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Most colleges require entrance exams - such as the SAT - for admission, and preparation for these tests is crucial. There are, of course, prodigies who are naturally so gifted at taking standardized exams that they do not need to study. However, for the vast majority of SAT test-takers, getting to know how long is a 500 word essay and strategies of the exam is essential to conquering it. When planning out your SAT prep timeline, keep in mind that some students opt to take the SAT more than once (especially when applying to competitive schools).

When to take the test
Most students take the SAT during their junior and senior years of high school. The most common time for juniors to take the exam is during the spring, and seniors generally take the exam in the fall. It is pivotal that you keep in mind all your college application deadlines when you plan out your SAT prep and exam date. Make sure that the day you plan on taking the SAT falls within the testing timetables acceptable to your prospective colleges (and perhaps gives you time to take another exam if your score isn't up to your personal standards). This information is usually posted on college admissions websites, but if you have any lingering questions, feel free to call the admissions office.

When to begin studying
In terms of preparation, there are a few guidelines for knowing when and how to begin your SAT prep. First, look ahead to your local testing centers to see what times and dates SAT tests will be administered. Some testing centers administer significantly more tests than others, so be careful when planning out when and where you will take the exam. Next, work backwards with your timeline based on the SAT exam you are planning to take. It usually takes at least three solid months to study for the SAT. If you know you are normally a poor test-taker, then give yourself more time to study, as needed. Some people decide to enroll in SAT prep classes (either in person or online) or to hire a personal SAT tutor. A good time to do a course like this or to hire a tutor is during the summer before junior or senior year, when you have time to concentrate on SAT prep without the distraction of actual high school classes.

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