Managing Your Busy Schedule to Prepare for College Entrance Exams

Class, homework, practice, exams, music lessons, club meetings and competitions… Your schedule is overloaded! All of a sudden you realize high school will be over before you know and you need to start thinking about college! That means college applications and essays, college entrance exams, and school visitations. How can you possibly fit all of that into your already full schedule?

Ok, ok, sorry to overwhelm you, take a minute to take a deep breath and calm down. You have done a stellar job to make it this far, and you will be able to take on whatever you need to accomplish next. It’s time to come up with a plan to schedule all those SAT and ACT exams. Take a look below for your current grade level and the key action items you must take.


10th Grade Sophomores

For 10th graders looking to get a head start, the PSAT 10 is offered during the spring between the end of February and the end of April. Check with your school’s administration for exact testing dates at your school. This is a great chance to take the PSAT to get comfortable with the exam format to prepare for the SAT as well as to prepare for the PSAT if you plan to take it Junior year for the National Merit Scholarship (NMSQT). The PSAT/NSMQT is offered in the fall. The test dates for 2019 are below:

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TAKE ACTION (Sophomore To-Do List)

  • Utilize your summer time to start preparing for the fall PSAT/NMSQT

Practice exams can be found at the College Board’s website below: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10/practice/full-length-practice-tests

  • Start looking ahead to taking the SAT or ACT and utilize practice exams to decide which test you feel more comfortable with. Take note of the exam content and determine which suits your strengths (The SAT is heavier on Math, the ACT Science & Reading have short time limits etc.)

ACT info and practice exam: http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/Preparing-for-the-ACT.pdf

SAT info and practice exams: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/inside-the-test



11th Grade Juniors

By now, you’ve taken the PSAT and maybe already a full length ACT or SAT exam. If you’re satisfied with your score, great! You have finished one item of your college prep checklist. If you aren’t satisfied, don’t worry! Most students take the exam more than once, and most colleges accept your best score on the exam. Some schools even superscore, meaning the school will accept the highest score from each section of the test you’ve taken, even if those scores are from different test dates. This means it is to your benefit to take the exam again! Just like anything else, the ACT and SAT exams require practice and studying. The exam formats are unique and you should prepare for them to do your best!

It is recommended to finish off the SAT or ACT before you finish off your Junior year. You will need the summer to prepare for SAT Subject Tests. Here’s a look at the upcoming SAT and ACT test dates:

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SAT SUBJECT TESTS

In general, you will want to take the SAT Subject Tests right after you’ve completed the recommended classes (think June, or August if you wish to prepare over the summer). The material for the exam will be still be fresh in your mind. One exception is for the language tests, it is recommended that you have studied the language for at least two years (although more are recommended). Here is an outline of the upcoming Subject Test dates:

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TAKE ACTION (Junior To-Do List)

  • Study for the SAT/ACT exam and try to take the exam before the end of your Junior year. It is recommended to take the exam at least two times to feel comfortable with the exam and to take your best scores.

ACT info and practice exam: http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/Preparing-for-the-ACT.pdf

SAT info and practice exams: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/inside-the-test

  • Start planning ahead your SAT Subject Test preparation. Decide which exams you will take and how you can organize your upcoming summer to study and take the exams. Take note of the dates of the exams above to guide your planning.

SAT Subject Test info: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/pdf/sat-subject-tests-student-guide.pdf


Summary Timetables for Testing

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Ready to take action?

Sign up to take a free diagnostic exam! I’ll send over an exam and will score your test and create a summary score report for you to review and determine if you are ready for your entrance exam!

Check out the diagnostic exams I’m currently offering here:

https://www.mfacademics.com/free-act-sat-diagnostic/

And of course, feel free to send over any questions to mfacademics@gmail.com.