The SAT/ACT Tests
FAQs and Resources
The SAT and/or ACT is one of the most important aspects of your college application - but if your score isn't where it should be, then don't sweat it! Your grades, course rigor, and standardized test scores are the most important factors used when determining whether or not you are academically strong enough for a certain college. Getting a good score on these tests is a great way to put your best foot forward. Here, we’ve compiled a few FAQs and resources to help you do the best you can on your SATs and ACTs!
1) What’s the best way to prepare for the SATs/ACTs?
Many agree that the best way to prepare for these tests is to take full, timed practice tests. Practice tests help students get used to the answering styles and problems on the SAT/ACT. They can also help you build up your test-taking stamina for test day. You should know what it’s like to sit for around three hours taking a test with short breaks in between before you go in to take a standardized test.
2) What are the best SAT/ACT practice books out there?
There are many great test prep books out there. They all approach the tests in different ways. Different students learn and absorb information differently, so you need to do some research on your own to find the test prep book that works best for you! With that said, here are three test prep books/ book series’s with tons of great reviews. These books have helped tons of students improve their scores, and they may help you too.
The College Panda Books. These books were created by a perfect-scorer on both the SAT and ACT. Each book covers a different subject, and there are books on the SAT and ACT math, reading, and essay sections. The College Panda series has helped thousands of students improve their scores. You can get their books on Amazon.
The SAT/ACT Black Books. These books are considered some of the best SAT and ACT prep books of all time because they provide students with effective strategies as well as test prep resources. You can find more reviews of these books (and buy them!) on Amazon.
The College Board’s Official SAT Study Guide. This book is loved by many because it’s very cost-effective. You don’t pay much for it, but you get lots of practice tests! You can buy the latest edition on Amazon. (There’s also a similar official ACT prep guide. It’s a great resource for practice questions. Even though it’s not as cost-effective as the College Board’s SAT study guide, it’s still cheaper than many of the SAT/ACT prep books out there. You can buy it on Amazon.)
3) What if I can’t afford a prep class or an expensive prep book? How can I study effectively for the SAT/ACTs?
Don’t worry! There’s plenty you can do to study for the SAT/ACTs, without a prep class! If you’d like a prep book, you can find many cheap ones online that provide some useful practice questions. You can visit many websites, like thriftbooks.com, that sell cheaper test prep books. There are also tons of resources online that you can use. Here are a few of the best:
Khan Academy. Khan Academy has partnered with the College Board to provide a comprehensive, extremely helpful SAT prep section. You can find tons of practice problems and practice tests there.
Reddit. Believe it or not, Reddit has a ton of forums that discuss the SATs and ACTs. Many of these forums have practice tests, practice questions, and helpful tips and tricks to help you ace the SAT/ACTs!
Powerscore.com. Powerscore is a website that provides access to lots of free SAT and ACT practice tests. It also has a helpful blog with tips for the SATs.
4) Should I take SAT subject tests?
If you are strong in a particular subject and may pursue that subject as a career, taking SAT subject tests and scoring well may help to boost your application. However, SAT subject tests require extra preparation and studying. Make sure that you don’t take them just for the sake of having them on your resume - that could hurt you more than help you. In short, subject tests are by no means required, but if you can score well on them then taking them could give you some extra edge in the applications process!
5) Which one is easier, the SAT or the ACT?
Both tests are challenging in their own ways. Often, deciding which test to take boils down to your abilities and what type of test taker you are. Check out this great article from US News that gives an overview of the SAT vs. the ACT. To help determine which one you should take, check out this article from the Princeton Review.