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Top 10 SAT and ACT Prep Tips

Since SAT and ACT scores are among the most important factors in college admissions, it can be hard to deal with the anxiety that often comes with these tests. Follow these test prep tips to boost your scores and lower your stress levels.

Start with a Practice Test

Any test prep plan should start with a practice SAT or practice ACT. Before you can set a goal, you need to figure out where you’re currently scoring – a diagnostic test is the best way to do that. To get the most accurate score, you’ll need to take your practice test under realistic testing conditions. If you choose to take a test at home, you should take the test in a quiet setting and time yourself for each section. Alternatively, consider taking a C2 Education diagnostic SAT or ACT, full-length tests administered under realistic testing conditions.

Create a Study Schedule

Once you have your original test scores, you’ll need to set some goals. If you already have a list of colleges where you know you want to apply, research the median test scores from prior admitted classes. The College Board’s Big Future website has a search tool that provides this information for hundreds of colleges. Compare your original scores to the average scores for your target schools, and use this information to set your score goals.

Your goal will determine what kind of study schedule you create. After all, if you need to boost your SAT score by more than 100 points, you’ll need to set aside more time than if you hope to boost your score by 40 or 50 points.

Build on Strengths and Target Weaknesses

One of the most valuable things you can learn from your diagnostic SAT or ACT is where to target your test prep. If there are certain types of questions that you did particularly poorly on, you know you need to focus on those questions. For example, if your writing score wasn’t as high as you’d like and you noticed that you didn’t do very well on organization questions, you know that you need to spend extra time studying transitions and paragraph cohesion. Although you’ll want to spend more time on your weakest areas, you’ll still need to spend some time reviewing areas you did really well on so that you can maintain your skills.

Read the full list of our Top 10 SAT and ACT Tips on the C2 blog and get ready to score big on test day.

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