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The denial of SAT and ACT tests during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increasing trend in colleges to examine the importance of these tests in admissions. While many schools are currently testing-free the participation of students of testing for the SAT or ACT is starting to increase.

According to the College Board reported that 1.7 million high school students in 2022’s class have taken the SAT at least once, compared to 1.5 million in 2021’s class. And while still well below pre-pandemic levels, nearly 1.35 million students in the class of 2022 took the ACT – an increase of about 55,000 students from the year before, per ACT data.

In contrast, ACT scores for the 2022 class hit the lowest level in 30 years, with the average composite scores at 19.8 from 36. This was which is down from 20.3 in 2021’s class. SAT scores dropped as well. In 2022, the class scored 1050 points out of 1600, compared to 1060 scores for 2021’s class. Students who want to achieve an excellent score on any exam Here are 13 helpful tips to ensure top quality ACT and SAT test preparation.

Find out if it is possible to take a test for free.

College is a costly financial burden that usually begins before students have even enrolled. Since the SAT as well as the ACT costing over $50, students need to take a look at waivers of fees. Although some states pay for the cost of testing for students in public schools however, this is not the case across the country. The experts advise students to consult with their school counselors regarding obtaining fee waivers, and whether they are able to get multiple waivers so that they can take the test multiple times. “Many would only take the test once, and we know from research that a student should take these tests at least twice to have the best opportunity to increase their scores and access to post-secondary education,” says Georgette Hardy DeJesus the executive director of undergraduate pre-college courses at the University of Maryland College Park.

Begin test preparation early.

Like many other aspects of college planning the earlier students begin getting ready to take the SAT as well as ACT the more successful. This will allow students to have the most practice before taking tests, and this will reduce anxiety during the test according to Jolyn Brand, the founder Brand College Consulting. Brand College Consulting. “The easiest way, although it might not be the favorite for students, is to do a lot of prep,” she explains. “The more prep they have, the less surprised they’ll be and the less nervous they’ll feel about what to expect.”

Make a decision between SAT as well as the ACT by conducting practice tests.

Although both the SAT or ACT are very similar however, they do have some distinctions. For instance that the ACT has a science portion however that of the SAT doesn’t. The ACT also contains questions about geometry, whereas the SAT generally doesn’t, according to Ginger Fay, director of global partnerships for Georgia-based Applerouth Tutoring. Prior to making a decision among the two college students should take the examination practice for each test, as some experts recommend. Students can then concentrate upon studying the test where they scored higher. Being exposed to both exams will help students understand what they can be expecting, Fay says.

Set test dates and goals early.

The setting of goals in high school junior can keep students in the right direction, Fay says. Juniors should take advantage of the fall time to determine the date for their test and also consider their other personal and academic commitments in deciding when they should test for exams like SAT as well as the ACT. The winter break is an excellent opportunity to focus on strategies for studying, particularly in the event that a student has completed an exam and is able to take advantage of the results. The spring of junior year is the ideal time for taking a test again however, students must once review their personal and academic commitments before deciding on a test time. Students should set a target to complete their testing before the final day in their senior year Brand states.

Know how your scores will be judged.

Following the outbreak, a number of schools have reviewed the role of exams in the admissions process. Experts suggest that students check the admissions websites of colleges to determine which schools are test-blind or test-optional. Test-optional means that the scores are not needed, however colleges will examine exam results in the event that they are they are submitted. Test-blind means that scores are not taken into consideration, regardless of whether the test results are provided. “Take the test and then decide whether or not you want to submit your scores based on the schools you decide you want to apply to,” Fay states. “Don’t take yourself out of the running of some schools just because you don’t have that credential.”

Assist parents in their parenting.

Parents are helpful study buddies and cheerleaders who support students who are preparing for exams like the SAT or ACT however, they should not attempt to be the sole source of. Parents are advised not to be too involved in helping students prepare for exams and to not draw conclusions from their own experiences with testing as the tests have changed over time and to avoid obsessing about a particular score following the same exam date. “These exams are simply not a true indicator of how smart or intelligent a student is,” claims Christopher Rim, CEO and director of Command Education, an admissions consulting firm. “Parents should create an environment that encourages growth and should refrain from comparing their child to other students.”

Choose the best test preparation course.

SAT as well as ACT tests preparation classes are able to differ in a variety of ways, including the size of classes and the teaching style, aswell with the availability of face-to–face or virtual classes. Students should think about the amount of help they’ll require in preparing for the exam and how much they’ll be able to spend on a class and the ideal learning environment would be, in addition to other aspects that test experts suggest. It is also worth considering alternative options for free, like Khan Academy, an official test preparation partnership with the College Board, which administers the SAT. “Not everything has to be paid,” says Christine Chu, a premier college admissions counselor at IvyWise which is a firm that provides education and training in New York. “Khan Academy is wonderful; it has lots of free resources.”

Find other resources for test preparation.

While classes for test preparation can be a great way to get prepared for SAT or ACT There are other options readily available for significantly less. Libraries, for instance are often stocked with test preparation tools. Students in high school can seek assistance with their teacher They may also offer feedback on their draft essays or suggest practice problems in math. Students can ask teachers to determine the test topics that will be covered lightly or not covered in class; where to locate study materials that are personalized and the best way to form study groups with their classmates to prepare for college entrance tests.

Find advice from trusted sources.

Family members, classmates and siblings who have passed tests like SAT or ACT can be valuable resources. The experience they have had with the test can provide them with direct insights and also the benefit of hindsight. they may have opinions on the areas that were easy for them, as well as subjects they found difficult. While gathering information about the test’s environment from other students could be helpful, Rim cautions students against making comparisons to other students. “I think testing tips should come from an experienced tutor who has experience working with students with similar learning and test-taking styles,” Rim states. “A strategy used by one student might not necessarily be the right fit or best strategy for another student.”

Examine your test results.

After a test or practice students should examine the performance and pinpoint areas for improvement, according to experts. Don’t just look at the score by itself as it isn’t the entire story. Students must look for patterns in the incorrect answers to help them improve their knowledge of the content areas that require improvement. Students taking the PSAT typically receive their test books back together with their scores, and should note down the mistakes they made so that they can are aware of what they need to study to prepare for the SAT According to Sara Williams, a school counselor at Briggs High School located in Columbus, Ohio. PSAT students can also connect the account of their College Board account to Khan Academy to receive free, personalized assessment and practice tests that target particular areas that require improvements.

Focus to improve time-management.

It’s not enough to score well in tests like the SAT or ACT due to the fact that there’s the time limit that needs to be taken into consideration. The effect of being distracted can be detrimental to the final result which could result in test-taker not being able to answer questions, and thus a lower score. Timing guidelines from test preparation experts recommends taking no less than 60 second answering questions on maths; skimming over sections of text for context; examining the questions and reading more in depth as needed and following their gut in the language section of both tests. Exams like the PSAT and the PSAT, along with at-home timed tests, could help students get a feel of the test setting and the stress it creates.

Reduce stress through mindfulness.

There’s a lot of stress on students in high school in relation to the standardized tests. Even the process of preparing for the test could cause anxiety. While preparing for the test is important, it’s equally important for students to use the time they spend preparing to learn strategies for managing stress that can aid them on test day. Focus-based activities such as a breathing exercise or counting down from 10, or saying the alphabet backwards, will help students get their minds off anxiety for a short time and make it less stressful, Fay says. Students should ensure they’re working out regularly and think about incorporating meditation into their routines according to Sal Khan, founder and director of Khan Academy. “A frantic mind is not the natural state of the human mind,” Sal Khan states. “The natural state of the human mind is actually an empty mind, a still mind, a relaxed mind.”

Dispel the myths surrounding standardized tests.

One of the most common misconceptions in admissions to colleges says that having a low SAT or ACT score could hurt students their chances of being accepted admitted to their dream college. In the real world the test scores are just one element of the application process, along with other factors to be considered. A study of admissions officials by the National Association for College Admission Counseling discovered that according to college admissions officers test scores are likely to have less significance than grades in all high school classes as well as grades in college prep courses, and the rigor of high school education.
“There are many students we’ve denied with perfect test scores because they didn’t have anything else to set them apart,” says Douglas Christiansen, vice provost for enrollment at the university and the dean for admissions as well as financial aid of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.