Harris School Solutions

14 Quick SAT/ACT Test-Prep Tips for Teacher Effectiveness

For your students, a lot rides on how well your SAT and ACT prep courses train them for test day. That puts a lot of pressure on you as the teacher to be as effective as possible.

Here are 14 quick tips that will help you to improve the effectiveness of your SAT/ACT test-prep lessons.
1. Ask for self-assessments.

Self-evaluations help students to monitor their own strengths and areas for improvement, and to take accountability for the progress they’re making.

2. Compile reports.

Beyond giving practice tests, try to compile reports on students’ progress. Seeing how far they’ve come will motivate them, and also will illuminate exactly how much farther they need to go.

3. Provide specific feedback.

Rather than explaining with example problems how the student missed a question on a practice test, use the exact problem they missed. This will help the concept to sink in more thoroughly.

4. Use the internet.

Yes, students will take the test on paper, but learning the concepts is its own process. Students likely will feel more comfortable using internet-connected devices to learn, since that’s what they’re used to. By making the process comfortable, students will be able to put their focus toward the actual work of learning,

5. Use video.

It not only will help some of your students to learn if they can see explanations of problems in a video (instead of only hearing it from you verbally), it also will allow you as a teacher to cover more ground, since you can record the explanation once and re-use it.

6. Rotate your information-delivery techniques.

Don’t get rid of verbal explanations altogether. Instead, add in some audio explanations to go with your videos. By rotating the way you deliver information to students, you will keep them interested and engaged for longer periods of time.

7. Increase the number of practice questions.

Make sure you give your students enough practice questions that the concepts behind them become second nature. That way, the students will be able to move more quickly through the exam on test day without stopping to identify the concept that will be needed from question to question.

8. Increase the number of practice tests.

Be sure to give students enough full-length practice exams. Yes, the questions will have been covered in your lessons, but the act of taking the full test several times will give students confidence on test day.

9. Treat it like a regular class.

There’s a lot of pressure in an SAT/ACT prep class, not only on the students but also on you, the teacher. It helps to set up your lesson plans as much like a regular class as possible. That will help both you and your students to feel comfortable and get more done.

10. Give homework.

Like in a regular class, you should give homework. Some students may learn better at home. Give them the push they need as you would in any other class: by assigning key concepts for homework.

11. Pinpoint areas for improvement (and repeat).

Pinpoint where individual students need improvement. Then select practice quizzes that allow each student to master the specific concepts on which they need more work (rather than spending equal time on concepts they already understand well). Make copies of those practice quizzes, too. Giving students the ability to repeat lessons will build their confidence as they work on those more-difficult concepts.

12. Allow each student to work at their own pace.

To do this, you’ll need to work flexibility into your class.

13. Don’t overwhelm the students.

Break up your lessons into short, easy-to–consume sessions and switch not only concepts, but also areas of the test. This will help to inject new energy into the class more frequently as you rotate sessions, and will keep your students learning and going strong from start to finish.

14. Try different teaching styles.

We know that different students learn differently. Some get the most out of working in small groups while others gain more from one-to-one attention. Make a point to experiment with your style.

Want to incorporate all these strategies, but worried it will be too much work?

Check out Method Test Prep, the tool that lets you do it all with ease!

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