SAT Strategies - Scheduling the SAT
We don't want to replace your school guidance counselor. These are general scheduling suggestions that can only be taken on with the individual's schedule in mind.
Most kids have less academic work in the summer; for this reason, summer classes tend to be the best time to concentrate on SAT preparation. Since the SAT is largely a test of skills, rather than memorization, there is little diminution in abilities, even with a two month hiatus between the summer classes and test day.
To prevent against ANY diminution, indeed to enhance abilities between the end of summer classes and the fall SAT, we suggest a study regime of 2 - 4 hours during each week when classes are not in session. Ivy Bound resumes its Review sessions prior to the October and November SATs. Each student is invited to take advantage of these Review sessions in any Ivy Bound location.
We have one piece of advice that far too many guidance counselors don't follow, and on this one we know we're right: START EARLY. Colleges do not penalize an applicant for taking the SAT multiple times. The SAT is not a test that rewards skills acquired only in Senior year. The only academic background needed to take advantage of the Ivy Bound course is a semester each of Algebra I and Geometry. Since most students have this by tenth grade, there is nothing wrong with taking the SAT the summer following 10th grade. We like to see kids sitting on solid SAT scores by fall of Junior year. That frees them to concentrate on their academics in Junior spring and Senior year. It also frees them to take the courses they really want to, participate in the extra-currics they might be tempted to forego if SAT is still an issue. It just may allow the kids to have FUN, which we're in favor of too.
All other things being equal, if you need to prepare for the SAT, do so when you have the most time. If it's during the academic year, avoid committing to the full course in the same semester as playing a varsity sport. Since the SAT IIs cannot be taken on the same test date as the SAT I, planning ahead is key.
On SAT II subjects that require lots of memorization, it is often good to schedule them to coincide with the end of a semester, when the student has to review for finals anyhow, or the beginning of the following semester, to have the benefit of the complete curriculum plus some review time. Thus we like seeing students scheduling SAT IIs for June, December, and January.