SAT and ACT FAQs: What Can I Do To Prepare for the SAT and ACT?

About this article
If you're planning on attending college, one of the first things you should be focused on is making a good grade on the one (or both) of the two most popular standardized tests-the SAT and the ACT. This article provides information on what you can do to prepare for these tests.
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There are, ultimately, three ways to study for the SAT and ACT:

- Study independently

- Hire a private tutor

- Take a test-prep course

Each way has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Study Independently

If you study independently, for example, you get to study on your own terms. Both the SAT and ACT offer official study guides created from the test makers themselves. For a fairly reasonable price you can get a hold of one of these and you will be set. You can choose, what, when, and even how you want to study. Problem is, you can't take the test in your pajamas at the kitchen table. Thus, when you go into those blank classrooms filled with possibly twenty or more other students, you may have the knowledge but be unprepared for the testing environment.

Hire a Private Tutor

Hiring a private tutor may seem like the next best idea. You probably will be able to choose to meet him or her at a facility or in the comfort of your own home. Another benefit is a professional will guide your studying. The problem may be obvious-money. Hiring a private tutor is probably the most expensive route to take. Aside from that, about.com states, the quality of courses given by small local company's are simply too uneven to trust. So, you might get the best tutor in the world or you might get the worst-it's a gamble.

Take a Test-Prep Course

Last, but not least is the test-prep course option. Here, according to about.com, there are three options:

- A school-sponsored course

- A commercial course given by a local company

- A commercial course given by a national company, like Kaplan or Princeton Review

School-sponsored course

School sponsored courses are the cheapest, but not necessarily the best options. While money is a factor when studying for the SAT and ACT, quality of instruction should be important too. Typically, schools simply don't offer a high quality of instruction for their test-prep courses because of limited resources.

Commercial Course by Local Company

Here, the same rules apply as the heading 'Hire a Private Tutor'.

Commercial course by National Company

About.com thinks of this method as the one of the best options for test-prep. This is because the courses and instructors at the big companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review are constantly evaluated and assessed for quality. Obviously, the problem again is money. However, it may be possible that your school already has partnerships with these commercial companies. Contact administrators, your guidance counselor, or a teacher. Anyway you can find out if your school has a partnership is worthwhile because partnerships mean commercial courses at cheaper rates.

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  • BA: Criminal Justice
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The George Washington University

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What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University Global

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Full Sail University

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