Parents’ Guide to Test Preparation

ACT – SAT – PSAT10 – PSAT/NMSQT – SAT Subject Tests – AP Tests

Nothing seems to give parents and children more heartburn than preparing for college entrance exams: the PSAT10, PSAT/NMSQT, ACT Aspire, SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP Tests (wow, that is a mouthful). We will walk you through the process of finding the best test, explore the different preparation methods, special considerations for children with learning disabilities and for student athletes, and when to consider preparing for each test. It sounds like a lot, but with a plan in place your family can find success with a minimum of stress and effort.

Step 1 – Where to begin?

Let’s start off by talking a bit about what type of test taker we have.  Many of the families we talk to describe their son or daughter as a “terrible test taker.”   Below we have outlined what some of the most common student types that we see and, on average, some of the characteristics they display.  NOTE: Obviously, every student is different, but over the past 20 years, we have seen that most students fall into one of the categories below.  They are certainly helpful, but by no means absolute.

Anxious Test Takers
Forgetful Test Takers
Reluctant Test Takers
Hard-working Test Takers

Step 2 – Picking the Right Test

PSAT (Practice SAT) & ACT Aspire (Practice ACT)
SAT & ACT FAQ
SAT vs ACT - Which Test is Best?
SAT Subject Tests
AP Tests

Step 3: When to Begin

Each of the 4 personality types outlined above has different needs when it comes to creating the best testing timeline. Regardless of whether we are talking about Anxious, Forgetful, Reluctant, Hard-working Test Takers, students with learning disabilities, or potential NCAA athletes, all will benefit from using the “Early Bird” or “Great” testing timetables below:

ATHLETES: College coaches typically need to be provided with students’ test scores (PSAT, SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests) by June of junior year. Visit our Learning Center for more about the special requirements recruited student-athletes face.

LEARNING DISABILITIES/CHALLENGES: If you think/know your student is working with a learning disability/challenge (ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Audio Processing Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, etc), then it is best to start the accommodations processes freshman year if you haven’t already.  PLEASE NOTE:  Testing accommodations made through College Board apply to all of their tests (PSAT10, PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP tests) for a student’s high school career.  ACT accommodations are separate and require a separate application process.  SAT accommodations are facilitated by most schools while ACT accommodations require parents to initiate the process.  For information on assessment of and test accommodations for learning challenges, please visit our Learning Disabilities and Accommodations page in the Learning Center.

High School Testing Calendar

High School Freshmen

SAT Subject Test Preparation Timeline
AP Test Preparation Timeline

High School Sophomores

ACT Preparation Timeline
SAT Preparation Timeline
PSAT 10 Preparation Timeline
ACT Aspire Preparation Timeline
SAT Subject Test Preparation Timeline
AP Test Preparation Timeline

High School Juniors

ACT Preparation Timeline
SAT Preparation Timeline
PSAT Preparation Timeline
SAT Subject Test Preparation Timeline
AP Test Preparation Timeline

High School Seniors

ACT Preparation Timeline
SAT Preparation Timeline
SAT Subject Test Preparation Timeline
AP Test Preparation Timeline

Step 4 – Test Prep Methods

I always say that when it comes to the ACT and SAT, “practice makes perfect.” However, students need the proper strategies in order to make their practice effective in raising their test scores. Let’s take a look at the test preparation industry and discuss the options available to help students prepare.

Go in Cold Turkey
Take One/Two Practice Test(s)
Take a Group Prep Class
Use a Private Tutor

ACT Preparation Timeline

After reading the first three steps above and you have determined that the ACT is the best test for your student, let’s determine the best way to prepare for the ACT.

ACT Preparation Options

One-on-One Tutoring

Private ACT tutoring with Danielle Bianchi Golod is available one-on-one in Austin, TX or online via Skype or Facetime.

Who is best suited to private tutoring?
How much does private tutoring cost?

How to Get Started with Private ACT Tutoring:

Each year, Danielle works with a limited number of students privately. Reserve your space now: 512-765-6760 x102 or email.

Live ACT Webinars

We offer a number of specialized ACT preparation courses available online.  The classes are taught by Danielle Bianchi Golod and are offered live to students who would like to interact and ask questions and in our members area, available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.

ACT Strategies

  • Great for students who have never taken the ACT or for someone who has not learned the basic ACT strategies that help students determine things like:
    • Which questions should I answer first?
    • I hate math, what should I do?
    • I can’t focus very well during long tests…do you have any tips?
  • A perfect introduction course for all ACT test takers

ACT Prep for Students with Learning Challenges

  • Designed with students who struggle with long tests like the ACT
  • Divided up into easy to digest sections over 5 days so that students can stay focused on one subject at a time.
  • Strategies to help students with focus issues

ACT Crash Course

  • For the last minute test taker
  • While you can’t prepare for anything at the last second well, we show you some items you can use to help you score as well as possible…even with no time to practice

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The SAT

SAT Preparation Options

One-on-One Tutoring

Private SAT tutoring with Danielle Bianchi Golod is available one-on-one in Austin, TX or online via Skype or Facetime.

Who is best suited to private tutoring?
How much does private tutoring cost?

How to Get Started with Private SAT Tutoring:

Each year, Danielle works with a limited number of students privately. Reserve your space now: 512-765-6760 x102 or email.

Live SAT Webinars

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SAT Subject Tests

SAT Subject Test Preparation Options

One-on-One Tutoring

Live Subject Test Webinars

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The PSAT

PSAT Preparation Options

One-on-One Tutoring

Live PSAT Webinars