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Suniti's Advice Corner

5 Common (easily avoidable) SAT & ACT Mistakes

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Sep 25, 2017

5 mistakes students make about the sat and act

In the midst of prepping for the dreaded SAT and ACT, it can be easy to let certain details fall through the cracks. However, these seemingly minor details can have major implications for your college application process. Don’t let this happen to you. Here, we highlight 5 common SAT mistakes and ACT mistakes students make. For SAT tips and ACT tips on how to avoid these mistakes continue reading. 

  1. Not sending your scores to your colleges of interest.

    Most colleges require you to submit your standardized test scores as part of your application—that’s the whole reason you’re taking these tests, right? On Collegeboard, you can submit your SAT scores up to 4 colleges of interest for free for every test date that you register for. As soon as your scores become available they are sent to those schools. It seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many students don’t do this. Double- and triple-check to make sure that your scores have been sent to all colleges of interest. If you don't, you will need to pay to send your scores again and they take longer to deliver. 
  1. Providing the wrong information on interest forms.

    The PSAT registration, along with other resources, asks you to indicate what majors you’re interested in. There are tons of websites that are great resource for college research but be aware that in most cases the information you provide them is given to colleges. So make sure you’re providing the correct information. Again, seems easy. You might be thinking, “Who would make a mistake like that?” But it happens. So just be careful. Submitting the wrong information could mislead admissions counselors and could hurt your chances of acceptance if your schools of interest don’t offer your reported majors of interest.

Here are some good websites for college research. Again, be careful to provide the best information for you.


Big Future



  1. Not doing the “optional” essay section.

    Yes, it might say it’s an optional essay, but when it comes to college admissions, you should interpret “optional” as “required.” First of all, some colleges still require the essay. If you decide to apply to one of those colleges, you will have to take the tests with the essay section. Second of all, doing the essay even if it’s not required by the college can improve the college’s impression of you because the essay serves as another piece of information about you. You always want to try to go above and beyond what’s expected of you. And, the more time they spend on your application, the less time they have to spend on someone else's! There’s no benefit to not doing the essay. Feel that you’re just not good at essay writing? That’s nothing that a little bit of preparation can’t help with—for example, with TestRocker. A real person will hand grade at least 2 practice essays, and give you feedback on what to change and how to do better.

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  1. Not bringing the right materials.

    The night before your test, set aside everything that you’re going to need so that you’re not scrambling the morning of and inadvertently forget something. You will need a photo ID, your admission ticket, at least two No. 2 pencils with erasers, and an approved calculator with spare batteries. If you don’t have your ID and your admission ticket, you won’t be allowed into the test room. If you take the test with anything other than a No. 2 pencil, it will not be scored properly. And if you don’t have a calculator, you’ll just spend more time than you have to on certain math problems. It’s also a good idea to bring snacks and water to help you maintain your stamina throughout the test.

  1. Not planning for multiple test attempts.

    While it may not be pleasant to take the SAT and ACT, you should absolutely plan to take the test at least twice. If you don’t do as well as you would have liked the first time around, then you definitely want to take it again so that you can put your best foot forward on college applications. Make sure that you schedule accordingly and register in time so that you’re able to submit your scores in time for college application deadlines. It would be a shame to not make a college application deadline because you didn’t take the SAT or ACT early enough. And if you did score well the first time, awesome! You can still take the test again for the opportunity to superscore or to submit your best scores. Use TestRocker’s downloadable test prep plan to make sure you are on the right track. Finally, register for the tests as soon as possible because test centers fill up fast. In many cities/countries, there is only one test center.  And once a test center is full, you will have to wait until the next available test date.

Have more questions? Comment them below or talk to a TestRocker expert.

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students

About Suniti

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Suniti is the creator of TestRocker, an online learning platform that helps you unlock your dream SAT and ACT scores. TestRocker is based on Suniti’s highly successful and proven method of teaching students how to maximize their SAT and ACT scores, a method she has perfected through tutoring thousands of students globally for more than a decade. 

TestRocker is a one of a kind online SAT/ACT program that empowers students to take control of their test preparation. After taking our diagnostic test a customized study plan, individualized to students' strengths/weaknesses, allows them to track progress as they work through the program. Each of the 2000 SAT & 2000 ACT questions on TestRocker are accompanied by video explanations from Suniti. Parents are able to track their child’s progress through biweekly reports.

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