Thinking about March usually conjures up images of spring, St. Patrick’s Day, and of course college basketball. Likewise, while college athletes prepare themselves for March Madness, we think that students should put just as much effort into preparing for the March SAT. Just as athletes do their hardest work in the offseason leading up to their games, high school students need to put in their best effort if they expect to succeed on test day.

What most don’t realize, though, is the sheer amount of time one needs to prepare for such big events. While athletes train for years just for the chance to make a play, high school students usually only need 5 months of prep before they’re ready for their chance to earn the score of their dreams. For the March SAT, this means beginning preparations in mid to late October.

However, preparing for the SAT is a little different than conditioning for a basketball game. Our “drills” start by reviewing a diagnostic test that lets students know what areas they need to focus on the most, and this usually takes place in the first few sessions. Next we move onto reviewing the “why” behind all of the question types that students will see on test day, which takes anywhere from 1.5 to 3 months. From there we transition towards taking and reviewing practice test which not only reinforces the “why” that we’ll have covered earlier but also allows students examples of what to expect on test day. This portion of the process takes about 2 months and extends as necessary until students have taken two actual SATs with us. Obviously, every individual is different: this timeline provides the most flexibility for students and gives them enough time to guarantee that they’ll improve on test day.

Parents and students alike should recognize that taking the March SAT is ideal for a host of reasons. First and foremost, if you’re a junior in high school and don’t do as well as you wanted on the March SAT, you’ll still have an opportunity to retake the SAT in May, guaranteeing that you’ll have the best score moving into your senior year when you’ll need it for college applications. Additionally, the holiday season is the best time to prepare because the only other tests that students will have to worry about are midterms. Contrast this to the test dates in May or June in which SAT prep coincides with preparing for final exams, and the March advantage becomes clear. Furthermore, if you take the March SAT, you’ll have a holiday break to capitalize on. The break offers a change of pace in the middle of preparation, allowing for additional reflection as well as an opportunity to address weak areas before it’s too late.

Navigating these timelines can be tricky, and every situation is different. This is why we at Streamline Tutors recommend a free phone consultation to discuss each student’s individual needs and determine the best overall gameplan to guarantee success. With proper planning, you can ensure that all the madness in March is relegated to your bracket.