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Time-Saving Tips to Help Students Prepare for the SAT/ACT

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Is your high school student planning to take the SAT or ACT exams this year? Check out Tutor Doctor’s time-saving tips to help students prepare for the SAT/ACT!

1. Plan your test days in advance. Both the SAT and ACT exams have set exam dates posted well in advance. Start by visualizing a timeline for your test-taking schedule. For example, let’s say an 11th grade student is planning on applying to college next year as a high school senior. A good idea would be to allow enough time for at least two attempts prior to college applications being due March of next year. This is also a good time for us to mention – plan to take each of these exams multiple times in case you need to increase your scores. These tests can be challenging, and it’s not uncommon for students to make three or four attempts. Remember, only your best scores are submitted to colleges, so you won’t be penalized if you receive lower scores on earlier attempts. Here are the schedules for 2021-2022:

SAT Exam Schedules
ACT Exam Schedules

2. Take the practice exams. The best way to really prepare for the SAT/ACT exams is to work through a practice test. We recommend going through a practice test leisurely at first in order to get comfortable with the types of questions asked and format of the exam. Later, giving yourself a timed mock exam is an excellent way to get a feel for these challenging tests. Here are some links to practice exams:

SAT/ACT Practice Tests

3. Take advantage of test-taking strategies. It’s important for students to become familiar with common test-taking strategies in order to optimize their scores on these exams. For example, one of the best techniques is to go through each section answering only the easy questions first while temporarily skipping the difficult ones. This method allows students to maximize their points by getting the easy questions out of the way, and then any remaining time can be dedicated to challenging questions. For more great tips, check out our blog on test-taking anxiety!

4. Make a checklist of essentials. When exam day gets close, make sure you have everything prepared in advance. The last thing any student wants is to be turned down on exam day because they forgot to bring a photo ID. We highly recommend you create a checklist of all the essentials you need for test day, from admission tickets to #2 pencils. And don’t forget optional items – you can use a wrist watch to keep track of time (without having to constantly look at a clock on the wall), and it’s a good idea to pack water and healthy snacks to re-charge during the break. Here are some helpful resources:

SAT Exam Essentials
ACT Exam Essentials

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