The concern behind the questions in the title is “what do I have to do in order to get a score that will get me into college?” Both parents and students share these concerns. However, the answers to their concerns are varied–not standard–which can both alleviate and increase concerns. So, first, SAT and ACT scores are widely reported in admissions statistics, which can increase their seeming importance as gatekeepers for college acceptances. However, the reported numbers are guidelines for students to know more about their competitiveness, while also a point of pride for the reputation of the university. Any published average SAT or ACT scores are not hard and fast rules about who’s accepted and who’s not. And, the lowest SAT or ACT score of the student accepted that year is rarely, if ever, published. Also, admissions websites do not tell how many of the accepted students earned that average score or are within the score range. So, there’s information missing about how best to apply that average number to either plan for test preparation and to gauge one’s competitiveness for admissions given one’s test scores.
Before determining an appropriate test preparation plan, students and their families need to consider the student’s previous experience and scores on timed, multiple-choice tests, as well as have an idea of the student’s areas of improvement. There are many different test prep lessons and classes to take. Knowing more about the student’s learning style and her/his test prep needs will help answer the “How?”, “How much?” and “When?” questions in relation to test prep.
For more on SAT’s: