Some students should test as early as summer after their 10th grade year while others should wait until the winter or spring of 11th grade. Which are you?

Emma is the perfect example. She’s a current sophomore, taking algebra 2 honors (accelerated math), and a state qualifier swimmer. Emma’s mom approached me in January of her 10th grade year thinking she’d wait until junior year to test.

The first things we discussed was Emma’s heavy swim schedule. Like most sports, it’s really year-round these days leaving little down time to now add in test prep, testing and college visits during the all important junior year. However, for a college bound student, these pieces must be fit in.

Finding the least busy season is key. For a competitive swimmer like Emma, this is really March through September each year; still busy, but less so. Two-a-day practices and competitions have her head barely above water from October through April.

Since Emma will have the tested curriculum complete by the end of 10th grade, I encouraged her mom to have her test in June, July or September after 10th grade for a first attempt. This was contrary to what they intended to do.

She thought her first test would be her state test. Emma will take the required state ACT in the late winter at her school, but this is during the busiest of swim season with zero time for purposeful prep. Nothing can be done about this timing.

Finally, if Emma would find she needs one more try to boost her score before college applications in August of 12th grade, she could take the June or July ACT at the end of 11th grade with time to prep.

Had Emma’s mom not run into me at the doctor office that day, she would have made the mistake of waiting for the state test at a time of year when her daughter couldn’t prep. This would push all of her testing later and crowding into the already busy application season.

At LEAP our passion is no student takes ACTs and SATs while completing applications. It’s simply TOO MUCH! Let’s protect sanity, avoid future anxiety and have a plan for maximized test scores. Join us for our next free Test Planning Workshop in-person or online.