You've heard us say it before: summertime is a great time for ACT and SAT prep. Free from the stressors of the school year, motivated students can learn new content and strategies more efficiently during the summer than during any other season. And if your school subscribes to our self-paced prep program, we've got great news: students have uninterrupted access to their accounts during the summer! Here are our suggestions for how those who are looking to accelerate their prep can derive maximum benefit from MTP over the summer.

For Rising Juniors

For students between their sophomore and junior years, the summer is a critical time for ACT and SAT prep; once the school year starts, juniors will face their most academically challenging year yet. To get a summer jump on their test prep, rising juniors should follow these steps.

  1. Take the "Evaluations" on both sides of the program. The first important decision should be which test to pursue. (If you're thinking "why not both?" then you should read this.) MTP's Evaluations present abridged, test-style versions of their corresponding sections to allow students to see where their skills and weaknesses lie, but also to enable students who are new to the process to see which test might be best for them. By using the Evaluation scores, students can estimate their baseline ACT and SAT scores and compare them using a concordance table. If there's a significant gap between their initial scores, students may decide to pursue the test whose evaluation gave them the best results.

  2. Once you decide on a test, complete the first 6-8 weeks of the corresponding side of the program. Our program is structured as a series of lesson-based tasks, most of which are accompanied by at least one quiz that reinforces the question types and strategies presented in the lessons. Students can immediately begin to build their skills within the most important content areas by working week-by-week through the first 6 to 8 weeks of the program (beyond the initial first 2 weeks of warmups and evaluations,—this means students should work through Week 10). Because we front-load the checklist with the most frequently appearing ("high yield") material, any student who works through these checklist weeks will learn and reinforce skills that are absolutely crucial to achieving a high ACT or SAT score.

  3. Take the first full-length test toward the end of the summer. On both the ACT side and the SAT side of the program, the checklist features two full-length exams, accessible via the left-side navigation panel or at the end of the checklists. It's a good idea for rising juniors to take a full-length test to see where they stand after several weeks of practice. Students can use the results to learn where they need to put in additional work.

For Rising Seniors

If high school were a football game, the first half of senior year would be the red zone: during the fall, seniors will deal with all of the challenges the school year normally presents, plus college applications. For any senior seeking to re-test before submitting applications, this makes for a stressful time. If rising seniors prep diligently over the summer, they will be much more likely to achieve score increases on the fall exams. Rising seniors should therefore follow these steps.

  1. Use any previous score reports to evaluate weakness and practice them in the program. Score reports are extremely valuable tools for highlighting students' weaknesses. All rising seniors who have test results should use the numbers within to decide where to focus their final prep. Then, they can seek lessons in our checklist and/or Lesson/Quiz menu to focus on those topics. In addition, they can use the program's Quiz on Demand feature to create quizzes that encourage further practice with these topics.

  2. Take several practice exams, both inside the program and on paper. There is no prep more effective than taking full-length practice exams. As we discussed above, the program features two full-length ACTs and two full-length SATs toward the end of the tests' respective checklists, which rising seniors should take. They can then use the question/answer review feature at the end to see where they still need work. Students should also seek out official full-length tests published by the test creators themselves. Official ACTs and SATs are readily available online. Practice with pace and timing is key to achieving a higher score.

Every student's prep path will progress slightly differently; the suggestions above represent starting points that can be adjusted on an individual basis. All students heading into their junior and senior years should remember that, as is the case with anything worth achieving, higher ACT and SAT scores require persistence with and dedication to prep. By following the suggestions above, these students can greatly bolster their chances of achieving standardized test success.