The College Scoops Podcast

Episode 106: What Students Should Consider When Taking the ACT/SAT Tests

January 25, 2022

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Standardized tests – love them or hate them, they are often an integral part of the college application process. But how do you prepare for them? How do you study for them? In this episode, Mike Bergin, the founding President of the Board of Directors of the National Test Prep Association provides his advice and expertise on this topic. Mike explains the difference between the ACT and SAT, advises students on the timeline and testing approach, and the importance of knowing your particular learning style when choosing what test to take. 

Key Takeaways:

Having a growth mindset is essential with high stakes exams. Think of the test as an opportunity.

A test prep coach can give you the tools/steps on how to be successful on the test 

  • They can tell you the skills you need to practice, the things you should plan for, but you still need to take practice tests!
  • There are other elements that can impact your test score that can happen the day of the test. (Sickness, lack of sleep, accidents happen) Try to control everything you can and plan ahead in case something happens.
    • Plan B – register for a back up test just in case! 
    • Practice taking the test in a testing environment so you know how it feels and you get used to it

Both the ACT and SAT tests are accepted by colleges equally 

Find out which test you are best suited for

There are many free resources available from the College Board and the SA including free practice tests and the answer keys

Keep taking practice tests until your results are consistent

There is no time of year where the test is considered ‘easier’ or ‘harder’ 

Consider the ‘arc’ of your junior year. See what works for you in terms of when you should test 

Parents: recognize and understand your kids. How do they learn? Are they self-motivated? Do they learn best in a group? Do they need a one-to-one tutor? Do they have a learning difference? Are they willing to improve? Do they want to?

Be realistic about the level of motivation and drive your kids have

Important Resources and Links:

Chariot Learning

Tests and the Rest

College Board SAT Resource Page

ACT Prep Resource Page

Meet Mike Bergin

Mike Bergin

After over 25 years of intensive experience in every aspect of standardized test preparation, Mike Bergin knows what works in test prep and what doesn’t. A nationally recognized leader in test prep, Mike founded Chariot Learning in 2009 to deliver on the promise of what truly transformative, individualized education can and should be. Besides overseeing Chariot Learning’s national programs, Mike is an ACT Certified Educator who trains high school teachers and private tutors across the country to earn certifications in all sections of the ACT.

Mike is proud to be the founding President of the Board of Directors of the National Test Prep Association, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the highest ethical standards and best practices in the test prep industry while advocating for the appropriate administration and use of standardized tests for admissions and assessment purposes.

Mike is also the founder of the co-host of Tests and the Rest, the college admissions industry podcast, as well as creator of the free testing and admissions answer site TestBright and the Facebook industry group for test prep professionals, Test Prep Tribe. 

Lastly, Mike is the co-author of the Amazon bestseller Crash and Learn: Lessons in Business.

Thank you to Mike for sharing your expertise and guidance with us about test prep and how students and parents can better prepare for the ACT/SAT tests. Like anything in life whether it is a sports event, a musical, or a class test, students need to prepare and plan for taking the SAT/ACT. First and foremost, there are a host of free resources out there for students to take practice tests. Take both the SAT/ACT tests to get a feel for which test you are most comfortable with and what test you perform better at. Plan to take the test 1 max 3 times. At the end of Sophomore year, take a look at your junior year – the fall, winter, and spring calendar and map out any tournaments, extracurricular events, vacations, holidays, family commitments to gauge how busy you will be to determine when is the best time to take a test. Always have a Plan B or Plan C ready for the unexpected. And parents, support your students by helping them with the initial planning stages, listen to them as to what they want in terms of taking the tests, and help them create the best training ground for taking the tests.

Episode 106 Full Transcript

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College Scoops Staff, Author

College Scoops has a team of college interns who share their insights and expertise with our community. Our team consists of editors, writers, videographers, social media experts, and storytellers who work hard to produce relevant and interesting content for students (and parents) whether they are applying to, attending or graduating from college.

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