The time is now to consider taking college entrance exams

Photo by: Maddie Hogan

Photo by: Maddie Hogan

Many students aspire to get into the college of their dream – to go to the university they’ve been dreaming to attend their entire high school career. But one thing is standing in their way: they have to do well on the SAT or ACT. 

The ACT and SAT are tests that most four-year colleges look at in order to decide if they’re interested in accepting a student, so it’s important to do well on these tests. Students are encouraged to take the ACT at least twice – once during the spring of their junior year and again during the fall of their senior year.

 The ACT is offered at multiple locations and multiple dates throughout the year. For the 2011-12 school year, the following dates apply:

  • Oct. 22 test – register by Sept. 16
  • Dec. 10 test – register by Nov. 4
  • Feb. 11 test – register by Jan. 13
  • April 14 test – register by March 9
  • June 9 test – register by May 4

Registration for the ACT can be completed on Fairmont’s webpage under “Testing.”

The SAT is another test that colleges use to evaluate students. It also should be taken at least twice and unlike the ACT, it includes a mandatory written portion. Tests and registration dates for the SAT are:

  • Oct. 1 test – register by Sept. 9
  • Nov. 5 test – register by Oct. 7
  • Dec. 3 test – register by Nov. 8
  • Jan. 28 test ­– register by Dec. 30
  • March 10 test – register by Feb. 10
  • May 5 test – register by April 6
  • June 2 test – register by May 8

The College Board recommends students take the practice test, or the PSAT, before the real SAT. “Taking the practice test helps you understand the type of questions on the test so you’re prepared when you go to take the real SAT,” said senior Jeffery Kremer.

Anyone who wants to prepare for the high-stakes tests may take the PSAT; it’s not limited to juniors and seniors. Recently, applications for the iPhone and Android phones were created to help students study for the SAT.

“It’s important to do everything you need to succeed in preparation for the test because they truly are important,” said math teacher Diane Dieterle. She believes the two key elements to doing well on the ACT and SAT are managing your time and taking the practice tests.  

Both the SAT and the ACT are administered under a time limit, which is often what hurts students taking them. “The tests themselves aren’t very difficult; it’s the timing,” said Kremer. “Being able to manage your time wisely while taking the test is the most important part.”

Dieterle thinks success on the tests is the result of a combination of hard work and preparation. “If you give it your best effort and prepare enough, you will get into the college you deserve,” said Dieterle. “It’s all about working hard.”