When to Start Studying for SAT or ACT to SCORE HIGHER!

Hey guys! It's Janice again. You're

watching Sharp Cookie. So today I'm going to

talk about a really common question I

get all the time. I'm a tutor for the

last five years. I've been tutoring a lot

of SAT and ACT especially. So everyone

asks, "When should I start studying?" And I

do have some very specific windows that

I think work best for when you should

start studying and when you should take

it the first time and for most people

when you should take it the second time.

So the first window that comes up that I

recommend is September of your junior

year. If you start studying in September

then I would assume by November you

should be ready and then if you need to

take it again you can take the December

test for the SAT or ACT, usually they're

one week apart, right before the holidays.

Now why do I like this schedule? For a

couple of reasons. First, getting back to

school mode. So you're already gonna be

starting to get used to studying for

your classes, and you're not in like

summertime mode "I want to hang out with

my friends," so that's one reason I like

this window of September to December.

Secondly, you get this really nice break

with the holidays where you can get your

second test out of the way and then for

two weeks you don't have to worry about

school or the ACT or the SAT. That's the

other reason I like it. Third, if for some

reason you still don't like your score

on the December test you have a break,

you have a clean slate, and then you can

start fresh in January again and take

February or March. Another reason why I

like this window is

you're not rushed. If you start September

of your junior year you have over a year

to keep taking it. So I know most people

aren't going to do that,

but mentally that's a really nice

thought to have even though you probably

won't study for a year. It's nice to

think "okay worst-case scenario, if I had

to I don't feel rushed,

I don't feel pressure if I have too much

schoolwork. I can take a break for a

couple months and then come back to it

in January or February." So that's why I

like starting early. So for those reasons

I definitely recommend starting in

September of your junior year. That's my

number one recommendation. My number two

recommendation is if you're too late for

that window or that window doesn't work

for you maybe because of sports or

you're in a theater and you're in a play

or you have some sort of family crisis

whatevers going on or you're just too

late maybe you're watching this video

and we're already past that window for

you, my second best recommendation is to

start January of your junior year. Why do

I like January? Well you just had a two

week break so in theory you should be

feeling ready to get back into school,

back into studying, and January is kind

of that feeling of New Year's

resolutions, new start, let's get started

with studying for our test. So it has

that energy going for it. Number two I

just like the test schedule. Again I like

the testing schedule to match up so that

it ends when kids naturally have breaks,

so if you start in September your

testing schedule will probably end in

December and then you have a natural

break. If you start in January, your

testing schedule will naturally end

around the end of May or maybe June when

you end school and then you have summer

break, so both of those times work really

well. Now if you start studying in January

I recommend you sign up for the March

test. If you're studying pretty regularly,

again if you're only studying here and there,

you're gonna need more time, but if

you're studying every week you will be

ready by March for the first test, and

then I always recommend kids take it a

second time no matter who you are.

They've done studies on this. You can

look them up online. They found that on

average kids go up approximately forty

points on the SAT without any studying

just by taking it again.

Why? Because things we do repeatedly

we get better at. The more you play

guitar the better you get, the more you

take tests the better you get at taking

tests and you understand them and you

have less nerves. So I always recommend

just sign up for two.

You will almost always do better. I've

had so many students, and they almost

across the board, I can't even think of a

time off the top of my head that someone

didn't do better the second time they

took it, so sign up for two. If you start

studying in January, sign up for the

first one in March. The second one will

be in April, May, or June. You can look at

the dates and figure out with your schedule

which one would work for you, but I

recommend March is the first one just to

get that that one out of the way. And

then figure out, do you want April, May, or

June for your second one. A lot of times

kids have to look at their weekends and

they see. Okay am I going to be on

vacation? Do I have a soccer tournament?

Whatever is going on. Is it finals week

and I don't want to be studying for

finals and my SAT and ACT. Or I'm taking

a subject test that week. So whatever it

is, look at your schedule and plan ahead.

Actually that's my other big tip is plan

this stuff ahead. Plan when you're going to

start studying, plan when you're going to

take it the first time, plan when you're

going to take it the second time. I get it.

I'm not a big planner myself, but this is

not something you should leave to the

last minute. It's just too important.

Figure out the dates, figure out when

you're going take it. One more reason why

I like signing up for two tests is you

never know what's gonna happen. I've had

kids get the flu on test day. I've had

family emergencies happen on test day.

You just never know. You need to be

prepared to take it a second time or you

just you have I don't know homecoming

and you don't sleep well and you totally

bomb it or are you getting testing anxiety

and you get really nervous. A lot of

things can happen, so make sure you plan

in your mind "I'm going to take it twice." And

if you take it once, and you score

amazing and you're happy, then then don't

worry about it. But most of you will take

it twice, so plan for that. So plan

either start studying in September and take

your tests in November or December or start

studying in January and take your tests in

March and then sometime later in the

spring before summer break. There's a big

reason why I like to end before breaks.

If you try to keep studying during the

holidays, kids say they're gonna do it.

They never do it. It just really

doesn't happen. So you need to sort of

coincide with the ending of the test

happening with major breaks in the

holiday schedule for school. Now the

third recommendation I have, and this is

the one I recommend the least, but for

some people it might work really well so

maybe for you this works, and that's you

start studying mid-June. So why is

starting in June my least favorite

recommendation? A few things. Kids think

"Hey I'm out for the summer, this means I

have so much more time to study." And yes

there are some kids that are super

disciplined and they do find time to

study in the summer, but most of the time

your skills actually go down. Why? Because

you're not in school. You're not reading,

you're not doing math, let's be honest

you're not doing recreational math for

fun over the summer, so what happens is

typically your skills that you're used

to having decline just like with

anything. If you're a soccer player you

know that if you don't practice for

three months you know you're not just

gonna show up and be exactly where you

were before. You're not gonna go back to

zero, but you are going to decline a little

bit, and I see that all the time. Kids go

to summer camp, they go on vacation, their

schedule is just all over the place.

And that's the worst thing you can do

when you're studying for the SAT or the

ACT. You need to be consistent. You need

to be studying every single week at the

same time. You don't cram for one week

and then you go to Europe for two weeks

and then you come back and cram again.

That's the worst way to do it and then

you go to soccer camp and then you come

back and then your friend invites you to

go camping. So this is why I don't like

the summer for you guys. Do not plan to

study over the summer unless you

absolutely have to.

Why mid-June? School ends, take a week or

two break, get all your your fun out, go

to the beach, go hang out with your

friends. Do whatever you're gonna do.

Forget about studying for a little while

and then come back to it. So start

studying mid June and then you're going to

be ready for the August test. Now it used

to be that the SAT and ACT didn't have

summer tests, but as soon as one test

started to offer it, these two

companies are competitors, the other one

started to offer summer tests as well,

and now I think there's even one in July.

Whatever, but I recommend start studying

a week or two after you finish school

and then take that first test in August

and plan to take your second test in

October. All right let's say you're a

little late to the game and you're a

senior and you're asking me "when should

I start to study?" This is easy. Start

today. That's it. Right now. Turn off the

video, shut it down, I don't care if you

don't watch to the end, and go start

studying because you're a little late to

the game, but that's okay you can make it

up, start today! So those are my three

recommendations. Good luck with test

taking! Again I'm Janice, you're watching

Sharp Cookie. please like and subscribe

if you enjoyed this video and of course

leave me comments and questions. I will

definitely make more videos on whatever

questions you have.

Thanks! Have an awesome day, bye!