Surviving the Chaos: Organizing Junior Year

Junior year seems like an amassment of exams, assessments, try-outs and performances. Unless your mind works like a day-planner, it’s easy to run into scheduling conflicts.

You MUST develop a gameplan early in the season of junior year. August and early September are the times to map out big exams, sport seasons and family vacations so that students know which tests to prepare for.

 Let’s introduce the heavyweights of the exam area:

  • Mid-October: PSAT
  • Late October: ACTdeadlinepic
  • Early December: SAT
  • Mid-December: ACT
  • January: Mid-Term Exams
  • Late January: SAT
  • Mid-February: ACT
  • Early March: SAT
  • Early April: ACT
  • Mid-May: SAT/SAT IIs
  • Mid-May: AP Exams
  • Early June: SAT/SAT IIs
  • Mid-June: ACT
  • Mid-June: Regents and Finals

For test dates and registration deadlines, visit ACT or CollegeBoard.

Keep in mind, not all students are taking all exams. Every student is different, and game plans should cater to individual strengths and preferences.

It is crucial that students have a pre-determined plan for tackling standardized tests in order to be in control, perform at their absolute best, and succeed on test day.

 This is where the planning comes in. Mixed in with those exams are school vacations, sport seasons, musical recitals, etc. We strongly recommend that all students take a diagnostic SAT and a diagnostic ACT to compare baseline scores. The exams are fundamentally different, and some students are naturally suited for one test over the other. ACT-geared students should focus on taking the ACT, and SAT-geared students should focus on taking the SAT. This does not mean that students can not register and sit for both exams, but we strongly recommend focusing on one test or the other. Once a gameplan is set – stick to it!  This will ensure that students can adequately practice and prepare for each exam. Below are sample game plans. Keep in mind that these are only samples. Students who hit their marks should not necessarily continue testing. Game Plan A (Most Comprehensive)

  •  Oct PSAT
  • Dec. ACT
  •  Jan SAT
  • March SAT
  • April ACT
  • May SAT

Game Plan B (Focus on ACT First)

  • Oct PSAT
  • Dec ACT
  •  Feb ACT
  • April ACT
  • May SAT
  • June SAT
  • Oct SAT

 Game Plan C (Focus on SAT First)

  • Oct PSAT
  • March SAT
  • May SAT
  • June ACT
  • Oct ACT

  Game Plan D (Strong Test Takers)

  • Oct PSAT
  • Jan SAT
  • March SAT
  • April ACT

 Once again, organization is an absolute during junior year. Lay out your testing calendar, register for the anticipated exams, and follow through with your game plan.

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