The college entrance exams aren’t too far away, though this is probably something you don’t want to think about yet. However, once you have started high school, it is something that definitely needs to be considered. You can choose which of the two college entrance exams to take – the SAT and the ACT are both accepted at institutions across the country, and no preference is given to one over the other. The SAT has been the standard for college entrance exams for many years, while the ACT was previously only used in certain parts of the country, but now both will be considered equally.
Choose the exam that is most suitable for you and your skills. If English is one of your strongest subjects, then take the SAT. If you are better at science or math, then you should take the ACT instead. Play to your strengths, as this means that you are more likely to get the high scores that you are looking for.
Start your preparation early. While it may seem as though you have ages until you need to take the college entrance examinations, many people start preparing for them during their sophomore year of high school. Even if you just decide which exam you are taking and don’t start studying until the summer, this is important. The earlier you start, the more effective your preparation will be.
Identify areas of weakness early, because this will give you time to work on them, improve them, and also seek help if you need it. You may want to take a specific exam preparation course, though it needs to be the right one for the test that you are taking. The best way to identify your weaker areas is to take a practice test and find which section you are losing points on. If you don’t want to take a preparation class, then private tutoring may be something to consider instead. This might be more expensive, but it can be tailored to meet your specific needs.
Make a plan for your studying, and stick to it. You will need to spend more time on the topics that you find difficult, but make sure you don’t ignore the others.
Learn some exam techniques. The ACT is divided into four separate sections, each with their own time limit. You will need to practice completing each section within the time allowed. If you find that you are running out of time, then try identifying the answers that are obviously wrong first. Cross them out on your question paper then look at what you have left. This will help you if you don’t know and need to make a guess. On the ACT, always guess if you are stuck, because there is no penalty for getting it wrong. If, however, you are taking the SAT, then you should leave these questions blank because points are deducted for incorrect answers.
Do as many practice questions as you can. The more you do, the easier they will become because you will learn the style and be able to understand what they are looking for.