Friday, November 16, 2012

When Should You Take Your First College Entrance Exam?

When Should You Take Your First College Entrance Exam?

It can be easy to procrastinate taking those college entrance exams. High school students are busy, and who really wants to spend a Saturday morning taking a long, difficult test? When should you take that first test?

You need to find a balance between waiting until you have learned the material on the test and making sure you have your test scores in time to fill out your college applications.  In general, I recommend that a student first take the SAT as soon as he or she has completed both algebra II and geometry.  For the ACT it is helpful to have taken at least some pre-calculus. However, you should take your first college entrance exam no later than the spring semester of your junior year.

Taking a college entrance exam early is important for a number of reasons:

  1. If you do badly you will still have time to get help over the summer and then retest before your college applications are due.
  2. Senior year is hectic. If you take the test junior year and do well, that’s one less thing to worry about.
  3. What if you leave the test until the last minute and then you are sick on test day?
  4. The college of your choice may require an extra test, such as an SAT II subject test. If you had counted on taking the SAT twice during the fall of senior year, you may find you don’t have enough test days left.

Even if you think an extra semester of school would improve your score, don’t postpone your first college entrance exam until senior year!

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