Setting Goals for Winter Break Test Prep
Whether you are a kid or an adult, there’s a certain excitement that starts to churn as December nears its end and the prospect of some well-deserved time off comes closer. That said, there is so much preparation and excitement baked into a long winter break away from school and work.
However, lost in all the shuffle is the reality that successful test prep can’t take time off. Growth requires sustained effort and attention - especially when it comes to the SATs and ACTs.
Now is the time to set your goals
Not only is December coming to a close, but so is college application season for high school seniors. Winter test dates represent the last chance many students will have to improve their scores and chances of admission. Test prep down the stretch counts!
For younger students, winter break can be an ideal chance to focus on test prep without the burdens of other schoolwork. Sure, there are plenty of other distractions, but it’s easier for students to set aside some time for test prep when it isn’t coming at the tail end of a full day of effort in school.
As test prep professionals, it is important that we help our clients create meaningful and practical test prep plans to keep growth happening over winter break.
Focus on the areas of greatest potential improvement
Winter break is a lengthy respite from school, but it is still only a week and a half. Test prep students can make some big gains in that time, but they will need to plan ahead in order to be effective.
Rather than simply continuing the same routines as when school is in session, take advantage of the school recess to prioritize the areas where the largest gains are likely to occur.
To do this, make sure your tutors assess students in the days leading up to the break. From there, use the resulting data to choose topics and practice that:
show room for improvement
can be practiced independently
appear heavily on the student’s test of choice
The Clear Choice Prep software and test prep system can make this process much easier than trying to do so on your own. Schedule a demo to see how our diagnostic and curricular tools can help your students focus their attention on the areas where they can achieve the greatest gains.
Practicing skills in isolation is one thing, but doing so under the pressure and constraints of actual test conditions is another. Students need to experience full-length practice tests before walking into their official testing center. It is the only way to both assess and build the endurance required to achieve the highest scores.
Winter break is a perfect opportunity to have students carve out time to run through this type of full length practice. Make it a point to go over what the rules are for the testing environment, timing, breaks, and calculator usage so students can attempt these practice tests as authentically as possible.
Pro Tip: Winter break is also an excellent time to generate some new business by hosting free practice tests!
Assess students’ test choices
For high school students in their junior year or younger, winter break may be the perfect time to evaluate (or reevaluate) whether the SAT or ACT is a better fit. The differences between the tests is well established, but the best way to really tell which test is a better fit is to have students try them.
Just as winter break is a good opportunity for students to take practice tests to build endurance, it is also a great time to take ACT and SAT practice tests to compare the results and overall feel of the different experiences.
Again, completing tests in test-like conditions is ideal – complete with timing, and simulated breaks.
Allow time for other commitments
Test prep is a big deal, but it’s also important to be realistic. Your students have other obligations during their winter break, too.
Schoolwork – some schools load students up with things to read, write, and solve while on their winter “break.” When making any winter break test prep plan, be sure to consider what other academic work they are accountable for completing.
Jobs – Winter break is also a great chance for working students to pick up some extra hours and earn some extra cash. Avoid putting students in a spot where they have to choose between test prep and their employer - you might not like their choice!
Family – It can be hard to find a quiet place to work when the house is full and a student has to give up a bedroom to Aunt Millie. Students will likely have some family commitments to keep during winter break. That said, part of a good winter break plan may have to include times and places where students can get away from the holiday hubbub and focus on test prep. Having some tutors and locations available for an escape never hurts!
Fun – Last but not least, winter break should still have some trappings of an actual break. Work done during winter break is counterproductive if it leaves the student totally burnt out on the other side. Help students ensure they aren’t over-stuffing their calendars with commitments.
Whether it’s winter break, spring break, or summer break, students leave busy and complex lives that don’t get any simpler just because school is out. Test prep can be a tricky thing to fit into the mix, but students that do are always better off than those that don’t
This winter, be sure to help your students make the most of their time while also encouraging a healthy, happy, and positive holiday season.
Are you sure you have the right tools to supercharge your students’ winter break test prep experience? Winter break can also be a great opportunity to evaluate your test prep offerings to ensure you have what you need to empower both your tutors and students. Schedule a quick chat to learn about how Clear Choice Prep’s 100% custom-branded test prep programs can make the difference!