If you’ve got college applications on the brain, you’ll definitely be pondering over your SAT and ACT exams. Along with your extracurricular activities, the classes you choose and the references you get from tutors, these scores will help to show colleges exactly the kind of student you are. Good scores could even help you to get a job when you graduate.
SAT exam sessions are available six times across the course of the year. The first of the SAT test dates usually falls around the end of August with a deadline date for registration at the end of July. ACT exam sessions are similarly spread throughout the year with a total of seven sessions available. The first fall date is usually in the first two weeks of September, with the deadline for registration at the start of August.
The majority of students first take the tests in the spring semester of junior year. But some choose to take advantage of the earlier fall session. Some students even take the tests for the first time in their freshman or sophomore year.
As long as you have the time to prepare for the exam and have covered the required topics, there are plenty of reasons why you should choose the earliest ACT or SAT test dates. Here’s why:
You Can Work From Your Baseline
By taking your exams at an earlier session, you can discover a lot about where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This baseline score can provide a comparison when you take future practice tests and help you to measure your improvement. Having this comparison then allows you to seek extra support if you need it.
You Can Reduce Your Stress Levels
During your final years of high school, you’re sure to spend a fair amount of time worrying about the SAT and ACT exams. By taking the exams early, you’ll become more familiar with the exam environment and format. You may also be pleasantly surprised by an exceptional result, meaning you can continue to work on your score without feeling unduly stressed about the process.
You Can Leave Plenty of Time Between Test Attempts
If you try to cram in two exam sessions within the same semester, you may end up coming unstuck. You won’t necessarily have the previous test results before taking the next and you won’t have time to really build your knowledge before making a second attempt. By starting early, you can spread out your test attempts, making the most of the experience gained each time.
You Have Plenty of Prep Time
The school workload during the spring semester can get pretty heavy. This means adding SAT and ACT exam preparation into the mix can really weigh you down. By taking the exams at an earlier fall session, you have a whole summer to prepare. This could allow you to do more focused preparation and achieve a better score.
You May Be Able to Superscore your Results
Superscoring refers to the practice of combining your best scores across multiple tests to create a boosted overall score. Some schools take into account your scores from all exams meaning a poor performance in one Reading exam could be compensated for in a later session. This also means you can approach your exams with a certain degree of strategy, focusing on prepping for one subject for one exam session and another for the next.
Taking an earlier SAT or ACT exam session certainly has its benefits. You’ll combat stress, work on your weak spots and have plenty of time to get the best possible score.
Interested to see how your ACT or SAT score affects your admission odds? Check out College Raptor to find out!