Freshman year is the perfect time for high school students to start thinking about the ACT, SAT, and other college entrance exams. These stress-inducing tests are usually associated with the junior and senior years of high school. But studies show that getting a head start on test prep during the first two years of high school drastically improves student success when the exams roll around. In other words, it’s never too early to begin test prep. But where do you start? Here’s a list of some attainable goals for high school freshmen looking to get a jump on ACT, SAT, and SAT Subject Test prep.
As soon as you enter high school, it’s important to develop a good relationship with your guidance counselor. High school guidance staff members are invaluable resources in the pursuit of academic excellence and college acceptances. The first large task that your high school guidance counselor will assist you with is the course enrollment process. A lot of the courses you take during your first two years of high school are beneficial down the road. For example, a lot of skills taught in high school math and English courses will come in handy on college entrance exams. Enrolling in classes like Geometry, Algebra, and Literature will help you develop the skills necessary for SAT/ ACT success. It’s therefore important to enroll in courses that lead to success on college entrance exams as early as possible.
For students without older siblings, relying on the wisdom of students who have taken the SATs and ACTs can make a big difference. Try your best to get immersed in an environment with students who’ve already taken these tests. Pick their brains about their personal experiences, tips, and tricks for managing stress and finding success on the SATs and ACTs. By speaking to someone who went to the same high school as you (had the same teachers, classes, and learning environment), and has recently taken the test, you will get practical advice that you may not get elsewhere.
As a freshman in high school, you don’t need a comprehensive list of universities to apply to as a junior. But it is important to have a few specific schools in mind and to know the types of schools where you feel you’d belong. This will help gauge the test scores you need to gain acceptance. When you have a rough idea of schools that interest you, you can base your study habits and test prep strategy on the average scores of accepted students.
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