Many students are worried about taking the ACT and SAT and therefore spend long hours practicing and preparing for the big day. On the other hand, there are good students who feel that preparing for the ACT and SAT isn’t necessary. If you fall in the last category, consider the following points before writing off your ACT/SAT preparation time in favor of other activities.
Practice Makes Perfect
Studying and practicing for the ACT or SAT will almost certainly improve your test score, especially if you know what to focus on during your study time. This doesn’t mean you have to spend long hours studying; however, it does mean that you need to study the right subjects, take practice tests to identify your weak areas, and then focus on those areas to bring up your score.
Being comfortable with the exam format will help you beat your stress and focus on the test rather than your fears, enabling you to earn a higher score. Take practice tests for both the ACT and the SAT that are formatted to look just like the real tests, so the exams will feel familiar to you on test day.
Your College/University Application Is at Stake
Your ACT and SAT scores aren’t the only factors that a college or university considers when looking at your application. Your experiences, passions, skills, and even personalized essays can all impact your success in getting into the college or university of your choice. However, this does not mean that you can “wing” the ACT or SAT. Your scores from these tests are still one of the most important factors in determining which educational institution you do or don’t get into.
Admissions departments at competitive schools (such as Ivy League universities) receive more applications than they can accept and most schools have minimum score criteria for these tests, which are often posted on their websites to determine student eligibility. If you have a low SAT or ACT score, your application may be tossed out before someone even has time to read it. In that case, all your other application materials won’t matter.
On the other hand, a good SAT or ACT score will help you get your foot in the door, increasing the odds that your application will be read and seriously considered. What is more, once a college or university has narrowed down the applications and is deciding which students to accept, your score will likely be one of the final determining factors. Even a few points can have a massive impact on your future educational plans.
Scholarships Are at Stake
There are plenty of organizations that offer one-time or ongoing funding based on your ACT or SAT score. The higher your score is, the more scholarship funding opportunities will be at your disposal.
Furthermore, many colleges and universities offer automatic scholarships to those who have a minimum ACT or SAT score. The required minimum score varies depending on which college or university you attend; however, in most instances a minimum SAT score of 1200 or a minimum ACT score of 25 is needed in order to receive funding.
Now that you know how important it is to study for the ACT or SAT test before taking the exams, it’s time to get started. First of all, you need to decide which test you want to take. Colleges and universities throughout the country accept both tests, so your choice won’t impact your admission eligibility. However, each test does have its own particular challenges you should be aware of.
You also need to create a study schedule well in advance of your test so you can review subjects at your own pace without cramming all the learning you need to do into a short amount of time. In addition, it’s a good idea to find a study partner you can work with, especially if you need to practice.
Need a place to start? Sign up for UWorld’s practice tests. UWorld has helped more than a million students pass the ACT, SAT, and other high-stakes exams with flying colors. The program offers practice tests, easy-to-understand explanations, and a program that allows you to study at your own pace when you have time. Get in touch with us to learn more and try out our free practice exams.