How to Prepare for SAT and ACT

Fall is finally here, and so is your junior year of high school. It’s a time in your life when you’re making many decisions about your future, especially regarding your education. 

If you want to go to college following graduation, there are several steps you have to take beforehand. And that includes taking the SAT or ACT. Both are standardized tests that colleges use to gauge if you’re a good fit for their school and if you’ll succeed in their programs.

If you want to learn how to prepare for the SAT and ACT, continue reading. We are going to share with you some tips and tricks that will help you get the best score and get into the college of your dreams.

Learn the Difference

The SAT test and the ACT are structured differently. Both are broken into timed sections for each subject. The SAT consists of 80-minutes for math, 65 for reading, and 35 minutes for the writing and language portion. The ACT consists of 35 minutes for reading, 60 for math, 35 for science, and 45 minutes for the English section.

If you’re asking yourself should I take the SAT or ACT, you need to focus on your strengths. Which subjects do you excel at most? Do you consider yourself a math wizard? If so, then you may want to take the SAT. Or, if you love science and want to study it more at your chosen university, you may want to take the SAT. A good score in the science portion of the test will look great on your transcripts.

No matter which one you choose, the following tips and tricks will help make you feel more prepared. Preparation is crucial for both of these tests.

Study and Study Some More

When we say study, we don’t just mean for the test itself. Make sure you are paying attention in classes. Your teachers are there to help you understand all the subjects and questions you’ll find on the SAT and ACT. 

So grab your notebook and a pen because you will want to take as many notes as possible for your study sessions. If you want to get a bit more sophisticated about the process, you can use colored pens to organize your notes. 

When you use a color-coding method for notes, it can help cut down on your study time. Putting the most valuable information and red and small but useful details in another color can help you retain key aspects. You can even make some quick flashcards for crucial information as a powerful study aid.

Take an Online Practice Test

There’s no better way to prepare for a test than by practicing in your own time without stress. Online you can find comprehensive practice runs for both the SAT test and the ACT.

These tests are broken down into sections just like the real thing and give you a feel for how your test may go. There are both free and paid versions. Some say the paid versions are more realistic and give you a better idea of what to expect. But the free options will suffice.

If you plan on taking the ACT, you can find a comprehensive study guide and practice test that includes all the sections directly on the test’s website.

Grab a Book

If online study guides and tests aren’t your things, don’t worry, they make books too. 

No matter which test you choose to take, there are a wide variety of SAT and ACT prep books available. The best part is that many of the books available are based on tests from the previous year and will give you an idea of what to expect on your test for this year.

You will be glad to know that these books aren’t just study guides. A good SAT or ACT prep book will also include an all-encompassing test.

Practice Wherever You Go

Do your school and social life schedules make it hard to set aside time just for studying? Well, if you have a phone or a tablet, we have a solution for you.

Go to your device’s app store and search for SAT or ACT prep; you will find a plethora of apps that allow you to practice your skills while on the go. Some of them contain digital flashcards for you to practice with, and some will also track your progress and let you know how you’re improving.

If you take the bus to school, apps are a great way to get a few minutes of studying in.

Boost Your Vocabulary

On the reading and language portions of both tests, you will find questions that require you to have an extensive vocabulary. Boosting your vocabulary can seem like quite the feat if you don’t know where to start, but it’s actually quite easy.

For starters, try reading more. You can find lists of books online by people who specialize in test prep – these books will contain many of the words you will find on the SAT and ACT language and reading portions.

You can also find lists for common SAT and ACT words online. We suggest taking these words and putting them on flashcards with their definitions on the back. Use them like you’re playing a memorizing game. See if eventually, you know the meaning of the word without looking to the back of the card for the definition first.

You can also tab your vocab words with sticky notes in a dictionary or thesaurus. Flip through it daily to familiarize yourself with all of the words. Eventually, you won’t need to anymore, and it will just become second nature.

You Got This

Now that you know how to prepare for the ACT and SAT tests, you are ready to go.

Always remember that practice is key, and the more you practice, the better prepared you will feel to take your test. So pull out your flashcards and your prep guide and get to studying.

You got this.