How to Create Your Test Prep Timeline
It’s time. School has started, people are talking about prospective colleges, and you need to register to take the SAT and/or the ACT. First things first, let’s take a look at the exam dates and the registration deadlines.
Some students only take the SAT, some students only take the ACT, and some students take both. Not sure? Check out this handy quiz from The Princeton Review, conveniently called “Should I Take the ACT, the SAT, or Both?” We also recommend taking a free practice test online for both the ACT and SAT to figure out which one will be the test for you. (Do not take an official test as a "practice" - many schools now require students to submit ALL test scores!)
We suggest that you stick with one test -- choose the one that you score highest on and feel most comfortable with timing-wise. Then, take that test at least twice by the end of your junior year. By starting your junior year, you won’t be racing the clock to raise your scores by the time college applications are due!
After you’ve determined which test you’ll be taking, it’s time to create a tentative test prep timeline. The first thing you’ll want to ask yourself is, how often will you take the exam? Some students insist on taking an exam repeatedly until they achieve the score they want. Others decide how many times they’ll take it, and will accept the score they get. If you’re dead-set on getting a certain score on an exam, you’ll definitely want to take it twice your junior year. If need be, you’ll have another opportunity to take it your senior year to get that goal score. (We don't recommend testing more than three times.)
Don’t forget to take into consideration your plan for prepping, and allot enough time for that. If you are planning on working with an Enrichery coach, you will want to start prepping three months before your test date. If you are going to use a test prep book and practice exams, you should also begin about two or three months out from the test date (and hold yourself accountable to stick to regular study times!).
Here’s where a little wisdom from the experts comes in. Most students want to take the ACT or the SAT at least twice. In an ideal world, your score will raise the second time with a little practice and experience with the test. However, it’s important that your score doesn’t drop significantly. To avoid getting rusty and out of practice between tests, we recommend registering for two back-to-back test dates – that way you won’t lose steam or forget all your prepping tips in between the two tests! This will maximize the benefit of prepping. However, beware of choosing test dates around final exams!
Hopefully these test prep tips will help you plan your perfect test prep timeline! Need some extra help? Contact The Enrichery for help making a schedule, registering for tests, and prepping for success!