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

Junior Year Curriculum Myth Busting

Pari Schact

In this post, Nurturing Wisdom founder Pari Schacht demystifies one of the most common myths about the ACT and SAT.

I’m on a myth busting kick lately. In a previous post, I explained that both the ACT and SAT are accepted at all universities in the United States. Here, I’ll discuss another common myth: junior year curriculum is needed for a student to take the ACT or SAT.

Sooner or Later?

Many parents and students believe they need to wait to take the ACT or SAT until spring of junior year. They’ve been told that junior year curriculum is tested on both exams. In reality, there’s not much on the ACT or SAT that’s 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? There are a number of grammar concepts that students need to know for the ACT or SAT. However, most of the skills students need are taught several years before eleventh grade.
  • 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; they just have to learn how to find those details.

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.

What’s 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.

How Do You Get Started?

Take a practice test to see how much preparation is needed.  We offer 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’re happy to send a free diagnostic test anytime!

Our tutoring directors are happy to talk with youabout more specifics.