DARIEN, Conn. – High school juniors who are preparing to take standardized tests in the winter and spring need to develop a game plan now, says Barbara Levine, owner of the recently opened Chyten Tutoring and Test Preparation center in Darien.
She is ready to help students take those early steps. Levine, who also owns a Chyten center in New Canaan, says many students have the misconception that there are “tricks” to producing high scores on the SAT and ACT tests.
“It’s not about tricks,’’ Levine said. “You have to know the content. If you don’t know your basic algebra and geometry, no tricks are going to get you there. If you don’t have a strong vocabulary, tricks aren’t going to do it.”
High school juniors who plan on taking tests early next year should devote four or five hours a week to test preparation, Levine said. “You need to find time in your schedule as if you’re in another course in high school,’’ she said. “You need to develop a plan that works in your schedule and your activities. You have to sit down and pick out the test dates for which you’ll be most prepared.”
Students who took PSAT tests as sophomores have an advantage, Levine said. They have an idea of their strengths and weaknesses. Having that baseline allows students to focus on areas that need improvement, she said.
“That’s an early heads-up on where your scores are landing,’’ Levine said. “If you don’t have that baseline, we’d schedule a baseline test so we know your starting point. Then we can develop a customized plan.”
Students also need to consider which test might be better suited for the student. “If you have a strong vocabulary and reading skills, the SAT might be a better fit,’’ Levine said. “If you’re more of a math/science student, the ACT might be better. That’s part of the process students need to go through. It’s about determining which test could be better for the student.”
Students who work with Chyten improve their scores by an average of 270 points on the SAT, Levine said. Students serious about producing strong scores should go to work soon.
“We’re not just focused on gimmicks,’’ she said. “Gimmicks alone won’t get you a high score. Students need to master the content and the subject area, whether it’s math, grammar rules, or vocabulary. That’s our approach, and we’ve found it to be highly successful.”
Contact Levine at 203-655-9900 for more information.