When do you start preparing for the ACT or SAT? That’s a great question and unfortunately there's no easy answer.
The only thing I know is that the night before is not an option.
From my experience working with some of the most premiere tutoring companies and professionals in the industry, here are some of the most important questions and tips to consider:
What are your goals? How far are you from reaching them?
If you only need one more point to reach your goal, then you’re not far. Obviously every student is different, but one quick way to assess the question is by assuming you can go up about one ACT point per month. If you work extremely efficiently, you can easily exceed that, but it’s completely dependent on the individual student and their process.
(Check this out: One Major Concept to Understand from Every ACT Subject Test)
What does your schedule look like?
Before you start school and preparing for the ACT or SAT, look at your schedule. If you are a football player, then fall preparation courses are not ideal. Wait until the offseason or when you have more time and fewer commitments. If you want to see results, you need to be fully committed. That means simulating full practice tests in a quiet library, not on the bus traveling to games with your teammates around you.
You don’t want to burn out.
Taking the ACT and SAT is mentally tough. Many of our partners advise their students to take the real test three to four times, max. Just because there is a test in September doesn’t mean you have to take it. Look at the future test dates (check here for the ACT and here for the SAT) and plan accordingly. My suggestion is to plan on taking the test four times. Do not take the last four tests; space them out so you know you can take more or less if needed.
Consult a professional.
You don’t need to spend money on this. Many tutoring companies, and I know because we work them, are happy to talk and share their advice. Additional resources are your high school guidance counselors and family and friends who have been through the process before.
This is your future! Make sure you are fully prepared!