SAT & ACT Test Schedule and Test Information
Q. Standardized tests: Which ones? When? How many times?
A. You Took the SAT and ACT, how many times?
SAT and ACT, six little letters that can cost families of college-bound students thousands of dollars in test preparation and test costs. How do you plan and prepare for standardized testing and which test is right for you. Here are some suggestions:
1. Start to get familiar with these tests early on, don't wait until your junior year.
Sign up for College Board's word of the Day, take a PSAT in Sophomore and Junior year, take a PLAN/mini ACT to get familiar with both tests.
2. Don't practice publicly until you're ready-Some school districts apply all test results to transcripts! There are so many "free resources" for an early introduction to these tests. ACT offers a whole test online, "INeedAPencil.com" lets you practice SAT for free and Number2.com covers both the SAT and the ACT. Your guidance department has "free" booklets for both tests with the answers in the back so you can calculate your scores.
3. And about "How Many Times Should You Take The Test?" Hopefully, with enough advanced "silent" preparation--once will DO! But realistically, students will usually take the test more than once. Although most colleges across the country will "superscore" the SAT, fewer offer this option for ACT. Superscoring is when colleges will split your scores from other test dates to give you the "best" score. You need to check your college's website, however, for their policy on multiple testing to make sure they don't average after 3 tests or only take your top scores from one test.
4. Don't PIN your acceptance into college on SAT or ACT scores-remember, academics and the quality of the courses you're taking is always number 1 on the priority list for getting into college. Put you're energy where it counts most and don't hang your acceptance into college on a SAT or ACT test score!
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Q. What are the pros, cons, and costs of various SAT and ACT prep methods?
A. So many choices, so little time...
Yes, getting familiar with the style, content, flow and timing of these tests will help you score your best, but what type of test preparation will work best for you? Other factors to consider with any option is cost factor, time management, target date for testing and scheduling.
Let's discuss some options...
1. Preparing on your own-meaning you purchase a book, DVD or gather materials from "free resources" to prepare. Only try this one, if you're self-motivated, disciplined, organized and able to develop an individualized study plan over time.
2. Purchasing an online study program with feedback and remediation available 24/7-some of these programs are very powerful and if USED can raise your scores. My experience with this, works for about 40% of students who subscribe to these services.
3. Group SAT/ACT Prep classes-you need a structured classroom setting with a teacher in the room and the cost seems more economical. Downside here is there are 25 other students taking the class who are all at different levels of performance and the curriculum is standardized so you're sitting through 6 hours of lessons in areas that won't bring your scores up further.
4. Private one-on-one instruction-Cost factor here can be upwards of $100-$200 per hour and you'll need 8-16 hours of instruction. And where did you get the recommendation for this person from? Make sure you're provided with recommendations and that you follow up on them. Set up an interview to see what the "tutor's style" and expectations are to see if this is a good fit for you.