Selecting a test prep method can be a daunting task. Every student is different, so there isn't one option out there that works for everyone. You know yourself better than others, so ask yourself the questions below, and make sure you do your research!
- When will I have time to prepare?
Consider your academic course load and extra-curricular activities. If have a busy schedule, and are involved in many different activities, it will be difficult for you to use a method of prep that requires being present at specific times – whether it is on the weekend or after school. You need to select a method that is more flexible, so that it can be accessed at your convenience or in small doses.
- How much time do I have until my SAT/ACT test date?
If you don’t have too much time until your next SAT/ACT test date, you need to start preparing now. Books and online programs are instantly available to you once you purchase them, leaving no time wasted on scheduling or finding enough class times that could work. If your test is more than 3 months away, chances are that you have more options available to you. However keep in mind that you should continue preparing all the way till your test date. So if you are looking in to a schedule-based option, you need the sessions to extend as close to your test date as possible.
- How much preparation do I need?
If you haven’t taken the PSAT, attempt a full-length test at home to get an idea of where your scores stand as of now. Then, think about what your target score is. Not sure about what your target score should be? Read this blog about how to choose your target score. If you are looking for a high score improvement, you will need a customized plan and personalized attention. If you are just looking to boost your score by a few points and your scores are generally average, you can get by with less personalization. If you are a very high achiever and already have very high scores, you will need to drill down on the few areas of improvement and really target your preparation. This requires analysis of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Which test prep options are available in my area?
If you live in a remote location and don’t have easy access to transportation, group classes and private tutors might not work for you logistically. If you live in a big city, all options are available, but scheduling can be tough because demand is high. Select your method of preparation early! If you rely on a parent or sibling to drive you to and from sessions, make sure you communicate with them prior to signing up for test prep so that they can make it a priority help you.
- How many times am I going to take the SAT/ACT?
If you can, take the SAT up to 3 times, and the ACT up to 2 times. That is our recommendation at TestRocker. These tests are offered only 6 – 7 times a year, so you will need to plan for a test preparation method that can be a resource to you throughout the process, over all two or three attempts. Check out our blog about picking the right SAT/ACT test dates.
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