MEK started ACT Prep in 2016, as we made the adjustment to the (then) redesigned SAT. As we saw large transformations to the SAT, many of our students sought after a different test solution, and thus, we developed ACT Prep group classes and private tutoring, modeled after the intensity and rigor of our SAT Prep program.
Now, in 2023, as the SAT makes yet another large transformation into a digital format, our students share the same concerns as our students in 2016—whether they should consider the ACT instead of the SAT, for its predictability and unlikeliness to change in the foreseeable future.
As we started our adjustments to this impending change to the SAT, we also took a deep dive into what we have learned, developed, and implemented into our current ACT Prep program. Using our findings, we developed a new program that would deliver our test prep expertise, high lecture quality, and proven materials in a self-paced setting.
And so we introduce ACT Connect by MEK Review.
Table of Contents
The Challenge of ACT Prep
Over our years of ACT Prep, we found that we simply couldn’t approach SAT and ACT test prep in the same way due to their differences in logistical and structural nature. There were three major problems that we needed to solve:
- Lack of urgency and permanence
- Difference in scale of progress
- High degree of repetition
Lack of Urgency and Permanence
One major logistical difference between the SAT and ACT is the ability to cancel scores. The SAT only provides a one-week window after students take the test for them to cancel their scores, but takes two to three weeks to release test scores. This means that students would cancel scores based on how they think they did on the test.
On the other hand, the ACT allows students to cancel their scores at any time, including after scores are released. This lack of permanence, combined with the options of SuperScore and, now, test optional colleges and universities, lessens the pressure of high performance. And while the lessened pressure can also be lessened stress on students, on the test prep point of view, a lack of pressure can equate to less motivation.
Instead of the idea that they must do well on their next ACT test date, students can think, “If I don’t do well on this test, I can just take the next one. And if I don’t do well on that test, too, I can just not submit my scores on my college application.” On a classroom management standpoint, this lack of pressure often appears first in the form of inconsistent attendance.
Of course, we don’t stand by scare tactics and paralyzing pressure. But students, as well as adults, often need the pressure of an impending deadline or the college/university goal to motivate them to strive for better.
Difference in Scale of Progress
A super obvious difference between the SAT and ACT lies in their scales. The Math and English sections of the SAT are graded on a scale from 200 to 800, combining into a composite score between 400 and 1600.
Each of the four sections of the ACT, on the other hand, are graded on a scale of 1 to 36, and the sections are averaged for a composite score that is also between 1 and 36. Because of this difference in scale, students don’t see their improvements quantified in their score as frequently on the ACT.
So if a student’s composite SAT score goes from a 1450 to 1490, which would be considered a considerable jump in score, their equivalent composite ACT score would stay at a 33, which, on a numerical scale, does not show the improvement that they’ve made throughout that time. This illusion of stagnation can often demotivate students, as they may seem stuck at a single score or increase in score very slowly, despite their continued efforts.
Thus, ACT Prep requires resilience and patience. It requires students to resist discouragement, as well as a critical eye to read their score reports thoroughly and identify points of improvement, even if they don’t appear as large score improvements.
High Degree of Repetition
Especially because students may often find themselves with the same ACT score over a prolonged period of time, the test prep and practice that they need will often feel highly repetitive. While the composite ACT score moves very slowly, the section-by-section scores on the ACT show that every question counts a great deal. As scores get higher, the stakes for each question get larger. The difference between a 33 and a 34, a 34 and a 35, and eventually a 35 and a 36, is one question.
But that one question is what keeps most students coming to class–because most of these students know that that one question could make a difference in the college or university that they will go to.
Scary, I know. But with applicant pools getting larger and acceptance rates going down every year, we cannot afford that one question.
So, to eliminate that difference, we practice. And practice, and practice. We practice until every cell in our body can exude ACT mastery.
At MEK, our ACT Prep teachers become broken records–they remind students time and time again about the strategy lectures they give at the beginning of the course, as they know that this repetition will allow students to become one with the material.
ACT Connect by MEK Review
So we developed ACT Connect by MEK Review: a program that will provide all of the concepts and strategies that students need, at their fingertips. Comprised of lecture videos by the very instructors who developed the ACT Prep program at MEK, ACT Connect gives student access to our library of test prep material and lecture videos. This gives students not only the guidance to get through the test prep course, but also the autonomy to review past lectures as many times as they need to get their goal score on the ACT.
The expert lectures don’t just teach the test contents, but more importantly teach the right way to answer the questions on the test. Keep in mind that test prep is test prep–not academic enrichment for school. There is very little room, let alone time, for creativity. There may be many ways to get to the right answer, but within those ways, there is a right way to get to the right answer in the fewest number of steps possible. That is what we teach.
How to Use ACT Connect by MEK Review
The best way to use ACT Connect will vary based on the student.
Some students are very good at keeping themselves accountable, taking their test prep in small bite sized regular doses. These students will do well with just the ACT Connect program. These students will:
- Complete the lecture assignments before watching the lecture videos
- Attend the weekly live Q&A sessions
- Review past lectures frequently
- Fill out the questionnaires at each checkpoint to assess their progress
Some students need some more step-by-step guidance. This may not necessarily be because of a lack of discipline. It may be because this is the first test prep experience that they’ve had, or because whatever test prep they have experienced in the past didn’t work for them. For these students, we recommend supplementing their ACT Connect experience with tutoring sessions, to set up that study schedule, build study habits, and point the right direction.
Our ACT Connect by MEK Review website is now open! You can register for an account directly on the site, and click Enroll to choose the package that is right for you. You can read about our different packages here.
After you enroll, you will be notified via email within two (2) business days regarding your access into the site. After you receive this email, you can get started on your test prep right away!
We are so excited for you to start your ACT Prep journey with ACT Connect by MEK Review! Our library of resources, including our expert teachers and proven materials, is our greatest pride, and we are looking forward to sharing it with you.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding ACT Connect, please contact us at email@example.com.