1. You should always check out that exam's scheduling. So, not only should you be looking at when exams are taking place, but also about how long it takes for the score reports to be sent to the universities that you've requested. For example, most exams are offered once every two months, but if it takes two to three months to get a score report out, it may impact when you schedule yours! If there is a specific deadline to apply to a program by, you will want to make sure the university can receive those score reports in time for that deadline!
2. If you are a Junior in high school, then you will want to schedule to take the SAT, ACT, or both this spring. Typically you should take it in May as that's what is recommended, but you can also plan to take it early in the fall. You can check out the SAT dates and deadlines here and the ACT dates and deadlines here. **The deadline to register for the May 7th SAT is April 8th and the deadline for the June 11th ACT is May 6th. Taking an exam or both of them in the spring gives you some time to see how you performed and if you decide to take them again, it gives you some down time during the Summer to focus on studying for them.
3. In your Senior year of high school, you may deem it necessary to take the exam again or try different one in hopes of better results. DEFINITELY DO THIS! I kick myself now at the fact that I didn't take my SATs a second time. My suggestion is to take it right away in the fall (September or October) so that those scores can be sent when you send in your college applications!
4. If you are preparing for a graduate entrance exam like the GRE, the GMAT, or the LSAT, I would definitely schedule to take it in the spring or summer before your Senior Year of college. Studying for these exams is no joke, so it is important to dedicate time specifically to your test prep. If you take it in the late summer, it gives you the entire summer to study and take practice exams. This also gives you the opportunity to retake them in the Fall if you did not perform as well as you wanted!
5. Also, make sure you are scheduling these exams so that you have plenty of time to study and prepare for them. Oftentimes there is quite a bit of preparation that needs to take place, so make sure you allow a few months for that! Personally, when I was preparing for my SAT and GRE, I focused a lot on the math sections, but I was sure to give myself at least three months to work on it!
6. DID YOU KNOW: Most universities will super score your performance on your entrance exams. What this means: If you take the SAT twice and the first time you got a 500 on Reading, a 480 on Math, and a 530 on Writing, but the second time your scores changed a little with a 480 on Reading, a 530 on Math, and a 530 on Writing, admissions committees will use the highest score for each section to "super score" your SAT score. So, they would say that you actually got a 500 on Reading, a 530 on Math, and a 530 on Writing -- this helps oftentimes with merit scholarships or program requirements. This also takes place in graduate admissions for some institutions as well! Because of this, it is always good to take your exams twice in hopes for a higher score in one of the sections!
7. Make sure when you are scheduling your entrance exams that you think about the other events going on in your life. For example, if you know that Prom is the same day as the May SAT and you are the Head of Prom Committee, signing up for that exam may not be in your best interests. If you know that you will be completing an international internship the summer before your Senior Year of college, you may want to schedule your GMAT for the Spring before you leave. You will want to consider what events are going to be stressful and cause you to lose focus on your ultimate goal of performing well on your exams!
8. If you have questions or concerns about scheduling your entrance exams, then talk with your school counselor or advisor, but also speak with the Admissions representatives at the universities you are considering to see what they recommend for the timeline. They may have an inside scoop for their specific programs, so don't hesitate to reach out to them!
Have you scheduled your entrance exams yet? Comment below and share how you are prepping for them in the meantime! Have a great rest of the week everyone!!
enjoy the chase,