For years, the main and only gauge for standardized performance was the PSAT offered every October. Identifying the weaknesses, the strengths as well as the time management skills of the students was key to start the training for the real test.
At Damian SAT ACT Prep Center we advise our juniors that the preparation should start way earlier than the month of December when the results of the PSAT come out. The junior year is the most demanding and important one in the entire high school career. Colleges want scores and results earlier and earlier in order to be able to make their own decisions.
A considerable part of the college application hinges on your ACT or SAT score, so contemplating your test-prep goals as junior year starts is a great idea. If you hope to get ahead of the game, review the rough timeline below, which can guide you in creating your own plans.
By the time your junior year starts – which typically takes place in late August or early September – you should have some idea of what the next several months will entail for you. For example, you should know whether you will take the ACT, the SAT or both tests. If you began preparing over the summer, you should also know whether you will first sit for these exams in November or December.
When deciding on a test date, consider both your academic and personal commitments. Some students may be tempted to register for the December tests because it is farther in the future and, as such, leaves more time for studying.
However, final exams and projects scheduled for December, combined with family plans for the holidays that begin in late November, can result in it being a hectic month for students. Reasonably weigh all of your obligations before you choose a test date.
The PSAT is the best method for students to gauge their strengths and weaknesses in order to map out their personalized study plans for the SAT. As such, September should be dedicated to light PSAT studying so students are comfortable come early October.
It is imperative to make efficient use of your time as a junior. Fight the urge to lounge for all of the winter break – instead, keep honing your standardized testing skills.
If you have received your score from a previous ACT or SAT by this point, set aside free time during winter break to evaluate your performance and, if necessary, tweak your study plan. PSAT score reports are released in December, so juniors who sat for the PSAT should also plan to assess their results during this time.
If you do not know your most recent ACT or SAT score, continue with the study plan you designed during the summer or fall months. You can also use this time to register for a spring test session, whether you know with certainty or simply suspect that your previous performance was not what you hoped for. Remember that in many cases, each testing session breeds familiarity and improved performance.
For students who feel they must retake the ACT or SAT, this second attempt should take place during the spring. As is recommended with the fall term, students should consider all upcoming obligations before deciding on an exam date.
The spring can sometimes be overwhelming due to end-of-term assessments like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, as well as the college tours which are a must and other types of commitments.
At Damian SAT ACT Prep Center we encourage students to also consider in addition to the regular ACT or SAT, students may be required to sit for the SAT Subjetct Tests. Since college application requirements vary widely between institutions, students are urged to find out what their schools require before selecting these subject tests.
Consider any ongoing ACT or SAT studies when you choose a test date for SAT subject tests, if applicable, as well as your coursework – if one of your junior year classes is relevant to the exam, a later test date may be advantageous.
College-bound students often attribute their success to having a polished and well-thought-out study plan. By following a junior year test-prep timeline, you can learn to manage your time effectively and efficiently.