December is the most wonderful time of the year for so many reasons: Christmas, winter break, snowball fights, and more. December also marks the last ACT test of the year, and the best test for high school Juniors to take.
The Test Information Release (TIR) is a digital copy of the multiple-choice test questions, your answers, a copy of your answer document, the answer key, and the conversion table used in determining your ACT scores. TIRs are only offered during the December, April, and June test dates, and is something that you opt into during the ACT registration process.
Having the TIR allows a student to see what questions tripped them up and where to focus their efforts when studying. We believe in working smarter, not harder!
Michael was one of our students who did well on every section— in the mid 30's— except English. He was certain that it was because he was feeling rushed at the end of the test, but when we prepped with him we were seeing that just wasn't the case.
On his next test (the December one, in fact!), we had him request the Test Information Release for that exam. With the record of what Michael actually answered, we were able to see that he had absolutely no answers wrong on the last three passages but was completely bombing the first two.
We were able to visually show him that it was not his timing or feeling rushed that was the issue, but it was the fact that it took him too long to get into the testing mindset on testing day. After the first two passages, his brain was primed for test-taking— explaining why his last three English sections as well as the other test subjects were perfectly fine. He was not mentally ready for the first two sections of English.
We worked with Michael on some brain priming techniques and how to prepare himself the morning of the test, and when he took the next test— the free one offered by his school that spring— he brought his English score to a 35 from a 26, and his overall score to a 34!
The timing of the December ACT is key for high school Juniors. Many high schools in the United States offer a free Spring ACT test (or sometimes SAT test) in February or March; even if they do not, there is always the national February, April, or June tests that students can register for during the spring of their Junior year.
We strive for our students to have their desired scores before the summer between Junior and Senior year so they can focus on what schools they will be applying to in the fall. Taking the December test gives Juniors ample time to study with their TIR and make adjustments for subsequent tests. Having their testing done early can help make your child's Senior year less stressful, and their application process a breeze.
If you want to minimize the number of tests needed to achieve the score your child desires, we have a few spaces left for our in-person ACT Prep Workshop beginning 11/13 from 6:00-7:30 PM EST at our Westlake, OH office, as well as plenty of space in our virtual Test Prep Bootcamp, which covers strategies for both the SAT and ACT, on Saturday 11/19 & Sunday 11/20 from 12:00-2:00 PM EST.