Short answer: December of your Junior year
Long answer: Read on! And it’s never too late!
At Brooklyn Math Tutors, we get calls all the time from parents and students at ends of this spectrum:
Here’s how to determine your own Goldilocks Date:
1. Sign up for a real simulated practice test
That’s right! A real one! In a test center!
There are tons of options to sit for a FREE practice test because many companies use practice tests as “hooks” to get you to consider their tutoring services. For example, Princeton Review may offer free practice tests in your area.
If getting to a test center will be difficult for you or if you can’t find any in your area, you can do a practice test through a test prep company online. For example: Kaplan offers free practice tests + score reviews.
Or you can do it yourself! Find a quiet location, grab a stopwatch and a calculator, turn off your smartphone, and set aside about 5 hours. Print a practice test from the web, do the test, and score it. Here’s some free ACT and SAT practice tests that you can print.
2. Get your score.
|I want||We recommend that you study||We recommend that you take the test in||We recommend that you do||We recommend that you|
|50 more points||10 hours||1 month||500 practice problems||Self study|
|100 more points||20 hours||2 months||1000 practice problems||Get a tutor for 3-5 sessions|
|200 more points||20-50 hours||2-3 months||2000+ practice problems||Get a tutor for 5-8 sessions|
|300 more points||50-80 hours||3-6 months||3000+ practice problems||Get a tutor for 8-12 sessions and consider a prep course|
|350+ more points||100+ hours||5+ months||3500+ practice problems||Get a tutor for 15+ sessions and go through a prep course|
3. Pick a date that you will take the test
To find the upcoming SAT test dates: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/dates-deadlines
To find the upcoming ACT test dates: http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/taking-the-test.html
4. Make a study plan
Do you need to study one topic more than the other?
How much can you realistically study each day?
What materials will you need?
Tip: you can buy most SAT and ACT prep books online for very cheap
Tip: Khan Academy has excellent free SAT study resources available
When can you take an additional practice test to gauge your progress?
5. What support will you need?
Do you need a tutor to explain certain concepts to you?
Do you need a tutor or prep course to help you stay on track with your study plan?
Do you need to designate a certain area of the house as a quiet study-zone?
Do you need your parents to help hold you accountable for studying during defined periods of time?
Do you need to deactivate your Facebook or Instagram or other distractions during this time?
6. Go for it!
The SAT and ACT are very trainable tests and you CAN do it!