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What Can HS Freshmen Do Now to Prep for Their Future SAT/ACT?

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey Editor Posts: 162 Editor
College Confidential receives many inquiries from HS freshmen asking about test prep -- here are some tips that ninth graders can use when planning: https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/what-can-freshmen-do-now-to-prep-for-their-future-sat-act/
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Replies to: What Can HS Freshmen Do Now to Prep for Their Future SAT/ACT?

  • damon30damon30 Registered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    Khan Academy has actual SAT/PSAT test prep.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,349 Forum Champion
    I would suggest that a HS freshman's time would be better spent:
    --focusing on freshman classes
    --seeking out and trying different EC activities
    --spending time with friends and family
  • awesomepolyglotawesomepolyglot Registered User Posts: 3,852 Senior Member
    I would strongly recommend that freshmen do NOT take the subject tests if they plan on taking a higher level of the same course later in high school.
  • QuantumechQuantumech Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    I took Calculus BC in freshman year and felt that if I took the Math 2 test later it would have been more difficult since I would have forgotten everything. Also, take subject tests that correspond to your AP Classes as the material is fresh in your memory. I personally recommend June, but some of my friends feel that April/May is early enough.
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,158 Senior Member
    edited January 25
    Well, if it is freshmen themselves writing to CC, I see no need to discourage them from preparing if they want to. I would suggest doing a lot of reading for fun, but in a mix of genres. Signing up for the SAT Question of the Day seems pretty harmless, and not very time consuming. The best way for a freshman to prepare remains paying attention and doing well in his/her classes, particularly math and English classes.

    How many of those asking are truly students? Freshmen honors students, those I would think would be the most likely to be concerned, tend to be very busy kids with more homework than time. They are still adjusting to schedules and workloads that are beyond anything they've had to deal with in middle school. Standardized tests may be on their radar, but most of them are not seeking out additional work to prepare for them just yet.
  • ilovechoateeeeeilovechoateeeee Registered User Posts: 245 Junior Member
    I'm a freshman at a competitive high school taking honors classes and I'm already preparing for the PSAT. I think it depends on the student. If you manage your time well (I do most of my hw in my frees) you'll have a lot of time to pursue other things
  • SatchelSFSatchelSF Registered User Posts: 1,285 Senior Member
    edited January 26
    I would just read, read and read. Did I mention read? Fiction, magazines (my favorite as a kid was Aviation Week and Space Technology), well-written newspapers (WSJ, NYT, WaPO), classic novels, whatever grabs your interest and is substantive. Aim for variety. Don't rely solely on your high school curriculum if you are shooting for top scores (these days, that means 770+ on EBRW).

    Math is easier to prep for closer to the actual test time, so for now just plug away at the curriculum.

    However, if you enjoy math, consider competition. Look at old AMC8 exams and try a few; they only require very basic algebra and geometry and are designed for 8th graders and under. If they grab you and you like doing problems, think about the AMC10. After a year or two of doing those problems and working through the solutions SAT/ACT math will be easier than tying your shoelaces. Dozens of old tests and solutions are readily available on artofproblemsolving.com.

    Best of luck, freshmen!
  • tdy123tdy123 Registered User Posts: 428 Member
    edited January 28
    @SatchelSF nailed the answer. As a NMS winner (40+ years ago) and parent of a NMS winner (now a senior at Yale), I can confirm that reading is vital. Neither of us did anything but the barest minimum of test prep, which consisted of one practice test to familiarize ourselves with the test. What we shared was the reading habits that SatchelSF described. "I would just read, read and read. Did I mention read? Fiction, magazines (my favorite as a kid was Aviation Week and Space Technology), well-written newspapers (WSJ, NYT, WaPO), classic novels, whatever grabs your interest and is substantive. Aim for variety. Don't rely solely on your high school curriculum if you are shooting for top scores (these days, that means 770+ on EBRW)."
  • ajfrommaajfromma Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    @happy1, I really agree with that. Being a freshman in high school is tough enough, and the amount of responsibility you will have now is different than ever before. I'm a junior, and I would suggest prioritizing your classes and doing the clubs/sports/ECs you want to do. If you also want to get a head start, I cannot suggest more highly anything other than taking the PSAT in 10th grade. It'll really tell you what actual work you need to do then!
  • BurgermeisterBurgermeister Registered User Posts: 355 Member
    I agree, @SatchelSF nailed the ultimate answer. My wife made me read with them every night. I.never got good at golf. She did not allow x-box until the baby was in 5th grade. Gonna keep her around!
  • FSUdad93FSUdad93 Registered User Posts: 174 Junior Member
    I don't believe there is a one size fits all. My 8th grade daughter came home in 7th grade and asked if she could take the Duke Tip ACT. I said "sure". She was all excited. She is very intelligent so I figured she would score a 21. She scored a 29. This December she asked to take it again. I said "sure" again. She took the December test and scored 36 26 36 25 for a 31 total in 8th grade. In 9th grade she wants to take the SAT. She grew up reading, reading, reading! We don't do anything special otherwise. Her older brother was a NM Scholar quite easily. Let them run with it if they want to.
  • 4leaguer4leaguer Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    As a senior in the midst of the application season: my GREATEST advice is to take the PSAT seriously. So many colleges offer tremendous aid (some more than half the tuition like USC) just for being a National Merit Semifinalist; you don't even have to win! When I was a freshman, I knew that National Merit existed, but I thought it was so out of scope that I didn't really look into it or try. Now, I regret it dearly. I missed the National Merit block by 1 point. 1! 1 freaking point!!! And as I was looking into ACT tutoring for the future, I saw how many testing companies offer official PSAT prep. Parents, really, don't make the same mistake I did. I know freshman year seems far, but I can't believe how early I missed the steps that mattered for merit aid and acceptance in the future. Just prepare! It doesn't have to be hard-core, but slow and steady really does win the race.

    PS: I went on to take the ACT after my PSAT disappointment and actually made sure that I studied every single weekend until my exam. I ended up getting a 33. 35 in science. The "For the Love of ACT Science" book helped me tremendously. Good luck to you all!!
  • glidoglido Registered User Posts: 5,962 Senior Member
    The more you read, the better off you will be. Just read whatever interests you. Also, if you want to get familiar with the SAT format, you can buy the College Board blue book or go to Khan Academy and do some practice questions.
  • damon30damon30 Registered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    Parents, really, don't make the same mistake I did.

    Great post @4leaguer ! Your points are well taken. Good luck to you too!
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