As a student in high school (or even junior high!), you simply do not have enough time in the day to get everything done. Classes, homework, athletics, clubs, extracurriculars, social events, family get-togethers, chores, jobs, and a million other things are constantly competing for your time and attention. Moreover, you are likely preparing for your college future by planning to take the SAT or ACT—or possibly both! A common question many students ask is when to start studying for the SAT or ACT. The difficult answer is that it will vary depending on the student, their schedule, and their study needs. Hopefully today we can provide some clarity on the issue.

If you’d like professional assistance studying for the SAT or ACT, work with a certified tutor from Jantzi Test Prep. Schedule a tutoring session today!

The Best Time to Take the SAT and ACT

You should consider, first, whether you intend to give yourself enough time to retake the exam if you do not achieve your desired score. If you would like to give yourself that extra opportunity, then you need to take your first SAT no later than early in your junior year. To avoid interfering with your coursework, studying during your summer is ideal and taking the exam during the fall is an ideal solution.

If you have a generally lighter schedule during your summer, this should be an attractive option, and it will offer you the flexibility to study at your own pace. Many students will do well on the exam with only a month or so of proper study, but many find the optimal study time to be about two to three months, which gives you time to increase your content knowledge and familiarize yourself with the test format by taking practice exams. If everything goes well on your first SAT, then you will have saved yourself the time and effort you would otherwise have to spend during your senior year while juggling a bevy of competing priorities like college admissions applications.

Much of this advice applies to the ACT as well as the SAT. Aiming to take your preferred exam around the start of your junior year is good advice in either scenario, since you should have a solid knowledge base from your sophomore and freshman years to be able to effectively prepare and succeed on the exam(s).

Making the Most of Your Time

The most important thing to remember is that time is your greatest friend as well as your deadliest foe. The more time you allow yourself to study, prepare, and practice, the better you will do on test day, and the more time you spend focused on other activities the worse off you will be on test day. This does not mean you should only focus on the exam for three or four months of your life! Rather, this is an opportunity to practice proper time management and prepare yourself for college and professional life where competing priorities will always arise, and you will be required to decide what most requires your attention and effort all the time.

Work With a Jantzi Test Prep Tutor

If you’d like professional assistance studying for the SAT or ACT, work with a certified tutor from Jantzi Test Prep. Schedule a tutoring session today!