While all your work in the classroom is important to make sure you are eligible to play at your top-choice school, you are also required to take at least one of two standardized tests to qualify to keep playing baseball at most college programs! The tests, the SAT Reasoning Test and the ACT, are used to determine if students are ready for college. The SAT and ACT are offered at different times throughout the year, and the NCAA requires that you take one of these tests. Some colleges will require that you take more tests, so be sure that you look up all of the requirements for your top choice schools to find out which tests you need to take.
The score you need to be eligible for the NCAA changes depending on your GPA. There are tables that help you figure out what test scores you need in the NCAA Eligibility Guide.
Some athletes wonder how to do well on the SAT or ACT tests, but baseball players already know they can. You can use the same steps you use to dominate on the field: prepare, practice, and compete.
You don’t go to your games without your glove, bat, and a plan. You prepare for each game, each defensive play, and each at bat. The SAT and ACT ask questions about the things you are already learning in high school, so the best way to prepare for these tests is to do well in school. The College Board website (run by the people who administer the SAT Reasoning tests) has a lot of tools to help you prepare for the SAT. The ACT website offers similar help for students getting ready to take their test. These sites offer tips, topics, and ideas to help you do your best. You can also get a book or take a class to prepare for these tests but some of these options cost money. Start early! You don’t start working out in March to get ready for your games, you prepare for months! The SAT or ACT is the same thing. Start early, so you have plenty of time to get ready to do your best.
It is really important to practice answering questions that are similar to the questions asked on the tests. Studying general topics is important, but answering questions that are similar to the questions on the SAT or ACT will make taking the test easier for you. Knowing the rules is not the same as playing the game, right? Both of the websites listed under the “Prepare” section offer sample questions and practice tests. The Kahn Academy also offers free comprehensive test-prep for the SAT here. Similarly, there is free ACT test prep here (below the test prep courses that cost money). There are study books that offer complete sample exams for both tests as well. If money is tight, you may find a copy of a preparation book in the library, but don’t use an old book because the tests have changed over the years. Courses (that can be expensive) will give you several practice tests and test-taking tips. There is also an official practice test called the PSAT. This test is offered by the College Board and is often taken during the fall of the junior year.
When you step on the field on a game day, you focus on winning. You need to do the same thing on test day. You want to take these tests just as seriously as you do the big game. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast, and go in ready to dominate. If things don’t go your way the first time and your score is not the one you wanted, you can’t let that stop you. You don’t quit playing baseball when you have bad game, do you? Get some help with your preparation, and take the test again if you want to improve your score.