Test Prep

Check These Answers to 3 Common Test Prep Questions

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Taking the SAT or ACT means a lot more than simply reviewing your test prep manuals and packing a calculator and number two pencil into your backpack. For many students, it can generate a series of questions, and answers may be difficult to find. To quell those issues, we've rounded up three of the test prep questions recently submitted to College Confidential, along with the answers that will help you enter test day feeling stress-free.


1. Can I Bring a Therapy Animal to the Test?

Some students require a therapy animal to accompany them to the testing site and have wondered whether that's an issue for the SAT or ACT. Therefore, College Confidential contacted the test accommodations department of both the College Board and the ACT to find out, and here's what they told us:

SAT: "As appropriate, students may be accompanied by service animals or emotional support animals. Students must contact our Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office."

ACT: "Yes, if the student requests their service animals be with them and it is approved, they are allowed to bring them with them to their examination."

Therefore, be sure to contact the test administrator (College Board or ACT) beforehand to ensure that your animal is approved prior to test day.

2) Which SAT/ACT Date Results in the Highest Scores?

Although this question is asked quite frequently, the reality is that there isn't any specific test date for the SAT or ACT that results in the highest scores. The best test date is the one that is best for your schedule.

For instance, if you've been focusing on test prep over the summer – whether it's self-study, with a tutor or a test prep course – you'll probably want to take the test in August, while the material and strategies are still fresh in your head. In addition, you should avoid registering for a test date that falls during a busy time at school, like exam week, when you may not have the time to implement your ideal test prep strategies.

3) Which Test Section Do Colleges Care About the Most?

Some students assume that colleges will focus more on one test section than another, but this isn't always necessarily the case. Colleges will consistently look at your composite score (the total score of all the section scores) first. The section score that matters most, when applicable, will depend on several factors. If you have a solid composite score, but one section score is much higher than another one, this may show that you could struggle in college-level classes on those subjects in the eyes of some reviewers.

The level of weight that colleges place on your section scores will vary from one program and school to the next, so your best bet if you're worried about a big difference between section scores is to refocus your test prep efforts on the area that needs the biggest score improvement to bring it up a bit higher.