Friday, March 9, 2012

Review : ACT and College Preparation Course for the Christian Student

Title: ACT and College Preparation Course for the Christian Student
Author:  James P. Stobaugh
Publisher:  Master Books
ISBN:  978-0-89051-639-3
Format:  Softcover, 332 pages
Price:  $29.99

James Stobaugh is a graduate of Harvard and an experienced ACT and SAT grader.  He has used that experience to write an ACT preparation course for Christian students which will aid them in earning higher ACT scores. This course focuses on developing the students' academic abilities, as well as their spiritual lives. 

The ACT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student is divided into fifty chapters which can be covered one per day, or one per week.  The course can be completed anywhere between fifty days and fifty weeks.  Each chapter begins with a Scripture verse for memorization, a mini-lesson on prayer, and a devotional lesson to help develop the student's Christian worldview.  Mr. Stobaugh includes his Christian emphasis, because he feels that a strong faith in God and a well-developed prayer life will help the student minimize stress, focus, and do well on the ACT test.

In addition to the spiritual aspect, the chapters also include test-taking insights, and a short review of information that will be covered on the test from 6 key subject areas.  Each lesson reviews a concept in writing, math, English grammar, vocabulary, science, and reading comprehension.  There is a free essay-writing workbook available at the Master Books website to accompany this course. When the entire course is completed, the student has reviewed 50 topics per subject. 

The appendices include an answer key, as well as a suggested reading list of books that will expand vocabulary and help prepare the student for college.  Other appendices also provide tips on expanding your vocabulary knowledge, developing a reading journal, and starting a devotional prayer journal.  The final appendix includes a list of different word roots with their meanings, which will aid the student in deciphering the meanings of unknown words.

This book is not designed to provide a quick, last-minute refresher for the ACT.  It is designed to be covered slowly, reviewing information over a period of time.  This course can be used to earn half a credit in ACT Preparation.  Obviously, with its Scripture verses and devotions, this book will not appeal to a non-Christian.

My 11th grade daughter didn't care for the devotional aspect of this book, as she has separate devotional studies.  She merely wanted an ACT review course.  However, she also decided that she didn't care for the style of this particular course. She prefers practice tests that are formatted similarly to the ACT itself, and can be used on a more short-term basis.  While I can see the value in committing to this overall review/preparation course, she didn't feel the same way.

I would recommend this book for ACT preparation, but my daughter would not recommend it. 

April E.

This book was provided free, for review purposes, from Master Books.  All opinions stated in this review are our own, and I was not required to post a positive review.

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