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Category: Test Prep

To Test, Or Not To Test?

In a land, devastated by famine and drought, shimmering pools of water and images of plenty tempted travelers and visitors. Were these hallucinations? Oh dear reader, these visions are inspired by the financial waves crashing on colleges – I was using a metaphor for the feast and famine landscape higher education institutions are facing thanks to the pandemic. Namely – some schools are financially “feasting” while others are facing enormous revenue shortfalls. Not all colleges and universities are in the same boat!


Consider this. The Wall Street Journal recently stated, “Binding early decision applications rose by 22% at Brown University, 23% at the University of Pennsylvania, 29% at Dartmouth College, and 49% at Columbia University. At Yale University and Harvard University, applications under the restrictive early-action option jumped by about 38% and 57%, respectively.”


Chart showing increase in number of college applications


Outcomes from Early Applications from the Class of 2021


The pandemic accelerated the shift in testing policy, leading to drastic changes in the college admissions landscape. In just a few weeks in the spring of 2020, over 95% of selective four-year colleges and universities announced their decisions to be test-optional for 2020-2021. Many seniors did not have an opportunity to take the SAT or ACT in 2020 before their application deadlines. Those who had planned for testing early (such as our Insight students) had the option to choose to submit their scores. With the barrier of testing removed for many students, they suddenly imagined the possibility of an acceptance offer from a school that might have been a dream previously.


This year is pivotal as students who are disadvantaged or discouraged by testing will have more possibilities than ever before. In fact, many highly selective schools such as Amherst, Boston College, Colgate, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, UPenn, Rice, UVA, and Williams have recently extended their temporary policies to 2021-2022 application cycle; most others are expected to follow suit by spring.


A word of caution before you decide that the SAT or ACT will be gone forever – it is important to point out the wording of these testing policy announcements for additional insight into the school’s attitude toward testing. For example, Brown’s announcement started with “the extraordinary circumstances that continue to face students this year.” Stanford’s note in responding to Covid on standardized testing outlined that “if you have already taken the ACT or SAT…, then you are welcome to self-report them.” And Princeton’s statement included its process for determining academic rigor. “When considered in context and in conjunction with other academic factors, testing such as the SAT or the ACT can be very helpful in assessing a student’s preparation for Princeton’s curriculum.”


Without the barrier of test scores, many colleges are seeing surges in number of applications this year, as we saw with the Wall Street Journal article. Harvard saw applications rise by 42% overall and the University of California system by 16%. However, admissions offices are also delaying decision releasing date or making more use of wait lists due to the volume of applications. Overall, many top colleges showed a decrease in acceptance in the early admissions stage.


Chart showing drop in acceptance rate in popular colleges



Class of 2022: Keeping Your Options Open in a Competitive Context

There are so many colleges that changed their policies in light of the pandemic – you can read our very comprehensive and helpful list of test-optional schools here – that it becomes difficult to sift through the actual changes specific colleges make, the changes that College Board or ACT make, and the realities that colleges face – to figure out what you yourself want to do!!! Jeff Selingo tweeted about the practical limitations that admissions offices face – they simply cannot “add more days to the reading calendar,” which is why standardized tests are still useful as a “governor on apps.” If you were managing an admissions office, would you use tools that helped you make your work more efficient? Probably.

And something for applicants to consider is the behavior of one’s classmates – do you think others in your graduating class will skip the opportunity to take these tests? All things being equal, students who have scores to report retain a potential advantage over those who don’t. Having the option to send scores—to all colleges, to some colleges, or to no colleges—is a path we can help you plan.

As we continue to carefully monitor trends, we will continue to analyze the data available to us and share our insights on the impact of flexible testing policies. We’ve already seen that a relaxed testing policy does not make a highly selective school less competitive. In reality, it can boost a college’s desirability, continuing to limit the available spots and demand for them. Universities that were already in demand reached record high levels of interest in 2020, especially in their early application rounds, resulting in record low early admit rates.


Wish to improve your test scores? Check out Insight’s upcoming SAT / ACT classes here.


In the coming years, we will see if applicant and admission profiles at competitive colleges alter and what role testing policies have in that change. Please continue to follow Insight Education through social media as we update you on the latest in college admissions or schedule a 1-hour college planning session with our experienced counselors to personalize your academic and testing strategies. 


Read more: Ready, Set, Take the Test!

Written by Meilin Obinata

This article’s main contributor is Insight Senior College Admissions Counselor Meilin Obinata.

Meilin Obinata is a Senior College Counselor who enjoys learning from her students. She believes education is a creative endeavor and creates a space that allows students to explore new ideas. As a Bay Area native who grew up in Santa Cruz, she is familiar with the local schools. Read her full bio here.

College Board is Dropping Subject Tests and the Essay Portion of the SAT: What This Means For You

Quick Summary: 

  • The College Board said on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, that it will stop administering the SAT Subject Tests. It will also eliminate the optional essay-writing component after June 2021.

  • In their statement, the College Board shared that the pandemic “accelerated a process already underway … to reduce and simplify demands on students.” It also plans to pursue a “more flexible” SAT that could be delivered online.

  • There are other ways for you to demonstrate your writing skills – English classes, AP exams, and college essays.

  • Dropping the SAT subject tests places more emphasis on the AP tests. For those who have their subject test scores, college admissions offices have yet to announce their decision regarding those scores.


Insights into the College Board’s Decision 

Today, the College Board made the shocking announcement that it will stop administering the SAT Subject tests effective immediately in the US and effective after the June 2021 administration internationally. The College Board will also be dropping the Essay portion of the SAT after the June 2021 administration of the test. For many students, this changes how they might approach course selection, testing in the near term, and a longer-term strategy intended to show their academic strengths. The ramifications of these changes are not completely obvious yet because how the colleges will interpret these changes in the admissions context remains to be seen. But let’s talk about what this means for you:


Let’s start with the easy piece – the SAT Essay. The essay has realized a diminished value over the last few years. While it used to be a required portion of the test and the admissions process, it has increasingly become optional from both the College Board side and the university admissions side. There are so many ways in which students can demonstrate their writing abilities – English grades, AP exams, college essays, or graded writing samples, to name a few, that this change is really of little significance. It will allow students to focus on the multiple-choice sections as well as to reduce the overall length of their exam. So really, this change is important but won’t have a significant impact on Insight students and their planning.


Now onto the harder question discussing the impact of dropping the Subject Tests. College Board stated that it was dropping these exams because the Advanced Placement (AP) Exams are becoming more accessible to all students and as a result, students shouldn’t have to take both exams. Now whether or not we philosophically and professionally agree with this statement, we have to make sure that we adapt to this changing environment and provide the very best advice to you.


How Will The Universities Responding? What Does This Mean For College Admissions?

Last year, the UCs went test-blind for SAT and ACT as part of the admissions process, but they still allowed students to enter their Subject Test Scores and AP Scores on their UC Applications. Other universities dropped the use of SAT Subject Tests, but they still gave the students the option to submit AP Exam, SAT, or ACT scores. It is very possible that some or many colleges will still welcome students to submit these scores.


If you currently have Subject Test scores, we will have to wait to hear from colleges about what they will and will not allow. If you do not have Subject Test scores and were planning to take them this year for the first time, do not worry. Many students are in this same situation and you will NOT be penalized.


We are going to keep on top of this major change with colleges and make sure our advice is updated and accurate. If you’d like to meet with a counselor and get help navigating the rapidly shifting college admissions landscape, please do not hesitate to contact us and schedule your 1-hour college planning session, in which our experienced counselor will tailor your college admissions strategy based on academic performance, testing options, extracurricular activities, and more!


Best Way to Prep for PSAT? Study for the SAT!

The Preliminary SAT, also known as the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), is a part of the SAT suite. This test is offered annually to students in the 10th and 11th grades. You can only take the PSAT once per year.


What’s the Big Deal?

Your PSAT scores won’t get you into college or affect your GPA. But if you are a junior, a high PSAT score can make you some money! As implied by the name NMSQT, you can qualify for a scholarship if you receive a high score. Approximately $180 million dollars are awarded to students each year!


How Do I Study for the PSAT?

The smart way to do it is to combine your PSAT with your SAT prep. The two tests are almost identical. Just like the SAT, the PSAT breaks down into four sections: evidence-based reading, writing and language, no-calculator math, and calculator-allowed math. The slight difference is that the two tests have different timing; specifically, the PSAT is 15 minutes shorter than the SAT. The PSAT does not have an essay section and is scored on a different scale. But the question types and knowledge areas for both the SAT and the PSAT are the same. Thus, by prepping for the SAT, you are studying for two tests!


The Advantage of Combining your SAT and PSAT Prep

 1. Study Smart

We usually recommend that students start their prep for the SAT (or ACT) during the spring or summer before junior year. Setting the time to study in the winter break is a smart move if you are planning to take the PSAT and then the March SAT. And if you need a boost, the Insight SAT Prep Programs will help you systematically improve your scores on both the SAT and PSAT. 

READ MORE: Ready, Set, Take the Test!

 2. Feel Confident for the SAT

Because the two tests are similar, you will walk into your March SAT test knowing exactly what to expect. For the same reason, the Insight Test Prep Boot Camp includes 10 full-length practice tests, so you feel in control during the real SAT and PSAT.

 3. Time and Money Saved on Prep

Combining the two prep means you only need one set of study material. The Insight Test Prep curriculum is designed by elite tutors and test makers. By enrolling in our class, you will receive our SAT Binder designed to strategically help you excel on both the PSAT and the SAT.


Sounds Good, But What if I’m Planning to Take the ACT?

Your ACT prep also covers similar content and provides a good foundation for the PSAT. Test-taking skills, such as time-management and analytical thinking, will apply to every standardized test that you encounter. If you want to feel more confident before your PSAT, consider meeting one of our tutors for tailored PSAT strategies.

READ MORE: Should You Be Taking BOTH the SAT and the ACT?

A Summarizing View of SAT vs PSAT

This Test is Good for… Scholarship opportunity  College admissions and merit-based scholarship 
Test Structure / Time

 Reading / 60 minutes

 Writing / 35 minutes

 Math (No Calculator) / 25 minutes

 Math (Calculator) / 45 minutes

 Reading / 65 minutes

 Writing / 35 minutes

 Math (No Calculator) / 25 minutes

 Math (Calculator) / 55 minutes

 Essay (Optional) / 50 minutes

Total Exam Time  2 hours and 45 minutes

 3 hours (without essay)

 3 hours and 50 minutes (with essay)

Score Structure    320 – 1520   400 – 1600
Insight counselor Jenny H shared her lessons learned from preparing for ACT tests

Standardized Testing: A Reflection

I feel like there are certain activities that will always make me a little—okay, very—nervous.  These include riding a roller coaster, watching a horror movie, and lastly, taking standardized tests!


Standardized testing was not my forte, and I felt like this was the most daunting aspect of the college admission process in high school.  For those of you who feel the same way and/or are in the midst of studying for the SAT / ACT test, I am motivated to write this blog post to reflect on my experience. In doing so, I hope that you will gain some insight into how to better prepare for these tests moving forward.


Insight counselor Jenny H reflected on her studying for the ACT test prep


What I Did Adequately

Even though there were some parts I would have done differently, there were a few things I feel like I did adequately.   


1. Be Determined

If there’s one thing I am at peace with, it’s that I was determined and worked hard to do “well.” My desk was piled high with practice books, and you would constantly find me in the library furiously scribbling into a notebook for hours.

For the majority of us, determination is a crucial component in doing well on the SAT / ACT. This is also the attitude you will need to succeed in college and beyond, so I hope that you will continue to develop this mindset while studying for the SAT / ACT.

2. Be Prepared on Test Day

On test day, I had everything ready: multiple pencils, an eraser, a calculator, etc. Even though I was nervous about the test, I knew I had everything I needed which at least alleviated a little bit of stress. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to come equipped with all materials on the day of the test!

If you are taking the test in-person, I also recommend visiting the testing site before test day if possible.  In case of unexpected circumstances—heavy traffic, you wake up later than expected, etc.—you’ll at least know where the testing site is instead of frantically searching the day of.


3. The Score Doesn’t Define Me

I wasn’t the best test-taker which reflected in my score, but I didn’t believe the results implied that I was a failure or predestined to fail in college.  I chose to be proactive in my studies and present on my college campus which wouldn’t have been possible if I’d given up because of my standardized test results!

Thus, if you don’t do “well” on the SAT or ACT test, don’t give up on yourself. Work hard in college! Consequently, identify and cultivate your gifts so that you can better yourself and serve your community. 


What I Could Have Done Better

However, there’s more to getting a “good” SAT/ACT score than just determination. The following is what I feel like I could have done better prior to the test and after receiving my score.


having structure and strategy for your test prep is key


1. You Sure About THAT Test, Jenny?

In retrospect, I wasn’t as mindful as I could have been when deciding which standardized test to take. If I had done a more thoughtful job, I might have gotten a score that more accurately reflected the effort I put into studying for it.

Thus, choose the test that you’re taking with careful consideration; one way to help you decide is to take both the SAT and the ACT diagnostic tests. At Insight, we offer both ACT and SAT test assessments so you can know which test is for you.


2. Don’t Just Study! Learn HOW to Study

As I mentioned, I had the determination to succeed. However, besides whatever guidance was offered in the practice books, I didn’t understand how to strategically approach each problem. If I could rewind, I would enroll in an SAT / ACT class to acquire these skills.

I recommend reaching out to a trusted individual in your support system who is skilled in taking standardized tests, as they might be able to offer some advice. Even better, if you have the financial means, I encourage you to take a class or find a suitable tutor who can offer valuable insight on creating a study plan and how to effectively navigate taking these tests.

We offer SAT and ACT test prep classes at Insight. The instructors not only review the topics and concepts, but they also walk you through test reviews and time management. You can click here to find out more.


3. Make an Action Plan

Given that I self-studied, I was fully responsible for learning all the materials before test day. I vaguely remember that I created a general plan, but I should have had a more elaborate schedule with more definite deadlines to ensure that I was completely prepared before test day. 

Consider making a schedule if you feel that it’ll help keep you accountable. I recommend using a planner so that you can refer back to the milestones you set.  Appropriate deadlines include noting when you plan on taking a practice test or reviewing vocabulary words. By breaking the task into smaller ones, it could make studying for the SAT / ACT feel more manageable.

Note: It’s okay if you occasionally veer off schedule! You might find yourself having a busier week than you originally anticipated, and instead of compromising your health, you can always adjust your schedule to make up for any material you missed. Remember, your well-being should always come first!

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Ready, Set, Take the Test!

4. Take Practice Exams That Replicate the Testing Environment

Besides lacking the tools to successfully attack the exam, I also took practice tests in conditions that did not fully reflect an actual testing environment. As a result, I question if this was an effective way to study in hindsight. 

When taking a practice exam, it’s important to replicate the testing environment: don’t eat snacks, listen to music, play with your phone, and give yourself ample time to solve the problems (In other words, use a timer that reflects the time constraints you have on each section when taking the actual test). In doing so, you will ideally grow more accustomed to the conditions you will experience on test day.


5. Find Other Opportunities to Highlight Strengths

Given that my score could have been better, successfully highlighting my strengths were even more crucial when I applied to colleges as a senior in high school. While I tried to do so at the time, I’m now more aware of different opportunities, like working a part-time job or starting personal projects, that I could have participated in.

Everyone has strengths including yourself. If you are struggling with standardized tests as I did, I encourage you to find safe and reputable opportunities to showcase your strengths and interests on the college admission application. Your Insight counselor can provide some resources as well!  


Concluding Thoughts

In essence, it’s not only important to have the heart to study but the knowledge on how to study for these tests.

However, know that your SAT/ACT score is just one data point that colleges will consider, so it is not the end all be all. Remember, the SAT/ACT is something, but it is not everything. Moreover, a mediocre SAT/ACT score does not suggest that your doomed to fail nor does a stellar SAT/ACT score guarantee a perfect GPA in college. That’s partly influenced by your attitude and work ethic.

So work hard, study wisely, and good luck! You got this!


Written by Jenny Huang

This article was written by Insight Counselor Jenny Huang.

Jenny graduated from UC Berkeley after transferring from UC Santa Barbara. Her unique “inter-UC transfer” experience inspired her to become a mentor and a college admission counselor.

Should You Be Taking BOTH the SAT and the ACT?

Today we’re going to be answering one of the most common questions we hear as counselors: “Do I need to take both the SAT and the ACT?”  


The answer to this question is “NO!”  You absolutely do not need to take both exams!


In fact, one of the common errors we see sometimes when students come in for the first time is that they will have spent the better part of 2 years taking & retaking both the examsHere’s the truth – Colleges do NOT care which exam you take. Every college will accept either test, which means that your decision will depend on: 


Which test are you most comfortable with? 

Which test is the best fit from a timing perspective?

Which test can you score better on?


So, let’s talk about a few ways in which the tests are different. 


The ACT, which tends to be a little more straight-forward in its presentation of material, also contains a full science section which the SAT does not.  This section, which follows English, Math, & Reading in that order, makes up a quarter of your total composite score, so if you’re a student who is generally science focused, and you enjoy reading, graphs, & data, the ACT may be a good fit for you. Each of the 4 ACT sections is scored out of 36, and your total composite score is the average of those sectionsThere is also an optional writing section scored separately from the main composite score.  


Want to see a side-by-side table comparison of the ACT vs. the SAT? Check out ACT vs. SAT: Which Test Should You Take?


While the SAT also offers an optional essay, the exam is scored differently than the ACT, as students will receive a total score out of 1600 points. You can earn up to 800 points in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and 800 points in Math. The SAT also tends to present fewer timing challenges than the ACT, which has far more questions to completeWhere the ACT asks 215 questions it’s only 154 for the SAT, and the SAT allows more time to answer each of those questions on average. It also contains two math sections, one of which to be completed without a calculator, so how confident you feel as a math student may also impact your final decision.  



At Insight, we strongly encourage students who have not tried either test to take both for practice before making a decision. Doing this will expose you to the style and structure of both exams, & then we can establish which test you are more comfortable with in terms of content and timing, and ultimately which test youre likely to score better on.  From there, we can plan for when to take the exam, which is important because the SAT and ACT are offered on different dates & in some cases, different months throughout the year.  We also want to establish a goal score for each student, as well an end date when we want students to be finished with testing altogetherIdeally, you should be done before the start of your senior year, b/c once senior fall starts, your college apps truly will become a full time class away from school, and you don’t want to have to give up valuable weekends completing diagnostic testing at that point.   



Overall, we want you to choose the right test at the right time, and we want you to be strategic, so that you don’t overload yourself. And the earlier we can begin to make both short and long term plans for testing, the more flexibility you allow yourself later on. 


All the best! 
Zach Pava and Team Insight 

To compare your ACT score to your SAT score, use our ACT – SAT Conversion Table.

What are students saying about the Insight Test Prep?

Join the hundreds of confident Insight students and improve your scores for the ACT or SAT!

Check out SAT Class Schedules: SAT Test Prep

Upcoming ACT Class Schedules: ACT Test Prep


Insight SAT test prep student testimonial



“There was a practice exam every class, and I enjoyed the focus on reviewing the practice exams.” – Student from our 2020 SAT Boot Camp (Online).


“The teachers were really engaging and nice! The feedback on my essays was useful, and I liked the private sessions meeting with them one-on-one.” – Student from our 2020 ACT Boot Camp (Online).



“I was happy that we were able to review the test material thoroughly each time.” – Student from our 2021 ACT Boot Camp (Online).



“I like that there was a full explanation of each question we went over, with no prior knowledge needed. I was able to see how to use the topics of what I learned in school.” – Student from our 2021 SAT Test Prep.



“After I took Insight’s SAT Boot Camp, I got a 1570 on my SAT! 800 on Math!” – Insight Alumn

“To Retake or Not Retake” – William Shakespeare’s Cousin

We’ve all been there at one time or another – whether in school, at work, at home, or in a wide range of activities – we have all (gulp) underperformed.  Take a deep breath – it happens. In fact, the last time you underperformed was probably not your first time either. It’s probably happened to your parents on numerous occasions.  I’ll bet it’s even happened to your peers at school, although you are far less likely to hear about those instances. 


Don’t worry – nobody is immune.  In high school, it happens to millions of students around the country, let’s say every four Saturdays, give or take.  


Of course, I am referring to the SAT and the ACT.  At some point during your high school tenure, it is incredibly likely that you will take one of these exams.  It is nearly as likely that you will take your chosen exam more than once.  There is even a chance you will consider taking it three times (or more) or perhaps trying both exams. 


One of the most common questions directed at counselors, tutors, and teachers is “Should I take it again?” While the answer will vary depending on each student’s specific academic situation, personality, worth ethic, and long-term goals, it is an important decision and one that should be arrived at after careful consideration and discussion with your counselor and parents.


At Insight, the first goal is to help you identify whether the SAT or ACT is the better test for you.  They are different in a number of ways, from length to style to presentation to the actual material.  We encourage you to take a practice test of each before doing anything (and perhaps repeating this process). If you find you are more comfortable and can score higher on one test over the other, that’s wonderful.  If you aren’t sure, take them again to reinforce your initial opinion.  No college prefers the SAT to the ACT or vice versa.  I promise!


Once you have prepared over a period of months, you approach the actual test day with confidence and poise. We offer SAT and ACT classes throughout the year to help students learn the skills and knowledge to perform well on test day and continue to take practice exams to improve speed and accuracy.  You breathe a sigh of relief when finished. And then when your scores arrive a few weeks after, you have a decision to make. If you hit your goal score, already established with your counselor, then hopefully you can consider yourself done. 


It’s common for students to feel doubt about their results or falling just short.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I want to take it once more because I know I can score 10 or 20 points higher.” Is the effort and time required to prepare all over again worth 20 points?  Perhaps, depending on the college, but if it’s going to come at the expense of your grades, your time with organized activities, your applications, or your mental health, then I would say probably not, depending on how close you came to your goal. 


Many students will ask if colleges care how many times you take the SAT and/or ACT.  While the answer will again be tied into your specific experience, know that some colleges may place more value on your standardized test scores than others.  Also know that while many colleges will allow score choice, in which you only report the test results you choose, there are a growing number of schools, including the UCs, that will want you to send them every SAT or ACT that you have taken. While they will place most emphasis on your single best score, putting yourself in the best position to succeed through careful planning is crucial in order to effectively communicating the most beneficial information to the college of your choice. 


Many students do succeed taking tests two or three times and show considerable improvement over time, sometimes even raising scores by a few hundred points!  But if you’re thinking of trying the SAT or ACT a fourth or even fifth time, go find your favorite board game, roll the dice, and immediately move back three spaces.  It’s not necessary at that point and there will better ways to continue to build your credentials. 


 Insight counselors work with students every single day in this important area and based on your profile, your ambitions, and your tendencies, we will guide you to make the choice that allows you to convey the very best version of yourself to colleges.


Keep studying, work hard, sign up for a class, and consult the people you trust for advice.  And remember, at the end of the day, although it doesn’t feel like it in the moment, it’s only a test.


It’s ACT Day!

The day is finally here. You’ve been preparing for months, worked your way through countless notebooks and #2 pencils, and taken practice test after practice test to get your score where you want it to be.


Today is ACT day!  


First of all, I urge you to take a moment to pat yourself on the back. No matter the outcome of the test, your hard work and dedication is something you should be proud of.


Undoubtedly, you have felt a lot of pressure during preparation time. The morning of the test is time to put those pressures aside, and to focus on getting yourself ready for the test with the following steps:


1- Have a healthy, filling breakfast. You may feel a little nervous and not hungry at the time, but a grumbling stomach is the last thing you want to be thinking about as you sit down to write! If you are finding it difficult to eat, begin with a piece of fruit like a banana. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, which helps deliver oxygen to the brain and keep your mind sharp.

2- Run through a check list of the things you need to bring with you. Your test ticket, photo ID, approved calculator, sharp #2 pencils, and a good eraser are top of the list. Don’t forget your mask and water bottle!

3- Give yourself a little extra time to get to the testing center. A good idea is to check the traffic on the days leading up to the test so you have a rough idea of how long it will take for you to get there. It is nice to be about 10 – 15 minutes early, but not so early that you get restless waiting to begin.

4- Switch off that cellphone! Even better, don’t bring it to the testing center with you, if you can help it.

5- When you sit down the take the test, take a few deep breaths. You are ready, and you’re going to ace it

Why You Should Take the SAT in August!

Update: In 2021, the SAT will be offered on August 28, 2021.


The College Board announced early this year that they would be offering the SAT on August 26th, 2017. Prior to this year, the first opportunity students had to take the test after June was in October.

Now that the College Board is offering an August test date, students have many more options and opportunities to prepare well for the test. One big perk of this date is that students who complete prep during the summer will be able to take the test while the information is fresh in their minds.

So, why take the SAT in August? The new date will give you the opportunity to take the test before you get bombarded by school work, homework, and midterms. For rising seniors who need to take the test one last time to get a score for their college applications will now have a chance at an improved score to help early decision or early action applications. This new test date offering also helps those who are taking SAT Subject tests which are also being offered in August and October.

The best way to prepare for the test is to practice, practice, practice! And practice means taking diagnostic tests and reviewing them so you can better understand and fix your mistakes. Insight offers full-length diagnostic tests to allow students to take the test in a real testing environment – no cell phones or technology, a quiet room and the ability to see how you perform with no distractions.

Just understanding your body’s limitations and learning how to focus during the grueling four hours can really help you know what to expect on test day. Doing tutorials for the subject matter that you need to get more familiar with will also help you feel less anxiety on the day.

You may still suffer from some form of mild test anxiety – don’t worry, this is normal! Knowing what it is for you, be it butterflies in your stomach, sweating, tapping your pencil, or erasing every imaginary stray mark – being aware is the first step in finding ways to cope. Taking deep breaths, focusing on something specific, going through a phrase in your head before the test may be what helps you. Whatever it is, having the opportunity to identify and practice is the best way to calm your nerves before test day.

Insight Education is offering an SAT Boot Camp starting on Monday, July 31st and running through to August 11th to help students who are taking the SAT on August 26th practice and prepare. This 10-day class empowers students with the endurance and confidence needed to ace the test. We are also offering Boot Camps throughout the fall for those taking the test later in the year. For more class information, click here.

Every test day, all the team at Insight are sending virtual well wishes to our students. Good luck and know that we are always here to help!

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