Spring is the most popular time for juniors to begin taking the SAT and ACT, but many families are unsure of which test to sign up for, how many tests to take, and when to begin preparation.
When to begin
Sooner is better, especially for juniors. While it seems like there is a huge amount of time before applications are due, you want to leave ample time to prepare, test, and retest, plus some extra time as a buffer in case something goes wrong (such as illness, test cancellations, etc). I recommend taking your first SAT in March and your first ACT in February (April at the very latest). It’s a good idea to plan on a second test during the spring semester, leaving room for a third test in the fall if needed.
For sophomores, you should plan on having about half of Algebra 2 completed before taking your first official test. However, many students benefit from beginning test preparation in the summer of their junior year (since this is a lower stress period with more time to devote to studying).
How many tests to take
I typically find that students need about 3 tests to hit their best score, but students with test anxiety (or students who struggle with testing in general) should leave room to take several more tests, if needed.
To learn more about how to succeed on the SAT or ACT, please check out our class and tutoring offerings:
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