You need to get at least a 32 on the ACT to get into a top school.
Often we see that some very smart kids are unable to break the barrier of 32 on the ACT and fail to get near perfect scores.
Why do smart kids fail to break the barrier? In "Patterns of Underachievement in Gifted Students", Carolyn Coil, discusses three patterns of underachievement by smart kids:
1) Does well in early grades, then underachieves more as they get older
2) Sporadic up-and-down pattern
3) No effort to go beyond the minimum
The causes of underachievement can be many. We highlight a few below.
1. Not Being Prepared
Some smart students have poor discipline and do things last minute. They are smart so they can study last minute and still do well. However, in test prep, you cannot get away with it. Poor discipline leads to poor habits which affects your scores. For example, such students make a lot of silly errors because they rush through the questions. Remember, many questions are not difficult, but if you make an error the scantron will be unforgiving. It does not know whether you know the concept or not. It only sees you bubble that you have marked. Why lose points on concepts you know really well? So prepare well.
2. Poor Strategies
We suggest not to take the ACT or the SAT in spring because your school load is quite heavy, especially if you are taking APs. Ideally, take the test in the Fall and do test-prep in the Summer. We would be happy to assist with your test preparation. Just let us know. :-)
3. Lack of Test Taking Abilities
If you are not a good test taker, chances are you have not developed your test-taking abilities. Test taking is no different than learning swimming or tennis. It is the same thing. There are certain principles and strategies that you need to learn to do well on tests. Many students do not have a well rounded approach and have no consistency.
4. Lack of Belief in Your Ability
Some smart students suffer from perfectionism which is often a lack of confidence that you are doing the right thing. Remember, you don't have to get every single question correct. You can miss one or two and still get a perfect score. Focus on learning the material and strategies and let go of the need to control the outcome—a perfect score.
Smart kid pressure themselves. Since they are smart their family have high expectations of them, and so smart students put themselves under performance pressure. That is an understandable mistake to make. The problem is that you cannot control the outcomes: you can only control your actions and behaviors. Did you study well? Did you learn test prep strategies? Did you prepare well enough to score high on your ACT and SAT tests? Did you take test prep to ensure you can get the best possible scores?
Ask these questions and invite your family to answer them. We will be happy to chat with them and explain how Hillview Prep's Smart Scoring System is the best way to prepare well for the ACT and the SAT.
6. Being a Teenager
Well, teenagers are just being teenagers! Some smart students cannot focus, especially in today's era of smartphones and iPads and TVs. Shut off your smart phones and iPADs while you study. Focus on the test prep material. If your home is too disruptive, come to a tutoring center like ours or study with us via Skype!
Sometimes illness can cause you to do poorly on tests. Do not discount the power of illness. It can make you feel less motivated, drained of energy, moody, etc. Make sure you rest enough, visit a doctor and take care of yourself. If you are really ill, postpone your tests. We recommend taking the ACT and SAT at least twice, so start preparing for these tests early. In case you are ill and cannot take the test, you have enough time to take the next one.
8. Test Taking Blues
Are You Doing Things Differently On Test Days? Without even realizing it, you may be doing things differently on test days than you have been while studying. Anxiety may have taken over and you may be rushing through your test and just panicking. In some cases, you may fall back to your old habits instead of what you learned for test prep.
In order to succeed on the test day, you will have to rely on your subconscious mind guiding you—the habits that you have built—because of the spontaneity of the test.
You have to response to the spontaneity and the surprises of the test.
Plus, given time and performance pressure, you are asking too much for your conscious mind to do. It can't and you then fall into your habits.
What can you do?
The Ultimate Learning Tool
1. Adapts to the Student
The ACT has more literal questions compared to abstract questions. The Smart Scoring System helps classify which problems the student is getting wrong. If you are more an abstract thinker the Smart Scoring System will reveal that since you will get many literal questions wrong.
If you are an abstract thinker, you are like a marathon runner. You think in long miles. The key is to reduce your miles, your intervals. The Smart Scoring System narrows your focus into smaller intervals, similar to what the interval training does in fitness training.
2. Ruthlessly Kills your Errors
If you're performing at the 32 level, you're missing about 10% of the questions. This means you have some consistent errors that are holding you back. How do you find your errors and solve them?
The Smart Scoring system quickly shows your errors that you are making consistently: abstract vs literal, conceptual vs minor errors, etc.
The Smart Scoring System will do the following:
3. Enhances your Test-Taking Skills
The Smart Scoring System exposes you to elements of spontaneity, which is huge for test taking.
In short, it works with real tests and helps you diagnose what is going on. In one sense, the Smart Scoring System is both a training as well as a diagnostic tool.
In addition, the Smart Scoring System will strengthen your pacing, your ability to deal with details and abstract concepts at the same time. It trains you to be a more versatile thinker: abstract plus literal, conceptual plus detail, etc.
4. Combats the Unknowns
The Smart Scoring System helps you deal with unknowns.
You get questions wrong because of the unknowns, whether they are conceptual unknowns or even a minor error. In other words, you didn't didn't know something. Carelessness is nothing but opening yourself up to unknowns, like mislabeling a bubble.
The mislabeled bubble is just an unconscious unknown.
You were simply not aware that you mislabeled a bubble to did multiplication when you were supposed to do addition. The Smart Scoring System prescribes methods and skills to eliminate unconscious unknowns coming from your subconscious mind. Some examples includes deductive reasoning, keyword strategies and adding extra small steps to make you more consciously aware of what you are doing.
5. Find Weak and Strong Patterns and Drills for Perfection
You Smart Scores will provide you with the data to find patterns of your habitual and natural thinking and test taking abilities, and conceptual gaps.
It could be problems with exponents in math, or a specific grammar rule. Or it might be a natural habit of yours, like misreading the passage or mislabeling a bubble.
Given the limited amount of time you have to prepare for your test, it is critical focus on your weaknesses and use your strengths to conquer them. This will get you the biggest score improvement. The interval training helps you do drills on your weaknesses.
Our strategies help you use your strengths to conquer your weaknesses.
6. Versatile Against any Material
The Smart Scoring System is applicable to any material, whether it is from Barron's, Kaplan, Princeton, or any other material made by another company or a tutor.
At Hillview Prep we use several different publishers and the Smart Scoring System works on all of them.
Test drive the Smart Scoring System for your ACT today. We guarantee that you will see immediate improvement, or we will be happy to refund your money. Enroll today!