Registering to take the ACT/SAT is only a small part of the testing process. There are some college bound high school students who register and show up on test day without any prior preparation.
Some of those students may still perform suitably on the tests, but your child’s chances are greatly improved by properly preparing for the exams. This means you should register your student for a test date far enough in the future to give them time to prepare.
There are many study materials available at bookstores and on the internet to prepare students for either the ACT or SAT. These tests are different and materials should be obtained that pertain to the specific test your student will be taking.
Work with your child to set up a study plan so that all material is covered ongoing. Make sure he/she understands that waiting until the last minute to cram is ill advised. Sample tests are available and these are a good measure of how well prepared your student is for exam day.
Many parents have their students take both the ACT and the SAT. Some students do better on the ACT and others on the SAT. Check the entrance requirements at schools your student is considering attending to confirm which tests they accept. You also need to know what scores are required to enter specific colleges.
It is a good idea to start testing your student prior to their senior year. First, it gives them experience in testing, which will help them overcome anxiety and stress on future tests. Secondly, you can pay a little extra to obtain a report of your child’s test results that shows how they performed in each area of the test.
This helps identify strengths and weaknesses so your child can work harder on the problem areas and perform better on future tests. Some parents register their students to start ACT/SAT testing in the middle school years.
It is important if you plan to have your student test multiple times that you don’t automatically send test results to a potential college. Some colleges evaluate multiple test scores differently than others, and a low score can be detrimental at some schools even if a better score is submitted later.
There are many schools that simply view the best score and disregard the rest. Just be sure to research beforehand to avoid a complication. There is no need to be in a rush to submit these scores to colleges in the early high school years anyway, so it is best to test multiple times prior to the senior year and make decisions based on the results.