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Many families struggle to find the EXTRA time in their teen’s day for SAT prep when they have numerous extracurricular activities and regular studies to attend to. While we don’t recommend taking away sports, band, chorus, volunteer work and paid jobs, we do suggest that students carve out time for prep. Without a clear carve-out, SAT (or ACT) prep will fall to the demands of classes, extra-curricular activities, social activities, and sleep.

Realistically, SAT/ACT prep may need to be during the summer. Many of the demands on a student are significantly less during summer vacation. At Ivy Bound, we see the best improvements come from among our summer students (both rising Juniors and rising Seniors). We ask summer students to treat their time with us as a “part-time summer JOB”. 3 – 4 weeks of 3 hours a day typically gets the student through all the Lessons and two or three practice tests. When school resumes, only some practice testing typically remains and the student is ready to jam on the September ACT or October SAT.

ACT/SAT prep is one of the responsibilities of the college-bound student. Ivy Bound makes it relatively painless — and there are lots of students who are GRATEFUL to have done most of the work in the summer. For many students the summer between sophomore and junior year in high school is the BEST time and is when they typically have the MOST time.
Ivy Bound prefers to see students prep sooner rather than later. A student who preps in the summer before junior year has more times to take the SAT. (The SAT is offered 7 times a year, and colleges just need to see ONE good score or combination of good scores.) For the student who posts a good score early, she’s DONE. For the student who needs more months to prep and/or test, the early starter has given her/himself more time.

Test Prep takes a number of hours to success no matter what. The good news is that doing this early means being DONE early. Strong students are better off getting SAT out of the way and sitting on a good score early. Really strong students can land some merit scholarship money based on the PSAT. We know that students and parents are routinely grateful when the SAT doesn’t impede their junior spring of (choose many): proms, sports, college visits, finals. And we know that the SAT (or ACT; no college has a preference any more) opens the door to the best schools.