Posted by: Ned Johnson on March 14, 2023
If you are the parent of a junior-year student who hasn’t taken the ACT or SAT yet, you might feel a sense of panic this spring. Your student has been busy with school, sports, extracurriculars, and driving lessons. However, they haven’t had time to take or prepare for standardized tests.
We get it, and you are not alone. The rise in test-optional policies has led some to blow off or ignore the value of preparing for and taking standardized tests. And, while test-optional policies became widespread, for many colleges they continue to be an important measurement for admissions criteria and for many students may improve college applications.
Why late testers can have an advantage
Parents, there is still time to begin for your student to prepare for and to take standardized tests. Late testers may even do better. Why? A few reasons:
- Math: The SAT and ACT contain robust content, much of which many students learn in junior year. So the hard work of the school has lifted students’ skills and knowledge in ways that help on standardized tests.
- Maturity: Everything is easier with a more mature brain. Especially for kids with ADHD or weaknesses in executive functions, the gift of time helps. Moreover, if you are among the many kids who struggled with mental health in 2021, you may finally feel like a fog is lifting.
- Tests enhance excellent grades: The essential part of anyone’s college application is their transcript. So, students who have had their heads down working hard have had their priorities right. Accordingly, implementing a plan for standardized test preparation can have a real impact on final decisions for admissions and scholarships.
If you are reading this at the end of junior year, there are still ACTs you can take in June, July, September, October, and December, with the first three or four of those in time for early decision deadlines. The SAT? June, August, October, November, and December. If you want to prepare for and take standardized tests, there is still time.
How do I prepare my student?
Spending a couple of months or so preparing is common and recommended. And summer often gives kids more time to prepare without sacrificing sleep to get it done.
A whole bunch of students will proudly claim that they do their best work under pressure. And they’d be right. They may also only do work under pressure. If you have a bright kid who seems to stress you out by doing things last minute, know that you may have a kid whose brain chemistry works that way. Whether a late bloomer or a do-it-at-the-last-minute kid, there is time.
Our team at PrepMatters has been preparing thousands of DC area students for these tests for the last 25 years. We would welcome the opportunity to help your student.