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Home Resources Tool Kits Post-Secondary/College Tool Kit College Entrance Exams

PART 4. How should I prepare for college entrance exams?

  • Most colleges and universities require that the student take the SAT or ACT to apply. It would be a good idea to take practice standardized tests a few times to get familiar with the structure, timing and typical language of the test.

  • If you need accommodations to take the SAT/ACT read these steps on how to begin that process. It takes time to get approval for extended time, so start the process early. Your high school Transition Coordinator should help you with this process, but ask them well ahead of your first SAT or ACT to allow plenty of time to apply for and receive accommodations from either the SAT or ACT testing agency.

  • Many colleges will accept either the SAT or ACT, so students can try sample tests of either and use that to assess if you think you will do better on the ACT or SAT. Then you can focus on only that test and skip taking the other one. 

  • Also check if any other tests are required. For example, the most selective schools may require SAT Subject Tests.

  • Take practice tests (available online) so that you can feel confident during the actual testing. Some apps and sites offer daily questions. Books and tutoring services are also available through local colleges, schools, libraries and private services to help prepare. Your high school may have a list of resources/tutors.

  • If you struggle with test taking, consider getting tutoring with a college test tutor who is sensitive to the needs of someone with autism. They may use practice tests to identify strengths and challenges so they can help you improve. 

  • Make sure you are familiar with the location, driving directions and parking for the test location. It can be helpful to visit the site in advance.

  • Arrive early. Try to be well rested. Eat and use the bathroom beforehand and be well hydrated. Have your ID and other required materials. See the official SAT/ACT website for details of what is allowed and not allowed in the room. NOTE: You can request drinking water and taking breaks as part of your accommodations.

  • Register for early testing dates to allow for taking the test several times, if needed.

Read more about preparing for taking standardized tests from a former Milestones intern.

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