Students in their junior year of high school are in the middle of the toughest academic year they will experience. In addition to dealing with the normal lineup of school work, extracurricular activities, and sports, students must tackle standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Many students wait until the spring (March, May, or even June) to take their first SAT. This, however, is a mistake. Here are three reasons it makes sense for students to take their first SAT in January of their junior year.
1. It sets students up nicely to take the test again in the spring. It's normal for students to take the SAT multiple times. In fact, students will often score higher on their second exam, simply because the act of test-taking becomes more routine. When students take their first SAT in January, they receive their results in mid-February, and can then plan intelligently to prepare for and take the test again on one of the spring test dates.
2. You can order the Question Answer Service (QAS). When students receive their SAT scores, they will also gain access to an extended online score report, but, by default, will not get their exams back to review the questions they missed. The Question Answer Service is an option offered by the College Board (the organization that administers the SAT) that allows students to get their tests back. This service, however, is offered only in January, May, and October. Taking the SAT and receiving scores without the ability to see how those scores arose can be demoralizing. When students take the January SAT, they can order the QAS and see exactly where they need to improve; this increases confidence and helps students pull their scores higher. (To order the QAS, simply click the appropriate box during the registration process on the College Board website.)
3. It gets the ball rolling and reduces stress. When students wait until March or May to take their first SAT, they leave themselves in a time crunch: test dates in May and June are often not ideal, as they can conflict with sporting events and other academic tests (like APs or finals). This means that students who wait until later to take their first test often find themselves taking an SAT during the fall of senior year, when the obligations of college applications come into the fold and are added to the normal responsibilities students face. Thus, taking the SAT in January can reduce the overall stress of the test-taking process.
If you haven't considered taking the January SAT, sit back and think about doing so; it might just be the right way to get started taking your standardized college admissions exams. Not sure how to start the process? Register for our January SAT course now!