The college admissions process can be intimidating, so it helps if you have an awesome SAT or ACT score to give you an extra boost of confidence when you send in your applications. Her Campus is here to help you figure out which method of prepping will work best for you in order to ensure you rock it come test day. Happy studying!
If you tend to procrastinate and aren’t super self motivated to study… try a group class
Finding a class that prepares you well can make or break your SAT or ACT score, and not all are costly. Some high schools offer the option of free classes as well. Talk to your teachers to find out what’s available at your high school or others in the area, and local colleges often offer SAT or ACT prep classes as well.
“I decided to enroll in the Princeton Review SAT Prep Course. The math section terrified me prior to taking the prep class, but afterwards, I felt almost confident!,” says Christina, California Polytechnic State University ‘15
If you do decide to take a group class, make sure you take it seriously. Do the homework assigned, and think about what areas of the test you might need extra help in.
“I'm going to an SAT prep class after school at my school for free, and taking practice reading and writing tests there. There isn't a math help section at my school, so I'm also taking practice tests on my own with a SAT prep book and online,” says Hannah, Strawberry Crest High School ‘14
If you prefer to read and work from a book try… prep books
There are so many different books you can pick up in order to prepare for the test, so it doesn’t hurt to ask teachers or people who have already taken the test which ones work best. A few reputable books are Cracking the ACT: 2012 Edition by Princeton Review and SAT for Dummies.
“The main way I practiced for my SATs was to literally keep doing the exercises from old SAT books over and over again. I would write my answers on a white sheet so that once I was finished all the tests in the book, I could go back and re-do them. By doing that, I was able to pick up on patterns that kept appearing in the test, which made everything easier,” says Annie Pei, University of Chicago, 2014
If you don’t want to spend money on a book, try your school or town library and see what they have to offer in terms of prep books. And don’t feel like you have to buy, buy, buy in order to get a good score. If you have one great book that you love, stick with it! You can decide if you need additional texts after your first or second practice test attempts.
“My only SAT prep was SAT for Dummies. I liked it because the tips were helpful, the writing style was engaging and it made me chill out -- the book made it seem like the SAT wasn't the end-all-be-all of my college application,” says Sarah Ramirez, Fordham University ‘13
If you value flexibility and doing things on your own schedule… try an online course.
If you’d rather study from the comfort of your own couch, online courses are available. They’re also a great option if you don’t want to carry a book around or don’t have the time every evening to go to a class on a regular basis.
“Taking the online course Critical Thinking and Study Skills at Florida Virtual School can really help when prepping for the SAT. Several of their math questions were in the practice books that some people pay for, but the online class is free for Florida residents!,” says Barbie, a collegiette.
If your state doesn't offer a course, there are ton of others to choose from. Prepme.com offers PSAT, ACT, and SAT prep starting at $299. ePrep.com offers a discount for certain schools, and offers a variety of packages and prices depending on how in depth you want to get and when you take your test. And if you’d rather save your money, Number2.com offers free test prep. The ACT and SAT websites also have free practice tests you can take as many times as you’d like.
If you want to do more to prepare… try a few additional practice techniques
Outside of classes and books, there are other great ways to prepare yourself. Whether it’s with good old-fashioned flashcards or downloading a couple apps on your iPhone, there are plenty of alternative ways to get studying done.
“I downloaded some apps on my iPhone, including the SAT Question of the Day. I found it helpful to do a few practice questions when waiting for a ride after sports questions or procrastinating on homework,” says Haleigh, Hinesdale Central High School ’14.
These Kaplan SAT flash cards for only $10.99 from Amazon and Barron’s ACT flashcards are only $11.55.
And don’t be afraid to sit in on a few classes that you’ve already taken or talk to a former teacher about the best way to prepare for a certain subject of the test. Chances are you aren’t the first student to come to them asking to sit in on a class, and they’re usually more than happy to help with any additional questions you may have. Ask if they know of any students who did well on their ACT or SAT, and if they might be open to tutoring you.
“A great way that I prepared for the SAT was to review previous courses that I took in high school. A lot of the math questions in the SAT are Algebra II questions, but by the time I took the test I had already completed pre-calculus,” says Julia, HP Baldwin High School ’13.
How will you be preparing for the SAT or ACT? Leave a comment!
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