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More pre-12th grade panic posting.  I have been reviewing the Motherlode threads to be sure nothing is slipping through the cracks.  One thing I am unclear on is when dd should take the ACT/SAT.  It seems some advanced/gifted people take it pretty early so when looking through those threads, I cannot figure out when regular students would take it for the first time.  ACT makes the most sense for dd for several reasons (mostly revolving around test location and accessibility) so that is likely the test she will take.  I do not anticipate that she will take it more than once but I would like to arrange the timing so that she could repeat it just in case she wants to.  Given that, when would it be best for her to take it the first time?  

And, if there is a compelling reason to take the SAT instead (or in a addition), someone please share.  The schools she is considering all take either.

 

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The SAT isn't as tightly timed as the ACT, which is significant when you're trying to score in the uppermost range.  It used to be that the SAT's questions were more puzzle-like and the ACT's more straightforward, but this isn't as much the case with the most recent iteration of the SAT.

Another difference is that the math is diluted more with the ACT.  The composite score is only a quarter math, whereas for the SAT it's half math.  

The best way to decide would be to have her take a practice exam under standard conditions (so, all at once, timed) to see if she does a lot better on one or the other.

Edited by EKS
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Most teens have to take the SAT or ACT two times in order to get their best score. If it were me, I'd have DD take the ACT sometime before May. Then, I would have her study and do more practice tests, and take the test a 2nd time during the summer.

It's illuminating to look at Reddit for comments about the SAT and ACT. What seems to have happened recently is that the SAT is putting out easier tests which have a harsher curve.

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I would say it was 'normal' to take them fall of junior year for the first time. This gives time for prep & retaking spring of junior year & then again fall of senior year.

Obviously there is a big range here. My dd#2 will take it for the first time spring of her junior year. She doesn't have the math knowledge to take it prior to then without bombing it.

Edited by RootAnn

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My three kids all took the ACT once. My boys both took it in February of their junior year. Dd was supposed to take it in June between her junior and senior years, but due to her busy schedule, she ended up putting it off until September of her senior year. All of them scored very well, so it was one and done.🙂

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Definitely make sure she leaves room in her schedule to take it twice.  Libraries generally have lots of prep books so at a minimum take the timed exam once before the exam.  She needs to understand what the timing feels like at a minimum for both exams.

Unexpected things happen during the exams or your dc could be ill so plan on sitting twice.  For instance,  both of mine took the exams together although they are not the same age because we were living overseas and a hotel stay was needed.  We took a practice timed exam two weeks out from the ACT,  worked on weak points in between, and two days before took the timed exam again.  We were so prepared until we got to the school and they had no power.  They did allow the test to go ahead....fortunately not many signed up so window seats for all who stayed!😂.   The scores were lower than practice but not bad.  We took it again in a few months and improved enough so our super scores were quite high.  One of the exams had a wonky science section exam that had one question that confused both of my kids so they were glad to have the other score available.

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Thanks everyone.  It sounds like spring of 11th grade is a good first attempt.  I'll for sure ambush dd with a practice test or two so she can practice timing.  Although, honestly, this is not super high stakes for dd.  The school she is most interested in is not a reach for her at all so unless she completely bombs the test, her score should be fine.  But having time to retake just in case would make us both feel better and leaves her options open in case she does decide to pursue a more selective school.

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