Preparing for The Big Day - ACT Test Day, That Is!


Your student is taking the ACT this weekend! Of course, you want to make sure they are prepared, but what can you do to give them that competitive edge on testing morning?

While we spend a lot of time coaching our students at Mally A.C.T., this can also be a stressful time for parents, as well. You want your children to succeed and are always there to motivate them and push them to maximize their potential.

We have been in the tutoring game for over a dozen years now and have seen many effective approaches parents take with their children.

Look, we won’t tell you how to raise your children. Nobody knows how to raise your children better than you do. However, here are a few things parents have said that probably didn’t help their children as they were about to take the ACT:

“This is the single most important test that you will ever take in your entire life.”

“I don’t care that you’ve never scored above a 20. If you don’t score above a 30 on this ACT, you’re grounded until you do.”

“Your future mortgage rates will be affected by your ACT score.”

Unfortunately, these are the types of comments we have actually heard parents tell their student. Not surprisingly, these aren’t the most effective pep talks.

As we all know, junior year of high school is a very important year. Students are under a lot of pressure to maintain high grades with a more rigorous course load, beef up a resume with extracurricular activities, prepare for the ACT/SAT, and still find time for a social life.

So? How should you handle your student the week of the ACT? Since we are only a couple days away from the actual test, it is important to understand that it’s all a mind game right now. Your student knows what they know at this point. They just need to focus on doing whatever they can to be as calm, comfortable, and confident as possible during the actual test.

So here are the top 5 tips we can give you:

1.     Be supportive of your student. As long as your student tried his or her best, tell them that you are proud of them. If they could have put forth more of an effort during the prep process, talk with them about what they can do differently next time. Of course, we’re here to help!

2.     Put away the practice tests. Making your student take a full practice test every day during the week leading up to the ACT is not going to be effective. If they are consistently making mistakes and not having the time to correct or understand them, having your student do more practice tests will only reinforce negative behaviors. Can you believe there are some people out there telling their students to skip school on the day before the ACT and take a full practice test? If you want to mentally drain and freak out your student right before a big test, then this guy is for you!

3.     Make your student’s favorite meal or take them to their favorite restaurant for dinner the night before the ACT. It’s less than 24 hours until test time. At this point, your student knows everything they will know for this test. We just need to get them in the right state of mind at this point. You want your student to be relaxed and feeling good when they go to sleep Friday night. Help put them in a good mood by giving them their favorite meal.

4.     Have a family movie night and watch a funny movie. Watching a funny movie will help calm the nerves of your student and put them in a good mood as they go try to get a good night of sleep.

5.     Buy your student a set of earplugs to have for the test. While we tell our students to buy a set of earplugs, not everyone understands why this is such a big deal. It is very easy to get distracted by the student with the sniffles or the student tapping his pencil during the ACT. How about the marching band practicing across the hall from a testing room? We have heard it all. It’s nice to have a set of earplugs just in case your student needs to pop them in. You’ll thank us later.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and one of our consultants will be happy to help you out!