Maximizing Your Summer Break to Crush the SAT or ACT

Summer is an ideal time to invest in test preparation, as you are free from the stresses and rigors of the school year and can focus your energies into increasing your score. Here are some tips for summer prep:

1. Take two diagnostic tests

It’s important to choose the right test. I suggest taking two full length tests, using official materials (one SAT and one ACT on separate days). Compare your scores to see which test you scored better on. It’s generally better to choose one test and focus all of your attention on it rather than splitting your time between both the SAT and ACT.


2. Create a study plan

Gather materials and past official tests and source quality materials to aid in your studies. For the SAT in particular, be careful to use the official practice tests wisely, as you only have access to 6 (as of the writing of this blog post); I see a lot of students using them up too quickly, who then have no reliable way of measuring their progress. Schedule time...

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Is the ACT Going Digital?

act sat test-optional Mar 02, 2024

I’ve been getting questions from parents and students about the possibility of the ACT going digital, following the SAT’s recent transition. The ACT has been available only as a digital test for international students (anyone outside the US) for several years. Recently, there is an option in certain centers to take a digital ACT, but (for now) the US-based ACT is primarily a paper based exam.


The computer based ACT and the paper based ACT are the same outside of the format. They have the same number of questions, the same timing, and the same scoring. Both formats will be accepted and given equal weight by colleges. 


Should you take the digital ACT if it is available in your area? It really depends on what you feel most comfortable with. My recommendation is to take both versions of the test and see which one you felt better with. The ACT has sample tests in both the digital and paper format on their website and in their official prep guide.



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Should I take both the SAT and ACT?

We normally start our students off with a diagnostic test, so we can assess the student’s strengths and weaknesses and recommend one test over the other.  About half of the students show a propensity for one test over the other, while the other half does equally well on both the SAT and ACT.  For the majority of students, it’s best to choose a single  test, focus all of their energy into that test, and stick with that test.  


There are several benefits to focusing on a single test.  It is better to focus on a single test and become an absolute expert in it. Mastering one test alone is far easier than splitting your attention between two different exams, with different pacing, different question types, and even different topics!  It is also a lot less stressful to study for a single test.


While it can be very rewarding, studying for the SAT or ACT is intensive, exhausting, and time consuming.  Adding a second test into...

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