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College Entrance Exams

Share your tips or personal experience on College Entrance Exams (including SAT, ACT, etc).


Anna Marie Garcia's picture

I don't remember studying

I don't remember studying that much when I took the my college entrance exams. I passed my exams :)  Generally, what you have to review on college entrance exams are those general knowledge you have learned in high school. If you have learned something from High school, then you will probably answer correctly the exam. If you want to review and prepare, All you have to do is scan your notes and your books. Not reading them all. You will just waste your time. I think around 30% of  the content of college exams are logic based. Those you have to identify the pattern, look at the figures, analyze.

java602's picture


A lot of people are intimidated by the SAT. I think this has to do with the enormous amount of pressure to do well because the exam plays a bid part in college acceptance and scholarship money. But in truth, all it takes to do well is a good bit of preparation.

The SAT is split into three sections: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. However, many colleges do not even pay attention to the Writing score and are only concerned with the Critical Reading and Math.

In order to do well on the Critical Reading section, you really need to brush up on your vocabulary. There are a lot of books available that are especially put together for SAT vocabulary and purchasing one of these can be really helpful. I got one of these, and I felt a lot more prepared for the section on test day.

The Math sections consist of a lot of Algebra, which can make things tricky. My biggest complaint about this section was that there really wasn't an adequate amount of time provided, and you can easily feel rushed and flustered. Make sure that you have a graphing calculator with fresh batteries, too. It is a life saver on some of the problems.

One last tip: get a good night’s sleep the night before and eat a hearty breakfast. You’ll feel a lot more refreshed and prepared for the test.

java602's picture


People tend to think of the ACT as a low-grade version of the SAT, but this is not really true. Although colleges tend to require the SAT and the ACT is usually optional, taking the ACT can really improve one’s chance of acceptance and amount of scholarship award.

The ACT is divided into 4 sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. There is also an optional writing section that requires the composition of an essay from a prompt. All of the questions, with the exception of Writing, are in the multiple-choice format.

Personally, I thought that the Science section was the most difficult, especially because you are prohibited from using a calculator and quite a few of the problems require mathematical calculations.

The Math was also really difficult, not because of the problems themselves, but because you have sixty minutes to answer sixty questions. This means that you have to allot yourself no more than one minute per question, and if you get stuck on a particularly hard question, it’s really easy to lose track of time. This happened with me, and I had to guess the last fifteen questions.

But the nice thing about the ACT is that you don’t lose points for wrong answers. That means that if you really don’t know the answer, guess, because it can’t hurt your score, only help.

java602's picture

AP English Exam

If you have any aspirations of doing well on the Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition exam, you have to be well read. There are no loop holes around this. Typically, the best way to achieve this is to enroll in the Honors level and Advanced Placement English classes in highs school, but you need to be prepared to read outside of the school curriculum as well. Make sure that your reading includes fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction from all time periods.

The other thing you should brush up is your grammar. Make sure that you know what a direct object, indirect object and etcetera are. There will be multiple-choice question pertaining to these terms on the test.

The final thing you need to make sure that you have a grasp on is “the language of literature.” There are tons of vocabulary terms that you will need to be familiar with. Do you know what an “epistolary novel” is? What about an “ekphrasis”? Or what is meant to “apotheosize” someone? You better make sure that you do before exam day. To familiarize myself with these terms, I used the glossary found in the back of the Barron’s Practice Book for Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition. I thought that it was extremely useful, and I would recommend it to anyone taking the exam in the future.

java602's picture

AP Biology Exam

The best way to be prepared for the Advanced Placement Biology Exam is to enroll in an AP Biology class during high school. While you are allowed to take the exam without the class, there is a lot of material you need to know, and it is extremely difficult to study for the exam without the proper guidance.

Most of the exam is multiple choice, and in my opinion, this section was fairly easy. You really are provided with an adequate amount of time to answer the questions, which is a rarity in the testing world. The open-ended questions, however, are a different story. There are four that you have to answer, usually with two or three parts per question. You have an hour and a half to answer the questions, which sound like a lot, but the time flies by really fast, especially if you end up stalling on a topic that you aren't that familiar with.

Most of the exam questions are fairly general, so don’t waste study time by remembering all the little specific details. You probably won’t need to know them, Instead focus your energy on the big ideas. It will prove to be a lot more helpful on the test.

JamieS86's picture

Prep Courses

 When it comes to the SAT, ACT, or GRE, I always tell people that prep courses won't do much good. They don't teach you any new information. Rather, they give you practice tests and give you strategies on how to take the test in a smarter way (ie when to skip a question and when to guess). You can take the practice tests on your own, so there's no real point in taking an entire prep course for it.

 That being said, there is one way in which the prep course is valuable, and that is that it forces you to practice. If you are someone who won't be able to make yourself study, a prep course might be a good option. Otherwise, I suggest you skip it.

java602's picture

I completely agree with your

I completely agree with your statement on prep courses.  I had a couple of friends who enrolled in a SAT prep class, and all the instructor did was hand them one of those basic College Board practice books and assign the students' tests from it.  They could have done that themselves!  The class costs three hundred dollars, and the book (which was included in the tuition price) was twenty-five dollars.  I thought that it was such a waste of money!  And to be honest, I do not think that it helped them very much at all, and they agree with me. 

TiffanyCan's picture

Don't wait too long

I did not take my GRE until 25-year post-college graduation.  I don't recommend this.  There is a lot of review necessary, and you get out of the habit of taking tests.  I also don't recommend taking your general contractors' licensing exam if you are pregnant.  Too many hormonal interventions to think clearly.  I did pass the contractors' exam the second time, but only due to extensive coaching from my instructor.  It was a really big relief to pass the GRE.  I hadn't wanted and tried for anything similar in a long time.  Try to ensure you are in the best possible health as well.

TiffanyHayes's picture

My thoughts

I agree that prep classes are a complete and total waste of time. First of all, entrance exams should contain mostly knowledge you are familiar with. Paying for prep classes is like paying for a new bike, when all you need is a new tire and chain.

Because you get more than one chance to take the test, I believe the best thing to do is to go in, take the test, and see what areas you need to improve on. Then, with your results in hand, search the internet for reliable websites and videos that teach the concepts for free. I did this, and taught myself quadratic equations with a penny out of pocket in only two weeks. I then retook the test, and tested out of college-level math. A lot of times, courses that are available are comprised of the very same info you can find yourself.

onlinerewardz's picture


When I was applying to college, I took both SAT and TOEFL examination. In my SAT exam, I had 720 in maths, 620 in writing skills and 640 in critical reading. I remembered that I had a lot of problems in English, especially critical readings but the following strategies were what I used to pass English outstandingly.

1. Practice many of this SAT prep textbooks like Kaplan, Barron, Princeton review, official SAT, and so on. Try to take note of all the mistakes that you make when grading your practice test.

2. After you have practiced about five to ten tests, you should be able to know your strong point and your weak points. Spend more time on the section that you perform badly in them.

3. Take note of vocabularies and unfamiliar words and try to know the meaning of as many as possible. On the average, I would recommend that you know at least 300 vocabularies. You could use flash cards, or you could just jot them down.

4. Avoid random guesses and guess only when you are able to narrow the correct options to two or three choices.

These were the strategies that I used, and it worked for me. I hope they work for you too.

MrFinance's picture


This is a very extremely deceptive exam.  I took it to get into grad school, and I will say it was more than I expected.  First of all, if you want to get into any type of good grad school you need to aim to score above 600 and depending on the school maybe much higher.

The exam consists of math and English. The English has sentence correction, reading comprehension and all that good stuff.  The math is not difficult.  So since all I have mentioned seems to be pretty easy stuff so what makes the exam challenging would be a good question.  The challenge is TIME.

You have a minute maybe 2 for every question if you want to finish in time, and if you don't finish you lose points for not finishing.  And it is all multiple-choices.  Personally, I hate multiple-choice exams.

With that said, passing the exam is doable. You just have to do a TON of practice exams and work on your time.


Ashlynn Hall's picture

Entrance Exam

My entrance exam wasn't so much of a determinant for me to get into the school, but to determine what classes I would be taking. I scored exceptionally high in math, and therefore, went straight to Algebra for College Students.I believe it is above three other classes. I also scored somewhat high in English. I remember the admissions officer talking to me and telling me that I did very well, and that he was very impressed. It wasn't that hard, to say the least. The essay was pretty fun to write. It was all about myself.

jsherm101's picture

The ACT and SAT are both

The ACT and SAT are both standardized - this means they are gauged not on how well you perform alone - but rather how you compare to your fellow test takers on that specific date.

Which essentially means each test date will have a different potential range you can score (a few points for the ACT in the composite and few hundred for the SAT) based on the difficulty of questions, the other people taking the test, etc.

The SAT is a good test if you already took preparatory classes for it. If you didn't take the SAT, then I'd consider the ACT because it specifically is based on high school class work - IE reading, English, science, etc. - it also is a much easier test to learn and scale yourself (if you can speed read that is.)

At the end of the day, it all depends on the school too - some schools super score, so scores like mine (31 and 32 on ACT) turn into better scores (33) because of your ability to score very high on different tests and such - but the top schools don't do this, as it isn't accounting for those variables, I mentioned earlier.

Ashlynn Hall's picture


I had a lot of fun taking the SAT. I did very well on it, walking away with a total score of 1910. I took a practice exam a few months before, and there were meetings after school for us to practice in the areas that we needed. I only actually went to a few of these, and did some of the exercises at home. I guess that I'm just really lucky when it comes to standardized testing. No amount of practice can really help me, because I can forget something I just looked at. I just have a knack for testing.

johnelsontan's picture

Is it Really a FUZZ?

Use your common sense. That's all I could advise. I did. And so, even I didn't review, I passed! I really can't remember that much how the whole process took place. But if you are already in the line, don't worry too much. You'll be fine. After all, even if you don't pass, you can still ask the school for reconsideration. What you need to worry about though is what's out there after the exam. You see, college life is way too different. Look at the University / College life forum section and you'll see. There are the extraordinary lessons, extraordinary schedules, extraordinary professors, extraordinary projects, extraordinary life, to mention a few.

But don't be scared, though. My purpose is just to deliver the message that college entrance examinations are not really a fuzz inside the college itself. What will you do? My advice is enjoy what you have now for they may be gone tomorrow. One of the things I really missed is the very free weekends, I also have when I was in high school. In college, weekend is not an excuse for you to play around. I even had a 7:30 AM class during Sundays! What a joke right? But it's true.

jsherm101's picture

Most schools actually will

Most schools actually will push the effort of trying to get students ready for the SAT or ACT. In my old school, they focused on this via the development of PSAT and SAT prep programs open to most students - some  exclusively to those who scored highly on preliminary tests. I was such a student but really all they're showing you is very preliminary information and such. For example, you cannot just go to the daily, weekly class and expect to gain everything - My course lasted two years, and in the first year I didn't do anything outside of the class and only raised my score marginally. The second year I worked on some of the tests outside of class and studied SAT words - this helped when I took both tests in the long run. 

But remember, each test is different, standardized, and unpredictable. Don't beat yourself apart over the inevitable.


ViCairo's picture

The First times

Recalling the first times I've taken the SATs and the ACTs I wouldn't say they were a cake walk, despite the preparatory courses. My advice to many who are taking the SATs, prepare early, get at least 1 to 2 days of sleep prior to the exams and relax as well as have things packed the night before.

Some of those questions do require you to utilize critical-thinking skills with regards to the reading on the page, depending on how long the article or story on the page is. It is suggested for long articles, you should read the questions first, and for short articles, you read the questions last, watch out for key terms and keep an eye open for trick questions, meaning, whether or not the question was actually addressed in the article, or if it is implied.

For me though, I found it extremely helpful if I covered up a part of the article and skimmed the first part before going back to read it over, looking for question that related with what I read, then reading the other half and finishing the rest of it, in some cases going line by line helps, I can't say it would work for everyone, but this method made it easier for me to grasp what I needed to know.

In most schools, there should be a scheduled SAT or ACT preparatory course, and I do highly suggest going to one, just to see what kind of tips you may obtain from people who have taken the test before you, maybe you will even see one of your possible proctor, if you intend to take the ACTs at your school.

I would also put more weight on the SAT preparatory courses, due to the fact that many 4 years will accept the SAT test results, but not all of them will accept the ACT test results. Well, a few years ago that would've been the case; however, now all 4 years should accept your ACT. However, traditionally SAT is the most widely accepted entrance exam, so I would still at least put more weight on that. 

The biggest thing though, many people would not expect it. Vocabulary, I will not stress enough that vocabulary is necessary, there will be words you will definitely come across that you will not know if you don't have a sufficient vocabulary so please, expand it. It will really come back and kick you in the shin if you don't. 

shelbymary's picture

Work work work!

Months before I took the SAT, my parents signed me up for a tutoring program through the Princeton Review. I was set up with two other kids my age who were also studying to take the SAT. Although unwillingly, I begrudgingly dragged myself to tutoring for three hours every Saturday for nearly two months. My class ended up being pretty fun; we all got along and bonded over the work. And in addition, the many hours I had to spend doing exercises for the SAT greatly improved my score.

The first time I ever took a mock SAT test, I got somewhere in the 1500s range. The first time I took the legitimate test, I got a 2140 (670 on math, 670 on reading, 800 on writing). While I would recommend taking a class to anyone who can, they are admittedly extremely expensive.

To be honest, I think what helped me the most wasn't the tutoring, but the time. We had homework assigned to us out of a practice book, and then more practice tests on top of that. I would stay up late night after night, just trying to cram in more review or tests.The more often I practiced, the better my scores became. I guess the bottom line is that you get out of it what you put into it. Anyone can do well on the SAT; it focuses much more on test-taking strategies than actual knowledge. But there is no magical way to get a 2400 by taking a class or whatnot. If you sit down, work, and study your butt off, I can guarantee you'll get a score you're proud of.

PYETwentyTwelve's picture

ACT exam

When I sat for the ACT exam, I was around 17, and I had no clue, as to what it was until my high school counselor explained to me about it being some type of entrance exam into college, I wasn't even sure, at that time in my young age about going to college.  Since this exam was a requirement for every high school senior, and I was good at taking tests, so I thought it would be a breeze for me (I was so wrong).  My counselor gave me a practice exam packet, and most of the things in there, I didn't even know. I kept that to myself, and I didn't want my counselor to know I wasn't that smart.  hahaha!

At that time, there was no computer for me to do any research about the ACT, so that hardcopy practice packet was all that I had and thankful I had it because I was studying that packet like it was the last piece of paper I would ever read.  hahaha!  Glad I did too because I did very well on the ACT but was still a bit nervous before I had to sit for it at one of the local universities, I was overwhelmed too.  I made it through alright.  :)

I say always prepare for any exam because you never know how you will do, but at least you will have had the necessary tools to pass it.


iracquel's picture

SAT Exams

I took the SAT exams while pretty unfamiliar with the American education system and the whole process of standardized examinations. I prepared for the SAT exams for only a month, and I must say that I did pretty well. During the one-month preparation period, I used the Princeton Review for practice exams and to familiarize myself with the whole SAT thing and just to get a hang of it.

Despite being ignorant of the American system and the process of standardized examinations, I admit that these factors did not have any bearing on my performance. What I think must be emphasized upon while preparing for standardized examinations like the SAT is just the timing. Anyone preparing to take the SAT exam must take a timed exam to gauge their performance, and consequently, develop strategies to ensure that he/she is able to complete all the sections in good time. Another thing I realized while preparing for the SAT is that the examined is not in any way obligated to answer all the questions. If you do not know the answer to a particular question, I would advise that you quit wasting time thinking about it and move on to the next question. It might be easier, and you will get a point if you get it right. This will save you time and points. On the other hand, however, if you take your chances and guess the answer to a question, you will lose points for the wrong answer.

Overall, I advise that students remain calm and relaxed throughout the whole exam. Believe me, being calm helps you perform better. Even in the exam room, don't think about the time. Just relax and do your best. The SATs are really not as hard as most people try to make it seem. And yes, it is possible to get a perfect score!

Tomochka's picture

My ACT experience

I took an ACT at the age of 24 for the first and only time.  Being a foreign high-school graduate, I had different type of test done in my home country, so ACT was all new experience to me.  I prepared for it relatively intensely.  I got some books, especially I must say thanks to Barron’s Science and Math ACT preparation; it showed me some tricks of how to solve problems faster, and I had in mind an idea of what kind of problems to expect on the exam (since i was never in an American school). English was, of course, the hardest one, but reading a lot helps.  Actually, reading section was easiest for me, but I did slightly struggle on the grammar section. That was not as bad as I thought it would be, though. I was one of the oldest people in a classroom to take it, so it did rather make me feel self-conscious a little, but who cares really.  I think I had enough time to work on a test, though I thought that science section was all similar problems, and they  did not have much to do with science, but rather just reading.

 I was very impatient for my test results, and imagine my relief when I got a score of 28 after seven years being out of the high-school!  Yes, there are people who get perfect scores, but I am happy with mine! After all, I am not a native speaker of English.

kikiriki91's picture


Oh the lovely SAT seems to be dreaded by every high school student (and for good reason).  So much seems to hang on the SAT.  I think I dreaded it so much because it was something that I did not think I could control.  I could perfect the admissions essay, I could pick teachers who I knew would write great recommendation letters for me, I could work hard in my classes to make sure that my grades looked good on the transcript, but what could I do for the SAT?  What if I blanked out on testing day?  What if I did not get a high enough score?  I was terrified of the SAT.

However, I realized that I did not have to be.  The SAT is not as scary as it sounds if you prepare effectively.  Take the SAT your junior year and find out what areas you need to improve in.  It might be wise to do a couple of practice exams or practice problems before this.  Then before you take it again senior year prepare, prepare, prepare.  Buy an SAT study guide/practice book so that you can really prepare.  Time yourself when you take those practice exams.  Join an SAT study group.  Take a class.  I took a Princeton Review study class for the SAT which really improved my scores but there are a number of cheaper options available.  Put in the work and your scores should improve.  Good luck!   

Astepcloser's picture

I never had to take the ACTs,

I never had to take the ACTs, so I can not really comment on how tough those are. For whatever reason, when applying to colleges in Pennsylvania you are not required to have an ACT. You are just required to have either an ACT score or an SAT score. As long as you have one you are fine. However, I know that if you apply to schools outside of the state of Pennsylvania, some do require an ACT score. Be sure to check with your college beforehand.

Now, onto the SATs. Oh, those lovely tests. Are you sensing my sarcasm? Yeah, well, honestly, I HATED the SATs. You had to wake up early on a Saturday. That right there should tell you, they aren't fun. Then you get to sit in a class room for close to 4 hours to take a test! That just screams fun to almost any teenager I know...just kidding.

I would suggest getting all the help you can get for the SATs before you take them. Go to reviews, read the SAT books, etc They aren't fun, and they aren't easy. They are much worse than any other test I have ever taken. Good luck to everyone taking them soon!

Mercer Smith's picture

re: SAT

It’s really interesting to me that you wrote how difficult the math section is. First off, I can’t really speak to the Writing section, as when I took the SATs they were graded out of 1600 and the writing was not an aspect of it. But, secondarily, I remember that most of the people I spoke to (and have since spoken to) said that although they felt that the math portion of this test (and all standardized tests) was difficult that when they got their results back they had done better on the math than they had on anything else.


As you wrote that you felt the math section was hard, I remembered that almost everyone else did too, so I wonder why it is that people always do better on this section than on others. For me, I did better on the math than the english as well, and I think that’s bizarre as almost everything I have done in the scholarly world has been either with English language, or with composition.

Did you have a solid background in math, or were you (like myself and my compatriots) someone who wasn’t necessarily the best at math? Would it be terribly rude of me to ask how you did in the math section overall? I’m just interested to see how this stereotype I’ve formed plays out. 

java602 wrote:

A lot of people are intimidated by the SAT. I think this has to do with the enormous amount of pressure to do well because the exam plays a bid part in college acceptance and scholarship money. But in truth, all it takes to do well is a good bit of preparation.

The SAT is split into three sections: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. However, many colleges do not even pay attention to the Writing score and are only concerned with the Critical Reading and Math.

In order to do well on the Critical Reading section, you really need to brush up on your vocabulary. There are a lot of books available that are especially put together for SAT vocabulary and purchasing one of these can be really helpful. I got one of these, and I felt a lot more prepared for the section on test day.

The Math sections consist of a lot of Algebra, which can make things tricky. My biggest complaint about this section was that there really wasn't an adequate amount of time provided, and you can easily feel rushed and flustered. Make sure that you have a graphing calculator with fresh batteries, too. It is a life saver on some of the problems.

One last tip: get a good night’s sleep the night before and eat a hearty breakfast. You’ll feel a lot more refreshed and prepared for the test.'s picture

My advice on the SAT is study

My advice on the SAT is study a good few weeks before you want to take it and do the practice exams! I looked over things but did not really time myself when taking tests, and that was my downfall. My SAT scores were fine, but I had to take it 2 or 3 times to get what I wanted, mostly because I had a hard time with the math portion on time. Writing/verbal skills were pretty easy for me (always have been), so I focused mostly on math to get that particular score up.

If you want to take a prep class, go for it. I didn't, and don't think it's necessary IF you know how to study and prepare on your own. If you're lost and don't know where to start, maybe go to a prep class and see how you like it.

I didn't take the ACT but my advice works for both: study early, often, and time yourself. 

When I took the SAT many schools did not even consider the writing portion (which is unfortunate because it was my highest score!), but some schools will, especially liberal arts schools or if you plan on going into an English/literature field. 

akatuska's picture

I agree with a lot of what's

I agree with a lot of what's already been said. Realistically, the SAT and ACT aren't that difficult and don't require studying. They test what you learned in high school, so if you paid attention in high school at all, you should be fine. That being said, I also think it's a good idea to check out strategies -- when is it better to skip a question? If you can knock out one answer, is it better to guess or to skip it? What if you can knock out two of the choices? Doing practice tests are always helpful, but obsessing over it is not. Relax, take a deep breath, and know that you know the material. If you come to a question of which you're not sure, skip it and go back before the time is up.

NickRajotte's picture

If you are someone like me

If you are someone like me who did not go to college right after high school and did not take SAT's or ACT's you may be wondering what you have to do to see what your placement would be.  For us they have College Placement Tests that determine weather you are on a entry college level adavanced or even remedial.  The best thing to do is freshen up your math and english skills.  Most placement tests will consist of Basic Algebra and arithmatic for th emath portion and a writing section and a reading analysis section.  With the help of google and other search engines this is made a lot easier these days.  Just searching for terms like College Placement Study can bring up tons of results.  Also ask a friend that has maybe recently taken the test to help you study.  While this test may not seem like a huge deal to you it could save you a lot of time and money.  If you go in without any preperataions you could end up in all remedial classes that dont even count for college credit.  So if you havent been to school for a while definitely brush up on your high school math and english skills a bit and the move could save you thousands.

ami19877's picture

placement tests

The last reply really resonates with me. I go to a community college, so I had to take their placement test. You should absolutely do everything you can to avoid being placed in the remedial classes. Of course, if you really do need remedial help, there is no shame in taking the remedial classes. But, if it's simply a matter of not having studied in a while, you should try to avoid it.

There are lots of materials out there to help you prepare for the SAT/ACT, but I wouldn't recommend them. In my experience, a lot of them are geared to helping you find the right answer on the test and how to boost your score. You would be much better off asking what's on the placement test and just studying that. I struggled with math, so I got a math workbook. I had to start with one aimed at eighth grade students. Don't let your embarrassment stop you from getting the right material. Nobody has to know, and if you don't start at the beginning, you won't learn anything. I would recommend really trying to learn. Study as if you are taking the class again and don't think of it as just a placement test. If you really learn and understand the material, the test will be a breeze, and your classes will be much easier for you, too.

pianodude701's picture

I can't say that I took the

I can't say that I took the ACT, but I did take the SAT and did fairly well.  Although I did a fairly minimal amount of studying, I did take the PSAT, and went to a brief SAT prep class that was offered at my high school.  I will say that although there is a lot of material to study for the test, and studying it can be beneficial, what I found most helpful was studying the structure and rules of the test itself.  Knowing the ins and outs of the SAT will help you a lot when taking it.  

As for an entrance exam, Stephen F. Austin didn't really have any entrance exam outside of that, other than of course my audition for music school, so I'm afraid I can't be of much help there.  Although I will say that being prepared for any sort of basic core classes or entry level classes for your degree is extremely beneficial.  For example, as a music major, I came in with a lot of experience playing piano and with music theory, both essential underclassmen subjects.  As a result, I came in a huge leg up on most of the other students.  Being behind from day one is never fun, so the more you can get a head start on, the easier your freshman experience will ultimately be.

ShadaeDillard's picture

College Entrance Exams

I took the SAT Senior Year before Graduation, and I studied my butt off, didn't take the classes, but made pretty good scares. 

My advice to anyone who is going to take or retake the Exams, Review over the stuff you know, but spend enough time on the stuff you do not know, because most likely the stuff you don't know is the majority of the test, that's how my test was. It's a pretty big deal and you do want to do good, but don't over work yourself  or stress because that can be a set back for you, and it can cause you to worry throughout the whole test. 

Also if your school offers the practice exams or prep class for free/ at low cost then take advantage of them, get in all the practice you will need because in the end it will make a difference, make sure you are reviewing and going over your stuff daily,It helped me in the long  and knowing what you need to work on can keep you focused, and you should work on that first because it's something you haven't mastered and something you may need to work on in order to get a decent score or something that you can be satisfied with. I