Alright, you just got done taking the SAT or ACT. Congratulations!!! That’s a load off, right? So, you may ask, now what? We read your mind…
Here are 5 easy steps to take now that you’ve taken the big test!
No, seriously. Stop thinking about it. This should be the last thing you read about SATs, ACTs, or test prep for a while. (Ya hear that, mom?)
One of the biggest issues students face when it comes to these exams is test anxiety and burnout. There is most certainly a point where too much time spent working and thinking about your exam can have negative consequences, so go out, enjoy the spring weather…or binge watch your favorite show. It’s allowed! If you worked hard for this most recent test, you’ve earned that right! There’s plenty more time for test prep.
2. Get A Goal Score In Mind
Okay, so once you’ve taken a couple weeks off, it’s important to make sure you know what score you’re looking for BEFORE you get your actual scores back. One of the most common questions we get asked is, “what’s a good score?” Well, that answer depends on where you want to go to college!
Make sure you have some context before you see (and react) to your scores. Take a look at the range of scores that your top-choice schools tend to accept – we call these “Interquartile Scores” – and while you don’t need to have an exact number in mind, knowing what range you’ll want to score in is important.
3. Review Your Scores In Depth
When we get asked “what did you get on your SAT®,” it’s natural to just answer with that big, composite number – ya know, the one out of 1600 (or 36, if we’re talking ACT®). But in order to truly know where you stand, you need to dive deeper into your score report.
Whether it’s the ACT® or SAT®, your composite or total score is broken down into various sub-scores – i.e. Verbal, Math, Science, etc. – and then broken down even further into specific topic areas (e.g. “Algebra/Coordinate Geometry”). Diving into these specifics, and taking a look at which test questions you got wrong can help you prepare even better for the next go round (if there is a next go round).
For extra help interpreting these complex score reports, get in touch with one of our testing experts for a complimentary 30-minute score review session!
4. Look Up Future Test Dates & Early Application Deadlines
Did you know the average student takes the SAT/ACT 2-3 times? Okay, so the hope is that you take this thing once, get a score that’s right in line with your goal and your favorite school’s interquartile range, and you never have to take this thing again. But the truth is, the more times you take the test, the more comfortable you’ll get – and the better your score is likely to be.
So don’t be afraid to take the test another time – many schools allow you to super-score your best scores from multiple tests, and almost all will use your best composite score when making their decisions. And if you’re going to take the test again…make sure you have enough time to prepare, take the test, and get your scores back in time for those early application deadlines. Here’s another useful tip: most college’s early acceptance rates are 4 times higher than their regular decision acceptance rate.
5. Make A Plan
Once you’ve taken all of these steps (including the “Relax” part!), you’ll have all the information you’ll need to make some serious improvements over this test you just took. So put them all together into a comprehensive test prep plan with some measurable goals, a detailed timeline, and a good idea of what areas you need to work on the most.
And if you need any help putting together that plan – whether you’re going to study on your own, in a group class, or with a private tutor – you can always reach out to our Academic Advisors for a complimentary planning session.