The SAT and the ACT are two standalone tests conducted by an independent body. Almost all the colleges in the country require a good score in the entrance exams to get admission in college. A student has to get a decent score in the entrance exam to get admission. The SAT is considered to be one of the best entrances to take for entry into college.
Once you are in senior high, you should start preparing for entrance tests like the SAT. Most high schoolers face the dilemma of when would be the right time to start preparing for the SAT. What is the right time for this? How long does it take to have a solid preparation that one becomes confident about the exam?
The first thing a high schooler needs to do is to sort out which test would be the best for them. Then accordingly work on it. Secondly, you need to plan and strategize for your SAT test very early in order to stay ahead of the competition and to make sure that you are well prepared.
You need to schedule your SAT test date in a way so that you have enough time to prepare. Then make sure that you have an ample amount of time with you. You cannot afford to study at the last moment. There are a lot of factors that matter in the SAT. You need to study smart. You have to be aware of the types of questions that come in the test.
When and How Can You Start preparing for the SAT?
Below we've discussed the right time to start preparing for the SAT and the right time to take the SAT.
So, the question is, “Can you start worrying about your SAT test right from the 9th grade. Well, this is not a good idea. You can’t understand half of the questions as at this point in high school, you haven’t learned many of the concepts. In SAT you will be getting math questions of pre-calculus level which you haven’t learned as of now. So there is no point in worrying at this level. All you can do is focus on your fundamentals and basics and build a solid foundation that will help you later in cracking the SAT test.
In 9th grade, you can focus on gaining more knowledge. You can start thinking of the PSAT exam towards the end of the year. This will help you in the future.
By the end of your sophomore year, you should start to think about taking the PSAT. The PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, is a preparatory version of the SAT that won’t count towards your college applications.
You can think of PSAT but not the SAT in your 10th grade. PSAT is a Preliminary SAT that you can take for practice and know where you stand. But our PSAT score doesn't count during college admission.
By taking PSAT you will also have an idea of whether you would like to take the SAT or you would go for the ACT. How much you have to study to face the actual SAT and what are the things that you are already good at will be clear after appearing for PSAT. By appearing in PSAT and doing well in it you can also qualify for the national merit scholarship.
PSAT test is very similar to the SAT test. You can start reading and studying about your PSAT test really early. You should start preparing for this test for at least three months. If your school is offering you the SAT or PSAT test, it is very well and good for you.
Once you enter 11th grade you can seriously start thinking and preparing for the SAT test. In 11th grade, you can take the SAT whenever you wish but you have to look into a lot of other parameters. So let’s see what are the parameters that one should look into.
Your Workload: If you decide to take the SAT at the beginning of the year, make sure you devote at least two to three hours daily besides your regular high school classes and studies. Can you devote 2 to 3 hours daily for SAT preparation? If not then it is better to wait till summer because you will have some free time and you can give enough time to your SAT preparation. You can also schedule SAT after winter break or after thanksgiving because there also you will have enough time to prepare for the SAT exam.
Your Test Prep Plan: Once you have checked for availability, registered and booked your slot, all you need to do is to come up with a solid preparation plan. How many hours you are going to devote to which section, what are your weak areas, and how are you going to work on it and what are your strong areas where you can maximize your score? Then how have you planned to revise topics which you already know? You have to learn to manage your time in the most effective way.
You must take the SAT once in your 11th grade, .i.e your junior year, at least it will give you a boost. That way you will overcome your fear and will have more confidence to face the test. Irrespective of whether you score high or low, you will have an idea of what to do and what not to do in the SAT.
If you are not satisfied with your SAT score. Then probably you can appear for the SAT test before your first semester. If you attend SAT again in the second semester then you might not be able to send those scores because by the time you will be applying to college you will not have the SAT scores if you apply in the second semester.
You will have a few test dates options. Now the question is what date you should choose. During the first semester or fall semester which dates will be convenient for you? You have to look for all the factors. Here are a few things you should look for.
Have you taken the SAT Before?
Have you already taken the SAT before and you were preparing for your SAT exam? Then you don't have to study much, just a little bit of tricks, hacks, and revision will do wonders for you? But what if you are taking the SAT for the first time then you should start preparing well ahead by a few months.
Your Workload: Once you are in your 12th grade or senior high you will have a whole sort of assignment to complete, your own course. So think about it, when will you be the busiest wand when can you take time for the SAT test and work accordingly. On top of it you will also be busy with college applications.
The bottom line is, there is no ideal time to take the SAT. It depends on students and varies from individuals to individuals.
The few key takeaways are:
One cannot take the SAT at 8th or 9th grade because by that time you haven’t covered most of the topics that will be coming on the SAT exam.
Taking the SAT exam in 12th grade is like taking a last-minute test. It may lead to a lot of mess. Hence, educators, mentors, and guides ask their students to take the SAT during 11th grade.
It is a crucial decision. Hence, think before you act and make wise decisions. At the end of the day, it is the SAT score that will decide your pathway to college life.