How and When to Prepare for the PSAT, SAT or ACT Exam

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How and When to Prepare for the PSAT, SAT or ACT Exam

Many students wonder if they should study before taking the PSAT, SAT or ACT exam. The simple answer is YES.

There are many methods of study that are available to you and your preparation can be tailored to meet your learning style.

Many students like preparing online and there are programs that can guide you through the exam prep. Some programs are free while others charge a fee that varies from inexpensive to expensive. I recommend this method of studying if you are a self-motivated learner and can master new skills without personal instruction.

If you prefer guidance from an expert, there are two options available to you.

The first option is the classroom approach. Fees vary from moderate to expensive depending on the length and depth of the program. There are a multitude of classes available that offer test preparation. Most are small group instruction with no more than twelve (12) students in your study group. The course is taught per a set structure with pre- and post- testing done at prescribed intervals. Individual differences are not usually taken into account and if you have a particular area of weakness, your instructor may not be available to assist you on an individual basis.

The second option is individual instruction. Fees are usually more expensive than the classroom approach. The instructor can cater to your specific needs and modify the curriculum based on your areas of weakness. Pre- and post- testing are done multiple times with the curriculum being modified to give you more practice on your weakest skills.

When to study? I am asked that question by my clients every year. My answer is always the same: begin the summer before junior year to prep for the PSAT exam. Once you have taken the PSAT exam, you should begin to prep about three (3) months before either the SAT or ACT exam.  Complete a pre-test before starting to prep for the exam, finish at least two trial tests during test prep and then a final post-test. Hopefully, you will see a positive change of at least 100 points from the pre-test to the post-test. If you plan on taking the exam multiple times, review for about one (1) month before the test. Good luck!

If you have any questions about selecting a college, or the admissions process, feel free to contact me through my website at  or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions!

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