Testing and Test Prep FAQs

Getting into the college of your choice starts with knowing your options. It also requires customizing a test preparation plan tailored to you and your strengths. Here are some important dates, test scores and FAQs to keep you on the path to success.

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Get the complete 2014-2015 Test Registration Dates all in one place to keep you on track and ahead when planning for your standardized tests.

Check out the Test Scores for Key Colleges to get a feel for what many of the top colleges are looking for.

What standardized tests do I need to take to get into college: SAT/ACT?

The SAT used to be the most common standardized test accepted by colleges. Today, both the ACT and SAT are widely accepted, and almost all colleges accept both, so you can choose the test that is the best fit for you. Check college websites to make sure.

Other resources to help you decide:

When should I take the SAT or ACT? How many times?

Most students take the SAT/ACT tests for the first time during their junior year so they have time to retake it if needed. You can take them more than once, and in fact, you probably should! Students generally see an increase in scores the second time they take the test.

What is a SAT/ACT Superscore?

Another important reason to take the SAT/ACT more than once is the opportunity to Superscore – the practice of considering only the highest section scores across all SAT or ACT test scores that are submitted. Superscoring helps you create the most impressive combined personal score.

Score requirements vary from school to school, so it's important to research this information for each of the schools to which you apply. For more information, check out these SAT Score Use Practices by Participating Institution .

Is the PSAT important?

The PSAT and PLAN tests are pre-tests for the SAT and ACT, and can only be taken in October usually in Sophomore and Junior year. Pre-tests offer an invaluable practice opportunity, and the top PSAT scorers become eligible for National Merit Scholarships! With nearly $50 million* dollars in National Merit scholarships available to high scorers, the PSAT can help you invest in your future financially.

Additionally, taking the PSAT can help you score higher on future exams. According to the College Board, on average, students who take the PSAT/NMSQT score 136 points higher on the SAT than those who don't. Find out which PSAT Test Prep Options are right for you.

What are SAT Subject Tests and AP exams? Do I need to take them?

SAT Subject Tests are designed to measure what you know about a specific subjects including History, Math, Science, English and Foreign Languages and help your strengths stand out on your college application. They are offered throughout the year, typically taken in the spring and last an hour. Some colleges also use Subject Tests to place students into the appropriate courses. Many schools require a Subject Test(s) so be sure to check your target college's website to find out.

Consider taking a Subject Test related to an AP class you are doing well in. Studying for AP's is a great way to start studying for Subject Tests. Take the AP exams as soon as your course is completed, and have the scores sent to your college. Look online or call Admissions to find out how your AP credits can be applied at your college.

Do I really need test prep?

Yes! The most effective way to generate the highest score is with test preparation. Take a look at the typical test scores needed for your target college list (check college websites) and determine your test score goal. Knowing where you need to be and where you tested on the PSAT or SAT/ACT practice tests will give you an understanding of how you need to perform to meet and exceed your score goal.

Knowing this will help you determine how much test-prep is needed. Keep in mind that ACT/SAT test scores are one of the top three factors to getting into college, and can be the key difference between a rejection and an acceptance letter. Kaplan has a guarantee to ensure you get a higher score.

How long do I need for test prep?

First, decide which standardized tests you are taking and when. (Refer to the “Test Registration Dates” section above.) You'll need to determine your score goals based on your target colleges and your prior test scores, if you have them. (Refer to the “Test Scores for Key Colleges” section above.)

Do not wait until last minute. Allow a minimum of three months prep time prior to the test date. Begin customizing a plan that works best for your schedule, lifestyle and study habits. Given homework requirements, sports, and activities, summer is often the most convenient time for test prep.

What's the best test prep for me?

Test prep is not one-size-fits-all. Your personal test score goals and study preferences will determine the type of prep you require.

The bigger your goal, the more you may want to consider private tutoring for 1:1 support. Making the experience personal and geared around you will make a real difference in performing your best.

Also consider how best you study and prep for other tests. Is it in a group setting, one-on-one, or a combination of both?

For help in making a plan to attain your test score goals, call for a free consultation at 1-800-KAP-TEST.

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