Tag Archives: planning

After a long pandemic period of testing uncertainty and compromises, I was thrilled to proctor live and in-person at the Fairport Public Library this weekend. We’ve worked with Rochester and Syracuse libraries for a decade to offer the highest quality proctored practice tests free of charge to anyone who wants them, and our COVID-era online tests lost their luster for some families fairly quickly. This is not to say we aren’t still offering those Zoom tests–we proctored one of those this weekend as well–but nothing feels quick like the real SAT or ACT as sitting in a room with ten to twenty equally nervous test takers… at least for now! I was also impressed by the turnout at all of our practice tests over the last week, which happened to be Winter Recess. New York State students (and their families) enjoy not one but two long breaks during the first…

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From September to June, high schoolers can count on an opportunity to take at least one of the two big college admissions tests every month. Some months, however, offer ambitious test takers shots at both the SAT and ACT. Sitting for both exams in rapid succession can be a better idea than you’d think, especially in December. What makes December such a good month to take the SAT and ACT? For one thing, the tests fall early in a month that gets busier as it progresses. The SAT is traditionally administered on the first Saturday of December, followed by the ACT the next weekend. This means students can finish both tests before the first holiday parties of the season. December also deserves strong consideration for testing because the timing meets the needs of both high school juniors and seniors at this point in the academic year: SENIORS who haven’t yet…

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The traditional testing paradigm has high school juniors struggling to fit SATs and ACTs in at the end of the academic year, just as Spring Break, APs, finals, prom, and creeping summeritis set in. Some traditions deserve to be consigned to the trash heap of history along with bull fighting and jello salad. Instead, embrace a new way of looking at testing: juniors should test as early in the academic year as makes sense based on their goals and activities. For many juniors, that philosophy reveals September as the perfect time to take the ACT. Seniors, of course, are already lining up in droves for the September ACT. The traditionalists who took the June tests–at least the ones who didn’t plan for the July test date–have been waiting for months for another crack at the test. Testing in September presents plenty of upside with minimal risk for 12th graders. September…

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The College Board administers the SAT in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. ACT, Inc. follows suit by offering the ACT in September, October, December, February, April, June, and July (everywhere but New York). So if students can only take the SAT or ACT during the school year, why should they prep during the 2.5-month summer span when they can’t? The answer is obvious: because there’s no school! Today’s college-bound high school students are busier than ever before. No, that’s not a cliché. As admissions standards spiral ever higher (along with tuition), students strive to differentiate themselves through advanced classes, sports, clubs, jobs, and every other activity they can fit into each overscheduled week. This frenzy of activity reaches its peak in junior year, from the beginning of fall sports until the end of finals. Considering how many important commitments students are asked to juggle, why not try…

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Of all the test administrations of the year, the ones in June present the most problems. Many high schools have already flipped the CLOSED sign while others are facing finals and other culminating tests. Even worse, students have to contend with a host of other distractions: Playoffs and championships for spring sports Prom Exhaustion That summer feeling wafting through the classroom windows… Clearly, the odds of a student earning his or her best SAT or ACT scores in June appear unfavorable to say the least. No wonder we strongly recommend that high schoolers take the tests as early in junior year as makes sense based on preparation and extracurricular commitments. Yet, a case for the June SAT & ACT can and should be made. Three different groups of students benefit from blocking out the first two weekends of the month for testing: 1. Juniors who have already prepped but haven’t…

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“Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal.” At least that’s what project management exam prep expert Cornelius Fichtner says. While we may disagree in terms of degree, I fully support the idea that planning and action must always go together, especially in test prep. That’s why, when Punam Saxena of edu-Me invited me to speak about any topic related to the SAT & ACT on her splendid podcast, I chose to focus on planning. As Punam herself says, creating a schedule and ensuring that your child is efficient with their time is critical for maintaining sanity and doing well on the test. Are you interesting in a big picture overview of when teens should take the SAT or ACT? How about getting into the nitty-gritty details? When is the best time to take the ACT or SAT? When is the best time to prepare for these tests?…

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