Is your high school junior preparing to take the SAT or ACT this spring?
If you’re like many of the families we work with, you may be feeling overwhelmed by this massive undertaking. Trust us, we understand what you’re going through—and we want to help. We reviewed our comprehensive resources and pulled together a quick list of test prep tools for your convenience.
Top SAT and ACT Test Prep Tools and Resources
Here are 10 SAT and ACT test prep tools and resources your student should know about:
- College Board and ACT websites. What better place to start than the official SAT and ACT websites? These sites offer students logistical details like key dates and deadlines—plus a host of other useful information.
- Study guides and books. The Official SAT Study Guide and The Official ACT Prep Guide are comprehensive, must-have resources. Barron’s is a good choice for supplemental study materials, although we recommend working with the official guides first.
- Practice tests. Taking practice tests helps students get a benchmark score, set a goal score, and create a formal test prep plan. College Board provides eight full-length SAT practice tests that students can download for free, and ACT offers a free ACT practice test on their website.
- Flashcards. Flashcards are a valuable study tool and a simple way to notate critical concepts for future studying and review. They’re especially useful for reviewing key formulas and other information that students need to memorize.
- Test prep plan. We highly recommend planning out the entire test prep schedule in advance, all the way up to the first exam date. This approach ensures students have enough time to cover all necessary material and avoids last-minute cramming sessions, which are much less effective for learning and retaining knowledge.
- Quiet study space. Students will do well to eliminate as many distractions as they can while preparing for the SAT or ACT. We suggest that they establish a quiet test prep space that simulates the real testing environment. This space is especially important for benchmarking and taking practice exams.
- Calculator. Calculators are permitted on certain mathematics portions of the SAT and ACT exams, and it’s a best practice for students to use the same calculator during their test prep as they plan to use on test day. Be sure to check out the SAT and ACT calculator policies.
- Scratch paper. Many students find it helpful to work through a mathematics problem before using a calculator. The test books provide space for these notes, but it’s not a bad idea for students to have some extra scratch paper on hand.
- Error log. During practice review, we encourage students to track the questions they answered incorrectly or took a long time to finish. Note which kinds of questions were completed quickly and almost always correctly. Maintaining an error log allows students to manage their time during test prep more effectively.
- Test prep tutor. Many students can prepare for the SAT or ACT with a self-directed study approach, but if your teenager needs assistance with accountability or wants a high score gain, they may benefit from a test prep tutor.