5 minute read
In 2020, all of our planning went out the window. We pushed vacations, birthday parties, and appointments to later dates or re-rerouted to virtual alternatives. The SAT and ACT both had to cancel and shift around testing dates, resulting in some confusion.
But even in the least history-making years, considering when to take the SAT and ACT raises questions. Our advice remains the same: register now for the next test date! To better help you decide and plan, we’ll explain by responding to commonly held beliefs.
Parents: “My student isn’t ready yet – they haven’t even been studying!”
There is no time like the present to prepare for the SAT and ACT, especially during this period of more free time. Never again will so many extra-curriculars, sports, schools events, and homecoming dances get cancelled, so students can use this new-found room in their schedule to prepare. An excellent and cost-effective way to do so is by enrolling in one of our live, virtual prep classes.
Students: “I don’t have to take it right away. I have plenty of time until applications are due.”
High school students have many strengths, but knowing how much time it will take to do their college applications may not be the strongest! Students have so many competing responsibilities, and the steps to the college application process (testing, applications, recommendations, etc.) start much earlier than students and parents expect. Ideally, students should take the SAT and ACT with plenty of time to receive their scores and then sign up for an additional test (and receive those scores) so that they have the opportunity to take the test again.
Students: “If I register for a test soon, it might be canceled for Covid-19 precautions. I’d rather wait and take a prep class immediately before the test date.”
Ideally, students would have as much time as they need to prepare for these important tests. In reality, because of various responsibilities, many of our students take prep classes a week or two before taking the SAT or ACT. But, by taking advantage of this strange time, students can build in time to practice between when they take a prep class and take the test. Plus, if a student wants to retake a prep class for any reason (like to refresh on strategies), they can do so for free.
Students: “I just really don’t want to add the stress of taking the SAT or ACT to my life right now. I’ll take the tests sometime later in the year.”
We totally understand how periods of high stress can make standardized tests feel like too much to face, and it’s very tempting to want to forget about the SAT and ACT and revisit them at a later date. But much like waiting to repair a leaky faucet, waiting for a later date only adds significantly more stress. Take a deep breath and focus on how good it will feel to get the tests out of the way.
Parents: “It’s hard to keep track of upcoming test dates, especially if my student’s home school isn’t offering the tests.”
We recommend always going straight to the source for information on test dates: the College Board website for SAT test dates and the ACT website for ACT test dates. Students can take the test at any school that fits their schedule, and while it may be comforting to take the test at their home school, checking out the other options could actually bring benefits. These may include less stress by not seeing people they know, a better test date for their schedule, and maybe even a more appealing setting (like at a local private school).
Students: “My math skills aren’t ready for the tests. I haven’t started or finished pre-calculus.”
Great news! All of the math problems on the SAT and ACT come from your algebra, geometry, and algebra 2 with trigonometry classes. These tests will integrate different kinds of math skills together on more complex questions, but the math processes involved will feel very familiar.
In summary, the sooner a student can take the SAT or ACT, the better. Students should try to leave plenty of time after receiving their scores for retaking tests or exploring possible college and scholarship opportunities. If students would like to take a prep class before registering for one of the tests in the table below, we’d love to see them at one of our upcoming live, virtual classes.
|Upcoming SAT Dates||Upcoming ACT Dates|
|March 13, 2021||February 6, 2021|
|May 8, 2021||April 17, 2021|
|June 5, 2021||June 12, 2021|
|August 28, 2021||July 17, 2021|