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Plan and act today so you have no regrets tomorrow...
A key to doing well on standardized tests (i.e. SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject Tests, and ACTs) is timing. Great timing can reduce the amount of studying needed and even ensure better scores.
First, these tests can be classified into two groups – those that are very class-
Here's one simple tip: time your SAT Subject Tests wisely and you can cut your studying
time drastically. Basically, take class-
There is one major exception. If you are taking classes at a local community, you
may learn the whole year's worth of materials in one semester (e.g., the first semester
SAT math Subject Tests should be taken as early as possible once you have learned all that would be tested. For many, this means the end of geometry or trigonometry. For some of you, taking an SAT Subject Test at the end of your freshman year may actually be the right thing to do. Research on this a bit (these tests have changed significantly since I took them...). Khan Academy has an extensive collection of SAT math preparation tutorials.
Some colleges do not accept SAT foreign language test scores of one's native language.
Therefore, look through the college requirements carefully. "Native language" generally
refers to your first-
You can take as many as three SAT Subject Tests in one day. Try to schedule it so you do only two (maybe two in May and one in June). Your scores on the third test may be lower because of exhaustion. Clever scheduling will cost you a bit more money, but it's worth it. If money is an issue, get a fee waiver from the counselor.
There are many tips and tricks that you can learn online, in books, or at preparation
classes. Read them! Remember your goal here is to get the best score, not to be
the best student. Sometimes to ace tests, you have to do some things differently
(e.g., write long, semi-
There are major differences between the two. Some people feel that SAT Reasoning focuses too much on vocabulary, and its math questions are tricky. ACT, on the other hand, is more closely aligned with what you learn in high school. So for many people, it's easier to prepare for one than the other. You may be able to find out which one suits you better after trying them out and figuring out your potential in raising scores for both of them. Personally, I got the same equivalent scores on the two tests (those tests are different than today's tests, however). But for the ACT, I studied for just one month, compared to a whole year for the SAT.
If you do take the ACT, please also take the writing test (unless you do really poorly
on the writing test even after repeated practices). Some schools require it, and
you don't want to be missing that score when you apply to such schools. The key
is to practice such writing tests ahead of time. It's a great skill to learn because
writing intelligent essays quickly is absolutely critical in college. You won't
see too many multiple-
There is a test for students whose native language is not English: the Test of English
as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The basic idea of TOEFL is to evaluate if one can
use and understand English in an academic setting. It is not there to test how many
difficult words you know. Colleges understand that non-