Based on research, the average effects of SAT prep or coaching are small; however, students who participated in some type of preparation on their own did better than those who did nothing. Instead of taking the SAT six times or spending excessive funds on private tutoring, using that time to pursue extracurricular activities or academic interests may go further in helping a student get noticed by admissions officers.
Although it is not generally necessary, a girl may wish to take SAT Subject Tests at the end of her junior year in subjects that correspond to any AP courses in which she is enrolled. It is a good idea to take the test while the material is still fresh in her memory.
During senior year it is recommended that all girls take the October or November SAT Reasoning Test or the September or October ACT. Senior year scores are often a little higher than junior year scores.
These tests are officially known as the College Entrance Examination Board tests (CEEB). There are two main tests: The REASONING TEST (SAT I) and the SUBJECT TESTS, (formerly known as SAT II’s). The SAT I Reasoning Test is what most people refer to as simply “the SATs.”
SAT Subject Tests
In addition to requiring the SAT or ACT examination, some colleges also want students to take one or more SAT Subject Tests. These are used mainly for placement and are only required by the most selective colleges. They are one hour and are designed to show how much a student has learned in a specific subject: Physics, English, Language, American History, etc. Some colleges will accept the ACT Examination (with Writing) in lieu of both the SAT Reasoning Test and Subject Tests.
ACT: THE AMERICAN COLLEGE TESTING PROGRAM
This test can best be explained as another "brand" of college entrance examination. Some students find that they score better on the ACT than on the SAT, as it assesses school subject-based material. The exam is divided into four parts: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning. The ACT includes an optional Writing test, which Students should always opt to complete when they sit for the ACT.
According to recent studies, approximately one third of students who take both tests score better on the ACT, one third of students score in the same range, and one third of students score worse. It yields one composite score ranging from 1-36. The ACT is given six times during the school year. Applications and further information are available on their website.
Eligibility for Non-Standard Testing (Extended-time testing)
Information about accommodations for non-standard testing is available at the SAT or ACT websites. Students who are eligible for extended-time testing must notify the Director of Academic Services.
SAT prep courses
We recommend taking the SAT once in the spring of junior year and once again in the fall of senior year.
There are a number of ways to prepare for the SAT. Some involve only the investment of time on the student's part, while others are quite costly. Students generally "feel" better when they have participated in some preparation; they may take sample tests or purchase one of the many SAT preparation books on the market (available in any bookstore). Based on research, the average effects of SAT prep or coaching are small; however, students who participated in some type of preparation on their own did better than those who did nothing. Something students should keep in mind: a solid academic performance over four years in high school will be more impressive to a college admissions professional than an extra 40 points on the SAT.