To SAT or ACT? That is the Question

Preparation is paramount for the tests colleges use for admissions and merit-based scholarships or endowments.

by Taticasejuana Bobo Stevens

If you are interested in higher academia, it’s never too early to prepare for the SAT or ACT exams. Colleges use SAT and ACT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships or endowments. Studies have indicated that the earlier your children are exposed to these exams, the better results they yield. Registration for the SAT is $60, with a $30 late fee. Registration for the ACT is $63 without the writing section and $88 with the writing section. There’s also a $36 late fee assessed. Encourage your children to plan, prepare and execute earlier, so late fees aren’t incurred. Inquire about fee waivers. Financial Literacy Lesson 101: Be a good steward over your finances. 

“Studies have indicated that the earlier your children are exposed to these exams, the better results they yield.”

Taticasejuana Bobo Stevens

I recommend establishing a good study regimen before sitting for both exams. Allow your children to devote a minimum of 10–20 hours a week, as it will provide a greater return on your investments (i.e. their application fees, books, tutor, etc.). This will also increase their chances of scoring higher on these comprehensive exams. I encourage you to take one or both exams before your senior year. If you find yourself in a situation where you have not taken either exam as a senior, then closely pay attention to your upcoming college application deadlines to ensure your scores get to the school(s) of your choice before it’s time. Remember, start now. By April, most of the funding has already been disbursed among the students who planned early. You should be in that number. 

Deciding which exam works best for you will primarily depend on the college of your choice. Some colleges want one or the other, while other colleges want both. If you are involved in extracurricular activities or work a part-time job, now is the time to start planning. The SAT consists of reading, writing, language and math, and it takes three hours to complete. The ACT consists of English, reading, math, science reasoning and an optional essay. It lasts two hours and 40 minutes without the essay and three hours with the essay. Whenever you see the word “optional,” commit yourself every time. That separates the leaders from those following the easy conduit of the crowd. 

Remember, there’s no standard for how many times a student should take the exams, but a rule of thumb is typically two to three times. Lastly, these exams do not show a student’s creativity, intelligence and resilience, so don’t let the number define you. Whether high, low or in between, it is simply one facet of the vibrant life you have ahead of you. Go and be great future leaders. 

Taticasejuana Bobo Stevens is a Ph.D. candidate and holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration. She is the CEO and founder of Stebeaux’s Educational Enterprises, LLC and the Taylor Marie Bo Foundation, Inc.

Click here to read more stories by Taticasejuana Bobo Stevens.

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