How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

ACT/SAT Prep

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How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Erica WhiteCollege & Career CounselorMiddletown High School

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

I always suggest that students take standardized tests as follows: Junior Year: March.. SAT May… Subject test (if required) June… ACT Whichever test the student did better on (ACT or SAT), I would take that test a 2nd time during October of their Senior Year. If Subject tests are needed, you may take them a 2nd time in November.

Pamela Hampton-GarlandOwnerScholar Bound

When to take Test, and how often

I am probably alone in this response but it has proven to work over my years of advising students and my own children. I suggests students take the SAT during the second half of their 10th grade year mostly to become familiar with it. Although most advisors would say just take the PSAT, they are not the same and since you do not get penalized for taking the SAT as often as you want with the higher scores being accepted, I just believe if I have to take the SAT/ACT for admission then why not test drive the real test rather than waiting until my junior and senior year and being unprepared for the process. It is not the information but the process that I believe students need to know early…the testing environment, the structure of the tests, a baseline of where they start and where they need to be for their preferred school so that they will have time to reach the mark. Take it early and definitely as soon as you complete algebra 2 and geometry you stand a better chance of doing your best on the math section because it is fresh in your mind.

Riche Holmes GrantPresidentInnovative Study Techniques

Devising a smart test prep strategy

Which test should you take? The SAT and ACT are two very different tests that are designed to test different things. The best way to figure out which test to take between the SAT and ACT is to try both beforehand. Most test prep companies offer free practice tests with no further obligation to sign up. There are some that even offer “hybrid” tests that have questions from both exams and project your likely scores on each test. At the very least, you can try the free practice tests on-line that are offered by Collegeboard.com and Act.org. Go with which ever test you do best on and that you feel most comfortable with. When should you take test? I recommend that you take the SAT or ACT for the first time in the spring of your junior year. You should allow at least 8-10 weeks prior to the test to study. I mean actual studying, not just buying a book and then opening it up once or twice before the test. I’m a huge proponent of organized test prep, not just because I do this for a living, but because for many students, it actually works. Ultimately, no matter what route you take, however, there’s no substitute for practice. Simply put: if you practice your scores will go up; if you don’t, they won’t! How many times should you take the test? Ideally once, but more realistically twice. Generally, scores start to level off and you start to really hate the test (which doesn’t help at all!) if you take it more than three times.

Trevor CreedenDirector of College and Career CounselingDelaware County Christian School

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

My advice is that you take both the SAT and ACT once to see which test you do better on. You may hear that a certain type of student does better on one that the other but these circumstances are not normally consistent across the board. There are ways to take practice tests like the PSAT or ACT practice tests to get an idea of whether you score better on one test than the other. Once you determine which test you do better on, I recommend that you take that test twice before the end of the junior year and then once at the beginning of your senior year. You may determine two times is enough and that is fine, but I see more scores come up when seniors take it in October of their senior year than at any other time. The SAT is more critical thinking and the ACT is more subject based. The ACT has a science section on it that is more science terms and interpreting charts than anything. The ACT math has some Trigonometry on it. The ACT is also a bit shorter and doesn’t take any points off for a wrong answer which helps some students with test anxiety.

Trevor CreedenDirector of College and Career CounselingDelaware County Christian School

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

My advice is that you take both the SAT and ACT once to see which test you do better on. You may hear that a certain type of student does better on one that the other but these circumstances are not normally consistent across the board. There are ways to take practice tests like the PSAT or ACT practice tests to get an idea of whether you score better on one test than the other. Once you determine which test you do better on, I recommend that you take that test twice before the end of the junior year and then once at the beginning of your senior year. You may determine two times is enough and that is fine, but I see more scores come up when seniors take it in October of their senior year than at any other time. The SAT is more critical thinking and the ACT is more subject based. The ACT has a science section on it that is more science terms and interpreting charts than anything. The ACT math has some Trigonometry on it. The ACT is also a bit shorter and doesn’t take any points off for a wrong answer which helps some students with test anxiety.

Lora LewisEducational ConsultantLora Lewis Consulting

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Students can do “test runs” of both the SAT and ACT by taking their pre-tests, the PSAT and PLAN. Almost all high schools offer the PSAT for sophomores and increasingly give the option to take the PLAN as well. If you aren’t able to take pre-tests at your school, try the practice tests on the SAT and ACT website or check prep books out of the library and try their practice tests. This should give you a good idea of which test feels most comfortable for you and best allows you to demonstrate your knowledge. Many people take the SAT or ACT more than once in the hope that their scores will improve. This seems to be the case if more intensive prep work is done between the first and second tests. After the second test, though, results often become skewed, with scores that were low going up while the scores that were higher taking a drop. There is no “need” to take the test more than once; twice may show some benefit; more than three times isn’t recommended. As for the SAT Subject Tests, it’s obviously a good idea to take tests in the areas where you excel. It’s also a good strategy to take subject tests in May or June in the subjects you’re just about to complete (so the information will be fresh in your mind and you’ll avoid the possibility of “summer brain drain”. If you choose to take a foreign language test, be sure to always take the listening component as well, as colleges typically require it.

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Take the SAT and the ACT, decide which test shows your abilities to the best advantage, and concentrate your effort on that standardized test. I agree with the Education Conservancy’s statement that a student does not need to take a standardized test more than twice. If you are an organized and focused person you can buy a test prep book and “do it yourself”, if you need a distraction free environment you may need a test prep tutor or class. First, though, I recommend that you take both tests this spring. Who knows? You may be happy with your scores and in that case, you are finished with standardized testing and can concentrate on the other parts of your college application process. If you are not a “good tester”, take heart: many, many colleges and universities are joining the “no standardized test required” crowd (see www.fairtest.org for a list). Most studies show that the SAT does not predict college success as much as grades and other factors do. More and more colleges are catching on and offering paths to admission which do not require submission of test scores.

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Take the SAT and the ACT, decide which test shows your abilities to the best advantage, and concentrate your effort on that standardized test. I agree with the Education Conservancy’s statement that a student does not need to take a standardized test more than twice. If you are an organized and focused person you can buy a test prep book and “do it yourself”, if you need a distraction free environment you may need a test prep tutor or class. First, though, I recommend that you take both tests this spring. Who knows? You may be happy with your scores and in that case, you are finished with standardized testing and can concentrate on the other parts of your college application process. If you are not a “good tester”, take heart: many, many colleges and universities are joining the “no standardized test required” crowd (see www.fairtest.org for a list). Most studies show that the SAT does not predict college success as much as grades and other factors do. More and more colleges are catching on and offering paths to admission which do not require submission of test scores.

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Take the SAT and the ACT, decide which test shows your abilities to the best advantage, and concentrate your effort on that standardized test. I agree with the Education Conservancy’s statement that a student does not need to take a standardized test more than twice. If you are an organized and focused person you can buy a test prep book and “do it yourself”, if you need a distraction free environment you may need a test prep tutor or class. First, though, I recommend that you take both tests this spring. Who knows? You may be happy with your scores and in that case, you are finished with standardized testing and can concentrate on the other parts of your college application process. If you are not a “good tester”, take heart: many, many colleges and universities are joining the “no standardized test required” crowd (see www.fairtest.org for a list). Most studies show that the SAT does not predict college success as much as grades and other factors do. More and more colleges are catching on and offering paths to admission which do not require submission of test scores.

Jeana RobbinsCounselor

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Students should consider the colleges they wish to apply to when determining whether they will take the SAT, ACT or both. Some colleges may have a strong preference or may only accept one of these exams. Many colleges will accept either exam. Do NOT wait until your senior year to take these exams. Plan to take the SAT and/or ACT during your junior year of high school. You may retake the exams as many times as you want to and know that any lower scores that you subsequently receive will not replace higher scores. Some students may retake these exams over and over in hopes of obtaining a certain score, as many universities have stringent requirements.

Jeana RobbinsCounselor

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Students should consider the colleges they wish to apply to when determining whether they will take the SAT, ACT or both. Some colleges may have a strong preference or may only accept one of these exams. Many colleges will accept either exam. Do NOT wait until your senior year to take these exams. Plan to take the SAT and/or ACT during your junior year of high school. You may retake the exams as many times as you want to and know that any lower scores that you subsequently receive will not replace higher scores. Some students may retake these exams over and over in hopes of obtaining a certain score, as many universities have stringent requirements.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

While the ACT and SAT are generally accepted interchangeably, their differences may appeal to one person over another. The SAT will penalize you for guessing, but the ACT doesn’t. The ACT covers science, while the SAT doesn’t. Some students do well on one over the other, some do well on both and still others have no success on either. It is really a factor of your schedule when it comes to timing the tests. Most students take them for the first time in junior year. Some students will retake the exam after studying harder, working with a tutor or test prep program. If you don’t do anything differently between test dates, the likelihood of your score changing is slim. Remember, test scores are just one piece of the application picture and at test optional schools they aren’t even a factor.

Patricia AviezerPresidentInside Track To College, Inc.

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

So Many Choices….So Little Time! Every high school in the United States has access to booklets provided “for free” to students for the SAT and the ACT with the answers in the back. If you want to begin to understand the content of these tests and which one will work best for you, why not start here? These test booklets are the same tests in shorter versions, so by “sampling” them you will get a sense of which will work best for you. Both the College Board and ACT websites offer samples of the test too. Taking a PSAT or PLAN test when given at your school will provide you with a simulated testing condition and provide you with “silent” scores to help you prepare in advance for your tests. You need to work out a testing schedule early in your junior year, perhaps taking at least one ACT and one SAT and then concentrate on the test that works best for you. You may take these tests more than once, since most colleges will “superscore” the SAT and some will “superscore” the ACT although this is less common. Please remember, it’s now how many times you take this test, but how well you prepare before you take the test that matters!

Annie ReznikCounselor/CEOCollege Guidance Coach

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

4 Basic Test Strategies for Students 1. Test the waters, early All students should plan to take the PSAT (practice SAT exam) and PLAN (practice ACT exam) during both sophomore and junior years. Early exposure to the format of standardized tests will improve both confidence and performance for the official sitting. Students should plan to take their first SAT and ACT exams early in the spring semester of junior year. This timeline offers students ample opportunity for targeted preparation for a second sitting. 2. Familiarity breeds success The more familiar students are with the format of an exam, the higher the likelihood of earning a score befitting ability. Both the SAT and ACT formats are similar to a crossword puzzle, or the popular television show, Jeopardy!, in that the questions are posed in an unusual format. Frequent puzzlers or quiz show loyalists have an advantage over novices because they get the quirks of how questions are posed. Prior to taking the SAT or ACT, students should understand the layout, question types, and directions that they will encounter. One of the most effective and proven forms of test preparation is taking full practice exams. 3. Senior year sitting Unless you earned a perfect score on the SAT or ACT, always plan on taking a standardized test during senior year. Something happens in the summer between junior and senior year that more often than not improves performance on standardized tests. Whether it is maturity, information synthesis, or greater seriousness of purpose, senior year testing is often the time students earn their strongest score. 4. Take both the ACT and SAT Nearly all colleges and universities accept either the ACT or SAT. It is to a student’s advantage to try both tests and determine a preference. It isn’t necessary to repeat both exams. Only repeat the stronger of the two tests. Keep in mind that colleges and universities want to report high scores, too. So, they will take your best score regardless of test administration.

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

The best way to find out which test (SAT or ACT) suits you best is to take some practice exams, the PLAN in 10th grade and the PSAT in 10th grade. I highly recommend preparing and studying for the SAT or the ACT by early to mid spring of your junior year. That way — you can take your SAT subject exams and any AP exams later that spring. If you do well on your junior year exams, you won’t be scrambling to study for and take any exams during your senior year. The first semester of your senior is jam packed with activities, academics, etc., and many students find that preparing to take the SAT or ACT again very difficult. If you find that your results on standardized exams like the SAT and the ACT do not truly reflect your abilities as a student, please consider the hundreds of top notch schools that are test optional. “Test optional” means that you do not need to submit your scores when you apply. Highly selective schools like Bowdoin College in Maine and Smith College in Massachusetts are just a few of the many wonderful test optional schools. For a very comprehensive list of test optional schools, please check out Fairtest.org.

Ted SkowronCounselorBrophy College Preparatory

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

I recommend that a person take both the ACT and the SAT in the spring of junior year. Based on your performance and test preference, you should then take either the SAT or ACT in the fall of senior year. Some more selective universities will also want SAT II scores so you may need those as well.

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School, College CounselorRavenscroft School

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Some of this will depend upon what the schools want and need, for there is a wide variation in requirements. Some schools want only SAT I or ACT, some want SAT II subject tests, some will take the ACT in lieu of the SAT II, and some are test optional, but might want to see some graded work. Be sure you know what each place requires. Some may not require them for admissions but may for scholarship consideration. As to how often to take them, that may well depend, at least in part, on how well you do. A low first-time score gives you a sense of what your weaknesses are and may serve as a wake-up call about the need to do some test prep. Generally, it is wise to take the basic SAT or ACT at least twice, once as a junior and again as a senior—and if you are applying early decision, it had best be the first date in your senior year–but beyond that it may will depend on your own performance.

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

For the most part, students take both and then use the data as a benchmark to determine which plays up their strengths. Once this is identified, then we determine how much work they need to put into studying and retaking a test based on the type of college programs they are interested in attending.

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

The primary college admissions standardized tests are the SAT Reasoning Test and the ACT. Some institutions ask for one, some ask for the other, and some will accept either or both. Also keep in mind that some of the schools you are considering may require one or more SAT Subject Tests, which are focused on particular areas. Some institutions will also ask for the ACT Writing Test. These requirements will be indicated on the institutional websites. The SAT Reasoning Test has a writing component at each testing. The ACT Writing Test, however, is optional, but it is administered in conjunction with the regular ACT, adding an additional half hour to the testing time. You don’t have to take the ACT Writing Test unless the institutions to which you are applying ask for those results. The Writing Test is offered at all ACT sittings in the U.S., but not internationally. If you are at an international location and need the ACT Writing Test scores, check the ACT test schedules to determine when those Writing Test sessions will be offered. Students needing SAT Subject Test scores may take up to three Subject Tests at any one sitting. The SAT Subject Tests take about an hour each and must be scheduled on a separate day from the SAT Reasoning Test. (To clarify, the SAT Reasoning Tests and the SAT Subject Tests will be offered at a test site on the same day, but a student registered for the SAT Reasoning Test cannot also take any Subject Tests on that day, as they take place at the same time.) Students tend to feel that they do better on one test than the other because of the way the tests are structured, but when comparing scores of students who took both the SAT and the ACT, I found that the results were essentially equivalent. I recommend that students take each of the tests at least once, however, in order to have at least one score from each test available for their applications. The SAT Subject Tests may also be taken more than once. Since it costs money to register for these tests, it makes sense to plan carefully, but I have found that students do tend to achieve better scores when they take the tests at least twice. The improvement undoubtedly has partially to do with becoming familiar with the test administration procedures and learning to cope with the stress of the timed testing situation, developing a strategy for effective pacing. Improvement is also likely if the student recognizes his/her areas of difficulty and institutes a plan for more focused study in those areas before the second testing. Some students plan to take the tests three times each, but this can become counter-productive (overkill, maybe). It really depends on the student, his/her goals, his/her attitude toward the testing, and what kind of preparation is being done. Assuming that a student has decided to take both tests and plans to take each one twice, I would suggest that he/she take one SAT and one ACT toward the end of the 11th grade. At that time, he/she will have finished or almost finished that year’s high school studies so that the possibility of doing well on the tests will be greater. Perhaps the student has already been doing some kind of standardized test preparation, but the results on the tests taken at the end of the 11th grade will give him/her a chance to analyze where his/her strengths and weaknesses lie, so that more focused test preparation can be done over the summer. As mentioned above, taking the test at this time will also familiarize the student with testing procedures, thus potentially making the second testing a smoother experience. The student should then plan to take both of the tests again in the fall of the 12th grade. Registering for the earliest fall tests is probably a good idea. If the student is dissatisfied with those test results, there is always the possibility of retaking the tests at a later fall testing in time to meet college application deadlines; if the results meet the student’s expectations, he/she can relax and won’t have to be concerned about that aspect of the application any longer. Students requiring SAT Subject Test scores could plan to take those tests at one of the later fall testings. Another viewpoint with regard to the SAT Subject Tests is that the tests would best be scheduled at the end of the courses of study in the relevant subjects. For instance, if a student were taking a certain course in the 11th grade and planned to take an SAT Subject Test in that area, he/she might want to take the Subject Test at the end of the 11th Grade, when the subject matter was fresh in his/her mind. Students should also plan to take the PSAT, which is administered in the fall of each year. This test will usually be accessible to students throughout their high school years but is particularly important in the 11th grade. The test is officially designated as PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), and it is the 11th-grade test sitting, not any of the others, which could qualify students who are U.S. citizens for the National Merit Scholarship program. The PSAT is structured similarly to the SAT, and the feedback and analysis students receive afterwards provides a good basis for further preparation for the SAT. It also gives students a feel for the timed testing environment, but in a more limited way. The PSAT is not required for college admission and the results are not submitted to colleges/universities (except in the case of National Merit Scholarships and related recognitions), so it is a good way of testing the waters. In summary, the following could be an effective standardized testing plan. Additional tests could, of course, be scheduled at the student’s discretion. – Fall of 11th Grade – PSAT – Spring or Late 11th Grade – SAT Reasoning/1st sitting ACT/1st sitting SAT Subject Tests, if required – Fall of 12th Grade – SAT Reasoning/2nd sitting ACT/2nd sitting SAT Subject Tests, if required Hope this helps you establish an effective Plan of Action!

Todd WeaverSenior AdvisorStrategies for College, Inc.

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Students should try to take a diagnostic SAT and ACT test in Sophomore or early Junior year to determine which one of the two options are more appropriate for them. Many students find that they are much more comfortable with one over the other. If that’s the case, then the student can eliminate the stress and time constraints associated with studying for both standardized test options, when one will do just fine. I am not an advocate of taking either test more than 2 times, but for some students, the third time is a charm. Any more than 3, and the colleges are going to start wondering what this student does on the weekends, other than study for standardized tests! Yikes! Don’t fall into that trap! Also – I think it’s best to wait until late Spring of Junior year before taking tests that “count.” That way, the student will have nearly a full 3 years of classwork to allow them to best answer the questions on the tests.

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Every college has its requirements, and the test dates are a matter of public record. As far as multiple tests, if your scores keep increasing, keep going. Start early in the 11th grade so you’ll have plenty of time to take all necessary tests & re-test if necessary.

Zahir RobbCollege CounselorThe Right Fit College

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

First, I would recommend that all students take both the SAT and ACT in the Spring of your Junior year to get a feel for the test. Make sure you sign-up for the ACT plus Writing which will make sure both of your tests will be accepted almost universally. In addition, it is important to review the requirements of universities that you are applying to. Some universities will ask for Subject Tests or specific testing deadlines. Based on the scores you receive in the Spring, you can craft a study plan over the summer for a re-test in the Fall. I also recommend that students take the earlier versions of the test (PSAT or Plan) as available in preparation.

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

The primary college admissions standardized tests are the SAT Reasoning Test and the ACT. Some institutions ask for one, some ask for the other, and some will accept either or both. Also keep in mind that some of the schools you are considering may require one or more SAT Subject Tests, which are focused on particular areas. Some institutions will also ask for the ACT Writing Test. These requirements will be indicated on the institutional websites. The SAT Reasoning Test has a writing component at each testing. The ACT Writing Test, however, is optional, but it is administered in conjunction with the regular ACT, adding an additional half hour to the testing time. You don’t have to take the ACT Writing Test unless the institutions to which you are applying ask for those results. The Writing Test is offered at all ACT sittings in the U.S., but not internationally. If you are at an international location and need the ACT Writing Test scores, check the ACT test schedules to determine when those Writing Test sessions will be offered. Students needing SAT Subject Test scores may take up to three Subject Tests at any one sitting. The SAT Subject Tests take about an hour each and must be scheduled on a separate day from the SAT Reasoning Test. (To clarify, the SAT Reasoning Tests and the SAT Subject Tests will be offered at a test site on the same day, but a student registered for the SAT Reasoning Test cannot also take any Subject Tests on that day, as they take place at the same time.) Students tend to feel that they do better on one test than the other because of the way the tests are structured, but when comparing scores of students who took both the SAT and the ACT, I found that the results were essentially equivalent. I recommend that students take each of the tests at least once, however, in order to have at least one score from each test available for their applications. The SAT Subject Tests may also be taken more than once. Since it costs money to register for these tests, it makes sense to plan carefully, but I have found that students do tend to achieve better scores when they take the tests at least twice. The improvement undoubtedly has partially to do with becoming familiar with the test administration procedures and learning to cope with the stress of the timed testing situation, developing a strategy for effective pacing. Improvement is also likely if the student recognizes his/her areas of difficulty and institutes a plan for more focused study in those areas before the second testing. Some students plan to take the tests three times each, but this can become counter-productive (overkill, maybe). It really depends on the student, his/her goals, his/her attitude toward the testing, and what kind of preparation is being done. Assuming that a student has decided to take both tests and plans to take each one twice, I would suggest that he/she take one SAT and one ACT toward the end of the 11th grade. At that time, he/she will have finished or almost finished that year’s high school studies so that the possibility of doing well on the tests will be greater. Perhaps the student has already been doing some kind of standardized test preparation, but the results on the tests taken at the end of the 11th grade will give him/her a chance to analyze where his/her strengths and weaknesses lie, so that more focused test preparation can be done over the summer. As mentioned above, taking the test at this time will also familiarize the student with testing procedures, thus potentially making the second testing a smoother experience. The student should then plan to take both of the tests again in the fall of the 12th grade. Registering for the earliest fall tests is probably a good idea. If the student is dissatisfied with those test results, there is always the possibility of retaking the tests at a later fall testing in time to meet college application deadlines; if the results meet the student’s expectations, he/she can relax and won’t have to be concerned about that aspect of the application any longer. Students requiring SAT Subject Test scores could plan to take those tests at one of the later fall testings. Another viewpoint with regard to the SAT Subject Tests is that the tests would best be scheduled at the end of the courses of study in the relevant subjects. For instance, if a student were taking a certain course in the 11th grade and planned to take an SAT Subject Test in that area, he/she might want to take the Subject Test at the end of the 11th Grade, when the subject matter was fresh in his/her mind. Students should also plan to take the PSAT, which is administered in the fall of each year. This test will usually be accessible to students throughout their high school years but is particularly important in the 11th grade. The test is officially designated as PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), and it is the 11th-grade test sitting, not any of the others, which could qualify students who are U.S. citizens for the National Merit Scholarship program. The PSAT is structured similarly to the SAT, and the feedback and analysis students receive afterwards provides a good basis for further preparation for the SAT. It also gives students a feel for the timed testing environment, but in a more limited way. The PSAT is not required for college admission and the results are not submitted to colleges/universities (except in the case of National Merit Scholarships and related recognitions), so it is a good way of testing the waters. International students, depending on the language in which they receive their high school education, may be required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (Internationl English Language Testing System), both of which assist the universities to which you are applying in determining your English-language proficiency. In some cases, the results could affect your admission; in others, if your results were weak, the university would place you in an English-language development program upon entry into the school before transitioning you into the regular academic rigor of the institution. Both the TOEFL and the IELTS may be taken more than once. In summary, the following could be an effective standardized testing plan. Additional tests could, of course, be scheduled at the student’s discretion. – Fall of 11th Grade – PSAT – Spring or Late 11th Grade – SAT Reasoning/1st sitting ACT/1st sitting SAT Subject Tests, if required – Fall of 12th Grade – SAT Reasoning/2nd sitting ACT/2nd sitting SAT Subject Tests, if required Hope this helps you establish an effective Plan of Action!

Heather TomaselloWriting CoachThe EssayLady, LLC

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Which test to take? I tell students to take both the SAT and the ACT. Depending upon your particular strengths and weaknesses, you may perform much better on one test than the other. Think about how you felt about taking each test. Did you understand the format? Was one more stressful than the other for you? Once you’ve figured out a preference you can focus on prepping for that test. When to take? Take the practice predictive tests sophomore year, then the real one junior year. Use the summer between to prep for the tests. Take a class, do an online prep course, use a workbook- whichever method fits well within your budget and learning style. Following this timeline gives you plenty of time to retake the tests and removes some of the stress from the equation. For students who’ve had a semester each of Algebra and Geometry by the end of sophomore year, the summer before junior year and/or the fall of junior year are usually the best times to take. How many times? Many schools take your composite score, so retaking the test can help you provided you feel your score will improve. This can be expensive and stressful, which is why I recommend taking advantage of the predictive tests early and preparing in advance!

Helen Cella

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Act is more content driven, the sat is more of an aptitude test.

Jessica BrondoFounder and CEOThe Edge in College Prep

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Students should start out with diagnostic tests for the SAT and ACT and should focus on prepping for the test with the higher starting score. The ACT is another standardized test that colleges will use to evaluate how well a student will do in college. It is scored differently than the SAT, with a maximum score of a 36, instead of a 2400. It is also structured differently than the SAT, with four sections: Math, Reading, Writing, and Science. The other difference is that the essay on the ACT is not required, whereas it is required on the SAT. Students are not required to take both tests and a student should probably decide which test to take after taking diagnostic tests for both. If a student does considerably better in one than the other, then the student should focus on preparing for that test.

Jessica BrondoFounder and CEOThe Edge in College Prep

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Students should start out with diagnostic tests for the SAT and ACT and should focus on prepping for the test with the higher starting score. The ACT is another standardized test that colleges will use to evaluate how well a student will do in college. It is scored differently than the SAT, with a maximum score of a 36, instead of a 2400. It is also structured differently than the SAT, with four sections: Math, Reading, Writing, and Science. The other difference is that the essay on the ACT is not required, whereas it is required on the SAT. Students are not required to take both tests and a student should probably decide which test to take after taking diagnostic tests for both. If a student does considerably better in one than the other, then the student should focus on preparing for that test.

Jessica BrondoFounder and CEOThe Edge in College Prep

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Students should start out with diagnostic tests for the SAT and ACT and should focus on prepping for the test with the higher starting score. The ACT is another standardized test that colleges will use to evaluate how well a student will do in college. It is scored differently than the SAT, with a maximum score of a 36, instead of a 2400. It is also structured differently than the SAT, with four sections: Math, Reading, Writing, and Science. The other difference is that the essay on the ACT is not required, whereas it is required on the SAT. Students are not required to take both tests and a student should probably decide which test to take after taking diagnostic tests for both. If a student does considerably better in one than the other, then the student should focus on preparing for that test.

Megan DorseySAT Prep & College AdvisorCollege Prep LLC

No Standard Answer for Standardized Testing

Your test plan will be unique to you, your strengths, and where you’re likely applying. Most students take the PLAN or PSAT in 10th-11th grade. All juniors should take the ACT and SAT at least once. These tests are different; one is not easier than the other. Once you determine which test format best matches your strengths, retake it to improve your scores. Because colleges and universities will use students’ best scores, most opt to take tests two or three times. In addition, students applying to some highly selective schools may be required to take SAT Subject Tests, and international students may need additional tests such as the TOEFL.

Megan DorseySAT Prep & College AdvisorCollege Prep LLC

Start With the Basics, Then Check with Your Colleges

At a minimum, juniors should take the ACT and SAT once, but many students re-test multiple times to achieve their personal best scores. If you want to re-test, focus on whichever standardized test best highlights your academic strengths. You can retake both the SAT and ACT senior year, but pay attention to application deadlines—some fall test dates may be too late. Students applying to highly selective schools also may be required to take SAT Subject Tests, and international students may need additional tests such as the TOEFL. Specific details on which tests you need and when you need to complete them will depend on where you choose to apply. Check with each college and university to make sure you satisfy all testing requirements.

Nicholas Umphrey

Standardized tests to take..

If English is not your first language, you will want to take the TOEFL exam. It is computerized and very convenient as far as tests are concerned. In Maine where I work, the SAT is required of all publicly funded students in May of their junior year. Thus every 11th grade student in Maine gets to take the SAT for free. Unfortunately, this does not leave me with a lot of time remaining in the school year to touch base with students about their scores. If a student does not like the outcome they have a couple of choices. Colleges like to see that students have made the effort to take the SAT at least twice. Statistically, there is no advantage to taking it more than that since scores rarely increase a third time. If you have taken the SAT twice and hate the test and your scores, I would give the ACT a try, especially if you are a math/science person.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

have a plan to work with

have a goal in mind and find out the requirements about different type of schools in terms of the standarized tests. ACT and SAT are both good for selective schools. try not to take it more than three times. Take SATII as early as possible between 3 to 5 subjects for highly selective admissions.

Jolyn BrandOwner/DirectorBrand College Consulting

Take both SAT and the ACT during junior year

Students should plan on taking both college entrance tests, the SAT and the ACT, during their junior year of high school. This will allow time to study and retake the tests. The last chance to do will be the fall of senior year. Most students will perform better on one of the tests over the other. Focus on that tests and sign up to retake it a few months after the first time. Then prepare for it! Study, read a study guide, attend a test prep course, or hire a private tutor.

Susan Smith

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

I recommend all students take both the SAT and the ACT. Why do both? Every college in the country will accept either test and have no preference for which set of test scores you submit. The SAT is more of a reasoning test while the ACT is more of an achievement test, so some students do much better on one over the other. It’s impossible to tell before taking the test which one will leave you with a higher score, so it’s in your best interest to take both. The SAT has three parts: Critical Reading, Math and Writing. The ACT has four main components: English, Math, Reading and Science with a fifth, optional Writing component. Most colleges do want to see the optional Writing scores if you choose to take the ACT.

Nina BerlerFounderunCommon Apps

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

I tell my students to try both the SAT and ACT but only retake the test with which he or she is really most comfortable. Some students are fortunate enough to do well on the first try, but that isn’t the norm. Depending on the timing and preparation, student performance varies. Also, I’ve found that high school seniors taking standardized tests in the fall often do very well; they are relaxed and know what to expect. Certainly, a student should take the SAT or ACT no more than three times. Regarding SAT Subject Tests, a student should take the test when the material is freshest in his or her mind, usually in June of that academic year (sometimes in May). Hopefully, the timing of the test won’t interfere with AP tests (if in May) or finals (if in June). The student can take up to three at one sitting; he or she should take advantage of that and just report the top scores.

Robert Smith

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

If you’re taking standardized tests, consider looking into SAT subject tests. These are 1-hour achievement tests in five general subject areas. Some colleges, mostly the more highly selective ones, either require or recommend that students take these in addition to the SAT. You need to look up the colleges in which you are interested in to determine which subject tests each requires. These subject tests are offered on the same test dates as the regular SAT. A student can take up to three tests on a particular test date. The best time to take subject tests is right after you have completed the course in a particular area.

Lisa Smith

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Trying to figure out how many times to take the test? Once you take the SAT and the ACT, you will be able to see if your score is higher on one over the other. You may want to choose the one on which you scored the best and take it a second time. Look up the colleges in which you are interested in to see how your scores compare to the mid-50% of students they usually accept. In rare incidences, you may choose to take a test for a third time. After taking a test three times, your score is unlikely to improve with additional attempts.

Diane Smith

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

Trying to figure out when you should take your standardized test(s)? The best time to take your first round of tests (both the SAT and the ACT) is in the spring of your junior year. After you have taken the tests once and see which one you did better on, you may want to take that test a second time in May or June of junior year or in the fall of senior year. It would be wise for you to look at all your academic obligations for junior and senior year. In addition to taking the SAT and ACT, many of you may take AP exams in May. You need to allow plenty of study time to keep your grades in every subject as high as possible. Prepare a calendar with all of your commitments and time your standardized test-taking dates with these in mind.

Natalie Sanchez CamposOwnerNext Step LLC

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

I recommend referencing your college application list to determine which tests to take. Of course, please remember if a college or university requires an ACT or and SAT score, they will accept either test and convert the score. Unless there are unusual circumstances, I recommend students take the ACT or the SAT only up to two times: once in the spring semester of the Junior year and, if needed, again in the fall semester of the Senior year.

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