Preparing for college entrance exams (the PSAT/ACT/SAT) is big business. Test prep was a $12 billion industry in 2014, and is expected to reach $17.5 billion by 2020. On a personal level, test prep can be a huge hit to the family budget. Private tutors can cost as much as $125 per session, while classes can cost $500-1000 per student. Not willing or able to spend that kind of money? I’ve found ten free resources to help prepare for the PSAT/ACT/SAT.
10 Free Resources to Help Prepare for the PSAT/ACT/SAT
- Prep Center for the PSAT/NMSQT – five full length practice tests with answers.
- ACT Test Prep – free study guide and practice tests for each section.
- Prep Center for the ACT – four online practice tests and thirteen videos with an ACT coach.
- College Board SAT Practice Tests – eight SAT practice exams with answers and explanations.
- Daily Practice App for the New SAT – one question a day prep.
- CK-12 SAT Exam Prep
- Khan Academy SAT – Khan has partnered with the College Board to offer free test prep for the SAT.
ACT & SAT
- BWS Education Consulting – nothing flashy, but a good solid resource for practice tests and testing advice.
- Prep Scholar – is a paid test prep site for both SAT and ACT, but it does have lots of free resources and valuable strategy tips to improve your scores.
- Prep Factory – offers test prep for both ACT and SAT.
Tips & Advice for the ACT/SAT
- Do a timed practice test at home for each test. This will help you determine which test you prefer (or if you perform better on one than the other), if you need to work on testing speed, and which areas that need work. Think of it as a diagnostic test – you can’t fix anything until you know what is wrong. Both testing boards offer free practice exams to download and print.
- Set score goals for yourself. You’re more likely to achieve those goals if you write them down, and create a study plan to meet them.
- Focus on your weaknesses – those will be the scores that hurt you most. This will also maximize the efficiency of your study time. Don’t waste time studying your strengths – you already know that content.
- Ask for extra help if you need it! If your math scores start low and stay low, find a tutor or a study friend.
- Homeschool students – you might not be used to standardized testing like this, while your peers have been doing this all along. Add in extra practice and testing time to get used to it, and to develop your own strategies.
- Time issues can have a couple of solutions. Take as many practice tests as you can. Often, the more comfortable you are with the tests, the quicker you become. Check out sites like Prep Scholar, for lots of advice and strategies on saving time during the test.
- Read. Read. Read. Read real literature, real news articles, and real magazine articles. By real, I mean challenging texts – classic books (try 1984 by George Orwell – trust me!); the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or other established news agency; and magazines like Time, Newsweek or The Atlantic. Not Buzzfeed. Not Tumblr. Time spent on Snapchat or Instagram doesn’t count either!
See my post High School Student’s Guide to College Entrance Exams for a general overview of college admissions testing. Coming up – What To Do After Taking the College Entrance Exams.
I hope you find some of these free resources to help prepare for the PSAT/ACT/SAT useful. Good luck on your tests!
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