The SAT and the ACT is vital to assessing your child’s college readiness. Though not perfect it does give the college’s a standard and helps them assess your child based on those standards. There is also the PSAT/NMSQT (given in sophomore and junior year of high school, annually). This test is used for both a practice test for the SAT and to assess students to be award The National Merit Scholarships. The National Merit Scholarships are given to students who score exceptionally well but the PSAT/NMSQT is open to all students.
I believe the biggest myth for most students is that you only need to take one of the tests (either SAT or ACT) and only take it once. This is incorrect! Most students should take the SAT at least three times and the ACT at least twice.
There are numerous study guides, courses, websites and the www.collegeboard.org and www.act.org websites to utilize for assistance. It is mandatory for your student to study and prepare for these tests. Both are important and different. Each assesses different academic standards, so make sure your child takes both tests. Some students do much better on one test verse the other.
SAT is offered from October to June each month. The ACT is usually offered September, October, December, February, April and June.
These tests are mentally grueling for students. Sitting and mentally concentrating for 4+hours on a Saturday morning is very difficult. The best way to prepare for this test is to time different sections daily (using a practice guide that you can purchase in almost any bookstore or online) at least two or three weeks prior to the test.
My best advice is start taking these test early! At least by the fall of your Junior year in high school!!!