This is a question that students, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors try to tackle each year. Junior year was once an ideal time, but as high school courses become more challenging and extracurriculars become more plentiful (because college applications are right around the corner), students are becoming more and more stressed by the idea of including SAT/ACT preparation work into their already full lives. In order to alleviate this stress, Dean+Golden Education suggests that parents have their students answer these three questions to determine when and how to officially begin preparing for those pesky college admissions exams.
In the middle of football season for a football player or while preparing for a major production as the lead actor or actress are likely to be times when one shouldn’t also prepare for standardized testing. Students should strive to work towards SAT/ACT preparation during athletic off-seasons, long holiday breaks (summer and winter), and/or when there’s enough time to dedicate several hours per week to uninterrupted study and practice. Students should also consider when they have other major tests; preparing for the SAT/ACT while also preparing for AP exams or End of Course exams may not be the best time.
A mock test is the easiest way to determine what to study and how much time to dedicate to studying. You can find sample questions and full-length tests for both the SAT and ACT online:
When practicing problems or taking a mock test, it is a best practice to mimic the testing environment: a quiet or silent room with no distractions. After practicing problems or completing a mock test, scoring and interpreting the score is crucial. If assistance is needed at this step, we can proctor a mock test, interpret results for your student, and advise on the next steps.
This is a question that most people forget to ask when preparing to engage in test prep. While it is best practice to try to achieve the highest score possible, it may be more efficient to determine the best scoring range for a student’s intended college list. Most universities will publish the average score for its most recent incoming class (example: Tulane Class of 2023 profile). Students can use this information to determine the score that they need.
At Dean+Golden Education, we honor and celebrate the different learning styles and abilities of all students. Some students only need to be pointed in the right direction to free resources such as Khan Academy that provide online support for SAT. In addition, there are many SAT and ACT books for purchase online at Amazon.com or at any major book store. These books usually include some sort of study plan that students can use.
Some students may require someone to work with them one-on-one or in a group to explain topics and concepts along the way. In addition, a tutor can assign targeted homework problems and remain in communication with parents about progress. This option provides the student and their family with continuous support throughout their preparation.