Ah, yes. The first semester of junior year is over. You may have very well taken your finals already, and are on winter break getting ready to tackle new classes, new subjects, and new challenges in the spring.
If you're like many other high school juniors, you've also taken the PSAT. The PSAT is usually administered in October, and juniors take it for two reasons:
- As a sort of "dry run" for the SAT.
- To qualify for, among other things, scholarship and recognition programs such as the National Merit Scholarship.
These are both great reasons to take the PSAT. However, taking the PSAT in the fall also sometimes has an undesired side-effect: It makes you decidedly unwilling to then take the SAT in the spring.
This, of course, is totally understandable. If you took the PSAT seriously enough to study for it (which you should do if you're aiming for a scholarship such as the National Merit), then you're probably all tested out. The thought of now turning around and studying for the SAT is exhausting, and the mere mention of having to sit through yet another multi-hour standardized test makes you want to punch things just a little bit. Believe me, I get it. I've been here. I absolutely understand.
However, leaving the SAT until senior year is not the best move--and here are three reasons why:
- The SAT tests junior-level content. This means that you should take the test at the end of your junior year, when this content is freshest in your mind. Since the SAT is not administered over the summer, if you don't take it at the end of your junior year you'll have to wait until the start of your senior year--and that means that months will have passed since you actually really cracked a book in any sort of academic fashion. Take the SAT while the content is fresh and while you're still in school- and study-mode.
- Senior Year is already going to be a whirlwind of activity--do you really want to throw the SAT on top of everything else? Your last year of high school will be taken up with leadership roles in extracurriculars, applying to college, keeping your grades up (classes and tests don't take a break senior year), tons of senior events, and entirely too many social gatherings. Do you want to also be worrying about studying for and taking the SAT while you're trying to juggle all of that? ..I didn't think so.
- If you take the SAT your junior year, you still have a chance to retake it (if you need or want to) your senior year. If you don't quite rock the end-of-junior-year SAT, you can study for the test over the summer (yes, it's a bummer, but it's better than trying to study for it the first semester of your senior year) and take it again as soon as school starts in the fall.
So, all in all, it's a much better idea to take the SAT at the end of your junior year than it is to wait and take it your senior year. With a little planning, you can take the SAT and get it out of the way so that your senior year can be taken up with much more fun endeavors!