SAT and ACT Quick Tips

By: Susanna Cerasuolo, M.Ed.
Juniors now is the times to begin thinking about taking the ACT or SAT. This monstrosity of a test will not be the most fun thing you do in the junior year, but it is a crucial part of your college application. Begin prepping for the test now so you can ace it this fall and be done with it!
Seniors, this is your call to action! If you have not yet taken the SAT or ACT or if you need to re-take one of the tests, time is running short. Sign up now so you can concentrate on making the rest of your college applications awesome!
For more info on the difference between the SAT and the ACT check out the Resources section of
Welcome to another edition of the CollegeMapper Vlog. Today we are talking about tests. The SAT and the ACT. Which one should you take, when should you take it, how should you prep, which one should you send? So many questions. I get them all the time, so let’s start at the beginning.
Which test should I take? The short answer: the one you do better on. Figure that out during Junior year and focus on it. Seniors, if you’re still testing right now you should probably be focusing on your stronger test because you’re running out of time–running short on time (let’s not stress people out unnecessarily). Juniors, I would spend the year figuring out which test you prefer and prepping for that one really hard. All of the colleges accept either one. You don’t need to send both, you only need to send one.
So, when should you take the test? During Junior year is best and if you can be finished doing testing by the end of Junior year, awesome. Seniors, for those of you who are still planning to test this fall, let’s talk about that for a second. You have some dates. The ACT is available in September. The ACT is also available in October and December. So September, October, December. The SAT  is available in October, November, December. So only the ACT in September, only the SAT in November. Most colleges will accept that November test date; some colleges will accept the December test date. You would need to call if you’re testing that late.
I personally would aim for September ACT, October SAT and be done with it. Hopefully, you’ve figured out if you need Subject Tests or not. Those are usually required or recommended for the most competitive schools. So if you have any questions about that just post them in the CollegeMapper Forum and we can help you sort that all out.
When should you take them? Soon. And prep. I think you should prep. The ACT and the SAT, most kids prep for them so you don’t want to send in your raw scores against other peoples prepped scores. Your score is not going to go up, just because you show up so make sure you prep in between test dates. Especially for the Subject Tests, there’s a workbook available to prep for those, I think it costs like $16 or $17 and is called “Cracking the SAT Subject Test in Physics,” or whatever. The colleges know that all that material is right there in that workbook so it is really to your benefit to study and ace that test because you can memorize all the answers from that little booklet. I would prep, I would absolutely prep.
Which test scores should you send? If you’re deciding between the ACT and the SAT there is a conversion chart online. If you write to me in the forum I’ll post one (haven’t done that yet). But there is an ACT/SAT conversion chart that’s posted online and that is currently found on the website. You can look for it there, or you can write to me and I’ll post it on our site. That chart will show you that if you got this SAT score that correlates to this ACT score so you can instantly see which of your tests is stronger than the other, and that’s the one that you should send. That’s the very short answer.
Make it through those tests, kids. I know that it’s no fun. Nobody likes it; you’re not alone. Everybody’s suffering through it. Hang in there, because it’s totally worth it. Try to bump that score up because it just opens more doors for you and gives you more chances and more choices. Best of luck to you, and Happy Fall!   🙂 


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