Countdown to the Summer/Fall SAT + ACT Dates
Use Your Time Off to Ace the Fall SAT/ACTs!
It’s summer at last, and the SAT and ACT might be the last thing on your mind. That’s fair: you’ve made it through the school year and deserve to enjoy your success. But once you’ve some time to relax, you might be ready to start thinking about the fall testing season. We’re actually just weeks out from the August SAT and the September ACT will follow on its heels. It’s a good idea to make a plan for the fall now, while you have the down time.
Is a fall SAT or ACT right for me?
Every student’s college application journey is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to testing. That being said, the fall testing dates are popular because they’re a good fit for a lot of students.
Fall testing dates are ideal for rising juniors who have already taken Algebra 2 and who want to get a jump start on their application process. If you’re at or above grade level in your other courses, that helps as well. Some juniors are able to finish all of their testing before the spring of their junior year, but many students hold the spring dates in reserve (in case they don’t meet their score goal or they want to reach even higher).
Fall testing dates are also a good fit for rising seniors who haven’t met their score goal yet or who haven’t been able to test due to COVID-19 cancellations. Regular application deadlines are in the winter and spring, so a senior could take the SAT or ACT multiple times in the fall. Be careful if you plan to apply early, though! Early application deadlines can be as early as October, so if you plan to apply early to your dream school, make sure you take a summer or early fall test to get your scores back in time to meet your deadline.
Fall testing dates aren’t ideal for rising sophomores or freshmen. A very advanced sophomore might choose to test in the summer after their sophomore year, but for most students, junior year is the right time to start thinking about the SAT and ACT.
Don’t forget to register for several test dates!
We’ve discussed the importance of multiple test dates several times here on the Applerouth blog. There are a lot of benefits to planning on multiple test dates and starting with a fall test can help make things manageable.
If you take the SAT or ACT multiple times, then you may be able to send a superscored report to the colleges on your list. Superscoring combines top section scores across different testing administrations to create a new, higher score. The SAT has been superscored for years now, and the ACT just released its new superscored report back in April. Remember, individual colleges decide whether or not they’ll accept superscores, so it’s important to be aware of the admissions policies of every school you plan to apply to.
Building a testing plan that includes several testing dates also keeps you safe from test date cancellations, illness, or other emergencies. Plus, it takes the pressure off! It’s a lot easier to show what you know when you have a backup plan.
How should I prepare for a fall test?
If you’ve decided a fall test (or several) is right for you, you’re in a great place to start prepping. Now that it’s summer you’ve got more free time, so you can prepare at your pace without the distractions of school, homework, and extracurriculars.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your summer! There’s no reason for you to spend all of your time doing practice problems. A smart prep plan will make the best use of your time, so you’ll be able to do tutoring and practice testing, and practice without sacrificing your poolside afternoons, weekend camping trips, or lazy movie-watching days!
Your first step should be to plot out your testing dates. Once you’ve registered for two or three test dates, you should take a practice test to get a starting (or “baseline”) score. A baseline score is absolutely vital, but you don’t have to take an official exam to get that score; a practice test will give you the score and additional information that you need to get started.
Most students’ prep plans depend on how much of an improvement they hope to see from the process. For some students, a group class with a general overview of all the topics might be best. Other students might need more one-on-one help from a private tutor. No one way is “best,” but certain approaches might work better for certain students.
We know that making a testing plan can seem overwhelming, so our Program Advisors are always here to help you make the right choice for your testing. If you think you’ll be prepping this summer or sometime soon, check out Applerouth’s Summer Sale:save up to $1290 on test prep and up to $300 on academic tutoring when you enroll in private tutoring by June 30th. For more information, visit applerouth.com/summer.