When should high schoolers take the SAT and ACT?
Seniors, who are finalizing college applications for submission during first semester, will often take (or retake) one or both of the fall SAT/ACT test(s). Also, occasionally seniors may test any time during their second semester for scholarships, NCAA qualifying purposes, or other individual situations. (See also Can students take the test more than once?)
RISING SENIORS & CURRENT SENIORS:
These students typically do SAT &/or ACT preparation in the summer or fall, depending on test dates and individual preference/availability.
As a rule, I recommend that all juniors take the PSAT, as well as both the SAT and ACT tests at least once, before the end of 11th grade. The PSAT – that is, the official Practice SAT, offered once per year in mid-October – may be taken by juniors, though these days many sophomores and even freshman take them as well (I don’t usually recommend specific test preparation for 9th or 10th graders who are taking the PSAT, however). PSAT results generally are returned to students in December. See various options for rising and current juniors that follows:
RISING JUNIORS, OPTION 1:
DO PSAT PREP IN SUMMER OR EARLY FALL, THEN SAT & ACT PREP FOR TESTS IN WINTER OR LATER– Many students start out working with me to prepare for the PSAT. Since the PSAT results come out in December, many juniors come back to see me then (if desired) to go over their results and do some additional review prior to taking the ‘real’ SAT and/or ACT tests given in January or later.
RISING JUNIORS, OPTION 2:
DO SAT &/OR ACT PREP IN SUMMER OR EARLY FALL – These rising juniors choose to prepare for the real SAT or ACT test(s) given in the fall.
RISING JUNIORS, OPTION 3:
DO SAT &/OR ACT PREP IN WINTER OR LATER – A number of juniors wait to do any test preparation until after the PSAT results come out in December, and then contact me to begin tutoring for the spring test dates.