Consider Rescheduling Your SAT or ACT Exam Date If Appropriate
By Taylor, IvyWise Tutoring Coordinator
The most important rule of test prep: Don’t sit for the SAT or ACT if you’re not ready. During the spring semester, students dedicate a significant amount of time preparing for a slew of exams ranging from AP exams and finals to the SAT or ACT and SAT Subject Tests. Many students may have a test prep plan in place already, but plans can change and that’s okay! Rescheduling your test date is an option, but how do you know if you should?
Even if you are a junior, with the addition of the July ACT and the August SAT, there are now more chances than ever to improve your score before you apply to college. As long as you are sticking to your overall college prep plan, making necessary adjustments, informing your college counselor and tutor, and keeping track of any deadlines, delaying your test date by a month or two shouldn’t set you back significantly.
Here’s how to know if you should consider rescheduling your SAT or ACT exam date.
Your Practice Test Scores Are Not Where They Need To Be
No matter what exam(s) you are planning to take, consistent studying and practice is key. Especially for SATs, ACTs, and Subject Tests, it is important to get a sense of where you stand numerically before heading into the exam. If you are not hitting your goal scores on your practice exams, it may be a good opportunity to reconsider when you should sit. This is particularly important for the SAT and Subject Tests because you do not have the luxury of omitting your scores once you receive them like you do with the ACT. That being said, planning and good discretion is key. It is more important to hold off on testing for another month or two in order to be fully prepared, rather than sitting before you’re ready just because it was in your original plan or because all your other friends are taking it on that date. Testing is a very individualized process, and what works for one student will not necessarily work for another.
You Have A Packed Schedule
If students do not budget their time during the school year properly, exams, testing, and regular assignments seem to creep up all at once. Without proper time management and planning skills, students can end up trying to sit for two SAT Subject Tests in May, taking AP exams the weeks before and after those Subject Tests, studying for final exams afterwards, and then sitting for their first ACT in June. On top of that, most students have extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and sports practices to worry about, so time for effective study is limited. We all know how much time and dedication it takes to prep for just one of those exams, so letting them all pile up at the end of the school year will not set students up for success.
If you’re finding yourself in this situation, it may be a good idea to evaluate which of these exams you could push back. You should consider which exams allow for retesting, how many times at most you’d feasibly want to sit for the exam, and how many test dates there are before applications are due (if you’re a junior).
Our IvyWise counselors can help students map out their testing timelines throughout each school year in order to make a plan that will best maintain their stamina and ensure optimal preparedness.
Will It Affect Your Overall Testing Schedule?
Students taking the ACT sometimes have a slight advantage over SAT students in that they have more flexibility when it comes to planning out their Subject Test sittings. SAT testers need to carefully account for, in advance, when they need to take their Subject Tests since students are unable to take both the SAT and any Subject Tests on the same day. That being said, if you are an SAT tester, it is important to be hyperaware of how retaking either exam or pushing one of your tests back can affect your testing plan in the long run.
In addition to this, certain Subject Tests are not offered during every administration. For example, if you are studying for the June World History exam and are not hitting your goal scores on practice tests, you should keep in mind that the next test date is not until December. In this case, pushing back this test may not be as beneficial of a solution for you as switching exams all together.
As many students know, standardized testing is a marathon. In order to perform your best on test day, you need to have completed the most effective test prep schedule for you and put in your fair share of practice, all the while avoiding burnout.
If you feel like you are juggling too many exams and activities all at once, take a deep breath and talk with your IvyWise counselor about devising a new testing plan. If the best way for a student to succeed is by pushing back their test date, there is no harm in going with Plan B!
Not sure if you’re on track with your test prep? Download our free tutoring and test prep checklist below to find out what you need to be doing this semester to get ahead!