but there is an 8/9 and a 10, both easier than the regular psat).

 

But the (revised a couple of years ago) regular PSAT *is* supposed to give you an idea of how they would do on the SAT, by multiplying the PSAT score by 10. I don’t know how accurate that actually is and don’t have any personal experience confirming that yet, but that is what the College Board says.

Fwiw, my kids take both the PSAT and SAT in October of junior year. One scored exactly the same on both tests, while the other two scored higher on the SAT.
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We're in exactly the same boat. I admit that reading this thread makes me nervous, but I also suspect this is all being overblown. Have you seen this pdf? (Bah, I can't link it. Try googling ACT gains from 7th grade if you want to see it.) Anyway, it shows that 7th graders raise their score by an average of 9.4 points by 11/12th grade. As far as I can tell, these are NOT the kids being accused of cheating.

 

It sounds like the kids being accused are seniors who raised their score by more than 5 points in less than a year. Considering that the average senior will raise their score by 0.6 points, I guess I can see why they would be flagged.

 

I don't think anybody needs to worry about taking a baseline test in 7th-9th grade. It does not sound like these kids will raise any eyebrows if they increase their score by several points from year to year.

 

:iagree:   My kid went up 8 points in math in 1 year from 8th to 9th (with nothing but adding 5-10 minutes of math review to our daily routine) and went up 8 points composite in 2 years from 8th to 10th.  He's getting close to the top of the test, but he's shooting for a little higher composite this spring.  I just have a hard time believing accusations like this are super common and I suspect there is often back story or additional evidence that people aren't aware of.  I can't find data on it however.  The ACT is super common in our state both for GT purposes and for high schoolers and I don't know anyone who has had an issue.

 

I also wonder if a kid actually cheated and was caught, would they really admit it to a parent or to the ACT?  If you retest and score within 3 composite, that confirms your original score.  If people are accused falsely and they have extenuating circumstances, I can see how retesting might be troublesome.  But scoring within 3 composite is pretty lenient actually.  My kid has always scored within 1-2 points for each section as he has on the real act practice tests for given year.   I think that is may be hardest on those composite 33+ kids where sometimes the difference in score in just a few questions, watching your timing, and some luck. 

 

I agree doing it often and repeatedly is not great strategy.  We use it as our annual testing mechanism for our state requirements starting in middle school in the spring.  Like freshman year, he bombed the science (he has always tended to burn out at the end of long tests and just the past year does he remotely care about his scores) and brought that up 5+ points the next year.  No problem for us. 

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Okay, I had heard you can take it 12 times, apparently most people don't :) Good to know! So once in spring of sophomore year, twice as a Jr? With a few weeks of prep ahead of time? I think time management will be the hardest part, since we don't ever have timed tests or even class periods.

 

It seems like everyone else starts taking it or worrying about taking it really early...  I am going to put our horse blinders on and say that we are planning to take it July or September at the beginning of senior year.  That would give them enough time to take it once or twice more.  We're not taking that test 600 times.  I mean, if my kids don't do well the first couple of times, then maybe they need to start off at our community college anyway.  (realizing I sound harsh, but oh well)

 

And we are spending an entire school year on prep - once a week, over the course of the year.  And yes, that's really what I'm prepping for: taking timed tests.  My kids have never done a standardized test before and there are a lot of strategies I'm going to go over with them.

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I am going to put our horse blinders on and say that we are planning to take it July or September at the beginning of senior year.  That would give them enough time to take it once or twice more.

 

Not if they are interested in Early Decision which at most schools has a November 1 deadline, and at some even earlier.

The September date will get the scores back in time for that, but I would not gamble on October scores being sent in time.

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