SAT, ACT, GRE ... Signing up for the standardized tests you have to take when you apply to school can be a chore. Taking them can be that much worse.
These tests are long. They can be difficult. And, unless you have a prodigious test-taking inclination, they require some prep work -- and that test prep can be expensive.
Luckily for military spouses, SAT, ACT and other test prep and study guides can be accessed online and in person for free or at very heavy discounts.
These services and benefits are worth taking advantage of, said military wife and SAT tutor Diana.
"When you take a standardized test like this, how smart you are doesn't matter," she explained. "These tests test thinking and strategy too. You need to learn the language of the exam in order to do well, and that's what practice will teach you. If you want to do well on the test, you really have to practice."
Her advice for anyone going back to school is to take at least 30 minutes out of your day every weekday for at least three months before taking the exam.
"You will see a difference if you do a test preparation program," Diana said. "A lot of people think you do not need to study for the SAT, that it will just test you and you will do fine because you did fine in class, but that's wrong. You need to study and prepare like you would for any other test."
Thanks to these benefits, you can now approach your SAT, ACT, GRE or other exam prepared and ready -- without breaking the bank.
1. Eknowledge offers free SAT and ACT test prep software to active-duty servicemembers, veterans, Reserve and Guard forces and their families worth $200.
The program is fiscally supported by donations from the NFL and Major League Baseball, and you can order your program here.
In addition to the free college board preparation materials, Eknowledge also offers its LSAT flexprep program at half off for military members and their families.
2. March2Success, an Army initiative, offers free online SAT flashcards and test preparation provided by Peterson's that anyone can access. There are seven full-length practice tests for both the SAT and the ACT, and just like the real exam, these practice tests are timed.
When you have completed the exam, it will be reviewed and -- most helpfully -- all your incorrect answers will be highlighted with the correct answer and an explanation.
There are also 25 decks of flashcards -- 20 for verbal and five for math -- with varying degrees of difficulty. The decks also include games and quizzes to help make the learning a little less mundane (vocab word!) and more interactive.
3. Navy Knowledge Online offers an array of exam prep materials for a myriad of different tests. In addition to SAT and ACT prep, NKO also offers programmatic assistance to test-takers preparing for the GMAT, Praxis, RN exam, and the GRE. Marine Corps Community Services aboard Camp Lejeune has a really great PDF that walks you through how to access all of these resources right here. (It's kind of tricky otherwise.)
4. Peterson's DOD MWR Libraries are another hotspot for test preparation materials for the PSAT, SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT and LSAT, among many others.
In addition to the standard practice exams and test prep, you'll also have access to last-minute tips for test takers, quick quizzers and stress-busting techniques to help you maximize your success.
Granted, good preparation is the strongest game-day stress buster, but Peterson's online portal for military test-takers will help you find the right entry point to its content specifically for your branch.
5. Holiday discounts. Stay on the lookout for discounts on educational programs that can help you on your way during the Independence Day, Veteran's Day and Memorial Day holidays, as well.
Many smaller test-prop operations will offer military discounts then, so if school is in your future, it's worth placing a call to your local test prep office and asking what programs they can make available for you.
"Absolutely take advantage of anything offered," Diana says. "Having practiced and prepared, you will be more confident when you sit for the test, and you won't be surprised by any of the questions. Your scores should show that."