PSAT, ACT, SAT…those acronyms can be pretty intimidating when you know that they’re a factor to college admission and, in some cases, scholarship opportunities. With so much on the line, it’s important to know the basics of each test and how you can prepare for them.
PSAT — the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test is a mini version of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Many schools administer this test for juniors in the fall, so you can check with your guidance counselor for information specific to your school. The PSAT is a great way to practice for the SAT. Plus, top scores can qualify you for National Merit Scholarships.
SAT — the Scholastic Aptitude Test includes Math, Critical Reading, and Writing sections. SAT scores are reported on a scale from 200 to 800, with additional subscores reported for the essay (ranging from 2-12) and for multiple-choice writing questions (on a 20-to-80 scale).
As you gear up for these standardized tests, here are some to-dos to get you started:
- Decide which test you’re going to take. Examine all the schools you’re considering applying to and determine which test(s) they require. Many schools now accept both the ACT and the SAT, but check with the school of your choice. Each test lasts about three hours but it’s important to remember that the SAT has a penalty for wrong answers.
- Keep the registration timeline in mind. Don’t miss the deadlines! Register for the test you’re taking at least six weeks ahead of time to give yourself time to prepare.
- Find a study method that works for you. Back in the day, I took a series of classes offered by my high school to get ready for the ACT. They helped me prepare for the types of questions I’d encounter and also how to budget my time throughout the test. Along with various classes you could take practice tests online or grab a book designed to help you prepare.
How did you prepare or are you preparing for these standardized tests? Please share any tips you have for success with us and the SLD community!