At Blue Train we’re not ‘one of the gang’ when it comes to suggesting students do a full prep course the summer before their junior year. Although we understand the proactive impulse to squeeze in all that studying before the tornado of classes, sports and activities–we also understand the natural rhythms of the college process.
The Too-Early Bird
Students who try to beat the clock by taking a test in fall of their junior year more often than not are the ones with the longest, most costly, most emotionally exhausting, and least productive journeys. These students many times are the ones who are trying to follow in the footsteps of an older sibling or neighbor, maintaining the hope that they will take the test once and be done with it. Unfortunately, all too often these are the same students who come limping to us from other companies needing resuscitation and a complete performance overhaul. No bueno.
The Right Kind of Early Bird
On the other hand, the Right Kind of Early Birds are those students who are aware that they are heading into a busy junior year yet maintain balance and perspective in their approach to summer prep. They focus on building basic skills and test-taking strategies that will serve as a foundation for later refinement, closer to when they will be sitting for their first real SAT or ACT– shortly after the new year– when statistics show their academic skills, endurance, and drive towards college have strengthened. (Not to mention they have made it through enough of their junior year to feel acclimated and ready to take on this challenge on more balanced footing.)