ACT Test

How Many Times Should You Take the SAT or ACT?

By Kendell Shaffer
SATs and Acts have different rules about how many times someone can take them. But it’s probably best to follow your student’s college counselor’s guide to determine what is right for him or her. Please consider that although these tests are important, they are just part of the package that colleges look at when assessing a student.
Students can take the SATs as many times as they want. There are no restrictions. However, only the most recent six remain on their file at a time. In contrast to the unlimited times you can take the SAT, the student is only allowed to take the ACT twelve times. But taking the test so many times may not be a great idea. Some colleges require students to submit all their test scores to be admitted. They report poor scores alongside great scores. Some schools let the student Score Choice and select the best scores to submit. It’s important to review the requirements of each school before diving into the SAT or ACT tests.
Superscoring is a good way for students to submit the best of their scores to schools. Instead of defining their score by a specific date, some colleges agree to allow students to send their superscores, which may be a culmination of tests taken on different dates. For example, if your child scores higher in math on their June SAT, and higher on English on their September SAT, their superstore would be their June math score along with their September English score.
My son’s college counselor is suggesting that he take both the SAT and the ACT in June and then see which one he performs better on and which one he feels more comfortable with. Then she wants him to pick one and take that test again in the fall. She does not want him to spend all his time for the test. She wants him to spend the summer on his college essay and prepare his art portfolio. This advice works well for my son, but it might not work well for every student.
Tests are expensive, so unless your child has a large budget, taking the test multiple times can be a strain financially. I am comfortable in knowing that my son will take the test twice, but not obsess about it and spend his entire summer studying.

Summer SAT/ACT Test Prep Progress

By Kendell Shaffer

Two months ago my son agreed to do SAT test prep for twenty minutes a day. That plan went pretty well the first week, but we found that on weekends, his days were so packed he could barely find a minute to study. He’d been using an SAT test prep book at home and we were just about to go on a long road trip. I was worried his twenty-minutes-a-day plan would disappear. Then I discovered SAT and ACT practice apps I could download for free. I was elated. He was a bit bummed that he now had no excuse not to study on the road, but I convinced him the apps are game-like and might relieve some boredom on the long car ride.

These are a few that he has tried:

Math Brain Booster Games is a free download in the Apple Store. This game helps to build speed and mental math skills. It’s fun to pick up and “play” and has a timed element which gives it a competitive edge. Their description notes, “it will improve ATTENTION, REACTION and VELOCITY.”

The Daily Practice for the SAT®, free app from The College Board, has several parts. One that my son found helpful was the Scan and Score feature which allows you to take a photo of your SAT practice worksheet and obtain instant test scores. They offer an SAT Question of the Day, or the chance to binge on specific SAT practice questions. Not the funnest interface, but definitely closet to the real thing given that it was created by The College Board.

Magoosh offers the free ACT Practice Flashcards app. This harmless interface allows the student to move through a series of flashcards and set their own practice pace. By logging in, your child can keep track of their progress and easily pick up where they left off. Practice sessions for English include: Punctuation and Grammar, and Structure and Style. For Math: Integer Properties, Fractions and Ratios, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Advanced Topics. For Science: Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

So no need to let the family summer road trip be an excuse for your child to stop SAT or ACT prep. And parents, you might want to try the app once in awhile. There’s nothing wrong with a little mental math practice in your adult years. And besides, children learn from example, right?

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