For many students entering their junior year of high school, one of the most stressful parts of preparing to apply to college is taking the SAT or ACT. When students are inundated with so many different test-taking tips, strategies and services, it can be quite challenging to sift through them all.
One of the most important things for students to do in preparation for the SAT or ACT is to map out exactly when they will take the test and how they will study for it. The following are three tips for designing such a timeline.
1. Sign up for a test date far in advance: The SAT is offered seven times per year nationally; the ACT is offered six. Once you determine which test you will be taking, the first thing you need to do is look at the upcoming test schedule and decide on a date to take it. Make sure that you avoid all possible conflicts in the time immediately preceding it. Don't let things that you can control interfere with your preparation during that time.
2. Take the test early: While it would be great if you could reach your target score the very first time you take the test, you will most likely have to take it once or twice more in order to attain the score you want. Improvement comes naturally through repetition. No matter how many practice tests you take, it is difficult to simulate test day conditions before actually experiencing what it's like to be sitting in that test-taking room. It will be impossible to take the SAT or ACT multiple times prior to applying to colleges if the first time you take it is late in the fall of your senior year. With plenty of time left in your junior year, you leave yourself ample time to take the exam once or twice more.
3. Simulate testing conditions: Reserve the last two weeks in your studying schedule for taking a full sample exam, and make sure to simulate test day conditions as much as possible.
The closer you can get to feeling exactly what it is like to take the test, the less stressful the real experience will be.
For more tips on how to set up a study plan timeline for yourself, get in touch with our experts.