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SAT, ACT and Subject Test Tips for Your Future College Star



Midterms are finished. Snow days are (hopefully) over. And if your junior has not finished their standardized tests already, now is the time to crack down.

SAT: Offered in May, and June

Be sure to register early! 

Students looking to boost their Superscore still must try their hardest on EVERY section. Even if that Math score goes up, it looks bad if previously solid Reading and Writing scores suddenly drop.

ACT: Offered in April and June

Oftentimes, juniors who are unhappy with their SAT scores to date may take a shot at the ACT. 

There is no risk in just trying! Students are only required to submit either the SAT or the ACT. So if a student achieves their goal score on an ACT, colleges will never see all those SAT scores. And if the ACT is even worse, no college will see those! 

SAT Subject Tests: Offered in May, and June

The one-hour SAT Subject Tests are similar to AP exams in content: they are rooted in an academic subject.

If a student is taking AP classes, they should sign up for those corresponding SAT Subject Tests in May. This way, they are essentially studying for two of the same test at the same time. 

If the classes are not AP, students should sign up in June to have the Subject Tests correspond with finals.

Remember: students cannot take the SAT and SAT Subject test on the same day. Planning ahead is crucial!

Looking ahead for Sophomores and Freshman

The summer between sophomore and junior years is the ideal time for most students to complete their test prep. 

Here’s why:

Summer is slower. There is plenty of time to focus on test prep and complete practice sections and tests for homework.

Students can take their tests in the fall. As long as students have completed Algebra 2 by the end of their sophomore year, they have all the content need to take both the SAT and the ACT. Taking and finishing standardized tests in the fall provides invaluable relief for the remainder of junior year.

Junior year already has enough going on. While there is a longstanding myth that students should wait until the second half of junior year to take their SATs or ACTs, consider everything else going on during those five months: midterms, finals, AP exams, athletics, fine arts performances, year-end events, and prom. That’s a lot of stress already!

For parents of freshman, it is still too early to start test prep. But don’t hesitate to reach out to me for diagnostic tests if you want to introduce your student to these standardized tests.

You can contact Eric Karlan by email at eric@myivyexperience.com.

» Read More Education, Test and Prep Insights from Eric Karlan
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