When is a good time to take the SAT? – Response from test prep expert

By Maxine Seya

When is a good time to take the SAT?

– Vy, a parent in San Diego, CA

Soka University SocratesPost.com Issue 24 ad-free college admissions newsletter

This week, a reader, Jeremy Craig, wrote a Letter To The Editor in response to our Q&A last week. Jeremy has a different take on the answer to Vy’s question from last week.

From Jeremy, who has been teaching test preparation since he was an undergrad Asian history major at Columbia University in New York in 1993.

“The SAT/ACT test what students learn in school. Therefore, the more students go to school, the higher the scores will be. The tendency to start prep for the tests too early in the summer before 11th grade is a common one, but ultimately foolish. The time would be better spent on any number of other activities that will make for a stronger application and ultimately better personal growth. Students will learn much more about the world and themselves scooping ice cream than taking a stack of practice tests over the summer.

There is a fair amount of math content on both tests that isn’t normally covered until the first half of 11th grade such as complex numbers, basic trigonometry, circle equations, and absolute value. It is much better to wait until these concepts are covered normally in school than trying to read ahead of normal course work. There are, of course, the really cool kids who are in honors math and go to math camp, but such students will probably excel in the math portion if they take it in August,

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Maxine Seya
Maxine Seya is a former investigative journalist, college consultant, and admissions interviewer. She studied at Peking University (Beijing, China) and Université Paul-Valéry (Montpellier, France) and investigated for CNN and Huffington Post before graduating from Northwestern University. She founded SocratesPost to share the human stories behind the admission gates and offer parents clarity as they help their teens with college.