When Do I Need to Start Preparing for the ACT/SAT Exam?


Author: Berno, Bobette

Tags: Tutoring, ACT, SAT, College-Prep

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One very important part of the college application process is the ACT or SAT exam. The scores that your student receives on the exam, combined with their high school grade point average will have a direct effect on which colleges and universities they will be able to consider, as well as scholarship dollars they will be eligible to receive.

Sophomore year is not too early to start thinking about a preparation plan for college entrance exams and by Junior year, a plan should be formulated.  To help you get a start on those preparations, here are some tips and reminders: 

Choose Your Schools

Does your student have an idea of what type of college they would like to attend? Sit down and make a list of the things they want from their college experience. Do they want to attend a large or small school? Is a technical college or an Ivy-league more in line with their interests?  What majors are they considering?  Do they want to be close to home?  

Research Applications and Acceptance Requirements

Once you create a list, you can research the university’s average ACT and SAT scores are, as well as their acceptance standards.  By comparing these things with your student’s current academic performance, you can start to set goals for what ACT or SAT score your student will need to receive an acceptance letter from the schools on their list.

Set a Timeline

Does your student have test anxiety? Does your student need to achieve a minimum score to get into their dream school? Be sure to consider these things before taking the last possible test exam prior to application deadlines.

Students usually take the ACT or SAT during the spring of their junior year. This gives them time to retake the test if necessary. Also remember that your student needs to register for these tests 4-6 weeks before the test date.

The SAT is held 7 times per year in January, March or April, May, June, October, November and December. The ACT is held 6 times per year in February, April, June, September, October and December. Sign up for the exams that will give your student the most flexibility, if they need to retake the test.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Have your student review the two types of exams and decide which test will be better for their test taking style.

Once that is decided they should sign up for practice tests and start studying. If your student really wants to get the most out of their ACT and SAT studying efforts, they should consider working with a college test prep tutor.

Participating in a test preparation program gives students a unique advantage and more confidence. Test preparation tutors not only help your student prepare for the content that is on the exams, but they also help your student with timing and strategy.

Try Again (If Necessary)

If you aren’t happy with your first results or want to aim for a higher score,  try again! It doesn’t hurt to re-take the exam, and if you can continue to work with a tutor and stay focused on the end goal, it can really pay off!

Interested in learning more about the advantages of working with professional ACT and SAT tutors? Check out our specialized ACT test prep or SAT test prep programs.

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