Sophomore year? Junior year? Students and parents are always asking me when a college-bound student should take the ACT or the SAT for the first time. The answer in most cases is the September or October administration of a student’s junior year. This allows her to have a baseline to help create a study plan and start looking at colleges. Let’s say Shametria wants to go to LSU and finds on the school’s website that she needs at least a 24 composite to be considered. Her September test is a 19 composite. Now she knows her goal improvement is 5 points. That’s alot, but not impossible. This helps the parents decide if they want to put her in a school-based prep class, a weekend bootcamp, an online prep program or hire a private tutor. In this case, I would also look at the scholarships available should Shametria reach her goal score of 24. This can also help parents decide if tutoring is a reasonable investment. With a needed gain of 5 points, this student would do well to do a prep course in the fall and take the test the second time in January of her junior year. She’s likely to increase 2-3 points from a prep class. Now that she has a solid 21 or 22 under her belt, it’s time to bring in a private tutor to further refine her skills. Ideally, she earns that 24 by June and takes the test a 4th and final time in the fall of her senior year to try to earn a 25, thus giving her a boost on her application to LSU and putting her in the running for even more scholarship money.
Knowing how to identify an independent clause versus a dependent clause and knowing how to punctuate a compound and a complex sentence can help you get six or more ACT and SAT and PSAT questions correct. This flows right into knowing comma rules, and when you are confident in how to properly use commas, you will raise your score even higher. Commas, semi-colons, and conjunctions show up often in standardized tests. Real life examples are in the sentences in this post.