The Best ACT Tutoring in New Jersey
Here’s what sets our ACT prep apart from everyone else’s:
Completely risk free: Try out a session online or in-person, and, if it does not meet or exceed your expectations, then it’s free.
Average score increase of 6 points, even if a student worked with a different tutoring company before coming to us.
Curriculum is 100% sourced from the real tests (by far the best quality content available) and customized for each student.
The best test prep experts: we hire only 1% of applicants (sourced nationally, not just from NJ), and each new hire goes through a minimum of 160 hours of specialized training specifically on the SAT and ACT before they meet with their first student.
We retain the best tutors: our SAT and ACT tutors are full-time and on salary with health, dental, vision, long and short-term disability, life insurance, and retirement benefits. They are career, not side hustle, SAT and ACT experts.
In short, we attract, train, and retain the most professional and experienced SAT and ACT instructors, so you get only the best prep and your child can achieve their highest possible score.
Contact us by clicking here or calling us at (908) 277-0128
Annie: Pingry grad, Middlebury student, Summit Prep success
Info about the ACT
For more info on the ACT, check out our blog posts here about the test and how to best take and prep for it.
The ACT (American College Testing) college readiness assessment is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. The ACT is designed to measure a student’s preparedness for colleges and universities by testing skills in five core areas: English, Math, Reading, Science, and Writing (optional).
The ACT is a significant determinant in college admission and scholarship decisions. Whether your child struggles with the fundamentals, the “tricks” and testing strategy, the most advanced topics, or simply a lack of testing confidence, our instructors will identify and amend any areas of weakness and enhance areas of strength. Instead of ACT scores being a soft spot on your child’s academic resume, we will help ensure that these scores reflect and amplify your child’s potential.
The ACT is composed of four multiple-choice sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) and one optional Writing section (the essay). Total testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes for the ACT without Writing and 3 hours and 35 minutes for the ACT with Writing. The breakdown of each section is as follows:
# of Questions
Grammar and Rhetorical skills: punctuation, sentence structure, and essay organization
Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and Trigonometry
Reading graphs and tables and some scientific reasoning
Write a persuasive essay about a given topic and show the pros and cons of the given perspectives on that topic
Video that demonstrates a great trick to the ACT Reading section
A Few Tips for Test Day
- Be organized and remember to bring at least two #2 pencils, calculator, identification, admission ticket, fresh batteries, a watch, and a high energy snack (see here for what to eat on test day to maximize mental energy).
- Get a good night rest and, in the morning, eat a hearty breakfast and double-check that you have everything.
- Take the test just like you did practice tests: don’t double-check your answers until you have finished a section (unless you normally do so as you go along, which is rare) and don’t get stuck on difficult questions. If you would skip a question on a practice test, skip it (put down your best guess) on the real test.
- Don’t rush. Remember: You’ve prepared for this. You’ve got this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Preparing for the ACT:
- February 6th
- April 17th
- June 12th
- July 17th (no testing in New York on this date)
- Without essay: 3 hours and 5 minutes (+ 20 minute “experimental section” given at the end of the test that does not count toward your score)
- With essay: 3 hours and 50 minutes (+ 20 minute “experimental section” given at the end of the test that does not count toward your score)
- First, establish a baseline by taking a real past ACT (we also recommend taking a real past SAT as well to determine which test fits you best). You can find an official ACT here. Make sure to simulate the real test: print the test and take it all at once with the appropriate breaks. Or, reach out to us, and we can schedule you to take a practice test with us.
- Now that you have a baseline score, you need to evaluate how far you are from your score goal. The farther you are, the more work you will need to put in to hit your score goal — but the work you put in will also help you excel in college as well (see here). Here’s the work you need to put in:
- Take real practice tests (both to identify weaknesses but also to practice test-taking stamina)
- Not only go over the questions you got wrong on the practice tests but look up how to do those topics and do additional questions on those topics so that you eliminate any weaknesses on the tested topics (our tutors, for instance, identify the topic of any questions missed and give students additional questions on those topics from the real past tests so that students will get any questions on those topics correct the next time they see them).
- Take the real test multiple times. Most students get nervous the first time they take any test, so almost all students will score better after taking the ACT a few times (and there is natural variability in scores — see here — so re-taking the test increases a student’s chances of a higher score, particularly of a higher superscore, which some colleges use). Additionally, students can delete ACT scores for free at anytime, so there’s no downside to taking the test as many times as a student wants or needs to do so.
- Get calculator programs that will solve distance, midpoint, slope, the quadratic formula, etc for you so that you spend less time on these questions and so that you do not make a silly mistake in your calculations. (We have a suite of calculator programs that are custom made to help students on the ACT.)
- Learn the “tricks” to the exam. The fastest way to do so is to work with a tutor who knows the strategies to help beat the test. But, if you practice long enough, you might figure out those tricks too, such as knowing that the word “being” in an answer choice on the grammar section (the “English” section) of the ACT almost guarantees that the answer is incorrect.
- Discover the optimal ways to approach different question types. For example, on the “Reading Section,” students should never look at the answer choices before looking back to the passage for a “vocabulary in context” question because the meaning of the word in context will always have a different meaning than the standard definition of the given word. Looking at the answer choices first will just throw a student off. So students should go straight to the context, treat the given word as a “blank” in the sentence, make up their own definition for the “blank” based on the context, and then compare this definition to the answer choices. This approach almost guarantees that they will get all “vocabulary in context” questions correct.
- Algebra: particularly functions, manipulating equations, quadratics, and equations of lines
- Algebra 2: particularly exponents, radicals, probability, polynomials, and imaginary numbers
- Geometry: particularly triangles, perimeter and area of rectangles and circles, volume of cylinders, and equations of circles in an x,y coordinate plane
- Trigonometry: particularly the basics of the unit circle, sine/cosine/tangent, the law of sines and cosines, and trigonometric identities
Taking the ACT:
Test site locations can vary by test date (not all schools give the test on every ACT test date). You can check for which test sites are offering the ACT on a given test date here. But, better (since those test sites might be filled) is to simply go through the process of registering for the ACT. At the end of the registration process, you will be prompted to select a test date and then you can choose from the available test locations.
- Check in and fill out scantron cards (30 minutes)
- English section (45 minutes)
- Math section (60 minutes)
- 10-minute break (enough time to use the restroom — wash those hands — and have some trail mix, apple slices, and some water to get an energy boost)
- Reading section (35 minutes)
- Science section (35 minutes)
- Experimental section (20 minutes) — this section is just for the ACT to test out content and does not count toward your score.
- If taking the optional essay, a 5-minute break and then the essay (40 minutes)
- Freedom! (and probably a nap)
Yes. There are no penalties for wrong answers, so answer every question.
Here’s a link to a blog post on what to eat. Please bring a snack — it will help give you an edge for the last half of the test. As part of your snack, bring water or another drink to keep yourself hydrated — hydration is key for avoiding a foggy brain.
- No. Why? Because not all mechanical pencils are #2 pencils, and the scantron machine only picks up #2 lead. So, to avoid students completing the test with a mechanical pencil that will make their answers invisible to the scantron machine, the ACT requires all students to use a regular #2 pencil. Also, a slightly dull pencil is actually preferable for bubbling in the answers on the scantron because it takes more time to fill in the scantron bubbles with a pencil that has a sharp point.
- While mechanical pencils are banned, I actually still use a mechanical pencil on the real test when I write the essay. No proctor has ever said
anything to me about doing so, and I find it much easier to write a long essay with a pencil that maintains a sharp point, i.e. a mechanical pencil. I get the mechanical pencils that look like regular pencils, so that might be the reason a proctor has never mentioned it. Worst case scenario, the proctor would just tell you to use a different pencil if they “caught” you, so there’s no penalty for doing so. Just make sure that the mechanical pencil writes with #2 lead.
Dress comfortably. Wear a sweater and a T-shirt underneath. Who knows what the temperature will be in the classroom, so students will want to have options to make themselves comfortable.
After the ACT:
- All four sections are scored out of 36. These scores are then averaged together to produce a composite score (also out of 36).
- The optional essay is scored separately, and its score (out of 12) is not included in the ACT composite score.
Usually 10 days. Check here for the scheduled score release date for your test.