However, if you are worried about the student as a test taker, we suggest taking a diagnostic practice test during or just after 9th grade to see whether the additional practice, earlier, would make sense. This might mean sitting down for the Khan Academy SAT test offered free or the many resources and practice exams that are likely found at your local library. The diagnostic practice test will help indicate if there's a need for additional tutoring/test prep studies that need to occur outside of the usual school work preparation.
For all students, consider the following:
- Take the right classes: choose classes in a college prep track that will well prepare you for the subjects that will show up in the SAT/ACT and the chosen SAT subject exams you hope to take
- Do well in these classes: get to know the material well, the way it's posed in class might be slightly different than how it will show up in a standardized exam; knowing the material well will help to overcome the differences more easily
- Read a lot: this exposes you to lots of different types of writing, perspectives, and vocabulary that will better get you through that verbal section; it doesn't hurt that this is also our #1 tip for freshman that are wanting to write excellent college application essays as well
- Talk to upperclassmen: ask to see what the experience is like for the different exams, ask them what their biggest challenges were on the day of testing and what they would do differently next time (if there is a next time for them)