This year I have a senior with a learning disability who is in the preparation stage for taking one of the exams for college admissions. Even though I talk to parents and students about taking college entrance exams, I feel like a novice when it comes to assisting my own flesh and blood.  As I was sitting down tonight to help her gather free study resources, I ran across a Reddit post from students who were talking about how to prepare for the SAT or ACT.  At first I was skeptical about their preparation tips, but after researching advice from the “professionals”, I found the kids were spot on!  So, what do students say about preparing for these exams?

student advice can be useful
  • Take numerous practice tests.
  • Practice with official ACT/SAT questions.
  • “Understand how they make easy questions look more difficult than they are and make sure you answer the question that they ask you”.
  •  “Start early (junior year) and take the tests multiple times if you can. Almost every student will see their scores improve on their 2nd and even 3rd attempts…after the 3rd attempt, most students’ scores tend to hit a plateau”.
  • Practice with time constraints.
  • Don’t take it…thought I would throw that one in for fun! 

Reddit: Applying to College

Although my daughter is rather nonchalant about preparing for her test,  expecting to take the SAT or the ACT without a study plan is like an athlete running a race without ever training for it! So, how much time do you need to study for the SAT or ACT?  According to FastWeb, students need at least three months to really prepare for either exam. In addition to having a good preparation plan, students need to be educated about which test they should take.


In this post, I have included several SAT and ACT resources for you to share with your parents and students.

Myths About the SAT & ACT


Which Test Should I Take?

SAT/ACT Fact Sheet – Give your students & parents a sheet giving an overview of the two tests.

Comparison Between ACT & SAT Scores

Source: Ebony Sistrunk

SAT Resources

The new SAT rolls out for students on March 5, 2016; therefore, our seniors have to be aware of what to study as they prepare for this exam. So, what are these new changes:

  • The essay is optional.
  • No penalty for guessing.
  • No vocabulary you will never see again. 
  • 400-1600 score range.
  • 3 hours without the essay and 3 hours 50 minutes with the essay. 

Source: Ebony Sistrunk

College Board – Students can download study tips, practice tests, and resources for the SAT.
English/Grammar-SAT Online Prep
Free SAT Prep Test and Resources
Khan Academy SAT Test Prep – Download and a take a real, full length SAT practice exam.  The practice exam is good until January, 2016.
Last Minute Study Plan for the SAT  – for those that need a quick study plan.
Math Study Tips for the SAT  – Considered one of the top six sites when studying for the SAT.

Prepped and Polished
Quizlet  – Students can create study sets and track progress.
Sat Math Problems
SAT Study Plan  – Create a study plan based on when you decide to take the SAT.
SAT Study Plan for Each Grade in High School
SAT Study Tips from Higher Scores
Seven Day Plan for Studying for the SAT  – plan for the procrastinators.
Summer SAT Study Plan

How Many Times Should a Student Take the SAT?

What will the new SAT look like?

Four Tips of What to Do Night Before and the Morning of the SAT

SAT Test Day Checklist
Acceptable ID for the SAT

SAT Test Dates & Deadlines
SAT Test Date Official Registration Deadline Deadline to Order Test Prep Course
Oct. 3, 2015 Sept. 3, 2015 July 30, 2015
Nov. 7, 2015 Oct. 9, 2015 Sept. 3, 2015
Dec. 5, 2015 Nov. 5, 2015 Not Available
Jan. 23, 2016 Dec. 28, 2015 Not Available

ACT Resources

ACT Practice Tests – Has practice exams to download.   
ACT Test Prep
Free ACT Study Guide – Download this 68 page study guide for the ACT exam.
Nine Tips for Taking the ACT
Vocabulary Words

English Study Tips

Reading Study Tips
Math Study Tips    
Science Study Tips

ACT Test Day Tips
Forty Eight Crash Plan for the ACT  – For those who need a quick study plan at the last minute!
Students with Disabilities
Tips for Taking the ACT
What Does Your ACT Composite Score Mean?

How Many Times Should a Student Take the ACT?

ACT Test Dates & Deadlines (2015-2016)
ACT Test Date Official Registration Deadline Deadline to Order Test Prep Course
Sept. 12, 2015 Aug. 7, 2015 July 9, 2015
Oct. 24, 2015 Sept. 18, 2015 Aug. 20, 2015
Dec. 12, 2015 Nov. 6, 2015 Oct. 8, 2015
Feb. 6, 2016 Jan. 8, 2016 Dec. 3, 2015
April 9, 2016 March 4, 2016 Feb. 4, 2016
June 11, 2016 May 6, 2016 April 7, 2016
Additional Resources:

How to Determine if You Should Retake the SAT or ACT?
10 Test Tips from ASCA
Improving Your Test Score
Tips for Students With Disabilities
Comparison Between ACT & SAT Scores
Yes College: 100 Sites & Apps for the SAT & ACT

Quiz: Should I Take the SAT or ACT?

Info-graph regarding the Differences Between the SAT & ACT

Class of 2017-Getting Ready for the Big Test Checklist

If you have students who don’t want to take the ACT or SAT,  there is a list of schools that do not require either exam.  

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