Save up to $1260 on SAT + ACT Prep. Ends Friday, December 29th. Learn more.

Gameplan for Junior Year

The most important thing to remember is that your junior-year grades are the most important grades on your transcript. The classes you will take in your junior year are the most similar to those you will see in college—assuming there are APs in the mix, and the schools you apply to will want to see academic strength at this level. Ideally, you’d like to show some sort of upward trend in your grades from previous years if your grades were not all A’s.

You should have taken the PSAT in October. You should take your first SAT any time from November to March. If your PSAT scores are not as high as you would like them to be, you should consider starting your SAT prep sooner rather than later. Take a little time to research the middle 50% of the incoming freshmen classes’ SAT scores (collegeboard.com) at colleges that interest you. If you start in January, you have about a year to achieve the scores you need. To estimate an SAT score from your PSAT score, use the table below:

PSAT Score SAT Reading Score SAT Math Score SAT Writing Score
20 230-330 220-310 230-330
25 250-360 250-350 260-370
30 290-400 280-390 300-410
35 330-450 330-440 340-450
40 370-490 370-480 380-500
45 420-530 420-530 420-540
50 460-600 460-600 470-630
55 510-650 510-650 510-680
60 550-690 560-690 550-720
65 600-740 600-740 590-750
70 650-780 640-770 630-780
75 690-800 680-790 670-800

Start your SAT or ACT prep course 8 to 15 weeks prior to your scheduled test date. If you are currently enrolled in Algebra II, it may be best to wait until January to take your first SAT.

As you are researching schools, set up interviews as needed and plan college visits. Visits are important because there is no better way to get a “feel” for the college or university you are researching.

Plan to take the SAT or ACT twice during your junior year. If possible, tack on the second SAT or ACT in the winter months.

Engage deeply within your chosen extracurricular activities. Leadership and depth of commitment are paramount. In this domain, many people find their “story” that will eventually inform their admissions essay.

Take your SAT Subject tests in May or June where applicable.

As your junior year winds down, collect college applications and explore scholarship opportunities. Start to work on the applications during the late summer.

Good Luck!


Applerouth is a trusted test prep and tutoring resource. We combine the science of learning with a thoughtful, student-focused approach to help our clients succeed. Call or email us today at 202-558-5644 or info@applerouth.com.


  • BT Mom

    Thanks for this Post… the guidance is appreciated!!! I’ve got a Sophmore and want to make sure I’m not behind the game. BTW… your rep did an excellent job last night.