Top 11 Indispensable Tips To Prepare For The SAT & ACT

Studying for SAT and ACT
Madeleine Karydes
Madeleine Karydes

Madeleine attended UC Berkeley and double-majored in English and Media Studies. She is now an integral part of the Empowerly team.

SAT stands for “Scholastic Aptitude Test”; at least, it did initially when it debuted in 1926. Today, college admission counseling groups no longer consider SAT to be a meaningful acronym and have since dropped it thanks to the test’s extensive evolution. That includes some schools making the test optional. What hasn’t changed is that most colleges require you to submit scores from either SAT or the similar ACT.

As a critical part of college admissions, college admission counseling organizations prioritize earning a strong score for those applying to either regular or rolling admission schools (when institutions evaluate applications until they’ve filled all the slots for their incoming class).

If you don’t know which test to take, ask your high school counselors. In the meantime, read this post for 11 essential study tips to help you prepare for the SAT and ACT!

Tip #1

While SAT and ACT cover similar topics, college admission counseling experts don’t necessarily consider them the same test. Keep in mind, some scholarships may specify which test they prefer. If they don’t, you can submit the SAT, ACT, or both. In regards to admissions, all colleges today accept both for your application.

Tip #2

Familiarize yourself with the main concepts of the test in advance. This includes instructions, test format, and possible questions covered in each section. College admission counseling experts recommend researching the “must-know” details presented on the SAT and ACT websites. For example, SAT has Reading, Writing and Language, Math, and Essay sections. Meanwhile, ACT has Reading, English, Math, and Science sections. Notice the differences?

Tip #3

Before taking the actual exam, make sure you get plenty of practice. Schedule the time to take complete practice tests offered at the exam’s respective websites, in addition to other test prep resources. College admission counseling groups advise taking a timed practice exam as many times as possible to get comfortable with the test format and time crunch.

Tip #4

So you have fewer surprises on your actual test day, the day before the test, college admission counseling experts highly recommend you take two additional practice tests. The more knowledgeable you are with the material and exam conditions, the better prepared you will be in time management, your strengths and weaknesses, and your level of comfort for the real thing.

Tip #5

If you took the PSAT in your sophomore or junior year, college admission counseling professionals recommend using your PSAT scores as a starting point to estimate your target SAT score. As a result, you can build an effective study plan for the long run. While the PSAT is not a straightforward measure for the ACT, there are plenty of online resources and sample questions to assist you in converting your target score.

Tip #6

Personalize your study. Based on your initial practice scores, you can customize your study schedule around your target score and self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. As a result, college admission counseling recommendations include spending more time on the sections you need to improve, and being sensible about what you want to accomplish. While you can get top scores in all areas, you must be realistic about your capabilities.

Tip #7

Familiarize yourself with the critical Math formulas each test emphasizes in their respective sections. While the SAT lists the formulas you should memorize, the ACT does not. College admission counseling specialists suggest remembering all the basic math concepts and related formulas to make test-taking more efficient.

Tip #8

In addition to taking practice tests, college admission counseling services also suggest constantly building your vocabulary and improving your reading comprehension. Students can do this by reading non-fiction works, including books, articles, and blog posts (like this one), among many others.

Tip #9

It’s worth it to guess. As experienced college admission counseling services know, timed tests are stressful down to the last minute. In both SAT and ACT tests, you won’t be penalized for filling in the wrong answer. On the other hand, the number of questions you fill correctly influences your final score. To improve your chances, we recommend filling in as many bubbles in each section as you get closer to the end of the test.

Tip #10

What won’t be on many college admission counseling tips, but is essential, is getting a good night’s rest and enjoying a good breakfast on your test day. Not only will you have more energy, but you’ll concentrate better, too.

Tip #11

Finally, know when to ask for help. Suppose the 11 easy and practical tips in this post are too much of a struggle. In that case, you may need advanced college counseling such as the college admission counseling services offered by Empowerly. We have every type of support you’ll need to help you with each step of the admission process, including pointing you to the best classes or tutoring services to prepare you for the SAT and ACT.

Contact us today to book your consultation with Empowerly!

Questions? Let us know!