With the new school year set to begin, juniors in particular have to decide whether and when to take the SAT and the ACT. We can offer some guidance about which tests to take and when to begin ACT and SAT tutoring in St. Louis.
Usually, most schools administer the PSAT to all juniors in October. The PSAT is a slightly shorter version of the SAT, and it is used not only for practice with the SAT but also for qualifying for National Merit scholarships. A high score on the PSAT would put a student into the pool for semifinalist designation, with a chance to become a scholarship recipient as a senior. Students who would like to become National Merit should definitely consider PSAT tutoring before the test.
When deciding between ACT and SAT, students should understand that the tests have different designs. The SAT is a “forward” looking test, evaluating critical and analytical reasoning skills in verbal and quantitative settings. The ACT is a “backward” looking test, trying to see if verbal and quantitative skills on the test match expectations for juniors and seniors. The ACT puts more premium on time, and the SAT on difficulty. We encourage students to explore both tests to see which design best fits a student’s natural abilities. Please note that some colleges may prefer ACT or SAT, so if you have potential colleges in mind, see if they express a preference before preparing.
The ACT and SAT are both given multiple times throughout the year, with most students testing at least once between January and July of junior year. In Missouri, students also take the ACT through school as a replacement for MAP testing, usually in April.