Standardized tests. You may love them, you may hate them - but they are a fact of life in the college application process. Most colleges accept ACT or SAT test scores, but some have a strong preference for one or the other. Students often find that one test seems to fit their learning style better than the other and thus score higher on that test. Which one is best for your student?
The math portion of the ACT test consists of problems that are very similar to the homework that your student has encountered in his/her math classes. The problems cover topics from Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Coordinate Geometry, Plane Geometry, and Trigonometry. If your student is very accurate in their math work and has good recall of the topics they have learned over the last few years in math classes they should do well on the ACT exam. If they need some review over the material on the test, it is a fairly straightforward process to figure out where the gaps are and what they need to relearn/review. High School Math Live is certainly able to help your student to prepare for the ACT exam.
The SAT, which is generally preferred by universities in my part of the country, is a very different kind of test. The math portion of the SAT test is more of a thinking skills test. For the most part, I can work a section of the test in about half of the time that is given for the test without having to do any written computation on almost any problem. That said, I do NOT recommend that method of working for the testers - showing work absolutely is the best way to check accuracy! The problems have MUCH more to do with UNDERSTANDING and APPLYING math than with computing math. Students who run out of time on the test are, generally speaking, trying to do the problems in the wrong way. They are demonstrating a lack of understanding of the skills being tested.
By working through published tests with students, I am able to "connect the dots" for the students using the knowledge they have and connecting it with an understanding of how that knowledge applies to the problem at hand. I often hear this comment: "The test is so easy when you show me how to do it!" The goal that I strive for is to make it easy even when I am not explaining the problem to them! The biggest part of that is to help the student recognize how to START the problem. To do that, I show them how to recognize clues from the problem, to see the interconnectedness of their math knowledge, and to draw upon past problems that we have done together that make each new problem a little bit more clear.
Whichever test your student signs up for, certainly the slow and steady pace is the right way to go. Attending a seminar every week - or even every other week - would be an excellent pace.
Start early. Practice often. Let us help you to improve those entrance exam scores!
I love mathematics. I love puzzling over a good word problem. I love to work through a really long and complicated abstract math problem only to end up with a beautiful, concise answer. I realize that not every child will truly love mathematics, but I also firmly believe that students are not being taught in a way that encourages them to see the beauty of math. They are not being taught to think mathematically.
Often in math curriculum, students are given a problem and are taught the steps required to solve the problem. When another problem of that type is seen in a later problem set, the student simply has to recall the way to solve that type of problem. Students are not challenged to think in a mathematical way to come up with a solution for a unique problem.
As homeschoolers, we are somewhat limited by the availability of secondary math education options. Some students work well with a self-paced video course, but many students need more interaction with an instructor. Many locations have classes for homeschoolers, but math can not be accomplished in a one-time-a-week class and the drive time can be prohibitive.
Our goals are simple:
**Use a curriculum that challenges students to learn to think
**Teach in a way that is interactive
**Challenge students to verbalize their problem solving process
**Demonstrate a love for mathematics,
And thereby develop mathematical thinkers who, when challenged with unique problems in any aspect of their lives, will be able to apply the problem solving skills learned in math classes to make well thought out decisions.
Yes, I really believe that what you learn in abstract math classes will be a huge benefit to you for the rest of your life - even if you never solve another quadratic equation as long as you live! The thinking skills that you learn will benefit you forever.
As homeschool parents, we teach many subjects to our children. But the difference in being able to DO a problem and being able to pass on a love for the beauty of math are very different things. If you are struggling with your student's math education, please consider this online class option. I believe that we can help your child to gain success in his/her math education. Contact us today!