When Should I Start Test Prep?


  • Starting too early is not ideal as it can lead to frustration and burn out.

  • The highest scores are usually earned spring of junior year through fall of senior year.

  • When possible, it is ideal to have testing completed by end of junior year. For early decision, early action, rolling admissions, many students like to complete testing by June of junior year. For most of these schools, however, the student still can test up until October of senior year and get the score in on time.

  • For many schools, testing must be complete by fall of senior year of high school.

  • For some regular decision schools, the last test date is December of senior year.

  • It is ideal to plan your testing calendar so that you can take the test of choice at least three times. While all three times may not be needed, it is safest to have three test dates in the plan incase they are needed.


Four Timing Options for Testing and Test Prep

Option 1 - Early

  • Take Practice Test: between May and July of Sophomore year and score over 1300/28

  • Start prep summer after sophomore year - (for possible NMSQT students and some recruited athletes)

PLAN TO SIT FOR REAL TESTS ON THESE DATES

SAT

  • Test 1: August/Oct/Nov/

  • Test 2: Dec

  • Test 3: March

  • Option to take again: May or June

ACT

  • Test 1: Sept/Oct

  • Test 2: Dec

  • Test 3: Feb

  • Option to take again: April or June

Option 2 - Still on the Early Side

  • Take Practice Test: between May of sophomore year and October of junior year

  • Start prep summer before or fall of junior year

PLAN TO SIT FOR REAL TESTS ON THESE DATES

SAT

  • Test 1: Dec

  • Test 2: March

  • Test 3: May or June

ACT

  • Test 1: Dec

  • Test 2: Feb

  • Test 3: April or June

Option 3 - Most Common Time

  • Take Practice Test: before Jan 1 of Junior year

  • Start prep after Jan 1 of junior year

PLAN TO SIT FOR REAL TESTS ON THESE DATES

SAT

  • Test 1: March

  • Test 2: May/June

  • Test 3: August

ACT

  • Test 1: Feb

  • Test 2: April

  • Test 3: June or July

Option 4 - There is still time

  • Take Practice Test by June 15 of junior yer

  • Start prep spring of junior year or summer after junior year

PLAN TO SIT FOR REAL TESTS ON THESE DATES

SAT

  • Test 1: August

  • Test 2: October

  • Test 3: Nov/December (if not applying early)

ACT

  • Test 1: July

  • Test 2: September

  • Test 3: Oct or December (if not applying early)