I work with ambitious students every single day. They listen to my advice and usually follow it to a T. But there's one subject that they aren't always on board with at the start: taking standardized tests one last time senior year.
Students are burnt out from standardized tests. They feel like they hit a wall as their scores plateau junior year. This often comes from taking the ACT or SAT multiple times one right after the other with little time in between. The beauty of taking these tests at the beginning of senior year (i.e. the September ACT or now even the August SAT) is that it forces students to take time off in between tests and refocus their preparation when they are a lot more experienced and mature.
There are always exceptions to the rule. Yet almost every student who takes time off from junior year testing and takes the ACT or SAT for the second or third time at the start of senior year (or in the weeks leading up to it) see their scores improve—some even dramatically.
"Want to increase your standardized test scores? Take them senior year."
It has been a really good week for the high school seniors I work with. The August SAT scores were released on Monday and the September ACT scores were released one day later.
Every single one of the seniors I am working with saw improvement in their scores.
I got just as many happy text messages in a 48 hour period this week as I do during admissions decision time. While many of my students initially balked at my suggestion to take the ACT or SAT one last time as seniors, they are extremely happy they did. They are more confident going into the admissions process with a strong set of test scores behind them.