Okay, so I know this may sound straightforward, but I frequently have students ask about how to register for the ACT®.
In some cases the ACT® is offered through your school (if you attend a public or private school). In these cases the ACT® date does not correlate with the typical 7 days a year the ACT is offered, and registration is usually completed by your guidance counselor.
If you are homeschooled or planning on taking a regularly scheduled ACT®, here is what you should do:
First off, you should ask the question should I register for this upcoming ACT® test date? I talk about choosing dates for the ACT here, so if you are unsure check out that post! You want to give some evaluation to whether you have time to adequately prepare for this test. I recommend 4+ weeks of active prep before each exam, preferably 8-16 weeks for your first test (check out my FREE 10-page ACT prep guide here or my online ACT prep course here).
Once you have decided that you...
All four of these elements MUST be in place for you to be successful! You could even consider these to all relate like a math equation:
CONTENT x STRATEGY (PRACTICE + REVIEW) = SUCCESS
C S ( P + R ) = SUCCESS
For you to hit the target score you need for admission to your top choice schools AND to open doors for scholarships that make college affordable you need a plan for each of these four factors, so that’s what we’ll tackle in this post!
Whenever I travel to speak, I am frequently asked about my recommendations for ACT Prep Books. While I do offer an online ACT Prep Course, I wanted to go through and talk about the print resources I recommend.
Practice/Review Books vs Strategy/Content Books
First, it's important to differentiate between the differences between the purposes of your books, and for that I want to highlight the four components that are essential for ACT Prep:
PRACTICE/REVIEW: The ACT is a paper test, so you need to practice it that way-you need paper copies of official exams. Only one free ACT exam is released officially online, so if you don't get any other book, you need to own an Official Guide to the ACT.
Why the Official Guide? The ACT is copyrighted, so while Princeton Review, Barrons, Kaplan and other publishers sell books touting practice questions or practice tests, they are real exams and can actually...
So first off when deciding whether to take the ACT or the SAT, it's important to note that since 2007 every college in the country accepts both the ACT and the SAT exam for admissions.
This means that students no longer have a college-motivated reason to take one exam over the other, but instead should take whichever exam they perform better on.
How do you determine that? Well we'll talk you through that, but first let's take a look at the basic structure of each test:
So I've received multiple questions from individuals who are planning out their course load and trying to determine whether to take Geometry or Algebra 2 after completing Algebra 1. It's an understandable question, so in this article I'll take a look at the arguments for both routes, but the short answer is either way is fine. Now let's take a look at the reasons for each route...
A Short History (and a little about test preparedness)
Parents, chances are pretty good that you took courses in the order of Algebra 1, Geometry, and then Algebra 2. You probably also only had to take 3 math courses in high school, and there was probably very little integration of geometry into your algebra curriculum. Since students were required to take the ACT or SAT (and usually with little to no prep work), it made more sense for students to take geometry before algebra 2 for test purposes so that they had at least seen some geometry before they took the test.
But things have...
College Board made a big announcement in January that they were going to be discontinuing the SAT Subject Tests, discontinuing the optional SAT essay, and also that they were going to continue working towards a digitally delivered version of the SAT.
What does this mean?
Dropped Subject Tests
The SAT Subject Tests were exams over individual subject areas that were used to supplement the primary SAT in the application process. Unlike the AP or CLEP tests, the SAT Subject Tests did not offer the possibility of earning students college credit.
The reality is fewer colleges have been requiring/recommending the SAT Subject tests anyways, with the ones who have been using the tests primarily being top-tier schools. So for most schools, this part of the announcement will not matter. College Board made this as a business decision, reflecting the fact that the demand for these tests was no longer there (amplified all the more by the COVID challenges to testing availability).
Want my FREE 10-Page ACT Prep Guide? Visit here to download, and you can learn more about my Online ACT Prep Course here (with both 4 and 16 week study plans, and access to both Magoosh and Study.com's ACT Prep Courses!).
One of my ACT students emailed me asking "Should I sign up for Test Information Release (also referred to as TIR)?" so I wanted to address that issue and talk about choosing your test dates.
Test Schedule Overview
The ACT is typically offered 7 times a year: September, October, December, February, April, June and July.
You can take the ACT multiple times, and should plan on taking the exam 3-4 times to reach your target score (and prepping for each of those dates!). So with that in mind, let's break down some considerations:
When To Take Your First Test
Your first test should typically be during either your Junior year (or your Sophomore year if you are ahead in math). On the ACT, math is the limiting factor (it covers topics from Algebra 1, Algebra...
We know that college prep can be overwhelming. That's why we work hard to simplify and streamline the advice on how to guide your teen to success. Sign up below to join our newsletter (we hate spam, and never sell or rent out your info).