Juliana Angel knew she could do better. More important, she wanted to do better.

The senior-to-be at Omaha’s Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart took the ACT test in September. Without prepping for the college entrance exam, she managed her expectations. Her score would serve as a baseline, she said, and guide her to improve.

Second time around, she prepared. She did her research, took practice exams and studied. No improvement. “This wasn’t working out,” she says. “I knew there had to be a more effective way to prepare.”

Her father knew Juliana had the ability to score higher. “She does extremely well in school. She’s active, plays the piano, reads music. … Her scores on the practice tests weren’t reflecting what she’s capable of doing, ” Valmont Industries’ Senior Director of Global Learning and Development Patrick Angel said.

Father and daughter looked for assistance. Angel did his research and chose Huntington Learning Center. It’s his job at Valmont to ensure that employees understand what is expected of them. He knew he would hold Huntington to the same standards. “I have high expectations.”

Angel visited twice with Huntington Learning Center directors, focusing on its track record and how teachers diagnose and assess their clients’ needs. Most telling, he says, was that Huntington clients, on average, increased their ACT scores by 5.3 points and their SAT scores by more than 226 points.

Then, it was Juliana’s turn.

She met with her teachers consistently each week, working right up to the test date. “They saw I was willing to put in the work.” They focused on the four ACT components: Science, Mathematics, English and Reading. Juliana took practice tests. Her teachers showed her how to identify key phrases in questions that helped her choose appropriate answers. Finally, they agreed she should use a timer – rather than a watch – so she could track how much time remained as she tackled each section. “That helped me relax and focus,” she says.

The morning results were available, Juliana woke at 3 a.m. She had improved six points. She woke her parents with the news. “They said ‘good job. You can go back to sleep now.’”

Only Juliana isn’t finished. She’s back at Huntington preparing to take the test again this summer. She’s further honing her skills, but realizing another six-point leap may be a bit much.

Gwyn Morris, a Huntington Learning Center director, says a Huntington pupil recently shared with her colleague that he had improved from a 23 to a 31. “Boy, was he excited.”

Huntington teachers work with pupils to focus on their needs and work around their schedules. Students begin by taking a practice exam, review a 14-page analysis of the results and create an action plan that covers all components of the entrance examination instead of focusing solely on challenge areas. “The key,” Morris says, “is ensuring that the pupil is current and ready for the entire examination at test time.”

Juliana knows she’ll be ready for her next exam. With the help of her Huntington teachers, she is confident she will be well-prepared.

And her parents may want to ready themselves for another early morning wake-up.

Huntington specializes in tutoring and test prep. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, chemistry and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop skills, confidence and motivation to help students succeed. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Learn how Huntington can help at www.huntingtonhelps.com. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.

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