If you are taking a high stakes test, you’re going to prepare, right? Obviously. Nobody who cares about performance simply shows up without doing everything possible to lock in success.
When considering best results on tests like the SAT and ACT, nothing beats preparation. Great grades in school may suggest strong scoring potential in the way that general fitness implies athletic achievement, but come game day, exceptional coaching makes all the difference. We achieve the highest levels of achievement in any endeavor by taking advantage of the two drivers of personal performance: a plan and practice.
Your SAT & ACT prep plan should come from highly trained and experienced test prep professionals. A continuum of prep options exist, from books to online programs to cheap classes. Of course, we recommend individual tutoring or small group instruction from proven experts like, well, the amazing team here at Chariot Learning 😉
Practice, on the other hand, depends on accessing the best examples of what you will see on test day. Many publishers offer practice tests designed to mimic what the College Board and ACT, Inc. deliver, but none of these resources can ever truly replicate the efforts of the test makers themselves. For this reason, we recommend that students only practice taking official tests. Each test maker publishes one official book of practice tests:
ACT test takers should buy The Real ACT Prep Guide, 3rd Edition, which is the same as the previous book of the same name from a different publisher; a new version is expected in June 2016. SAT test takers should purchase the brand new Official SAT Study Guide (2016 Edition), which offers practice for the new SAT.
Every student strives for best scores on either of these tests should pick up a copy of the relevant book and use it! We advise taking practice tests under simulated testing conditions either on your own or in a proctored test environment. High quality practice tests matter. Start with the best possible tests, but make them count by putting in your best effort with the best coaching you can find… that’s how you score your best on the SAT & ACT.