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Preparing for the ACT/SAT

A common question parents ask is what Saxon grade level should be completed before taking the ACT or SAT college entrance exam. Your student should complete Advanced Mathematics before attempting their ACT/SAT exam.

It is also recommended that your students prepare for their ACT/SAT exams by working through manuals like "The Official SAT Study Guide" or "The Real ACT Prep Guide". (The names of the manuals change from time to time. Use an Internet search engine to find the newest manuals available.) Working through the manuals provides students with practice on how to take the test successfully, as well as providing experience with the types of questions they will be asked in the math sections of the test. Homeschool students, who often do not take standardized tests, may have the necessary knowledge but lack vital test-taking skills. They should work through the manuals to prepare for the test-taking experience.

When To Take The Test

Students should take the ACT/SAT in the spring of their junior year. Once the test is completed, the scores are sent to the school(s) your student is considering attending.

Students should apply to the school(s) of their choice early in the Fall of their senior year. The school will then be in a good position to consider your student's application since they will already have your student's ACT/SAT scores in hand.

Scholarships are often given strictly based on your student's exam scores. Since scholarships are awarded early, often as much as a year ahead of time, it is wise to be ready with your student's ACT/SAT scores.

Do set up the dates for the entrance exams early in your student's junior year. Available seating fills up fast and your choices of where and when the tests can be taken become more limited the longer you wait.

There is a cost for the exam; usually around $20. It is free to have the scores sent to the college(s) of your choice when you first register. Be sure to add all the schools of interest at that time or you will wind up being charged for that same service once the registration is closed.


How does a student know which test to take? It all depends on what the college requires of your student before being admitted. Call the colleges of interest early in your student's sophomore year and ask them what they require. Some are adamant about one or the other of the tests and will not make exceptions. Others say that it doesn't matter and that they can convert the scores from one to the other.

Students who haven't made up their mind where they would like to attend may need to take both tests.


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