All sophomores are registered by the school for the free, in-school PSAT test date in March. Some students may choose to also take the PSAT in the fall of their junior year. See the separate section on PSAT-NMSQT for more information.
Some students may want to take SAT II’s in subjects they are taking as sophomores. Please talk to a college counselor about this for guidance.
We recommend students begin preparing for standardized testing in the summer between sophomore and junior years
- Determine if the SAT/ACT is a Better Fit
- Make a Testing Plan
- Find a Test Prep Program
- Register for the SAT/ACT
- SAT IIs
- The SAT Essay
(1) Determine if the SAT/ACT is a Better Fit
All students should plan to focus on either the SAT or ACT! Before you begin test prep, the College Office HIGHLY recommends you take both a practice full length online SAT and a free full-length online practice ACT through a company like Kaplan to see how you perform. This can help you make an informed decision about which of the two standardized tests used for college admissions, the SAT or the ACT, is a better fit for you (more information about the difference between the two tests here).
You can also take full length SAT practice tests using the online platform khanacademy.org or by printing out one of the practice tests available through CollegeBoard. The ACT has also released a series of full-length practice tests as PDFs that can be printed and taken (they have been compiled for ease here on this helpful blog post).
(2) Make a Testing Plan
All students should plan to take the standardized test of their choice, either the SAT or ACT, at least two times. The CSS College Office generally recommends that students take their first standardized test, either SAT or ACT, by December of junior year. After this, we generally recommend students take another test in the spring (again, all students will take March SAT in school for free: students taking the ACT should also register for the April ACT date).
This testing plan doesn’t necessarily make sense for all students - depending on how ready students feel, they can decide if it is better to take the first exam in December or wait until a spring date. If you take your first exam (ACT or SAT) in March or April, you should take it again in May or June.
All students are automatically registered by the school for the free, in-school SAT test date. For all other testing dates, students and families must register at home.
**Fee waivers are available in the college office for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
To register for the tests:
(3) Identify a Standardized Test Prep Program
To prepare for the exam, the CSS College Office recommends having a study plan or test prep program to support you with the process. Many programs have free or low cost SAT/ACT test prep or have SAT prep as part of a college prep program - for programs that still have fall dates available, register now, for others be prepared to apply for the spring semester!
Please note: CSS does not endorse any specific test prep program or company, and we encourage you to research the options on your own. As well, many programs have not yet released their applications. Keep your eyes out for future communication from the college office about SAT/ACT prep programs. Sometimes the college office is able to offer free test prep through special grants. Again, regularly checking your email is the best way to find out about and sign up for such opportunities.
Some Free & “Low-Cost” Test Prep Options:
Baruch STEP Kaplan Scholars
Where? Baruch College, 55 Lexington Ave
When? Registration is open now! Deadline is Dec 15th.
What? Program at reduced cost ($175), includes six 3-hour classroom sessions and two 3.5 hour diagnostic full-length practice tests. Requires an application. Students must be have an 80 average, identify as identify as African American, Latino, Native American Indians or Alaskan Natives OR meet the requirements for economic disadvantage status.
Want more info? Sign up & information here.
Manny Cantor Center High School Program
Where? Manny Cantor Center, 197 E. Broadway, New York NY on the 4th Floor
When? From 6-8 PM on Wednesdays. Classes have begun but they are accepting new students (sign up ASAP so you can attend the first class after Thanksgiving break on Nov 28th).
What? Free! 5-6 is a junior advisory with opportunities to get college application help ahead of time, followed by 2 hours of SAT prep. Want more info? Sign up & information here
Let’s Get Ready
Where? Multiple Locations throughout NYC.
When? Fall program enrollment is closed, but they offer spring and summer programs as well. Registration will open soon.
What? A free, test prep specific program that focuses on the SAT.
Want more info? Sign up & more information here.
Crotona Achievement Center for Young Men
Where? 843 Crotona Park North, Bronx, NY 10460
When? On Saturdays.
What? A holistic, one-on-one character building experience, that includes support, mentoring, including test prep. Must interview with parents to be accepted.
Want more info? Call the Crotona office at speak to Pedro about enrollment (718) 861-1426
Where? 555 Broome Street
When? Drop-in hours and school year tutoring small group tutoring for juniors is now open!
What? Students must first enroll as members of The Door, a full services program to support young people with a variety of needs, then they can have access to tutoring and test prep programs.
Want more info? General information about The Door available here. Information about test prep and tutoring programs available here. To get information on small group tutoring, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
East Harlem Tutorial Program
Where? 2050 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10029
When? Enrollment is on a rolling basis, sessions are held after school beginning at 3:30 PM.
What? Academic support, college access support, and SAT prep for residents of East Harlem.
Want more info? Application and eligibility information available here.
Free Online Resources
- Khan Academy - the SAT’s official practice partner https://www.khanacademy.org/sat
- Official ACT Practice - http://www.actstudent.org
- College Board’s Daily Practice App - allows students to practice an SAT question daily. Visit https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/practice/daily-practice-app for more info.
We also have SAT and ACT prep books available in our office!!!