While not the determining factor in college decisions, the ACT and SAT exams are a key component to the college admissions process and scholarships opportunities. As a result, it is important to maximize your scores. There are several steps which are crucial in making the most of your scores.
1. Take the Right Test – Take both the ACT and SAT as close together as possible without preparation. When you receive your scores back compare the two exams and determine which one you preformed best on. You would be surprised how some students can increase their score by simply changing tests.
2. Take it More Than Once – You should take the ACT or SAT at least three times. This allows you to develop a strong superscore or provide more opportunities to increase your score. Students very rarely achieve their highest score the first time they take the test.
3. Don’t Take it Too Early – Trying to take the ACT or SAT early can be detrimental. If you start to early, you could be missing key concepts from classes you have not attended yet thus making it impossible to reach the optimal score on your exam. In addition, when you start too early preparing, you can peak too early and see your scores decline at a critical time of the admissions process.
4. Don’t Take it Too Late – If you take the ACT or SAT too late, you could miss deadlines for admissions decisions, scholarships or not leave enough time to bring your score up to the level you are capable of. Have at least three scores by the start of your Senior year.
5. It Doesn’t Hurt to Take it One More Time – If you are a few points away from breaking into another level of admissions decisions or scholarship opportunities, then take the test again. I have seen students forego taking it again potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table for college scholarships. There is no disadvantage to taking it one more time but the advantages could be great.
6. Prep For the Exam – Many students will do self-study or get help from their teachers for content. There is so much more to the ACT and SAT than just understanding the content. There are strategies needed for completing sections correctly in a limited amount of time. This takes a well-developed plan and preparation. Trust someone like Capstone who has expertise in teaching these important strategies to students. School districts and universities have trusted Capstone to provide the help needed for their students and community, let us put that experience to work for you.
Every student’s end result is different and no one can guarantee a score beyond your ability. However, you want to make sure you fulfill your potential as a college admissions candidate and do all you can to be successful. Follow these steps, try to relax, get plenty of rest and eat a healthy breakfast the morning of the exam, then feel confident in knowing you gave it your all!