Prepping Your Students for SAT and ACT Season

Posted by Rose Frezza, Texas OnCourse on Feb 4, 2020 1:11:53 PM

Exams like the SAT and ACT can feel big and scary for many students. It can seem as though the stakes are high and a lot is riding on the outcome of one or both of these exams. Let’s look at some of the ways students can start early, breathe deeply, and use test prep techniques to conquer the SAT and ACT.

Check out SAT/ACT prep tips in the Academy

College Entrance Exams

Download the college entrance exams chart here.


Generally, students score better on the SAT when they study and practice before taking the exam. Research also shows that students who take the SAT a second time usually improve their scores. Review SAT score ranges using the chart below.

SAT Score Ranges

Test prep for the SAT

The College Board has collaborated with Khan Academy, making it easy for students to practice for the SAT. Their collaboration offers students:

  • Personalized online practice that complements instruction they receive in the classroom
  • Full-length SAT practice tests
  • Free access – anytime, anywhere
  • SAT tips and strategies

Details on Khan Academy can be found here:


In addition to Khan Academy, the College Board also offers daily practice activities. The free Daily Practice app is available for free download and makes it easy for students to:

  • Answer an exclusive, official reading, writing and language, or math question
  • Reveal a hint if they are stuck
  • Read answer explanations and learn from their mistakes
  • Take a picture of their answer sheet and get an instant score


ACT results indicate what students have learned throughout high school. They offer colleges and universities evidence of student academic readiness for recruiting, advising, placement, and retention purposes. Review ACT score ranges using the chart below.

ACT Score Ranges

Test prep for the ACT

The ACT Academy is a free online learning platform designed to help students around the world pinpoint areas of academic weakness, improve their ACT scores, and master core skills they need to prepare for success in college and career. Students can get started with personalized practice in each area of the exam by taking quizzes to see what they know or by entering their ACT or PreACT test scores. Full-length practice tests are also available to students.

Check out these three easy steps students can take to improve their ACT score: 



ACT Online Prep is another option for students. It’s the official online test preparation program created exclusively by ACT test development professionals. ACT Online Prep includes practice test questions, a practice essay, a diagnostics test, and a study path. It’s only free for students registering for the ACT with a fee waiver, but it can be effective for many students.

For more information on helping your students navigate the SAT and ACT, log into the Texas OnCourse Academy and look for the modules under Postsecondary Pathways > Entrance and Placement Exams > SAT and ACT.

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Don’t forget: while exam scores do play a part in college admissions, they are only one part of a student’s application. Many institutions pride themselves on taking the whole student into consideration, which can include writing ability, overall character, hobbies, and more. And finally, make sure you check out The Basics of Admissions Tests and Entrance Exams.

Topics: Applying to College, Educators