When should you take the SAT and TOEFL?

When I meet with new students who are planning on applying to American universities, very often they all have the same problem. They’ve planned each and every month up until the application deadline, Jan. 1st. They’ve allotted 8 hours every day to study for TOEFL and SAT. With a plan like that, they can’t help but score incredibly high, right?

Wrong, wrong and more wrong. The problem with their plan is that they don’t plan on taking the SAT or TOEFL until October or November of the year they’re applying. What happens if they don’t sleep very well the night before and perform poorly the next morning? What happens if they’re bad test-takers who go crazy with nervousness? What if they simply have a bad day?

American students have usually finished their standardized tests by the end of their 11th grade year – Sr. II year for you guys – and you should employ the exact same strategy. Well first of all, you’re not going to learn anything else between May of your Sr. II year and Oct. of your Sr. III year that will help you score higher on the exams. All of that preparation you’re doing? I call that ineffective study habits.

If you think you might want to study abroad after high school, start planning early. Buy an SAT preparation book your Sr. I year. Start familiarizing yourself with the nature of the test. Concentrate on learning the patterns of the verbal questions, and then take plenty of practice tests.

It’s a great idea to take the test once at the beginning of your Sr. II year, and once at the end. Why? The first time is basically just a practice exam. You can find out what the bottom range of your score possibilities will be. The next time you take it, you’ll be twice as comfortable, twice as ready, and you’re English will have likely improved by leaps and bounds. Then, when application season rolls around, you can concentrate on your essays without having too many sleepless nights.

I promise you, if you want to be an SAT superstar, take it twice during your Sr. II year. When you score above a 2200, you’ll thank me.

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