College Entrance Exam Guide & Free Online Test Prep Course

Do you have a high schooler with college looming in his or her future?  If you are like most parents in this situation, you are both excited for your child and nervous at the same time.  You may have questions about the admissions process, in general, and specifically about college entrance exams: What test do you take to get into college?  Do colleges prefer the ACT or SAT?  How can I help my child pass the college entrance exams?  Luckily, there are a lot of resources, but too many can be overwhelming.  To help you, we have summarized much of what you need to know to support your child through college admissions testing:

What are College Entrance Exams? Changing Climate of College Admissions Types of College Entrance Exams Choosing Which College Entrance Exam(s) to Take
Registering for College Entrance Exam Preparing for College Entrance Exam Your Own Free 15-Week College Entrance Exam Prep Course Additional College Entrance Exam Resources


What are College Entrance Exams?

College entrance exams—like the SAT, ACT, and newer CLT—were designed to determine whether high school students have the potential to succeed at the college level.  They are often used as part of the admissions screening process for colleges, along with other indicators like high school GPA, level of high school coursework, extracurricular activities, recommendations, and college essays.  Colleges weigh entrance exams differently in the admissions process, with more competitive (i.e., Ivy League) universities typically placing more emphasis on entrance exam scores than less selective colleges.

Why are college entrance exams important?  Some say they are, and some say they aren’t.  The use of college entrance exams to determine whether high schoolers are ready for college-level work has been long debated, and the debate has resulted in a list of pros and cons of college entrance exams.  Some argue that college entrance exams are unbiased, accurate, and practical predictors of college success offering students the opportunity to improve test-taking skills while preparing for them.  Others argue that such testing negatively affects diversity and opportunities for first-generation college applicants; is biased against certain populations of students (e.g., minorities, low-income students, women, students who excel in a single subject, poor test-takers); causes stress; prevents creativity; can harm students’ confidence, and reflects differences in K-12 schooling rather than student potential.  Regardless of your own view on college entrance exams, as a parent, you find yourself now facing this process.

 The Changing Climate of College Admissions

As a result of the increasing debate (including discussions, research, and pressure from parents), some colleges, and even some state college systems (like California), are moving toward eliminating, have already eliminated, or are minimizing the emphasis they put on college entrance exam requirements.  Some schools are simply weighing the other factors (e.g., high school GPA, recommendations) more than test scores while other schools are “superscoring” the SAT or the ACT, taking the best scores on subtests even if they were from different tests (if students take the test more than once).  Other schools use the entrance exam scores solely to place students in appropriate course levels.

An increasing number of colleges have become “test optional” for admissions, meaning that students have the choice of whether to submit college entrance exam scores in support of their applications.  Some colleges allow all students the option while others permit only those with a minimum GPA or class rank to have the option.  In some schools, only certain types of students are required to submit college entrance exam scores.  For example, George Washington University is test-optional, but pre-med students, athletes, and homeschooled students must still submit test scores.  Homeschoolers—make sure you do your research!

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and cancelled College Board testing, some colleges waived SAT/ACT requirements at least for the Fall 2021 incoming class.  Those schools will have to determine alternate measures for making admissions decisions. ACT also announced that it will allow students to take the ACT at home, and the CLT can be taken remotely as well. We will have to see how these changes unfold and impact the changing climate of college admissions.

Types of College Entrance Exams

The two traditional college entrance exams, the SAT and the ACT, have been around since 1926 and 1959, respectively.  In 2015, the Classic Learning Test (CLT) was introduced as a classical education alternative to the standards-based SAT and ACT, and the number of colleges accepting the CLT has been growing.  The CLT is designed for students who have been educated in classical schools or homeschooling programs and focuses on classical and fictional texts, rather than informative texts, while maintaining some elements of the SAT and ACT, like analogies and logic questions.
Here is some information about each of these assessments:

  • SAT – The SAT was formerly known as the “Scholastic Aptitude/Achievement Tests” and was later renamed as the SAT 1: Reasoning Test and SAT II Subject Tests, together known as the SAT Assessment Tests.  The SAT tests reading, writing and language, and math, and includes an optional SAT essay required by some colleges.  Many students take the SAT in 11th grade (spring) and then have the option to retake the test again in 12th grade (fall).  SAT subject test may also be required by some colleges.
  • ACT – The ACT was formerly known as the “American College Testing” assessment and covers five core areas: English, math, reading, writing (optional), and science.  The test is typically taken in the spring of 11th grade or in 12th grade.
  • CLT – The Classic Learning Test includes tests for grammar, literary comprehension, and mathematical and logical reasoning, with an optional, ungraded essay.  Most students take the CLT in 11th or 12th grade.

If you compare the SAT, ACT, and CLT, you will find that the major differences are the test content (i.e., science for the ACT and classical learning for the CLT), the method of administration (i.e., the CLT is online while the other two are paper), and the duration (with the CLT the shortest at two hours).

Choosing Which College Entrance Exam(s) To Take

What test do you take to get into college?  That all depends on the college.  You will need to have some idea of the colleges and programs that are of interest to your child, so you can determine what, if any, college entrance exams need to be taken.  Many colleges offer the choice of SAT or ACT (or sometimes CLT), and some require the “optional” essays.

Some colleges require, recommend, or consider scores from SAT Subject Tests as well in their admissions decisions.  There are 20 SAT subject tests, which are one-hour in length and cover content based on high school coursework.  SAT Subject Tests are available in the following areas: English, foreign languages, history, math, and science.

Look at the websites of colleges that your child likes (and offer programs of interest) to determine which test is required.  Many students choose to take both the SAT and ACT, including the optional essays, to give themselves the most options.  If a preferred college is test optional, consider whether your child is likely to do well on a test (i.e., is a good test taker).  If you and your child feel that a test score will strengthen an admissions application, then go for it!

If your child has the option of more than one test, look at the comparisons between the tests to see which content topics best fit the strengths of your child.  Some say that the ACT has a higher emphasis on verbal skills while the SAT is better for those who are strong in math.  Students who have been educated outside of public school systems may find the CLT to be most appropriate (if it is accepted).  Have your child take full-length practice tests of any test you are considering.  Whichever test results in the highest percentile may be the best test to prepare for and take.

Registering for a College Entrance Exam

Regardless of which test your child is taking, you will want to make sure that he or she registers well in advance.  Consider recommendations like When Should You Take the SAT or ACT? Best Test Dates.  You will need to find a convenient test date and testing location, and you will need to make sure you have the registration fees ready.  Check to see if you are eligible for SAT or ACT fee waivers.  Click on the links below to find out more about registering for each of the assessments:

  • ACT – offered seven times per year in the months of September, October, December, February, April, June, and July
  • SAT – offered seven times per year in the months of October, November, December, March, May, June, and August
  • CLT – offered four times per year in the months of December, February, April, and August

Preparing for a College Entrance Exam

Of course, you want your child to have a solid academic foundation, and much of what is tested on college entrance exams is important for success beyond high school.  Knowing how to prepare for college entrance exams can take away at least some of the anxiety when your child starts to think of the testing as a gateway to the future.  You can spend a lot of money on test preparation materials and courses, but there are free online resources available.  PrepScholar even offers a free guide for choosing a test prep method: What’s the Best Prep Method for You? Major Prep Methods and How to Decide.

Here are some ways, offered by the test makers, to help your child practice each of the assessments and feel more confident:

  • SAT – Students can gain experience with the SAT by taking the PSAT 10 in 10th grade (spring) or the PSAT in 11th grade (fall).  Start your child even earlier by having your child take the PSAT 8/9 in 8th or 9th  grade.  CollegeBoard also offers sample questions, practice tests, tutorials, testing strategies tips, and questions of the day.
  • ACT – An optional practice test, the PreACT, can be taken in 10th grade or early in the fall of 11th grade.  To help your child prepare, access the free Practice Test and download the free eBook, ACT – Before, During, and After: 3 Stages of Taking a College Entrance Exam.
  • CLT – The official preparatory exam for the CLT is the CLT10, designed for students in 9th or 10th grade.  It takes the same two hours but has fewer questions of the highest difficulty (i.e., it is age-appropriate).  To begin preparation earlier, students can also take the CLT8.  Students can take both the CLT8 and the CLT10 on their own computers and get their scores the same day.  To help with preparation, you can view a CLT Sample Test or log in and take a CLT Practice Test.

If your child is planning on taking the SAT, one way to prepare is by using Khan Academy’s free SAT practice course.  Khan Academy has partnered with CollegeBoard to offer resources like 8 full-length practice tests, practice questions, videos, strategies, and tips.  You can even link your child’s PSAT scores to the program to get a personalized study program based on PSAT results.  Khan recommends practicing test prep for 15-30 minutes per day, five days a week.

In addition to CollegeBoard and Khan Academy and those featured in our 15-week curriculum below, here are some other websites offering free college entrance exam preparation resources:

  • Kaplan: Free test information for ACT, PSAT, and SAT
  • McGraw-Hill: Five free full-length PSAT practice tests
  • The Princeton Review: Free online or in-person practice tests and free trials of test prep online for the ACT, PSAT, SAT, and SAT Subject Tests
  • Study.com: Free full-length and brief ACT practice tests
  • TestPrepPractice.net: Free SAT and ACT tutorials, practice tests, test information
  • Test Prep Review: Free PSAT, SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests information; FAQ’s; practice testing; and SAT self-assessment modules by topic area for reading, writing, and math
  • Varsity Tutors: Free SAT diagnostic tests and practice tests; FAQs; and lists of tutors, courses/classes, and test prep programs

Doing well on college entrance exams is important for your child to gain admission to a college of choice and may even result in scholarship money; however, perhaps the most important part of this process is ensuring that your child feels confident and comfortable with his or her own knowledge and skills.  The pressure and importance of college entrance exams can increase your child’s test anxiety; testing and retesting can build confidence if you support your child in a positive way.  As you guide your child through test preparation, test-taking, and even finding out the results, be sure to focus on the positives, the progress, and the potential.

As a parent, you may get caught up in the pressures and financial consequences of these exams, but try to remember that the goal is not only to develop a student whose test scores show readiness for college-level work, but also to build confidence so that your child feels ready and able to succeed in college!

SAT and ACT Prep Course

College Entrance Exam Preparation

Do you want to help your child prepare for a college entrance exam and build that confidence, but you don’t want to (or simply can’t) spend the money for an expensive SAT/ACT test prep course?  How should you organize skill-building activities, strategy learning, and practice testing?  We can help here, too! We’ve created the following 15 week free test prep online course for you using free resources from the internet. Feel free to use this as is or adapt it to your own unique homeschooling needs.

 

Week 1:
Pre-Assessment
Week 2:
Test Strategies and Tips
Week 3:
Reading I
Week 4:
Reading II
Week 5:
Math I
Week 6:
Math II
Week 7:
English/ Language and Writing I
Week 8:
English/ Language and Writing II
Week 9:
Optional Essay/ Additional Practice
Week 10:
Optional Science (ACT Only)/ Additional Practice
Week 11:
Practice Test A by Section
Week 12:
Practice Test A by Section
Week 13:
Practice Test B by Section
Week 14:
Practice Test B by Section
Week 15:
Post-Assessment

 

Week 1: Pre-Assessment

Let’s start with a pre-assessment to see where you are at the beginning of this process!

Day 1: Diagnostic Full-Length Practice Test/Pre-Assessment:
SAT Prep:  Take the full official SAT Practice Test #1, provided by CollegeBoard, with Practice Essay #1 if you will be taking the essay.  Use the SAT Answer Sheet to fill in the answers.

ACT Prep:  Take the full official ACT Practice Test 2019-2020 (Form74F), which is the same as the 2018-2019 test, provided by ACT.

Set aside four hours for either test.  Print out the test since that is how the test will actually be taken and use only the test booklet for scrap paper.  Follow the time guidelines and take the test in one setting.

Days 2-5: Review of Pre-Assessment:

SAT Prep:  Access the Answers and Explanations for SAT Practice Test #1 and then review both the correct and incorrect questions.  Download the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #1 to determine subscores and a total score.

ACT Prep: Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2019-2020 (Form74F) booklet and score the results using the guide.

As you review the answers in each section, complete the Skills Checklist for each section.  Access TestPrep Review’s Self-Assessment Modules for the areas where you need improvement, and create a separate plan to work on those areas.

The results will give you the Pre-Assessment Scores (i.e., before your 15-week practice).

Week 2: Test Strategies and Tips

Having some strategies for the test can really help your scores and improve your confidence!

Day 1: Test Prep Tips: Read 30 Tips for ACT and SAT Standardized Test Prep by Ernest Davenport, Ph.D.  Write down the tips that you want to remember.

Day 2: Test Taking Advice: Read How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer (PrepScholar) for advice that will help with SAT and ACT preparation.  This guide was written by Allen Cheng, two-time perfect scorer on the SAT, so you will want to write down tips from this blog article as well.

Day 3: Test Taking Strategies: Download and read the free E-book, The Best SAT Advice You Can Get: 5 Strategies that Will Get You 160+ Points, posted on PrepScholar by Fred Zhang.  Simply input your name and email address to access it and jot down notes for what will be most helpful.

Day 4: Test Taking Tips: Read How to Ace the SAT: 6 Expert Tips and Strategies, by Justin Berkman, or Top 10 ACT Tips to Crush It! posted by Test-Guide.  Learn study strategies and test-taking tips and add to your notes.

Day 5: Strategy/Tip Mnemonic: Using the notes you created on the most useful strategies/tips, create a mnemonic that you can refer to on the morning of the test or write on the scrap paper/test booklet just before starting the test.

Week 3: Reading I

The SAT Reading section includes reading passages and 52 multiple choice questions, to be completed in 65 minutes.  Passages contain content from social science, history/social studies, classic/contemporary literature, and science.

The ACT Reading section includes 40questions and takes 35 minutes.  Like the SAT, it contains passages with multiple choice questions, but its content focuses on the subject areas of prose fiction/literary narrative, social science, humanities, and natural science.

Day 1: Reading Test Strategies: Read How to Get 800 on SAT Reading: 11 Strategies by a Perfect Scorer, posted on PrepScholar, and take notes on what is meaningful to you.

Day 2: Reading Test Tips: Read Top 10 New SAT Reading Tips, posted on Magoosh by Chris Lele, and 6 SAT Reading Tips You Need to Know, posted by PrepExpert by Clay Cooper.  If you are taking the ACT, read 10 Must-Know ACT Reading Tips, posted by Kaplan.  Jot down tips you would like to remember.

Day 3: Types of reading passages: Browse the types of passages listed here from PowerScore’s SAT Reading Comprehension Practice list of general, social science, natural science, and humanities magazines, as well as literature passages from novels by famous authors.  PowerScore also offers a Suggested SAT Reading List, so you can “study” for your college entrance exams while enjoying great literature.

Day 4:  Reading Comprehension Strategies: Read through the Seven Strategies to Teach Students Text Comprehension, posted by Reading Rockets, paying special attention to strategies 1, 2, and 4 for use in test taking.  Also, read through What are the “Super Six” Comprehension Strategies?  Choose one or two strategies from the two readings to try as you take your practice tests.

Day 5: Practice: Take SAT Reading Comprehension Quiz 1 (test-guide.com) or ACT Reading Practice Test 1 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Week 4: Reading II

Continue your practice of reading comprehension questions with these practice tests.  Your responses will be graded at the end, and you will receive explanations of any incorrect responses:

Day 1: Practice: Take SAT Reading Comprehension Quiz 2 (test-guide.com) or ACT Reading Practice Test 2 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 2: Practice: Take SAT Reading Comprehension Quiz 3 (test-guide.com) or ACT Reading Practice Test 3 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 3: Practice: Take SAT Reading Comprehension Quiz 4 (test-guide.com) or ACT Reading Practice Test 4 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 4: Practice: Take SAT Reading Comprehension Quiz 5 (test-guide.com) or ACT Reading Practice Test 5 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 5: SAT Official Reading Practice Questions: Do the Official SAT Reading sample questions (24) or Official ACT Reading sample test questions (in five sets).  Check answers and read through the explanations.

Additional practice, if needed:
ACT Reading Practice Test 6 (test-guide.com)

Week 5: Math I

The SAT math section involves 58 questions, with 38 questions requiring the use of a calculator and 20 questions being completed without a calculator.  Students are given 80 minutes (55 minutes for the calculator section and 25 minutes for the calculator-free section) and are asked questions based on algebra, geometry, data analysis from tables and graphs, and problem/equation solving.

The ACT math section includes 60 questions, taking a total of 60 minutes. It covers pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry.

Day 1: Math Test Strategies: Read How to Get 800 on SAT Math, by a Perfect Scorer, How to Get 36 on ACT Math: 8 Strategies by a Perfect Scorer, The Ultimate ACT Math Prep Guide: Strategies, Topics, and Tips, and/or How You’ll Get Stuck in SAT/ACT Math Questions, and What to Do About It, all by PrepScholar.  Take notes on strategies or tips that are meaningful to you.

Day 2: SAT Facts and Formulas: Study the guide, SAT Math Must-Know Facts and Formulas, pages 1-2.  If you are unsure of any of the facts/formulas on these pages, do some research to find instructional videos, strategies, and/or practice questions using those facts and formulas.  You can look at PrepScholar’s ACT math content guides or Test Prep Review’s Self-Assessment Modules for information/practice on different topics.

Day 3: SAT Facts and Formulas: Study the guide, SAT Math Must-Know Facts and Formulas, pages 3-4.  If you are unsure of any of the facts/formulas on these pages, do some research to find instructional videos, strategies, and/or practice questions using those facts and formulas.  You can look at PrepScholar’s ACT math content guides or Test Prep Review’s Self-Assessment Modules for information/practice on different topics.

Day 4: SAT Facts and Formulas: Study the guide, SAT Math Must-Know Facts and Formulas, pages 5-6.  If you are unsure of any of the facts/formulas on these pages, do some research to find instructional videos, strategies, and/or practice questions using those facts and formulas.  You can look at PrepScholar’s ACT math content guides or Test Prep Review’s Self-Assessment Modules for information/practice on different topics.

Day 5: Practice: Take SAT Math Quiz 1 (test-guide.com) or ACT Math Practice Test Pool 1 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Week 6: Math II

Continue your practice of math questions with these practice tests.  Your responses will be graded at the end, and you will receive explanations of any incorrect responses:

Day 1: Practice: Take SAT Math Quiz 2 (test-guide.com) or ACT Math Practice Test Pool 2 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 2: Practice: Take SAT Math Quiz 3 (test-guide.com) or retake (tests are randomized) ACT Math Practice Test Pool 1 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 3: Practice: Take SAT Math Quiz 4 (test-guide.com) or retake (tests are randomized) ACT Math Practice Test Pool 2 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 4: SAT and ACT Official Math Practice Questions: Do the Official SAT Math (calculator permitted) sample questions (30) or Official ACT Math practice test questions (sets 1-3). Check answers and read through the explanations.

Day 5: SAT and ACT Official Math Practice Questions: Do the Official SAT Math (no calculator) sample questions (18) or Official ACT Math practice test questions (sets 4-5).  Check answers and read through the explanations.

Additional practice, if needed:
SAT Math Quiz 5 (test-guide.com)

SAT Math Quiz 6 (test-guide.com)

SAT Math Quiz 7 (test-guide.com)

Math Practice – Free SAT Test Prep Material (PowerScore): math practice questions, divided into three groups: easy, medium, and hard

Week 7: English/Language and Writing I

The SAT writing and language section contains 44 questions based on reading passages with related tables, charts, and graphs.  Students have 35 minutes to complete this section.  All questions require students to identify errors and choose the best possible replacements.

The ACT English section includes 75 questions to be completed in 45 minutes.  There are five passages with multiple choice questions covering usage and mechanics (e.g., grammar, punctuation, sentence structure) and rhetorical skills (e.g., writing flow, logic, clarity).

Day 1: SAT English/Language and Writing Strategies: Read How to Get 800 on SAT Writing, 9 Strategies from a Perfect Scorer, posted on PrepScholar, and take notes on what is meaningful to you.

Day 2: English/Language and Writing Tips: Read 8 SAT Writing Tips You Need to Know, posted on PrepExpert by Clay Cooper, or 6 ACT English Tips for Any Passage, posted by The Princeton Review.  Jot down notes for tips you want to remember.

Day 3: Punctuation Rules: Study the Punctuation Portion (Sections I-V) of Complete SAT and ACT Grammar and Punctuation Rules, posted by Critical Reader.  If you are unsure of any of these punctuation rules, find instructional videos or other resources to help you.

Day 4: Grammar Rules: Study the first half of the Grammar Portion (Sections I-VI) of Complete SAT and ACT Grammar and Punctuation Rules, posted by Critical Reader.  If you are unsure of any of these grammar rules, find instructional videos or other resources to help you.

Day 5: Grammar Rules (continued): Study the second half of the Grammar Portion (Sections VII-XII) of Complete SAT and ACT Grammar and Punctuation Rules, posted by Critical Reader.  If you are unsure of any of these grammar rules, find instructional videos or other resources to help you.

Week 8: English/Language and Writing II

Continue your practice of language and writing questions with these practice tests.  Your responses will be graded at the end, and you will receive explanations of any incorrect responses:

Day 1: Practice: Take SAT Writing and Language Quiz 1 (test-guide.com) or ACT English Practice Quiz 1 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 2: Practice: Take SAT Writing and Language Quiz 2 (test-guide.com) or ACT English Practice Quiz 2 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 3: Practice: Take SAT Writing and Language Quiz 3 (test-guide.com) or ACT English Practice Quiz 3 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 4: Practice: Take SAT Writing and Language Quiz 4 (test-guide.com) or ACT English Practice Quiz 4 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 5: SAT Official Writing Practice Questions: Do the Official SAT Writing sample questions (22) or Official ACT English sample test questions (in five sets).  Check answers and read through the explanations.

Additional practice, if needed:
ACT English Practice Test 1 (test-guide.com)

ACT English Practice Test 2 (test-guide.com)

ACT English Practice Test 3 (test-guide.com)

ACT English Practice Test 4 (test-guide.com)

Week 9: Optional Essay / Additional Practice

Whether you are taking the SAT or the ACT, the essay is optional.  Check the admissions requirements of your colleges of choice to see if the essay is required.  If you know for certain that you are not taking the essay, you can use this week to continue practice questions or skill-building for the other test sections.

The SAT Essay requires analysis of a text.  The ACT Essay tests the ability to write clear, organized essays regarding issues and different viewpoints.  The SAT Essay is 50 minutes while the ACT Essay should take 40 minutes.

Day 1: Diagnostic Practice Essay/Pre-Assessment: Take the Official SAT Sample Essay 1 or Official ACT Sample Essay 1.  Then look at the scored Sample Student Essays/Scoring Guide to give yourself a Pre-Assessment score.

Day 2: Essay Analysis: Make a T-Chart of your strengths and challenges on the essay section.

Day 3: Essay Information:  Read about the SAT Essay and How the Essay is Scored.  Jot down notes for anything that will help you on this section.

Day 4: Essay Tips and Strategies: Read SAT Essay Tips: 15 Ways to Improve Your Score or ACT Writing Tips: 15 Strategies to Raise Your Essay Score, both by PrepScholar.  Take notes on what you want to remember.

Day 5: Summative Practice Essay/Post-Assessment:  Take the Official SAT Sample Essay 2 or Official ACT Sample Essay 2.  Then look at the scored Sample Student Essays/Scoring Guide to give yourself a Post-Assessment score.

Week 10: Optional Science (ACT only) / Additional Practice

There is no Science section on the SAT.  If you know for certain that you are not taking the ACT, you can use this week to continue practice questions or building important skills for the SAT.

The ACT Science section contains 40 questions, and students are given 35 minutes.  It tests scientific interpretation skills, like reading of charts and graphs and making conclusions from research summaries.

Day 1: ACT Science Strategies and Tips: Read The Ultimate Study Guide for ACT Science: Tips, Practice, and Strategies, posted by PrepScholar.  Jot down notes for anything you would like to remember.

Day 2: Practice: Take ACT Science Quiz 1 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 3: Practice: Take ACT Science Quiz 2 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 4: Practice: Take ACT Science Quiz 3 (test-guide.com) and review answers and explanations.

Day 5: ACT Official Science Practice Questions: Do the Official ACT Science sample test questions (in five sets).  Check answers and read through the explanations.

Week 11: Practice Test A by Section

For the next two weeks, you will be taking a practice test by section and reviewing your responses.  Let’s improve your skills and scores!

Day 1: Practice Test A: Reading Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Test #3 and the SAT Practice Test Answer Sheet, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Reading Test (65 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the Reading Test (35 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C), provided by ACT.

Day 2: Practice Test A: Reading Results
SAT Prep:  Using the SAT Practice Test #3 Answer Explanations and the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #3, analyze correct and incorrect answers and determine a subscore for the Reading section.

ACT Prep:  Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C) booklet and score the results of the Reading section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Day 3: Practice Test A: English/Language and Writing Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Test #3 and the SAT Practice Test Answer Sheet, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Language and Writing Test (35 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the English Test (60 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C), provided by ACT.

Day 4: Practice Test A: English/Language and Writing Results
SAT Prep:  Using the SAT Practice Test #3 Answer Explanations and the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #3, analyze correct and incorrect answers and determine a subscore for the Language and Writing section.

ACT Prep:  Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C) booklet and score the results of the English section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Day 5: Practice Test A: Math Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Test #3 and the SAT Practice Test Answer Sheet, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Math Test—Calculator Permitted (55 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the Mathematics Test (60 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C), provided by ACT.

Week 12: Practice Test A by Section

Keep going!  You are halfway there on this practice test!
Day 1: Practice Test A: Math Results
SAT Prep:  Using the SAT Practice Test #3 Answer Explanations and the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #3, analyze correct and incorrect answers and determine a subscore for the Math—Calculator Permitted section.

ACT Prep:  Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C) booklet and score the results of the Mathematics section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Day 2: Practice Test A: Math/Science Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Test #3 and the SAT Practice Test Answer Sheet, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Math Test—No Calculator (25 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the Science Test (35 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C), provided by ACT.

Day 3: Practice Test A: Math/Science Results
SAT Prep:  Using the SAT Practice Test #3 Answer Explanations and the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #3, analyze correct and incorrect answers and determine a subscore for the Math—No Calculator section.

ACT Prep:  Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C) booklet and score the results of the Science section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Day 4: Practice Test A: Optional Essay Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Essay #3, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Essay Test (50 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the Essay Test (30 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C), provided by ACT.

Day 5: Practice Test A: Optional Essay Results
SAT Prep:  Read through the writing prompt and essay and score it using the SAT Essay Scoring Guides.

ACT Prep:  Use the essay scoring guide included in the ACT Practice Test 2014-2015 (Form 67C) booklet and score the results of the Essay section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your Essay T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Week 13: Practice Test B by Section

For the next two weeks, you will be taking another practice test by section and reviewing your responses.  The more you practice, the better you will do!

Day 1: Practice Test B: Reading Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Test #5 and the SAT Practice Test Answer Sheet, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Reading Test (65 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the Reading Test (35 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C), provided by ACT.

Day 2: Practice Test B: Reading Results
SAT Prep:  Using the SAT Practice Test #5 Answer Explanations and the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #5, analyze correct and incorrect answers and determine a subscore for the Reading section.

ACT Prep:  Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C) booklet and score the results of the Reading section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Day 3: Practice Test B: English/Language and Writing Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Test #5 and the SAT Practice Test Answer Sheet, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Language and Writing Test (35 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the English Test (60 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C), provided by ACT.

Day 4: Practice Test B: English/Language and Writing Results
SAT Prep:  Using the SAT Practice Test #5 Answer Explanations and the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #5, analyze correct and incorrect answers and determine a subscore for the Language and Writing section.

ACT Prep:  Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C) booklet and score the results of the English section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Day 5: Practice Test B: Math Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Test #5 and the SAT Practice Test Answer Sheet, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Math Test—Calculator Permitted (55 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the Mathematics Test (60 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C), provided by ACT.

Week 14: Practice Test B by Section

Keep plugging along!  You are halfway through this practice test!

Day 1: Practice Test B: Math Results

SAT Prep:  Using the SAT Practice Test #5 Answer Explanations and the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #5, analyze correct and incorrect answers and determine a subscore for the Math—Calculator Permitted section.

ACT Prep:  Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C) booklet and score the results of the Mathematics section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Day 2: Practice Test B: Math/Science Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Test #5 and the SAT Practice Test Answer Sheet, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Math Test—No Calculator (25 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the Science Test (35 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C), provided by ACT.

Day 3: Practice Test B: Math/Science Results
SAT Prep:  Using the SAT Practice Test #5 Answer Explanations and the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #5, analyze correct and incorrect answers and determine a subscore for the Math—No Calculator section.

ACT Prep:  Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C) booklet and score the results of the Science section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Day 4: Practice Test B: Optional Essay Test
SAT Prep:  Using SAT Practice Essay #5, provided by CollegeBoard, take the Essay Test (50 minutes) only.

ACT Prep:  Take the Essay Test (30 minutes) only of the official ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C), provided by ACT.

Day 5: Practice Test B: Optional Essay Results
SAT Prep:  Read through the writing prompt and essay and score it using the SAT Essay Scoring Guides.

ACT Prep:  Use the essay scoring guide included in the ACT Practice Test 2015-2016 (Form 72C) booklet and score the results of the Essay section using the guide.

Remember to compare your performance to your Essay T-Chart on strengths and challenges.  Note where you have made improvements!

Week 15: Post-Assessment

Now let’s see how much all of this practice has helped!
Day 1: Summative Full-Length Practice Test/Post-Assessment:
SAT Prep:  Take the full official SAT Practice Test #6, provided by CollegeBoard, with Practice Essay #6 if you will be taking the essay.  Use the SAT Answer Sheet to fill in the answers.

ACT Prep:  Take the full official ACT Practice Test 2011-2012 (Form 64E) provided by ACT.

Set aside four hours for either test.  Print out the test since that is how the test will actually be taken and use only the test booklet for scrap paper.  Follow the time guidelines and take the test in one setting.

Days 2-5: Review of Post-Assessment:
SAT Prep:  Access the SAT Practice Test #6 Answer Explanations and then review both the correct and incorrect questions.  Download the guide for Scoring Your SAT Practice Test #6 to determine subscores and a total score.

ACT Prep: Use the answer key included in the ACT Practice Test 2011-2012 (Form 64E) Booklet and score the results using the guide.

These results will give you the Post-Assessment Scores (i.e., after your 8-week practice).

 Additional College Entrance Exam Resources

If, after the 15-Week Course, your child needs additional SAT practice, never fear!  There are more full-length SAT Practice Tests (Tests 7-10) available through CollegeBoard.  There is also information for forming SAT Study Groups if your child learns best with friends.

Need even more practice?  There are two full-length SAT practice tests that were formerly made available by CollegeBoard but removed (now posted by PrepScholar):

Ivy Global has also posted two full-length SAT Practice Tests, each including answers and a scoring guide:

Taking the ACT and need more practice?  Here’s are two more full-length ACT practice tests:

Some have recommended taking at least four practice tests in order to get comfortable with the test.  Guess what?  You already did that!
You can also access games that help to prepare for college entrance exams.  Why not have fun?  Here are a couple:

  • ACT and SAT Word Games (Spelling City): Search for “ACT” or “SAT” word lists, and then enjoy the activities.  Try other word lists like “homophones” to practice for grammar parts of the tests.
  • SAT Games (Vocabulary.Co.Il): Enjoy games that play with synonyms, parts of speech, spelling, math vocabulary, and more.
  • SAT Puzzles (PowerScore): Find vocabulary crossword puzzles, vocabulary word searches, Sudoku puzzles, logic puzzles, and others.

This is an exciting time for you and your child.  College entrance exams are one part of the process but remember that they are only one part.  Keep in mind that your child can always retake the SAT or ACT.  Focus on enjoying the journey as your child starts to determine both where college and career can lead.  Best of luck on your adventure!