Using Summer Wisely: Tips for Rising Seniors

The summer between junior and senior year is a crucial time for any driven high school student. Fall of senior year is when university applications are due, and along with university trips, classes, filling out applications, and writing essays, there isn’t a lot of time for extra studying or preparation for standardized exams. The single most important think a rising senior who has not yet achieved his or her goal SAT or ACT scores can do during the summer is prepare for these exams. Even if you have prepared in the past and did not get the score you wanted during the May or June sittings of the exams, there is a very strong chance that summer preparation and a fall sitting will yield the score you want. The reason for this is that most students experience a period of significant neurological growth between junior and senior year, and this growth allows students to perform better than they ever could have on standardized exams taken during junior year. Below are a few signs that you (or your child) may have needed this extra growth and could still benefit from test prep moving into senior year.

He or she performs much better on practice exams than on the actual test day.

While test anxiety and test performance issues stay with some students for a long period of time, the emotional growth that happens between junior and senior years allows many student to handle this stress much better and to translate learned information into test day much more consistently.

His or her reading score is much lower than his or her math/grammar scores.

Critical reading skills are the slowest developing of all the skills tested on the exam. If you or your child has been unable to improve his or her critical reading score, he or she may have needed a little more time of neurological development before he or she could be probably instructed on how to apply those skills to the exam.

He or she performs much worse on later sections of the exam than on earlier sections.

Test fatigue (running out of steam towards the end of the exam and making small mistakes) is partially alleviated through a rigorous prep program that includes full length practice tests and pushes students to develop their brain just as they would a muscle. However, for some students, this ability to focus intensely for long periods of time can only be truly mastered once they reach a level of intellectual sophistication that for some, is only reached during senior year.

If you or your student experienced any of the above signs, or if you haven’t started test prep at all, getting started this summer on SAT or ACT preparation is one of the most important ways to bolster college application prospects.

Your highest SAT or ACT score is in reach. Get started by taking a free diagnostic exam with ArborBridge today.

We'll provide you with a fully customized score report as well as our test prep experts' recommendations for improving specific areas of weakness. Don't wait until it's too late—take this crucial step now!


Megan Stubbendeck

About Megan Stubbendeck

Dr. Megan Stubbendeck is an eight-year veteran of the test prep industry with ten years of teaching experience. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Virginia, where she taught for three years in the History Department. She has been part of the test prep industry since 2007 and has earned perfect scores on the SAT, ACT, GRE, and multiple AP exams. As the CEO of ArborBridge, Megan oversees all aspects of ArborBridge operations and helped to create our innovative curriculum.

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