Achieving success in the SAT or ACT test is not an overnight process; it takes time and effort. First and foremost, you must have a good sense of your strengths and weaknesses. The best way to do that is to first take an in-depth look at the SAT vs ACT chart. Follow that up by meeting with your test prep tutor to discuss the nuances of each test and which might be more suitable for you. Next, take a practice test for one of the two tests to gauge your baseline score. If your tutor is satisfied with each and every section of your test, you might decide to continue test prep for that particular test.
In most instances, we recommend that students begin test prep at the beginning of grade 10. This can take the form of group workshops that are 28 or more hours in length, covering all the sections of the test. Please note that it is important to keep up with homework assignments and spend time daily practicing for the test. On weekends, when you have more time available, spend considerable time on your test prep. When you feel you are ready, take a full mock test and make sure it is timed properly. This will give you a good idea of your areas of strength and weakness. Take private lessons with your tutor to focus on your areas of weakness. However, this does not mean that you can forget about the other sections of the test for weeks or months.
When you meet with your tutor to determine your testing timeline, allow for time to retest one or more times in case you do not achieve your target score the first time you test. We have had instances where students have had to miss a test due to a concussion the night before or due to other unforeseen circumstances.
Taking the test too many times will make you look like a serial test-taker. This is something you should avoid. Take timed mock tests until you are sure you are ready. We have had students take the test once at the end of grade 10 with great success. However, the majority of students need to continue their prep throughout the summer and take their first test near the start of grade 11. Keep in mind that you might have to also prepare for one or more Subject Tests as required by some universities. In this case, you might have to allow time to prepare for these as well.
It is through perseverance and hard work that students manage to obtain their target scores.