How to Prepare For Your College Entrance Exams

How to Prepare For Your College Entrance Exams
  • Opening Intro -

    Just the thought of college entrance exams might make your heart start to race with anxiety.

    After all, your score on these tests plays a large role in which college you're accepted to.


While these assessments are important, try not to let the stress get to you. Overthinking it or worrying too much could adversely affect your performance. Instead, there are steps you can take that will help you to feel more prepared, increase your confidence and lower your anxiety.

Check out this summary of how to prepare for your college entrance exams. It will give you a road map that puts you in charge of your future.

Start Early

The most important rule when it comes to preparing for college entrance exams is that you want to get an early start. Whether taking the SAT or ACT, you’ll likely sit for your exam in the fall or winter of your junior year of high school.

It’s wise to allow yourself at least a few months before your exam for preparation. You could start sooner if you like to spread your studying out, doing a little at a time.

One thing to keep in mind is that you probably shouldn’t begin prepping until you’ve at least completed one semester of Algebra II. The reason for this logic is that the SAT includes Algebra II subject matter. The ACT goes as far as Trigonometry.

Become Familiar With the Exams

You’ll also want to take time to become familiar with the exams. Online resources or official test prep books can provide you with an idea of the format of the tests.

Getting a feel for the types of questions asked and the formats presented will allow you to better know what to expect. You’ll be able to detect patterns and utilize strategies for approaching the material once you have an idea of what’s coming.

You can begin this process when you’re a Freshman. It’s wise to approach this step by the middle of your Sophomore year.

Set a Goal Score

To set yourself up for success you’ll want to research your desired schools to see what their exam score requirements are. Some schools may have minimum entrance exam score requirements, therefore knowing this in advance will help you create a study plan.

This will also help you determine a goal score to aim for. Shoot for the mid to high end of what you learn from your research. You don’t have to know exactly which schools you want to apply to, but a general idea will provide you with a starting point for your testing strategy.

Start Studying

Once you decide to begin studying in earnest, be sure to dedicate a certain amount of time each week to the activity. There may be some trial and error involved in this process.

Once you begin studying, you may realize you need additional preparation, or perhaps as you get closer to the test, you will want to add more weekly study time. Many experts recommend that you start with between three and five hours of study time weekly.

It’s a good idea to spend a few weeks working on a practice test. These can be found online and usually take about three and a half hours to complete.

You’ll want to take more than one practice exam as a means of monitoring your progress. The key is to put in a consistent amount of study time each week, and you should notice a significant improvement in progressive practice test scores.

Don’t Go It Alone

You should consider reaching out for help in your studying endeavors. Working with others can drive better results. It can even be a lot of fun. Find friends and form a study group.

Take a prep class, seek out a tutor or even search for the best ACT tutoring online if it’s more convenient. A tutor can provide you with valuable inside advice and can tailor their lessons to your particular needs.

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You’re likely to get a higher score when you vary your preparation methods, rather than studying in your room all alone for months at a time.

Hopefully, these tips on how to prepare for college entrance exams have helped to ease your mind about your upcoming testing experience. When you invest time in quality preparation, you’ll know you’ve done your part toward gaining success.

If you truly aren’t happy with your results, remember that it is possible to retake the exam in hopes of a better score.

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Categories: College Planning