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COVID era test-optional and test-blind college admissions policies are changing. Just this week, Dartmouth College announced that, beginning in the fall, it will once again require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. Dartmouth joins a growing list of colleges going back to requiring test scores, including MIT, Purdue, the University of Tennessee, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, and more.

Beyond their potential reinstatement as an application requirement, test scores have another function for future college students: scholarship determination. Galin students with strong test scores routinely receive more scholarship money than those with room to improve. 

So, what does this mean for the class of 2026 (current sophomores) and younger students? Test preparation might be more important than you thought. Take a look at our suggested timeline for when sophomores can begin preparing for the ACT or dSAT below and schedule a consultation with Galin by emailing info@galined.com or calling (608) 841-1053.

Test Prep Timeline for Sophomores – Get Started Early!

As getting started in your sophomore year allows for maximum flexibility in your test preparation journey, below is an ideal test prep timeline for sophomores. Want to learn more about different test prep timelines? Schedule a consultation today and our test prep experts will help you create a personalized plan for your student. (And don’t worry if your student is starting later than March of sophomore year – they can still excel!)


Take a diagnostic exam! See where you are starting and chat with our team about your test prep options. It’s also not too early to start building your college list and staying tuned into updates about test policies and schools that interest you. 


Begin test prep sessions with your tutor! Some students like to start right away; others right after AP or final exams. Starting in the spring affords your family flexibility when vacations, camps, and other summertime plans make scheduling sessions more complicated. Our personalized curriculum helps students feel confident in their test-taking abilities and reach their full potential. Galin tutors also work hard to build strong relationships with their students; Galin students look forward to their sessions!


Continue test prep sessions and take regularly scheduled practice tests! One key aspect of Galin’s test prep program is repeated exposure to the ACT or dSAT through practice exams. These practice tests allow students and their tutors to review incorrect answers, discuss pacing, and reflect on how the student felt working through the problems under real conditions. 


Take your first official ACT or dSAT. Continue test prep sessions and continue building test taking skills and growing your content knowledge. You will likely take more than one official ACT or dSAT because *superscoring is the best way to get your highest score! 

*Superscoring takes a student’s best score on each section from all of the official exams they’ve taken and averages the scores to create a new composite, which is often higher than on the individual tests alone. 

February or March:

Take your second official ACT or dSAT either through a national test date or with your high school.

Spring of junior year:

Take your third official ACT or dSAT and finish your test prep journey before AP exams and finals! Celebrate all of your hard work knowing you can start senior year with your test scores done and dusted!

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