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When Should I Start Preparing to Take the SAT or ACT?

One of the more common SAT/ACT Prep questions I am asked is “when should my child begin their SAT or ACT Prep?” There isn’t a single answer that meets the needs of all students; however, my general advice is plan ahead. Look at your child’s schedule and target a 2 – 3 month time period during his/her Junior year where they have time to attend weekly prep sessions and practice for the test independently.

There are many things to consider including, sports/activities commitments, work schedules, school demands, etc. When a student plays a sport there is a real chance for injury – concussions and joint injuries being some of the most common. We have worked with several students that had to put their test prep on hold due to a concussion or a broken arm. Putting the prep on hold isn’t a big deal, but taking the SAT or ACT with your non-writing hand or 2 weeks after being concussed can have a major impact on scores.

Another consideration is the student’s college goal. If the student has a fantastic GPA and their heart is set on going to Northeastern, they should be shooting for Northeastern’s average accepted student SAT or ACT score (SAT composite 1435, Act composite 32). If their current test score is in the mid 1300’s they should plan on taking the test at least two more times with test prep occurring before both tests. It is important to create a general list of schools that are top choices for each student. Once the student has his/her list, it is easy to go onto each college’s website and find the average grade point average, SAT Score, ACT score, and a general profile of accepted students. This step of researching the school’s acceptance policy, helps students find schools that fit them academically and set realistic goals for their SAT/ACT scores.

Suggested Approach

  • Take the SAT to get a baseline

  • Choose two test dates that will work with the student’s schedule

Consider activities/school work/work schedules

  • Schedule SAT/ACT prep sessions 2- 3 months before the first test

  • Take the first test and review results

  • Schedule more prep if necessary

  • Take the second SAT or ACT test

Upcoming SAT Test Dates:

May- 8th 2021

June -5th 2021

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