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 locked in the scores they need for college admissions typically look to December as their last shot at improving test scores. Some colleges may accept scores from January, February, or even deeper into spring of senior year, but those cases are usually exceptions from the norm. If you are in 12th grade and need a higher SAT or ACT score, December should be your deadline.
JUNIORS have plenty of opportunities to earn their best test scores, but, as always, timing is everything. The penultimate year of high school often proves the most challenging one, with 11th grade becoming more demanding and stressful with every passing month. November, which is when a student should prep for the December tests, happens to be fairly light in terms of academics and extracurriculars–particularly these days–compared to most other months, although some students may find otherwise. When you think about how hectic May and June can be, you can appreciate the relatively relaxed atmosphere the first portion of the academic year brings.
The other benefit of December testing for juniors who actually prepare for the SAT & ACT is the prospect of being finished with these exams before Winter Break. Imagine how much more festive the holidays are for a high schooler who knows he or she won’t have to take the SAT or ACT again!
In almost every instance, 11th grade is the ideal time to take the SAT & ACT, and many cases, earlier in the year is better. The regular registration deadlines for the December SAT and ACT both usually fall during the first week of November, so don’t miss your chance. December is an excellent time to take the SAT & ACT, especially if you actually prep for the tests.
(NOTE: We first published this post ages ago but love to share our case for the December SAT & ACT anew year after year.)