Students must prepare for and sit for two official exams no later than June of their third year, ideally on consecutive exam dates. Preparing for the SAT should be a high-priority activity that requires full concentration. When deciding on test dates, it is important to consider your own schedule and plan ahead. Are you involved in a spring musical and planning to take several higher-level exams? Have you been dreaming of attending a big state university since you were a child and are already thinking about applying early? We recommend that you take your first SAT or ACT test as soon as possible.
If you plan to take both tests, it is best to take them in consecutive months to make preparation more efficient. Comprehensive preparation courses should begin 8 to 10 weeks before the exam. We generally suggest starting SAT preparation before 9th grade, even for the most ambitious students. If you are younger, it is usually more beneficial to focus on doing well in school and building a strong foundation for the math and reading skills you'll need for the SAT. The key rule to keep in mind when preparing for the SAT is to dedicate more time to practice tests, as this will help the student apply the concepts learned and will also give them a clear idea of their position, given the strong competition involved in the exam.
SAT scores are usually obtained three weeks after taking the test and, taking into account all these factors, the student must decide when to take their SAT exam. At a minimum, students must dedicate at least ten hours of preparation before taking the SAT or ACT. Because these tests require a lot of preparation to get good results, it is best to spread out your preparation throughout tenth grade and the following summer. So now that you know how important it is to prepare for the SAT and when you should take your first test, it's time to consider which grade level of prep is right for you. When deciding which grade level of SAT prep is best for you, it is important to consider your own academic goals and timeline.
If you are aiming for a top-tier college or university, it is best to start preparing early and dedicate enough time to practice tests. On the other hand, if you are looking for a lower score than what is typically required by top-tier colleges, then it may be best to wait until tenth grade or later before beginning your prep. It's important to remember that between the spring of tenth grade (when students would first try the SAT or ACT) and December of twelfth grade (the last chance to take the SAT or ACT before the usual application deadlines), students learn and grow significantly. Therefore, it's important to plan ahead and decide which grade level of prep is right for you based on your academic goals and timeline.