6 Tips for Preparing for the SAT and ACT

After a brief shutdown, testing for the SAT and ACT returned this summer. Since then, students have continued taking these in-person exams that play an integral role in college admissions. Although some colleges and universities have made SAT and ACT score optional this year, these scores can still work to students’ advantage if they do submit them. Plus, taking the exam now means students will have scores on hand for next year and can retest if they want to try to improve their score.

With more test dates coming up this winter and spring, here are a few tips for effectively preparing:

1. Schedule your test in advance.

Typically, the deadline to register for the SAT and ACT is about one month before the exam. However, four weeks is not long to prepare, especially when trying to keep up with regular school work and tests as well. Plan ahead and choose a test date that is a few months out so you don’t feel rushed when it comes to studying. Give yourself plenty of time to review each subject.

2. Know what to expect.

Read up on the exam. The SAT and ACT are not the same, so understand what is expected for the test you choose. For example, the ACT only contains one math section, whereas the SAT has two — one calculator and one non-calculator. The ACT also has a designated science section, which the SAT does not. Take advantage of test prep materials and resources so you can feel more confident that you are studying the appropriate content and understand how the test is administered.

3. Practice your mental math.

Being able to quickly solve basic math equations in your head can save you time (and energy) on the exam. You don’t want to waste time typing everything into your calculator, or figuring it out by hand, if you don’t have to. Flashcards can be a great way to boost your recall, and you can take them with you to study on the go.

4. Keep reading.

A lot of questions are based on reading passages. Even the math section may have word problems. Read a variety of non-fiction texts and pull out the main ideas. Discuss what you read with someone else to make sure you understood it. Look up any words you don’t already know to expand your vocabulary.

5. Focus on areas of need.

As you prepare for the exam, pay close attention to topics you may be struggling with. For instance, both algebra I and II are covered on the SAT and ACT. If this is not your strong suit, you may want to spend more time concentrating your efforts on mastering foundational skills so you can tackle these problems with more confidence. Taking practice exams can give you a better idea of what you need to keep working on.

6. Ask for help.

You don’t have to try to prepare for the SAT or ACT alone. If you’re not even sure which test you should be taking, the SAT/ACT Diagnostic Exam at Crafting Scholars can help you decide. It combines elements of both tests to determine which exam you’re likely to be more successful on. Plus, you receive a full diagnostic report detailing your areas of strength and weakness, as well as insight about your test-taking style. You will also get a personalized curriculum plan to help you study, as well as a plan for one-on-one tutoring for additional support.

Working with a tutor can ensure that you’re not only focusing on the right content, but that you understand how to correctly solve different types of problems. You have someone right by your side to answer any questions you may have and show you how to work through challenges as you prepare.

Feel more confident as you step into the SAT or ACT testing room. Contact Crafting Scholars today to schedule a time to take the SAT/ACT Diagnostic Exam and coordinate in-person or online tutoring sessions.