Do I need to take the SAT or ACT?
Ultimately, each student needs to take either the ACT or the SAT for college admission purposes. A related question has to do with whether students should take both. Honestly, that is entirely up to the student. More anecdotally than anything else, some students seem to perform better on one than the other. But over time, most students tend to score similarly on both tests. Again, we encourage the student to make that final decision.

When should I take the test for the first time?
Students should never take the official test for practice purposes. Given that several highly selective colleges require students to submit all test scores, it is not in any student’s best interest to take the test prematurely. Our strong suggestion is to take the SAT I for the first time in March of the student’s junior year. That leaves multiple future dates for the student to take both the SAT I and the SAT II Subject Tests. Keep in mind, too, that students tend to do better on standardized testing the more mature they are. By March of a student’s junior year, they are usually at a place in both their mathematics and English courses to do well on the test. Students tend to take the SAT I for the second time in October of their senior year. If a student feels like he or she needs to take it for a third time, the test is offered again in November. Similarly, if a student decides to take the ACT, February or April of junior year is a good time to try the official test.
What happens if my testing never results in scores I am happy with? 
Not every school requires the SAT or ACT.  Some schools accept alternative testing requirements, or no testing all together.  Consult for more             information. 
I am applying to university abroad-do I still need to take standardized tests?
Yes!  In fact, students who are interested in going to college overseas, especially in the UK, should plan on sitting for as many standardized tests (SAT, ACT, Subject Tests, and AP exams) as possible. 

Should I take test prep, and if so, when?
Here is what we suggest: wait until the results of the PSAT come out. We realize this will take some patience, both for the student and the parents of that student. After receiving the results, the student can determine which area(s) need some attention. At this point, students might choose to enroll in a test prep course. If a student does, remember what was mentioned earlier regarding timing of the first sitting of the SAT. Essentially, the student has three months to prepare for the SAT I after receiving the PSAT results. We believe that provides students plenty of time to prepare for the test. Many students benefit from taking timed tests on their own. Not every student needs to take a test prep course.
Athletes hoping to be recruited should plan on taking the SAT in January or March or ACT in February. 

SAT Subject Tests (SAT IIs)

SAT Subject Test Guidelines

The SAT SubjectTests are hour-long, multiple choice, subject-based tests that allow studentsto showcase academic strengths in subject areas of their choice.

Many colleges askstudents to submit two SAT Subject Test scores. Branson students should selectSAT Subject Tests that best showcase their academic strengths. With the help ofthe teachers and college counselors and the guidelines set out below, students shoulddevelop an overall standardized testing plan for which tests to take as well asoptimal dates.

As emphasized on theCollege Board’s website, students may do well on the tests without havingstudied every possible aspect of a subject: “If there are some practicequestions or topics that you’re not familiar with because you haven’t studiedthem in your classes, don’t worry. The SAT Subject Tests are national testsmeant to cover topics learned in the majority of high school classrooms acrossthe country. However, what’s taught in one classroom is not necessarily thesame as what’s taught in another classroom, even if both are teaching the samesubject. As such, it is possible that you may not have covered every singletopic on the test. Furthermore, you do not have to get every question on eachtest correct to receive the highest score (800) for that test. Many students dowell on the tests despite not having studied every topic covered on the test”(

For informationabout test format and registration, please visit Students areresponsible for registering themselves for SAT Subject Tests.

When is the optimal time to takethe test?

Typically, students take the SATSubject Tests in June of junior year. In some cases sophomores who performexceptionally well in a course with a corresponding SAT Subject Test may takethe test at the end of the sophomore year.  Students who opt not totake theSAT Subject Tests at the end of the sophomore year will have ample timeto develop a standardized testing plan during junior year.

Math, Science, or History:  June is the optimal time to takethese tests as students have just completed the related courses and synthesizethe material as they study for final exams. 

Literature:   June of the junior year

Language:   Students of Mandarin,Italian and Latin face limited test date options and must think strategicallyabout when the test is available and how to fit the Language or LanguagewithListening test into an overall plan for standardized testing.

Which SAT Subject Tests should Itake?

Math:  Students who take Algebra IItheir junior year may take the Level I test.Students who take any level ofPrecalculus during the junior year or earlier may take the Level 2 test.

English:  Students may take the Literaturetest.

History:  Students may take the WorldHistory or US History tests.

Science:  Students may take Biology,Chemistry, or Physics.

Language:  Students may take Spanish,Latin, Mandarin, or Italian.

How do I know I’m prepared forthe test?

Students should ask themselvesthree questions as they consider SAT Subject

1. Am I performing well in thecorresponding academic class (earning a grade of B+ or higher)?

2. Does my teacher recommendthat I take the test?

3. Have I taken and scored wellon a practice test?

What else can I do to prepare?

Students may prepare by using anSAT Subject Test study guide to provide familiarity with the SAT Subject Testquestion style and format.



Testing Resources
Each of these sites has sample questions for the tests, as well as full copies of tests. These sample tests can help you determine on which subject tests you are likely to perform best.