The ACT Science Section: The Good News!
May 24, 2013
Success Beyond the Test
June 3, 2013

Junior Year Curriculum Myth Busting

Pari SchactIn this post, former Nurturing Wisdom President Pari Schacht demystifies one of the most common myths about the ACT and SAT.

I’m on a myth busting kick lately. I recently explained why both the ACT and SAT are accepted at all universities in the United States in my post on the Myth of Preference. Today, I want to talk about another common myth: junior year curriculum is needed for a student to take the ACT or SAT.

Many parents and students are told to wait to take the ACT or SAT until spring of junior year because junior year curriculum is tested on both tests.

In reality, there is almost nothing on the ACT or SAT that is covered in the junior year curriculum. Let’s look at this in more detail and address some of the most common misconceptions…

  • Isn’t trig or pre-calc needed to do well on ACT or SAT math? While there are a handful of higher-level math questions on the ACT, the vast majority of the problems are skills covered in pre-algebra, algebra one, or geometry.
  • What about grammar? While there are a number of grammar concepts that students need to know for the ACT or SAT, the reality is that most schools do not teach grammar. If they do teach these grammatical concepts, they are taught over several years before junior year.
  • What about the science section of the ACT? The more science students learn the better, right? The good news is that the science section is a reading and logical reasoning test and not a test of science subject matter. All of the information a student needs to answer every question is right there on the page–the student just has to learn HOW to find those details.  (See our post about the ACT Science Section).

Sadly, this myth continues to be spread year after year, and parents and students follow the advice to wait until the spring of junior year to take the ACT or SAT. The end result is a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety as well as lower test scores since students are trying to cram in preparing for the ACT and SAT while also juggling AP exams, SAT subject tests, college visits, spring sports, junior year research papers, and more.

So, what is our advice? We recommend taking a diagnostic test in May or June of sophomore year so that we can help you make a game plan that will address your needs and work with your schedule. There isn’t one plan that works for every student, and we’re committed to making the right plan for each individual student.

For many, this will mean using the summer between sophomore and junior year to start preparing for these tests. That way, the major focus of junior year can be getting those all-important grades.

We have many options for taking a practice test as a starting point to see how much preparation might be needed.  We are offering proctored tests that you can sign up for here. If you can’t make these test dates, or live outside of the Chicagoland area, we are happy to send a free diagnostic test anytime.

You can reach us in Chicago at 312-260-7945 or San Francisco at 415-963-9229.