How to Prepare for SAT or ACT?

Most colleges require applicants to provide their SAT or ACT score in the admission process. Usually students take SAT or ACT during their junior and senior year in high school. If you plan to take those college admission tests, here are some tips on how to prepare for them:

Both SAT and ACT require filling in a scantron. (Photo by: albertogp123)

Tip One: Know the Difference Between SAT and ACT

Both tests are for college admission purpose, but they also have some differences, such as test length, test content, and grading time. Check this post to learn more details comparing two tests.

Tip Two: Sign Up Early!

It is recommended to take both tests, because you do not know which one you would be better at. It is also recommended to take both tests more than once, because most colleges take the best scores of each session from several times you take the test. So plan early! You should start taking them since junior year. Make a test taking schedule for yourself and follow the registration deadlines. If you pass the deadline, you could still sign up, just have to pay more! Here are the links for registration of SAT and ACT:



Tip Three: Study, Study, Study!

  • Study Using Online Material: Check this post for the best online SAT Preparation courses. Check ACT website for ACT online preparation materials.
  • Use Study Guides: You can find all kinds of study guides in book stores for both tests. If you can not afford the study guides, you can ask your high school counselor if he or she has free study guides available. Also, you can borrow one from the public library. The only down side of borrowing one from library is that you can not mark the book.
  • Try Your Best in Your Daily Classes: Yes, your daily schoolwork helps with getting a better score on SAT and ACT. Both tests are aiming to examine your high school academic achievement. Take challenging courses like AP classes will definitely help you to be prepared.
  • Be Consistent: Make a study plan and follow the plan. You will get nowhere by procrastinating. A good way to avoid that is to study for a short amount of time everyday. Studying for five minutes a day is not hard to do, right?

Tip Four: Learn Test Taking Strategies:

  • Be Prepared: To prevent forgetting anything on the test day ( usually Saturday), you should put everything you need in a bag the night before the test day. Use the checklists available on SAT and ACT websites to help you.
  • Save Energy: It is not a good idea to study until really late before the test. Go to bed early and get up on time.
  • Learn the Instructions: The instructions on both tests are fairly the same each time you take it. You can avoid wasting time on reading instructions during the test by reading them on SAT and ACT websites before the test.
  • Relax and Go for It: Do not panic during the test. Take a deep breath and just believe in yourself. You can only do worse if you are too nervous.
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