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Plan ahead for SAT and ACT

Staff Photo: John Bohn Mill Creek High School counselor Marcia Arnold conducts a college preparatory conference with junior year student Garrison Bemis, 17, and his parents Scott and Kathy Bemis. During Arnold's conferences, students and their families are made familiar with the fine details of the college application process.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Mill Creek High School counselor Marcia Arnold conducts a college preparatory conference with junior year student Garrison Bemis, 17, and his parents Scott and Kathy Bemis. During Arnold's conferences, students and their families are made familiar with the fine details of the college application process.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Mill Creek High School counselor Marcia Arnold conducts a college preparatory conference with junior year student Garrison Bemis, 17. Bemis' parents Scott and Kathy Bemis also attended Arnold's conference that ensures students and their families are made familiar with the fine details of the college application process.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Mill Creek High School counselor Marcia Arnold conducts a college preparatory conference with junior year student Garrison Bemis, 17. During Arnold's conferences, students and their families are made familiar with the fine details of the college application process.

HOSCHTON -- As a counselor at Mill Creek High School, Marcia Arnold likes to tell students to challenge themselves when deciding on classes.

"I tell them to choose the most difficult classes they believe they are capable of taking in high school, and study hard, pay attention and do well in those classes each and every day," Arnold said.

In addition, she said, students should consider taking the PSAT in the 10th and 11th grade, "so that they've taken a test with the same format they'll see on the SAT.

According to the U.S. College Board, the SAT and SAT Subject Tests are "a suite of tools designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support and scholarships, in a way that's fair to all students. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in the 21st century."

Arnold said there are tons of free websites on the Internet that offer students insights into the tests.

Among them: www.testpreview.com, www.educationplanner.org, www.careersandcolleges.com, and www.gacollege411.org.

Students considering taking the ACT can use many of the same websites as well as www.actstudent.org.

The ACT Test is a curriculum- and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students' academic readiness for college, while the SAT focuses more on reasoning and critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college.

Arnold said that typically colleges in Georgia will accept either the SAT or the ACT.

"No matter which test students take, they should set aside time in 10th or 11th grade to prepare," she said. "The earlier the better."