SATs: Study, Ascertain, Test!

Victoria Dejarnette, Writer

The PSAT, SAT, and ACT are coming up soon. There are so many ways to be prepared for these tests, but it can be overwhelming to students with all the information being thrown at them. Each test is different with separate sections and scoring.

The PSAT is a practice test for the SAT. The test can be taken to be used as a benchmark or to understand what the SAT is like. Students might panic over this test thinking it counts towards something important, but this is a misconception. After completing the practice test and getting scores, students can connect their College Board account to Khan Academy, and it will create a personalized study course for the real SAT. Even without connecting the two sites together, Khan Academy will still help prepare for the SAT for free.

What causes even more panic is the SAT. Students can take it as many times as needed until you apply for colleges. Who is willing to take it 3 or 4 times? The answer is less than 1% of the world population, but everyone who takes it that many times has a goal that they are trying to reach. The SAT takes approximately 3 hours long, not including break (The Princeton Review). The SAT can be used for in-state and out-of-state colleges. The higher a student’s score is, the better chance they have to qualify for the West Virginia Promise Scholarship. Currently, math and reading/writing scores need to be 510, with an overall score of 1080 (West Virginia Promise Scholarship). There is plenty of time to study before taking the test. To study for this again, many students use Khan Academy; it is completely free and self-paced.

To study for ACT, there are prep materials on the official ACT website ( It is costly, but can be helpful. The test takes approximately 2 hours and 55 minutes. This test is made for all schools and has an added section, science. To qualify for the Promise Scholarship, students must get a composite score of 21 and 19 on every section individually. The highest one can score is a 36. If students take the written portion, the essay is scored out of 12 (West Virginia Promise Scholarship).

The ACT and SAT have some similarities, such as both tests being used for in-state and out-of-state colleges. When it comes to studying, there are YouTube videos that are helpful online. Kahoot also has test preps, and they are fun.  Teachers are also good resources or practice materials. Don’t be afraid to ask them; that’s why they’re there. Most of the time, students can find free pdfs online of practice tests and answers. Start studying periodically instead of waiting until the last minute. This causes more stress than is necessary in waiting for the tests to come back. The tests are not going to be easy, they’re not designed to be that way — so, be prepared to use your brain. Testing materials like pencils and scrap paper will be supplied on the day of the test if you do not have them. Remember, you can take the tests up until college applications are due, which is a month or two before the due dates.