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Michael Oliver

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Best ACT Prep & SAT Prep

ACT, ACT Prep, SAT, SAT Prep, Practice Tests, Test Prep


We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic.

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. It is important to retest the student periodically, in order to reassess strengths and weaknesses. The ACT/SAT prep program should revolve around the student, as he or she grows throughout the prep program. When we see scores suddenly spike in the main area of focus, it means attention must be switched back to the new lowest scoring section.

Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to your home on weekdays or weekends.

Here’s one of our ACT prep students that went up 5 ACT composite points, after only 6 sessions of one-to-one prep. English went up 3 points, math shot up 7 points, reading increased by 6 points, and science jumped up 4 points.
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Reading Strategies
There is a host of tools at the student's disposal for interacting with what we are reading. The concept is known as active reading and it will work to increase comprehension and retention of information. Try out some of the strategies below.

• Z – Sweep: Performing a Z-Sweep will help you understand what lies ahead. Move your hand from the left to the right under the first line, then back around through the body of the text, and then finish with a sweep from left to right at the bottom. Read the first sentence, glance or sweep through the body, and then read the last one or two sentences. By using this strategy, you can gain a cross-section of what you are about to read.

• SCAN: This strategy significantly improves text book reading comprehension in middle and high school students.
S = Survey Headings and Turn Them into Questions
Find each bold heading, and turn it into a question. For example, if the heading is The War of 1812, you should think, “What happened in The War of 1812?”
C = Capture the Captions and Visuals
Glance at the pictures or diagrams and read each caption.
A = Attack Boldface Words
Be sure to focus on the terms in bold. Quickly read these words for an understanding of the main vocabulary words.
N = Note and Read the Chapter Questions
This is perhaps the most important pre-reading strategy. Read the review questions at the end of the section first. This will help with the main idea behind the passage.

• Highlighting: Using color helps to increase attention. Highlight the main points and be careful not to become “highlighter crazy”. Highlight the main points after you read a section. As yourself, “What’s the main point of the paragraph I just read?”

• Margin Notes: Questions or comments jotted in the margins next to important paragraphs provide visual cues. Writing down quick notes as you read really helps with retention. Furthermore, when you go back over the book before finals, all the main ideas will be there for you.

• Summary Writing: Summarizing information is time-consuming, but it is the best way to be sure that you understand and remember what you read. You can write brief summaries at the end of each chapter or at the bottom of your 2-column notes. If you write a summary within 24 hours of taking notes or reading, you’re much more likely to retain the information.
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2017-2018 School Year: Mock ACT/SAT Class Dates
Vint Hill Educational Services offers mock testing for the ACT and SAT. These are hosted in the Northern VA area and the Richmond VA area. We now have new diagnostic reports that go into further detail than ever before. This is what makes our ACT/SAT test prep program customized for the individual student. The tutor knows exactly what to focus on and sessions are tailored to the student's weaknesses.

For our group mock tests, we supply the test booklet, essay booklet, answer sheet, testing timer, extra pencils, and a proctor. Students will need to bring: a calculator, two No. 2 pencils, snacks, and a drink.

Each student receives a nine page diagnostic report using our test scoring software. We only use official ACT and SAT practice tests. Students that take both an ACT and SAT will receive a student scores comparison chart. This will reveal which test the student is scoring higher on, ACT or SAT.

Northern VA area: Click here to register for a mock ACT or SAT
ACT - 09/30/17, 11/11/17, 02/03/18, 03/24/18, 05/19/18
SAT - 09/16/17, 10/21/17, 01/27/18, 02/24/18, 04/28/18

Richmond VA area: Click here to register for a mock ACT or SAT
ACT - 01/13/18, 03/03/18, 04/21/18
SAT - 10/14/17, 02/17/18, 04/07/18

View our NEW sample ACT/SAT diagnostic reports and student scores comparison chart:
ACT report -
SAT report -
Student ACT vs. SAT chart -

For those that have only taken a PSAT or SAT, a practice ACT is a must, and we can compare the results to see which test the student is scoring higher on.
Mock ACT/SAT Registration
Phone: 540-428-5379
$25 for 1 test (ACT or SAT)
$40 for 2 tests (ACT and SAT)
ACT/SAT diagnostic and comparison chart will be emailed to parents.
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SSAT Tips and Strategies

Private Schools, SSAT, Test Prep, Test-taking Strategies

A good SSAT test prep program will strengthen underlying skills, instill confidence, and help students reach their full potential. Successful test-taking not only encompasses the necessary academic skills, but also the understanding of how to take standardized tests. Utilizing a two-pass approach, pacing drills, process of elimination, plugging in the answer choices, and question recognition, are all ways to help increase your score. Having a tips and strategies toolbox will help the student be in control of the test. View the SSAT test format.

• Guess if you can eliminate 2 answer choices on easy or medium questions. Guess on hard questions if you can eliminate 3 answer choices.
• Attractor answers are most common towards the end of a section.
• The student receives 1 minute per question on the reading section.
• The student receives 30 seconds per question on the verbal section.
• The student receives 72 seconds per question on both math sections.

SSAT Math:

• Half of the math questions are arithmetic and about one-fifth are Geometry based.
• If the problem doesn't say “not drawn to scale” then estimate by looking at it.
• Use numbers that are easy to work with when plugging in for variables.
• If you think a question will take more than 72 seconds, circle it, and come back to it later.
• Watch out for sudden measurement changes. For example, the chart lists yards and the answers are given in feet.

SSAT Verbal:

• Review the tested word and find the correct definition.
• The answers may also use a secondary definition.
• Examine the word for roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
• Does the word sound positive or negative?
• For analogies, build a sentence with the word to understand the relationship.
• Eliminate answer choices with no relation and that seem weak in their relationship.

SSAT Reading:

• Spend the first minute looking for “easy” passages to tackle.
• Reading is the only section that doesn’t progress from easy to difficult.
• Usually, the very first sentence will be the main idea.
• Read at a strong pace, but do not re-read.
• Try not to worry about rushing through passages.
• Don’t move onto the next passage, until you answer all of the current passage questions.
• If you’re running short on time, look for the questions that ask for a definition.
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Comparing SAT Scores to ACT Scores

SAT, ACT, College, Test Prep, Practice Tests

Students that take both the SAT and ACT can compare scores to see which test they’re scoring higher on. Some students will find that they’re actually scoring higher on one test over the other. We recommend that students take official SAT and official ACT practice tests. This means, taking a test created by the College Board or the ACT. We offer full-length mock practice tests in a group setting. Students that take both a mock SAT and ACT, with us, will receive an individualized comparison chart. This document accompanies the student’s SAT and ACT baseline reports. We determine which test is better, SAT or ACT, by comparing scores using a concordance table. We also ask the student how he or she felt about the tests: pacing, timing, comfortability, testing format, question types, ACT science versus SAT no-calculator math, essay section, etc.

The ideal time to take full-length practice SAT and ACT tests are fall of junior year. If the family can find time during the summer months, then the summer going into junior year works well too. Juniors usually take their first official test during the winter or spring. Once a test is decided upon, SAT or ACT, a customized test prep plan is put in place, based upon the student’s strengths and weaknesses. If an action plan is put together during the fall of junior year then the student can prep for an official winter or spring test. The amount of prep needed is determined by the difference in the student’s SAT or ACT scores, compared to the interested schools’ middle 50% SAT and ACT scores. In addition, test prep programs need to be catered to the individual and his or her academic background. Is remedial work needed for math or grammar? Does the student receive standardized testing accommodations? Is the student currently enrolled in Algebra II or Trigonometry (taking a spring test might be better)?

By using the chart below, you can decide which test is better for you.
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