Test Prep for SAT/ ACT

  • If and How Much Test Prep? 

    Please review our To Test or Not to Test? slideshow with the latest information from colleges regarding score requirements. 

    There is not an easy answer since most colleges are test-optional and goals, testing baselines, and colleges' emphasis on scores all vary widely. When deciding, families should consider:

    • Whether the colleges a student is targeting require scores. Scores could be required for: 
      • admission
      • scholarships
      • honors college admission
    • If a college does require scores, investigate the test score ranges of those colleges and compare to your own if you have already taken the PSAT or an SAT.
    • Strength of other elements of a student's application.
    • Student schedule and well-being
    • Student tolerance of test prep (please take this seriously--for some students, the test prep would be onerous and stress-inducing)


    If students are going to take a college admissions test, we do recommend familiarity so that they know:

    • sections on the exam
    • length & format of each section
    • types of questions in each section
    • scope of math section
    • type of passages in the reading & writing sections
    • expectations on the essay portion.


    When to do Test Prep? 

    Again, the answer to this depends on the student and how particular the college goals are. All Shorewood sophomores take the PSAT in the fall and so have a baseline established. All Shorewood juniors have a chance to take the SAT in the spring. 

    A few motivated students do a bit of test prep throughout high school. 

    Some motivated sophomores do test prep the summer before junior year as they anticipate the PSAT in the fall and SAT/ ACT exams in the winter & spring. 


    Options for Test Prep


    There are excellent low-or no-cost options available. Familiarity with format and content is a first step, and if a student has limited time, may be enough. 

    FREE Check out an SAT or ACT book from the Career Center given to us by our generous Shorewood PTSA. Come into the Career Center to inquire. The books will be checked out just like a book from Shorewood's main library. 

    FREE and PAID options  Official College Board (SAT) and ACT practice questions and tests. The testing companies have free materials available that essentially tell you what is going to be on the test and give you a chance to practice with actual test questions. 

    SAT Practice has links to official practice tests, a daily practice app, and the Khan Academy as well as sections with guidance for setting goals and creating study plans. 

    ACT Test Overview and ACT Test Preparation have both free and paid options. Start with the current ACT Study Guide (pdf) which includes a practice test and overview, sign up for ACT Question of the Day, use the practice for each test section, read the tips, and go over the test section descriptions. Once you use exhaust the free options, consider the paid products & services. ACT now has a partnership with Kaplan. 

    FREE Khan Academy, which is now linked to the College Board, customizes to a student's most recent score results (PSAT and/or SAT) and is available whenever the student is available. Please note that though Khan Academy is affiliated with the College Board/ SAT, the benefit will largely carry over to the ACT. We recommend this option since it customizes to you. 


    Private Tutoring

    We cannot recommend particular tutors, but if students have a particular subject area they want to address, tutoring can be an excellent approach. 



    Outside Test Prep Companies. There are many local test prep companies. Please note:

    • We cannot endorse or recommend any company in particular. 
    • Very few companies list costs on their website. Be aware that most require you to create an account and then you will receive e-mails, often multiple ones. E-mails may have useful special offers, or emails may become excessive. 
    • Many online courses also have local centers that offer classes.
    • Many companies offer some free options and other options with costs. 
    • Many companies also offer private tutoring at higher cost.
Flyer for UW Women's Center Spring 2018 SAT Prep Class

Free Online Test Prep

  • The following resources are listed as a courtesy to the community. Listing does not comprise endorsement.