3 answers

What is the best way to self study for SATs and ACTs over the summer?

Asked New York, New York

I'm planning on taking the SAT and ACT after the summer and I am planing to self study. What are some of the most effective ways of studying and what are some tips so that I can do well? Which is less challenging one in your opinion? #college #science #math #writing #testing #sat

3 answers

Deanna’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Hi Josephine,

I took the SAT when I was applying for college, but more recently there have been trends of individuals steering towards the ACT more now. However, it really depends on your study methods and which one you feel more comfortable taking. Keep in mind that the ACT has a science section and even though both exams have an optional essay, many individuals opt to complete it. If you do opt to write the essay portion then the SAT would be a 3 hour and 50 minute exam while the ACT would be a 3 hour and 40 minute exam.

A great article I found relating to the differences between the SAT and ACT is from Princeton Review: https://www.princetonreview.com/college/sat-act. It outlines much of what you need to know and even offers practice exams.

In terms of self study, make sure to pick up prep books. I particularly like the Princeton Reviews ones and Barron, although there are many other companies that offer preparation books too. They have a comprehensive guide to the exam and review each section of the test with sample questions so you can get an idea of which sections (Math, Reading, Science, Essay) you might need improvement on. Most books will include a full exam so you can time yourself and go through the problems to see how you do. My personal recommendation would be to go through 1 or 2 chapters/sections a day and do practice questions. Keep practicing and acclimating yourself to the exam. It will really help you prepare and feel more confident for when you actually take it.

If you don't enjoy constantly reading the actual books, many online websites like Princeton review offer daily questions and practice exams. Also, it really helps for me to study in a quiet place without much distraction but if you feel comfortable, maybe studying with a friend would be helpful too so you can keep each other accountable,

Best of luck to you and hope that helps!

Sara’s Answer

Updated Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I second the recommendation to use Princeton Review, Barrons, and even Cliff Notes guides for the SAT and ACT. With these exams its as much about knowing how to take the exam as it is the content. Going through as many practice questions/exams as you can will help prepare you for the day of so there's no surprises when it comes to testing format. When you do a full length practice exam try to replicate the testing environment as close as possible by doing things like following the allotted time limits for each section and limiting yourself to only taking the breaks that would be given during the exam.

In terms of difficulty, the ACT covers more content, but I found the questions to be less abstract than the SAT, so it really depends on where your strengths lie as to which will be the less challenging for you. Good luck!

Susan E.’s Answer

Updated Westland, Michigan

I think the best way to study for SATs and ACTs over the summer is buy a special book for it and take their practice tests, especially if the books have a CD-ROM practice test with them. That way, when you take the actual test, it will be easy and not so nerve-racking. You should also check for community colleges and other schools in your area that offer workshops on taking SATs and ACTs and how to prepare for them.