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Congratulations – you have (almost) survived Year 11. As you look forward to the summer, now is also a fantastic time to beginning prepping for your US university applications. To put yourself in a strong position for top US colleges, you will need good SAT or ACT scores. The summer after Year 11 is the perfect time to begin preparing for one of these tests. 


Standardised test prep is marathon not a sprint. This is because both the ACT and SAT require a tricky trifecta of content, strategy, and stamina to achieve a good score. What worked for you in GCSEs may not necessarily work for these standardised tests. Create a tret-prep schedule well in advance of your first official exam. A-List has over fifteen years’ experience helping students with their online test prep and academic planning to earn a top score.


Take a diagnostic test: a full-length SAT or ACT provides a clear starting point. Unsure which to choose? A-List has developed a Guide To Decide to help students with this decision! 


Tackle content consolidation and learning the special techniques that can be used on standardised tests. A-List has developed proprietary techniques for each section of the ACT and SAT that increase students’ speed and accuracy. You can discover these techniques as well as learn all the content you need for the SAT in one of our summer bootcamps or by working 1-1 with one of our expert tutors.


Keep your GCSE maths notes – there is overlap with the SAT and ACT Maths sections. Also, success on SAT Reading and ACT Reading & Science improves through regular reading of high-quality literature and non-fiction. If you want reading recommendations reach out to our Academic Team for a list of books and websites as well as a free consultation!


After you have learned the content, practiced the techniques, and explored the standardised test strategies, you will be ready to learn the test format. This nuanced work is best done with a personal tutor. Work with them to examine multiple past papers side by side to discern question pattern trends and to think about what the most effective ways of answering each question. 


The SAT and ACT also require mental stamina; working calmly and effectively under pressure and applying your strategies consistently even when fatigued. You can practice this by sitting timed sections individually and then full, proctored practice tests. Also reflect very closely on your corrections, how you got them wrong, how you corrected them, and what you learned from correcting them for next time. Do not skip this step! 


Finally, be prepared to take the test three times. For many, the testing journey is a nine-month process or more: build that into your academic and application timelines. 


A-List is here to help: please reach out for expert and tailored advice on any and all parts of your testing journey! 

Year 11 Students: SAT and ACT Key Steps
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