iUniversity Prep Teachers’ Top Tips


As the school year continues on, the ACT and SAT are fast approaching for students. Both of these tests can be a big stress factor on students alongside the many others they already face on a day-to-day basis. I interviewed a few teachers here at iUP to get their top tips for how to be successful on these tests. Whether it means getting your goal score or even just feeling more comfortable with the process in general, these tips provide helpful insight from teachers that can also be applied to other tests too, not solely the ACT and SAT.


Mrs. Carlin, who teaches AP Language for juniors here at iUP, stated that her biggest tip would be to practice. “The students who take the time to practice typically feel more comfortable with the timing, the questions, narrowing down the choices”. Going right along with that idea, practicing will help you be more prepared so you’re walking in knowing what to expect on each section. However, prepping for the ACT and SAT may look different than for a normal test. Most of the test is skill-based so while sitting down and studying the material for a long time may typically work for your average test, Mrs. Carlin recommends instead doing problems and practice tests. There are so many options out there such as websites like Khan Academy or, books with materials inside, and even classes you can take. The option that would most work to your benefit really depends on how you learn best as a student. By practicing and getting familiar with the types of questions and working with the time limit you will feel more comfortable on test day. 


Mrs. Briggs who teaches U.S. History for juniors gave a different set of tips, honing in on allowing flexibility and time. Taking the ACT and SAT in the spring of junior year instead of next fall leads to many benefits. For starters, you’ll get your score back sooner and can decide if you want to take time to practice more and retake the test again in the fall to try to improve. Second, it gives you time to take both the ACT and SAT tests since there are a few differences between the two. One might be better suited for you than the other and getting it done with enough time allows you to figure out those details. Mrs. Briggs also reminds, “You are more than a test and colleges understand that. If you don’t get the scores you want, don’t stress. Colleges look at the whole applicant: grades, extracurriculars, leadership, essays, and test scores. Just do your best!”


By using these pieces of advice and adjusting them to fit your own style of learning you have a great chance of succeeding on the ACT and SAT!


These are Mrs. Carlin and Mrs. Briggs top 5 tips summarized below: 

  1. Practice!  The more you do this, the more comfortable you will be with the overall test.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take both the ACT and SAT and use your best score
  3. Treat it like any other test. Don’t let it seem daunting. Don’t overstress.
  4. Make sure you are prepared (Know where the location of the test is, how to get there, and have your materials ready in advance. Ex: pencil, calculator, etc.)
  5. There are MANY strategies out there. . . practice until you find the ones that work for YOU but make sure to look over what you missed.