How to Prep for College Admission Tests
1. Choose the right test
The first step in test prep is figuring out whether the SAT or ACT is the best fit for your child. Because the SAT has changed as of 2016, if your child does best on the SAT, I suggest they take BOTH tests, the SAT and ACT. If your child does best on the ACT, then only study for and have them take the ACT. Studies imply that boys do better on the SAT and girls do better on the ACT. Science lovers may do better on the ACT. Students with poor handwriting might do better on the ACT without the essay (although, I don’t recommend that). According to the statistics, more people who live in the coastal states take the SAT. Most students who live in the center of the country take the ACT. But who cares? Statistics are not always right! What’s MOST important is to decide which test will be best for YOUR student. Taking a sample ACT and SAT is the single best way to decide which one your child will score highest on. While the sample test does take 3-4 hours (and it’s a real pain, I know), it can mean THOUSANDS of dollars in scholarship money, so it’s worth it. Here is a Sample ACT
Here is a Sample SAT
After your child takes the sample test in the comfort of their own home, score the test, and find out what percentile your child is in. Choose the test with the highest percentile score. This chart will help. Score Comparison Chart: SAT, ACT, CLT and Percentile
Study at home.
Studying at home is the most effective IF the student will actually do that (and I know as a parent, that's not always a sure thing!) See if you can schedule test preparation at home first. Choose a test preparation book with real test questions. During each prep session, do one section of the test (each section is just 25-50 minutes). Read the instructions first. Set the kitchen timer. Have your child take the test. After the timer rings, have your child correct their own test packet. They can review the answers to any questions they missed.
3. Test Prep Class if Necessary
If studying at home doesn't work, consider taking a class outside the home, either online or in a physical location. Locate a test prep class specific for the SAT or ACT (again, the one that fits the best). The SAT has changed, but you have plenty of time to adapt to the changes. This article will tell you more: PSAT and SAT Change Fall 2015
. The last time the SAT changed was the year my own sons were juniors in high school, so I know exactly how stressful it can be right now. Just hang in there!
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Please note: This post was originally published in April, 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.