Just as the spring semester brings baseball and Advanced Placement testing, the time for juniors to start thinking about college plans and testing requirements is upon Carmel High as well.
This could mean taking the SAT or the ACT, which could require private study sessions, a testing boot camp or, in most cases, the good old-fashioned test prep book. But when the test prep book is 900 pages, studying may feel overwhelming in figuring out where to start.
“[Students] probably spend no less than 2,500 hundred hours keeping up [with their classes],” CHS counselor Darren Johnston says. “Then they turn around and take a test that is equally important, and they won’t study.”
Keeping up with regular studies at school is important, but Johnston asserts that it shouldn’t act as an excuse for students to only study for these high-stakes tests a week or two before.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the preparation required, students can turn to the plethora of resources available to help them feel confident on the SAT and the ACT.
“Naviance is a good resource that focuses on what students need help with, and it’s free,” counselor Jeff Schatz says. “And then the prep books have good study guides and practice tests.”
Naviance provides students with online practice tests for the SAT and ACT, as well as help with choosing the right colleges and careers. Prep books by the College Board and Princeton Review are study guides that provide more practice tests and help with conquering what students struggle with most.
The prep books and Naviance are only two examples of study tools available to students preparing for these tests.
“It depends on the student. The best resources are the ones the student will actually use,” says Patricia Hunt, who is in charge of Carmel High’s College and CareerCenter. “The best resource is taking the classes because it forces the student to study and take practice tests.”
Although these test preparation methods have been recommended for students, they are not necessarily right for everyone taking the SAT or the ACT.
“I used the College Board prep book, and I took the practice SAT,” senior Billy Rudiger says. “It was really helpful for understanding the layout of the test.”
That may have been the right study method for Rudiger, but two students are the same.
“I took the practice SAT both my junior and senior years, and just understanding the format and timing helped to prepare me,” senior Kenna Little says.
Now is the time to start studying if juniors want to be prepared for the next wave of testing on March 9 for the SAT plus Writing, which is $50, and April 13 for the ACT plus Writing, which is $50.50.
Those next two testing dates may seem dauntingly close, but there are plenty of resources available to juniors to fulfill this first step in a college-bound direction.