Background: Who must prepare for college entrance exams?
Are you a high school sophomore who is overwhelmed with questions about your upcoming college application process? Do you wonder about how to prepare for the official SAT or ACT? What about SAT II Subject Tests? While getting ready to take such important standardized tests can seem scary, the Exam Prep process doesn’t have to be.
First, as more and more students seek enrollment in top colleges and universities, the application and admission processes have become increasingly competitive. For example, Princeton University accepts as few as 6.4% of their total applicants. Meanwhile, Harvard University accepts 5.3%. However, you should not let single-digit acceptance rates frighten you, because there is a clear path to solidifying yourself as a top applicant—perfect or near-perfect SAT, ACT, and SAT II scores.
How will a top SAT or ACT score help me in the college admissions process?
If you score above a 1500, you will most likely be placed into the excellent candidate range in Ivy League schools. This is great news for two reasons:
- Unlike your high school GPA—which takes four long years to accumulate—you can boost your test-taking skills (and your official score)—in a matter of months or weeks.
- With rigorous test training, it is possible to significantly improve your overall SAT or ACT score—regardless of your initial abilities.
BONUS NOTE: Many instructors encourage students to focus on attaining perfect SAT Math scores, because math is a “universal language” and efficient problem-solving skills are obtainable through consistent practice. In other words, for students who are not English class all-stars, prioritizing math may be a wise idea. (A perfect 800 on Math equals one step closer to that top composite score!)
While college admissions officers review multiple components when evaluating applicants (your GPA, which high school you attend, your Common App essay(s), letters of recommendation, etc.), standardized test scores help them separate excellent students from the great ones. In plain language, a high SAT, ACT, or SAT II Subject Test will increase your chances of acceptance to highly competitive schools.
With these ideas in mind, we’ve compiled several main points about college admissions, the SAT, and the ACT that all high school underclassmen should consider when embarking on their Exam Prep journeys.
What are some key things to remember about the SAT, ACT, and SAT II Subject Test(s)?
A. The SAT and ACT are endurance tests that highlight your problem-solving abilities in English and Math. Once you build up your attention span, content mastery, and test-taking skills, you will increase your likelihood of earning the elusive perfect score. The best way to achieve this feat is through hard work and consistency in a proven Exam Prep program, such as our SAT/ACT Dual Prep model.
B. If your dream college(s) list preference for specific college entrance exams (Math IIc SAT II Subject Test, the ACT with the essay, etc.), then you should make it a priority to master their requirements. Take the exams they are asking for!
C. SAT II Subject Tests should align closely with your potential major or future career path. If you are interested in liberal arts and humanities, stick to World/U.S. History, English Literature, or world languages. However, if you plan to enter the STEM field, you should select math or science exams. Learn more about SAT II Subject Tests here.
D. The earlier you start preparing for the SAT or ACT, the more time you will have to perfect your score. Complete your SAT IIs shortly after you finish a course in your chosen exam topic. For example, if you have just finished AP Chemistry, you should also take the Chemistry Subject Test as soon as possible. You should finalize your SAT or ACT scores by the end of the 11th grade—the beginning of 12th if it is absolutely necessary!
E. The Redesigned 2016 SAT emphasizes reading fluency. In order to improve your reading skills, you must actively read as much as you can. Work on identifying the main points in challenging online news articles. Concentrate on the main idea, literary devices, and sentence structure used in your English class’s required readings. Building reading skills is about more than SAT prep alone!
F. DO NOT let the ACT Science section deter you from the ACT! In reality, the science section is less about science and more about analytical reading. To choose the right test for you (either the SAT or ACT), you should take an initial evaluation test with MEK. We will provide a detailed score report breaking down your performance in each section! Know the facts—and your own testing abilities—in order to make an informed decision.
G. Try to nail down your test scores in two attempts. Taking the SAT, ACT, or SAT II more than two times could lead to exhaustion, frustration, and score decreases! Avoid burnout and focus on reaching your goal score your first time if possible.
Essentially, in order to succeed on various college entrance exams, you should:
- Start early
- Select the best tests for you
- Aim to earn that perfect score!
MEK Review is a proud provider of proven and efficient test training programs, and many of our students become some of the top SAT and ACT test-takers in the nation. Please visit our website for more information on our available courses! Spring 2018 programs begin January 2018, and we look forward to helping you Plan. Practice. Achieve.