Frequently asked questions
When should I start studying for the SAT/ACT?
It is better to start preparing for test prep as early as possible! We recommend starting around your freshman - sophomore year, and take at least one test by the end of your sophomore year.
Don't underestimate just how busy you will be during your junior year!
How do I know whether to take the SAT or the ACT?
The current SAT includes reading, math, writing and language, and an optional essay. It’s designed to measure your reasoning skills. The ACT is composed of a total of five sections: mathematics, English, reading, science, and one essay. It’s designed to test the knowledge you have built throughout high school.
Some colleges ask students to submit their SAT scores with two SAT Subject Test scores; for the ACT, however, they just need ACT scores (without any additional subject scores). This difference is because the ACT already gives a college admissions officer insight into a student's specific academic knowledge. The SAT, on the other hand, requires additional SAT Subject Test scores to provide a full picture of the student. Still, some schools may require SAT Subject Test scores in addition to an ACT score. Be sure to research the colleges of your choice to find out their requirements.
It is recommended that you take a diagnostic test for the SAT and the ACT and figure out which one suits you better. Both offer unique testing strategies, so many students prefer one over the other. If you’re not sure how to take a diagnostic test, you’re in luck: Berkeley2 Academy offers free diagnostic testing.
Contact us to schedule a time to come in!
What is PSAT? Will it help or hurt my chances of college admissions?
The Preliminary SAT, shortened to PSAT, is a preparatory version of the SAT. The PSAT is only a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. It won't be used in your college admission applications.
You only take the PSAT once a year (usually in October), and typically you take it during regular school hours during 10th and 11th grade. If you get a high score on the 11th grade PSAT, you can become a National Merit Semifinalist and be qualified to receive a National Merit Scholarship.
Will taking the SAT vs. the ACT help me get admitted to a certain school or major?
A common myth is that certain colleges look more favorably towards SAT or ACT scores. However, all colleges accept BOTH the ACT and the SAT, and have openly stated they do not prefer one test over the other.
The SAT and the ACT hold the same weight to colleges. In fact, many students take both tests to see on which one they score the highest. If you do plan to take both, focus on one test at a time or otherwise you will get confused and overwhelmed with all the information.
How many times can I take the SAT or the ACT?
Technically, you can take the tests as many as you want.
However, it is not recommended that you take the tests more than 3 times. Some colleges allow you to pick and choose which scores you want to send as part of your college application, but some schools will require you to submit all your scores.
Should I take the AP test or the SAT Subject Test?
It depends on your goals.
AP scores are for gaining college course credit for certain subjects. SAT Subject Test scores are for showcasing your unique interests and knowledge on your college application.