The How-To Guide to SAT and ACT Prep

When I receive a phone call, the first advice I give to parents is for them to send their child for a mock SAT and ACT. It is easier for me to focus on just the SAT since every high school junior All Around Old Bridge seems to be taking that test… So why would I make that suggestion?…because having taught these tests for the past 23 years, I have watched students over and over as they have struggled with the SAT when the ACT was likely a better fit for them. I have seen others, who have done their due diligence, shine on the test that was a better fit for them. As a result, these students were admitted to universities that may have never otherwise accepted them.

For example, a former student who only took the ACT is now entering his senior year at Emory, the #21 ranked university (out of over 2800 4-year institutions) on US News and World Report. To give you a mental toehold, Emory is among the top 99.993% of 4-year colleges. Another former student was admitted to an even higher-ranking school—an Ivy League—UPenn, after posting an ACT score that was comparably better than his SAT score. Granted, crushing both exams will only help students chances of getting into the nation’s most elite universities, but what about the rest of us? It is best to find out which test is a better fit immediately and prepare for it moving forward. This could save time and money. Universities do not favor one exam over the other. It is important to remember the purpose of these exams—to maximize the chance a student has to get into his or her top-choice university. Mindful of this fact, why not first figure out which test is better?

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