Testing

Juniors: When to begin testing?

Most students will want to take either the SAT or ACT once by the end of junior year -- usually taking either test for the first time in the winter or spring. (The SAT is first offered in January; the ACT in February.) This timing allows you to capitalize on having just completed Algebra II, as well as further coursework in English. No timetable suits all students, but all students should begin thinking of creating a testing plan, taking into account planning for the SAT or ACT, Subject Tests, and AP exams (if enrolled).

 

For more information on testing, including how colleges view standardized testing, how to create a testing plan, and more, see Chapter 7, "Testing," in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step. And find more free test prep resources here on our website. 

Juniors: Preparing for the SAT or ACT

 

This marks the first in our weekly reminders for juniors starting the college application process. Each week, we'll be providing information, checklist items and advice on applying --  testing, researching colleges, first college visits and more.

First up?

Keep your eye out for an opportunity to take the PSAT or PLAN. The best preparation for the SAT and ACT is to challenge yourself with rigorous courses in the classroom and read, read, read.  But familiarity with the tests and practice can increase scores up to a point. The PSAT, offered by the College Board, and PLAN, offered by ACT, are practice tests meant to prepare you for the SAT and ACT. Your answers and the correct answers are available with the score report -- good feedback that will show you where you need to improve. The PSAT is offered every October by the College Board, but you register through your high school.  The PLAN is administered at the discretion of the high school or school district. Stay alert for announcements about the PSAT and PLAN and follow up. If you haven't heard of anyone taking these tests at your school, check with your guidance counselor about them. 

Seniors: It's Not Too Late to Test

 

This marks the first in our weekly reminders for seniors. Each week, we'll be providing information, checklist items and advice on applying to college --  testing, essays, deadlines, college visits, letters of recommendation and more.

First up?

It's not too late to take the SAT or ACT this fall.

SAT Deadlines:

Register by September 7th for the October 6th test

Register by October 4th for the November 3rd test

Register by November 1st for the December 1st test

You can register online for the SAT here

ACT Deadlines:

Register by September 21st for the October 27th test

Register by November 2nd for the December 8th test

You can register online for the ACT here

Or visit your high school college or guidance counselor for registration materials.

Remember, the best preparation for the SAT and ACT is to challenge yourself with rigorous courses in the classroom and read, read, read.  

 

We'll be posting for Juniors, as well. Look for our first item for the Class of 2014 tomorrow.

Juniors: What You Should Be Doing Now

Attention, juniors! Here's your checklist as you head back to the classroom:

  • If you haven't yet made a testing plan (think PSAT, PLAN, ACT, SAT, SAT IIs, AP exams...), do it now.
  • Research colleges by browsing online. Enter the email addresses of any college of interest in your address book so emails get through the spam filter.
  • Make sure you have a challenging, college-prep course load. If you feel your course load needs adjusting, discuss this with your advisor, counselor or principal prior to the start of the school year.
  • Talk with your parents about planning a college road trip.
  • Try out a net price calculator - with your parents, if possible. Set aside 15 – 20 minutes, and visit the financial aid website of one of the colleges on your list, or try one of the net price calculators available at http://netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org/ to begin to understand financial aid.

Seniors: What you should be doing now...

Attention, seniors! You will need to hit the ground running this fall:

  • Just getting started with your college search? Sign up for the tests you will need to take - the SAT and/or ACT.
  • If you haven't asked two teachers to write recommendations for you, make your request now.
  • Narrow your list of colleges to the eight to ten schools to which you will apply.
  • Decide if you will be applying under an early decision or early action plan at any schools.
  • Try out a net price calculator - with your parents, if possible. Set aside 15 – 20 minutes, and visit the financial aid website of one of the colleges on your list, or try one of the net price calculators available at http://netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org/ so you can begin to understand what your financial aid package might look like.

Things We Like

things we like

The Question of the Day! Both the SAT and ACT post a practice test question every day - for free. They'll even email it to you. For many students, familiarity with the test can improve scores. (But take some practice tests under timed conditions, too.) And, parents, this is not for students only. We're addicted. Sign up at actstudent.org or sat.collegeboard.org

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