Guide Your Teen to a High ACT Score

by | Oct 4, 2021 | ACT Preparation

How Important are ACT Scores for College?
Colleges typically use the ACT for admissions decisions, but some may also use ACT scores to place students in courses or to award merit-based scholarships. Standardized tests are important because they give an objective measure of performance to colleges.  When college admissions counselors look at grades, an A in Algebra at one school is going to be different than an A at another school. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Conversely, when they look at ACT scores, they are now comparing apples to apples.Even more importantly, standardized test scores are the only academic measure that a student can change in a short period of time. Grades, on the other hand, are not something that can be changed come application time. They are generally set in stone by the time your child is applying for colleges. Standardized test scores don’t generally make or break a student’s college application, but a higher ACT score certainly helps you pay less for college tuition.

What are five pieces of information parents need to know to help their teen score high on the ACT? Parents need to know:
The new ACT composite score goal
The teen’s amount of free time to prepare
The prior test experience (test anxiety or high/low confidence issues)
The retest date to achieve this ACT score
The level of your teen’s motivation to achieve this score

What is the parent mindset that will help your teen prepare for the ACT?
Be positive in your words and actions no matter what happens. Compliment them on effort and work ethic and not as much on the actual score. Cook them their favorite meal and let them know you support them and realize that this test is challenging.

What dates do parent need to know as they schedule the ACT test and complete college applications? 
Based on college application deadlines-February, June and September are important months.

What is the top parent resource to supplement your teen’s ACT prep?
The top resource for your teen is a private FinnPREP tutor. A FinnPREP tutor can customize the prep to improve their weak areas and help move them forward.  A private tutor is convenient, effective, and saves study time. The score increase happens 95% of the time in the first study session with a FinnPREP tutor and then the teen realizes that this study system will work for me.

What are some possible hurdles you may encounter as your teen prepares to take the ACT?
Your teen may score low initially and get discouraged which can lead to less study time. Or their score remains the same number and they get discouraged. Your teen may have a few high practice test scores and quit working which can lead to a low score on the actual test.

What should a parent say and not say the week of the test?
Say that you’ve done the work now just put it down on the paper. You can do this I believe in you. My love and pride in you does not depend on a test score. Do not say you may get a low score because you are just like me. Do not say or act like it is not a big deal to take this test and do not assume the worst-case scenario.

What should a parent say if your teen scores low?
Tell them that this score is okay and that you can take it again. Ask her/him what they learned from taking the test.  Remind your teen that the ACT is not an IQ test. The ACT test writers are smart and they are trying to trick you so we want you to learn how they tricked you so it does not happen again.

What should a parent do if their teen is not motivated to study?
Ask them if they want to go to college? If they say yes, then ask them why they want to go to college. Finally, ask them if they want to take out school loans that will take them 10 or 20 years to repay?

If you have a test prep question, contact  We are happy to help you get ready for this important test.