ACT, SAT & PSAT Test Prep
With two decades of experience clearing the path to optimal scores and making dream school acceptances a reality, Top Score empowers students with executive function training through the mastery of testing processes, application of reverberating mantras, and profound self-evaluation: the building blocks of Deep Learning.
Change requires trust and inspiration dictates improvement. The personal partnership with Top Score tutors catalyzes true evolution. As students gain confidence with each victory, they experience exponential growth. The positive feedback loop between trust and progression results in Deep Relationships.
The Top Score ACT, SAT, & PSAT Prep Process
Time: We start by determining the best time for students to prepare. When to prepare is all about time, both in terms of the time the student has available for practice and preparation, as well as the student’s maturity level and knowledge of the math content. For instance, a student who plays varsity sports in the fall and spring should prepare in the winter. On the other hand, a student who plays three varsity sports may be better off preparing early in the summer before junior year and testing in the fall (though this may put them at a slight disadvantage mathematically).
Test: Once we determine the best 4-5 month stretch for the student to prepare, we proceed to the choice of test: SAT or ACT. A combination of data, context, and student preference determines test selection. Baseline testing data is gathered from the PSAT and a practice ACT exam at the school or practice exams with us at our test center. The context primarily involves the student’s reading speed.
Tutor: Based on availability, starting test scores, test preference, location, and personality, we figure out the best tutor fit. We take great care in our student-tutor matching process, as an authentic and trusting relationship is critical to your student’s success.
Our program can take place in a student’s home if that’s best for the student’s focus or remotely via Google Meet if that’s best for the student’s convenience.
Our standard program runs 12 lessons, each two hours long, preparing students for two test attempts for 4 to 5 months.
We target 7 lessons before the first exam and 5 more before the second attempt. The ability to super score the test, the familiarity students build from experience, and the data we get back that can inform our program all make the two-test attempt system a no-brainer for us. Lessons are spaced 7-14 days apart, close enough to maintain momentum but far enough to allow homework completion between classes.
Homework ranges from 2-6 hours a week, depending on the student’s situation (after-school commitments, course load).
In addition, we offer free monthly proctored practice exams at our test center in Falls Church at Longfellow Middle School so students can practice the exam under those higher pressure conditions.
For materials, we use a combination of artificial intelligence-driven math programs, original proprietary workbooks, and copies of official SAT/ACT exams. All materials are included in the program cost.
Our process is based on three pillars: content, approach, and recognition.
Content: The SAT and ACT test students on four full years of math curricula and an essential set of foundational grammar skills. This material must be reviewed, weaknesses discovered and explored, and new rules taught just as if in class.
Approach: We teach a different process for each test subject, built to match the cognitive challenges of that subject. Like DNA, the tests have patterns, and our approach lines up with those patterns to reduce errors on straightforward questions and improve accuracy on harder ones. For example, the more information our brains process, the less detail they notice. So, for some subjects, where the devil is in the details, students must be forced through repeated process steps to break down information.
Recognition: Beyond the primary approach for a particular subject, there is also the recognition of patterns with patterns. The science section preys on certain tendencies in certain question types, and those questions allow us to correct those particular tendencies. In English, if we don’t recognize that a question is testing us on a specific grammatical rule, we won’t know to access that rule in our long-term memory and leverage it! We encourage (sometimes force!) students to label questions by type and subtype to show they understand, and just as important can recognize, the patterns.