KAILUA-KONA — When it comes to standardized tests like the ACT, just knowing how to take the test can go a long way in maximizing a student’s score.
“Often times the students feel that it’s an assessment of how smart they are, but in actuality it’s an assessment of how well they can take the test,” said Rebecca Durrer, founder of Be College Ready, which aims to prepare students pursuing higher education. “And I just want to provide them with the opportunity to take the test to the best of their ability.”
To help students get their best chance of success, Durrer, who has taught at high school, community college and university, is planning a test-prep workshop for incoming high school seniors later this month in Kailua-Kona.
The free program, which will run from July 29-Aug. 2 at Privateer’s Cove, aims to prepare students for both the SAT and ACT, with the primary focus on the ACT.
Those tests are not only often important for college applications, she said, they can also go a long way in helping students get some money to help cover the cost of college.
“So sometimes it doesn’t matter for the university, but then on the other hand, it’s going to matter for the scholarships,” she said. “So to be able to secure some scholarships, it’s always best to have your GPA, your community service, your ACT to have all of these components as high as you can.”
Most students, Durrer said, will have already taken the ACT once, so the prep will be individualized to each student according to their own results.
The October test date, she added, is also one of the last before college applications are due. Because that test date is just over three months away, the summer is an excellent time to focus on getting ready for the test before senior year picks up.
“Senior year is a challenging time in terms of how many things they need to do, especially in the fall, with applications, college essays, AP courses, just jumping into the regular work of senior year,” she said.
Not only is test-taking a skill in and of itself, it’s also one students can practice and set themselves up for success come test day.
In the mathematics portion, for example, there are often problems that could take students two to three minutes by solving it the typical way they learned in school.
That might lead them to the correct answer, Durrer said, but time is a precious resource during testing.
She said the upcoming prep workshop will help students save time by eliminating two of the four choices and then navigating through the problem in just a minute.
The program will also offer an opportunity to revisit subjects students might need a refresher on, such as some of the more specific points of grammar rules.
The program will run one week from 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 29-Aug. 2.
Durrer said there are still some slots left for that program, and there is potential for a second session if interest warrants.
Those interested in registering should send an email to BCollegeReady@gmail.com and include their name, school and confirm their interest and ability to commit to the entire week of the workshop.
If students have their ACT report from a prior test, they are encouraged to bring that as well. While not necessary, it can be helpful in guiding the process.
Although this workshop is specific to seniors, Durrer said she anticipates another program in January or February for juniors preparing to take the test for the first time.