Readers, this is the second of a two part post regarding preparing for the ACT Test. If you haven't read the other posts, be sure not to miss them.
I continue my interview with Chris Arp, one of the authors of Up Your ACT Score: The Underground Guide
When should someone seek out a tutor vs. studying themselves using the Up Your ACT Score book?
After teaching for a number of years, I started working as a tutor in NYC for a company called Veritas Test Prep. One of my goals in writing the book was to make the fruit of my experience available for the low, low price of whatever Amazon is charging for Up Your Score ACT. The truth is that there are savvy and not-so-savvy ways to take tests, regardless of your natural intelligence, and this savviness should be available to everyone, not just those who can afford a prep class or tutor.
A good tutor is many things: a teacher, obviously, but also a coach, a motivator, an anxiety-assuager, a deadline-enforcer.
For this reason, we dedicated a lot of pages in Up Your Score ACT to these crucial, and oft-overlooked, “soft skills” in test taking.
Sure, we will show you how to multiply matrices, but we will also tell you what kind of music to listen to on the night before the test. We’ll show you how to un-dangle your modifiers, but we will also show you how to schedule your studying and give yourself rewards.
In other words, Up Your Score ACT is like a small, square tutor made of paper. There are even notes in the margins, called “What Do Tutors Do?,” where we explain exactly how tutors handle particular sections and study techniques.
What advantages can tutors offer?
As a tutor, let me say: tutors are the best.
They locate your weakest areas and create targeted assignments. As test-day approaches, your tutor becomes your boxing coach, critiquing your footwork on the fly. A good tutor will inspire you to work harder and reach higher. A good tutor will assign a ton of homework.
But really, the best tutors are like the best teachers: they make you smarter. They’ll discover your interests, then lead you toward challenging books and help you navigate and master new ideas.
I have a student right now who enjoyed John Gray’s recent article in The Guardian discussing the use of the word “evil” in contemporary politics. Now she’s reading Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem. This might seem like an esoteric or even precocious way to approach a multiple-choice test, but good tutors know that careful, active, attentive thinkers do well on the ACT. Tutors are always on the lookout for ways to help their students sharpen their mental knives.
Finally, tutors will make you take practice tests. Some aspects of test prep are unavoidable, including sacrificing a few weekend mornings to take full-length, timed practice ACTs.
It can be difficult, at age seventeen, to set your alarm for 8 a.m. on a Saturday. A nice thing about a tutor is that she will yell at you if you don’t.
Any other advice you can offer to students prepping for the ACT?
I have tons and tons of advice. I am a being composed of pure advice. It would take too much space to say it all here. Luckily, I wrote it down in Up Your Score ACT.
What kinds of feedback have you gotten from students who use "Up Your ACT Score?"
Many have requested that I turn it into a YouTube video. Or that I boil it down to one or two tweets.
Many thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer all of my questions regarding ACT prep. I appreciate your suggestions and enjoyed your sense of humor. Readers, be sure to use the links below to access all the posts.
Please comment, tweet, share, “like” on Facebook! Likes and tweets are much appreciated. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DON'T FORGET TO READ PART 1 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, CHRIS ARP: ACT Prep Author Offers Hilarious but Truthful Study Tips (Part 1)
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