As the Class of 2026 navigates their way through the intricate world of college admissions, one of the key decisions they face is which standardized tests to prepare for – the ACT, SAT, or PSAT. Understanding the nuances of each exam and crafting a strategic approach to preparation can significantly impact their success. Here, we outline tailored recommendations to guide students effectively:

  1. Focus on One Test:

We strongly advise students to concentrate their efforts on either the ACT or the SAT/PSAT. Attempting to juggle preparation for both can lead to a diffusion of energy and resources, potentially compromising performance on both exams.

  1. Emphasize ACT Preparation:

During the current landscape characterized by a scarcity of quality SAT materials and the significant challenges introduced by the revamped SAT in March of this year, our recommendation stands firm: prioritize preparation for the ACT. Resources for the ACT are more abundant and well-established, offering students a clearer path to readiness.

  1. Leveraging PSAT Prep for SAT Success:

For students interested in preparing for the PSAT, we suggest aligning preparation efforts with the November SAT. The content, structure, and question types are quite similar on the two, so it only makes sense to continue preparing in the same direction for an official SAT. Don’t spend time on the ACT, per #1.

  1. Sequential Preparation Approach:

If students opt not to follow the initial recommendation, we discourage simultaneous preparation for the ACT and PSAT/SAT. Instead, we propose a sequential approach, with ACT preparation taking precedence during the summer months, followed by PSAT preparation post-September 14th ACT, leading up to the PSAT at school on October 11th.

  1. Strive for Excellence:

Before embarking on PSAT preparation, we advise students to target a score in the 95th percentile on practice tests. The true value of PSAT performance lies in the opportunities for scholarships and recognition associated with achieving scores in the 99th percentile.

Tailored Guidance:

It’s important to recognize that each student’s journey is unique, and their specific goals will influence the path they choose to follow. Our recommendations serve as a framework to inform decision-making, but individualized guidance based on personal goals and circumstances is important.

By adopting a strategic approach to standardized test preparation, students of the Class of 2026 can navigate the complexities of the admissions process with confidence and clarity.