How to ACE Your next SAT/ACT Test


There’s lots of test prep out there for SATs, PSATs, ACTs, and more. The good news is: you have lots of options. The bad news is: you have lots of options! So what’s the best way to study?

The best way to study is the way that makes most sense for your learning style. Ask yourself: do you do well when coached? Are you better off working independently? Are there some areas you’d do better in than others and some areas where you want the help? Let your response to those questions drive how you approach studying for a standardized test. Some people need the weekly classes, but others do just fine with a study guide, online quizzes, and help from friends/family who can coach you on study areas you struggle with.

Here are some other things to consider before you even begin studying:


Research whether the colleges you’re targeting have a preference for ACT/SAT (or whether they need a score at all): While most schools will accept either scores, it is good to verify. In addition, you may be better at taking one test versus the other, or you might choose to do both and share the test you’re better at.

Understand the upcoming test changes: This summary from Princeton Review encapsulates the changes in the SATs that were made in 2016. The ACT has also changed some of their scoring and reporting methods, so it’s worth reviewing so you know what you’re getting into.  Your teachers will have some advice or feedback on this as well.

Don’t forget: as a Torch & Laurel Scholar, you have access to exclusive discounts on Princeton Review courses! Check out the Torch & Laurel discounts here

Recognize that the test doesn’t measure your intelligence or worth: You’ll hear this lots of times from lots of people, because it’s true and important to remember. Remembering that this test supports your capacity to go to college is very different from forming a value-based judgment on yourself from your test scores. If you focus on the former, you will likely perform better because you’re focusing on an outcome, rather than worrying about what your score reflects on you. More importantly, colleges recognize that standardized tests measure only a part of your academic and intellectual achievements. A good test score will help you cut through the clutter and get included in the pool of eligible students, but it doesn’t guarantee much beyond that.

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