Timelines

Popular testing timelines

The exact dates change from year to year, but the annual testing calendar is consistent. Remember that you can take tests more than once, and many people do. Three main tests — ACT, SAT, and SAT Subject Tests — and 14 possible test dates in one year can leave families wondering when is the best time to prepare and test. On the following pages, we provide guidelines for sophomore, junior, and senior years. These timelines are meant to give you a general guide; every student is different. We always recommend talking with a Kyo Standard director to identify the ideal timeline for your family.

Sophomore Year

PSAT or PSAT 10 The PSAT/NMSQT is the traditional October offering that allows juniors to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Many schools also offer this test to sophomores, but students’ scores will not count toward National Merit.

The PSAT 10 is structured identically to the PSAT/NMSQT; thus, some schools prefer to give the spring PSAT 10 to sophomores to provide a better sense of where students stand closer to the end of the academic year. Schools may also choose to use PSAT scores to aid in AP placement decisions going into junior year.

Sophomore: Practice SAT and Practice ACT

SAT SUBJECT TESTS

Not every student will need Subject Tests. Please refer to our guide to see if your student needs to take a subject test. Those who do are encouraged to take exams at the end of the school year in which they have taken the relevant academic classes. For instance, a student excelling in precalculus in 10th grade may want to take the Math Level 2 Subject Test in May or June of sophomore year.

PRACTICE TESTS
In the late spring or early summer of sophomore year, take a practice SAT and a practice ACT to determine which is the ideal test for you. Kyo Standard offers practice tests and consultations to help you craft an individualized test preparation plan.

Junior and Senior Years

While Kyo Standard believes in customizing a test preparation plan to each student’s unique schedule, many students find success with common timelines for their testing. What follows are three popular testing timelines. These examples are based on students’ initial practice test scores — sophomore PSAT, practice SAT, or practice ACT — but it’s also possible that a different timeline would work better for a student because of additional factors like extracurriculars or travel plans.

While we indicate the most popular test dates for each timeline, we do not mean to suggest that students must test on those dates. Schedules are complex; the best test date is the one that works for you. But thoughtful planning can help ensure that there is ample time for preparation in advance of the exams. This page covers the traditional testing timeline. Please see the following pages for deferred and early testing.

Traditional Testing

Approximately half of juniors falls into this category

BEGIN PREPARATION

Many students in this range will begin preparing for the SAT or ACT during the late summer or early fall of junior year. September’s back – to – school is a popular start time, especially when test preparation can be scheduled alongside homework, because students are often focused on academics.

FIRST SITTING

Preparation generally intensifies in the months leading up to the exam. Most SAT students will take the exam for the first time in March. May and June are popular dates for Subject Tests but can also work well for a first sitting. ACT students often choose April for their first test, though June is also quite popular, and February is a possibility for those feeling prepared early.

 

 

APs and SUBJECT TESTS

The end of the school year is the ideal time to take SAT Subject Tests if needed. Students taking APs in early May often take the remainder of May to prepare for Subject Tests in June.

REFRESH

Summer is a good time to take practice tests and engage tutors to help refresh thefied in the spring.

SECOND SITTING

Traditionally, the October SAT and September ACT has been the most popular second – sitting test dates. With the introduction of the August SAT we may see a preference for earlier second sittings. Either way, November is generally the last advisable date for students applying via regular decisions; those applying early should be finished by October.

Sophomore Year Testing Wind

Deferred Testing

Approximately one in three juniors falls into this category.

BEGIN FOUNDATIONAL WORK

Students in this score range often begin doing foundational work over the summer before junior year or during the fall. This work may include traditional test preparation, but it may also be focused on solidifying fundamental knowledge by reviewing math concepts, practicing reading comprehension skills, and learning conventional grammar rules. The goal is to make formal test preparation less stressful in the few months leading up to the exam.

FORMAL TEST PREPARATION

Whether or not students have done foundational work over the summer or fall, most will begin test preparation 3–4 months in advance of the late spring exams. A practice test in January can help assess how much a student has grown since initial diagnostic exams and set a baseline for improvement. Tutoring proceeds steadily throughout the spring.

APs and SUBJECT TESTS

APs take place in May. If needed, Subject Tests can be taken in May or June, but June is the more popular date.

FIRST SITTING

Students on the deferred timeline will often skip the March SAT and April ACT, aiming instead for the May SAT or June ACT. This gives students the full spring to prepare, allowing them to concentrate on school and extracurriculars.

REFRESH

Summer is a good time to take practice tests and engage tutors to help refresh thefied in the spring.

SECOND SITTING

Any fall test date has the potential to be a good time for a second sitting; the October SAT and September ACT are particularly popular. Both test dates give students the opportunity to sit for the exams a third time in November or December if it makes sense to do so.

Sophomore Year Testing Wind

Early Testing

Approximately one in six juniors falls into this category.

BEGIN PREPARATION

Students in this score range frequently aim to complete testing by the end of junior year so that they can concentrate on other aspects of the college application process in the fall of senior year. Preparation typically begins over the summer before junior year. For those within striking range of National Merit, tutoring may include preparation for the PSAT/ NMSQT in October.

FIRST SITTING

SAT students often move from the PSAT/NMSQT straight into the November exam while preparation is still fresh. December is a popular test date for early ACT students. Both test dates are advantageous for students who want to lock in a first score before holiday distractions.

REFRESH

Students may want to sit for a couple of practice exams or work with a tutor to refresh strategies before taking the exam a second time. Many students also take the spring to work with a tutor to prepare for Subject Tests and AP exams.

SECOND SITTING

Spring test dates are popular times for students in this score range to retake the exam. The May and June SAT are both ideal for either SAT or Subject Tests. The April ACT is a good opportunity to post a second score before the end-of-the-year crush.

APs and SUBJECT TESTS

Depending on a student’s AP schedule, it can make sense to either take the Subject Tests in May right before AP exams or wait a month and take them in June.

SUMMER TESTING

The August SAT and July ACT are new to the testing calendar. We anticipate that they will prove popular for students who decide to delay their second sittings and for those who may want to take the test a third time before Early Decision applications are due.

Sophomore Year Testing Wind