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Test time.

Now we’re getting somewhere. This is the semester in which many students choose to take the SAT exam (I and/or II) for the first time, along with the ACT in some cases. If you’re taking it now too, that will rightly dominate your preparation during this time, but don’t forget to keep up with the other stuff as well – you know, figuring out which school to choose, how to pay for it once you do… little details like that. Can’t get to everything? Make sure to at least hit the first few.

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    Take the SAT. (And maybe more.)


    Registered? Good. Studied? Great. Now, just remember – your calculator is welcome; your cell phone is not. Want a little extra prep beforehand? Sign up for a prep course, and check out the site of CollegeBoard, the folks who developed the test. They’ve got free practice questions and even a free full-length official practice test.

    The College Board: When to Take the Test

     
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    Knock out your AP exams.


     

    Advanced Placement exams can be your ticket to getting ahead, saving some tuition money and even standing out with Admissions at the school you’re hoping to get into. In fact, 90 percent of four-year colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries will give you credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP Exam scores. Good thing you’re taking them now, while all the learning is fresh in your mind.

    The College Board: About the AP Program

     
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    Make summer count.


     

    Can you line up a summer job that’s related to your future career? Perhaps an internship at an accounting firm? If so, you’ll be several steps ahead when it comes time to fill out the old résumé, plus you might even make a few extra bucks you can save for school. Planning a trip or two as well? Could be your best chance to check out the schools on your final list. At this point, since you’re getting serious, you can even try to set up an interview or overnight visit. Can’t get there in person? Consider a virtual visit.

    Google Maps

     
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    Mark your test calendar.


     

    If you still haven’t taken the SAT, make note of the future test dates and registration deadlines. You can take them during your senior year too, or even take them a second or third time: Research shows that students who take the SAT a second time usually improve their score.


     
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    Stay on the lookout for money.


    No reason to stop investigating outside funding resources now. More scholarships, grants and loans could appear anywhere. Continue compiling information to find out which organizations award scholarships to graduating seniors (some of which may need you to apply starting this summer).

     
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    Read up.


     

    Dig into a variety of books and magazines and review your math skills over the summer. In addition to making you smarter and more interesting, it’ll help you prepare for the SAT if you plan to take it in the fall.

     

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