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My son is going into his junior year and will be taking the ACT for college entrance exams… ah, college! The school did provide the pre-act several months ago to gauge where each student is. He didn’t do too badly, but there is certainly room for improvement!
About Huntington Learning Center
When I had the chance to work with Huntington Learning Center on preparing my son for the real ACT and learning about the test prep, I was pretty excited. I was familiar with Huntington and how they help kids with struggles in a variety of subjects.
For more than 40 years, Huntington Learning Center has offered dozens of tutoring programs for students K-12 —including reading, writing, math, study skills, spelling, phonics, ADHD, Common Core, and test prep for the ACT and SAT to name a few. Their mission is to give every student the best education possible and realize “I can” when it comes to school success.
The First Meeting
Our initial meeting was a phone call with Jory, the owner of the Anderson location. He went over a few details of what I should expect and what the next steps would be. I scheduled my son’s ACT, one that would take three and a half hours as I thought it would be beneficial for him to take the writing portion, which takes about half an hour.
The ACT measures aptitude in English, math, reading, and science; plus, it can be taken with or without a writing test component.
The Day of the Test
On the day of the test, I went in and sat down with Jory. Here, he explained in better detail about Huntington, their teachers, and the test, along with the next steps. Side note, scheduling was pretty easy for both times; they had full availability for me to be able to work around my schedule.
On our second appointment, the child and both parents (if possible) need to be present to review the results and the action plan. There is a lot of material covered, so I highly recommend bringing your spouse! This meeting took a little over an hour to go over everything.
We first discussed the scores required by my son’s three top-choice schools. We received a print out that compared tuition; ACT/SAT scores and requirements. We didn’t spend too much time on colleges as we were told that qualifications change so it would be better to wait closer to application time to review.
Next, we talked about what was on the test and examples of each section. Jory asked my son a lot of questions about terms like what does statistics and probability cover or if he understood what each portion of the test was trying to cover.
Then we went over his ACT scores. There was a difference in these grades versus the pre-ACT. This test is a retired version of the ACT so it is true to what the real exam will be like. Math was still his weakest subject. I was surprised to learn that the math portion covers geometry and yet the way his school has math set up, they do not take geometry until they are juniors. The math portion of the ACT included problems he has not seen or covered yet.
We were shown a printout of how he answered each question and whether it was correct or not. If it was incorrect, it showed the corrected answer. It also shows what the main topic of the problem is (i.e., algebra) and what type of question (i.e., expressions). We were told this is what the program takes into account to create a program specifically designed just for him.
The Prep Class
The first step was to set goals. My son was given a paper that had what his scores were for each section. Then he was asked to write down a target score, a realistic score on what he thinks he can achieve for each section. Once Jory took a look at it, he had no doubt that he would be able to meet his goals! The average point increase on the ACT is 5.3.
What I like about the prep class is that while there are specific things he would have to work on, the classes themselves would be fluid. If he needed less time on a subject than thought they move on or vice versa, they don’t move on until he has mastered a specific topic. Then after so many hours, he is retested, and they readjust the program based on those new scores.
His prep plan was broken down into how many hours he needed for each section, and this was based on his ACT, they also took into account the pre-act test he took at school and what school he attends. Once you have how many hours are needed, you work backward to find the best time frame to start sessions. So if the first ACT is administered in September, they recommend that kids get in at least 3-4 days of tutoring a week during the summer and two during school, you can find when the best week to start classes.
Our goal was to take the first ACT offered so it is done and over but would have the option to take the second test date if needed. Most students take it in the spring of their junior year, but it is offered in September, October, December, February, April, and June.
Jory also talked about the caliber of teachers at his Huntington location. The teachers not only help the kids understand the material, but they also help the kids learn how to take the test. Some kids get overwhelmed on timed tests. They learn tips and tricks on how to take a test to make it more manageable for them.
The Final Decision
Lastly, we spoke about the financial portion. This is where you need to take into account your child and their ability to put in the effort. If they are going to fight every time they have to go a session or do the online homework, it may not be worth it. But, if they are willing and can see that this actually benefits them and that a scholarship could be on the horizon for certain grades at the schools they want to get into then it is an investment well spent!