The SAT Drought Is Over! Practice Tests #5 and #6 Now Available for Download
Out here in California, we live in a near constant drought. Even so, we're always optimistic. It seems everybody has heard from somebody that it's going to be a wet winter. Major El Nino. Huge snow pack. 50-year storm. Great skiing. Most of the time it's just wishful thinking, but once in a while it does actually rain. And when it rains, it pours.
Apparently the College Board operates in much the same way as California weather patterns. This week, after a long hot summer, spent thirsting for new SAT practice tests, checking official websites, and scouring LinkedIn message boards, tutors got some good news. The College Board has seen fit to provide us with some relief from the seemingly interminable SAT practice test drought.
Best of all, both new SAT tests can now be scored and analyzed for FREE using Clear Choice Test Prep's diagnostic test grader. So what does the arrival of these much-needed resources, SAT Practice Test #5 (May Test) and SAT Practice Test #6 (April School Day Test), mean for you and your tutoring company?
Counting the two new SAT tests released this week, there are now a total of six SAT practice tests. These tests were sorely needed, but this relief is not enough. Droughts don't end over night, after all.
Click here to download the newly released SAT tests. And remember, all six SAT practice Tests can be graded and analyzed with just a few clicks using our FREE SAT test grader.
So the question is, how should you as a tutor best utilize these new tests in order to maximize the effectiveness of your fall and winter SAT prep courses?
At Clear Choice Test Prep, we work closely with our partners to develop custom course offerings based on thier unique markets and the best practices we've established over the past decade. Tutors can use our one-of-a-kind Course Template System, which enables tutors to choose among a number of pre-loaded course schedules. This allows newer tutors to select from a variety of tried and true SAT prep courses that have been administered successfully to hundreds of students. Better-established tutors can create and save their own 100% custom templates. And if they encounter a unique case, tutors can always work from scratch to create a course that's just right for that individual student. And best of all, you're not stuck with a template once you select it. You can make as many changes as you like on the fly. You can check out some screenshots of our system here.
Whether or not you choose to take advantage of our custom branded test prep system, we recommend a couple of tutoring best practices to keep in mind.
First, plan to administer a minimum of three full-length practice SAT tests.
We strongly recommend structuring your courses around a minimum of three full-length practice tests. Each of these tests should be administered under timed, simulated testing conditions.
Officially, the purpose of the first full-length practice SAT test is to establish a baseline score and develop a game plan for the student's prep course. While that's entirely true, hosting free, regularly scheduled diagnostic SAT tests will help you generate leads and develop relationships with schools, sports teams, and youth organizations. As we've mentioned in other posts (The Dos and Don'ts of Tutoring with Real SAT Tests - Part 1 and Part 2), frequently hosting free diagnostic SAT tests is a great way to promote your test prep business.
Second, get the remaining practice test dates on the calendar ASAP.
The second and third (and fourth, if possible) practice tests should be scheduled (i.e. literally added to everyone's calendars) no later than the end of the first scheduled tutoring session. It's tempting to put off scheduling these tests until a few weeks into the course. These dates should be treated as serious commitments for the student. Do not reschedule these unless it becomes absolutely necessary to do so.
Third, put in the time to analyze each official SAT practice test.
If you're using Clear Choice Test Prep's FREE diagnostic test grading tool, then you can score and analyze a student's test in about three minutes. Simply punch in the student's answers, click submit, and click print to generate your own 100% custom branded SAT score report. Save it as a pdf or email it to the student or parent with the click of a button.
However you go about performing this analysis, make sure to look beyond just the student's score improvement. The success or failure of the remainder of the student's SAT prep course depends on your ability to accurately evaluate the student's progress to that point. If you do not put in the time to perform this analysis, then you cannot make the midpoint adjustments that are critical to finishing strong.
Fourth, assign the remaining test sections in sections, one per week, to be completed under timed conditions.
Someone among the ensemble cast of a mediocre romantic comedy once said, "Talking about love is like dancing about architecture." I've always remembered that quote because it's a great way to illustrate the idea that some things cannot be explained in words... or dance for that matter. These things must be felt to be understood.
Time management is one of those things. You can describe time management techniques to a student until you're blue in the face, but pacing, the act of employing these techniques, must be felt to be understood.
Plan to assign actual test sections to be completed under timed conditions. This helps the student to feel the pacing he or she will need to follow on test day. Remember that the Clear Choice Test Prep grading and analysis tool can be used to score even partial tests. Also, tutors can check a box to allow students to enter their own answers through the online portal. For more info, feel free to sign up for a software demo.
For an added level of analysis, encourage the student to jot down the time remaining after each passage on the Reading and Writing sections and after every 10 problems on the Math section. Check those times during the next session to evaluate how effectively the student utilized the pacing techniques.
Fifth, schedule the final test for at least one week before the actual SAT test day.
There good reasons why the final test should be scheduled at least a week before the actual test. Students should spend the final week before the test casually reviewing important concepts and strategies, not elevating their stress levels by burning through test questions at the last minute.
Frankly, there are also good business reasons to leave a small gap between the conclusion of your course and the final test. This enables you to schedule additional review sessions with individual students or groups of students. Whether you choose to charge for these or offer them as an added benefit to the course is up to you. I can make an argument for either practice. On the one hand, some tutors charge an elevated "crunch time" or "finals week" tutoring rate.
I don't openly condemn the idea of charging a higher rate during finals week, but I think the better play is to spend this week making sure that every student feels 100% supported going into the actual test. Ultimately, this dedication to your students success pays major dividends in the form of glowing online reviews, enthusiastic testimonials, and impressive score improvements. And, if you ask me, it's just the right thing to do.
Sixth, ration that sixth test for students considering additional SAT tutoring.
A portion of students will always want to retake the SAT the following season. If you burn through all six tests by the conclusion of the initial course, then you'll have no test to use as a final exam for the follow up course. That's not ideal.
In conjunction with an effective course workbook, the first five tests should provide you with sufficient test prep content to conduct for a full course. Clear Choice Test Prep's partners utilize our 600 page SAT workbook with more than 850 SAT* questions and hundreds more skill builder exercises. In all, our system includes nearly 1700 SAT* practice questions, each with an online video solution.
Whatever text you decide to use, plan to hang onto some resources so that you'll be able to help students who wish to continue studying past their initial test date.
If you'd like to more information about Clear Choice Test Prep's 100% white label resources for tutors, including our custom branded materials for tutors, SAT and ACT software for tutors, and full test prep training course for tutors, then contact us today!
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As the only provider of 100% custom branded test prep tools for tutors, Clear Choice Test Prep has spoken with hundreds of independent tutors and tutoring companies from across the country and around the world. This blog is our opportunity to bring you the insights we've gathered through those interactions.
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