When I walked into the testing room and handed my admissions ticket to the proctor, there was an immediate chorus of laughter. No surprise: I am old (at least to a high schooler), and I am taking the SAT. Why? I could say it’s because I own a tutoring company and thus it’s my job to do so, but I mostly take it because I genuinely enjoy taking the test. Taking the tests also gives me otherwise unavailable insights:
One of the most difficult aspects of taking the ACT is timing, particularly on the Reading and Science sections. In order to improve on these sections, students need a lot of practice (preferably from the real tests), the right strategies (skim for key terms on the reading and science, when to read/skim/skip the science reading passages, etc), and a foundational knowledge of scientific principles. All of those take time. And we all love shortcuts. If only there was…
The new SAT scores are confusing (even more so than one would think). Let’s clear up the ambiguity. For the sake of consistency and clarity, one would think the Collegeboard would keep the scoring for the old and new SAT the same. Unfortunately, like other decisions that the Collegeboard has made this year, they decided to make an incomprehensible change: they inflated the grading scale. For example, a score of 700 on the new SAT Math is only equivalent to a 670 on the old SAT Math.
End of the Year Plan for Juniors Haven’t taken the SAT or ACT yet? You’re not alone. Here’s what YOU should do: Sign up for the SAT in May Select the “Question and Answer Service.” If you pay for this service, the Collegeboard will send you a copy of the test back. While this is always helpful, it is imperative given that it is the new SAT so that you can see how you did. The SAT in June does not provide this option, which makes the May test better for taking the new SAT.
If your child is a junior, then they should be taking the ACT this year. Even if they have done no prep at all, it is to their advantage to sign up for the April ACT. You might ask with some skepticism and doubt, “What if they do poorly? Won’t colleges see that score?” The short answer is “no.” Not only does the ACT allow you to pick and choose which test dates to send to colleges but the ACT also allows students to DELETE any unwanted ACT scores.
You may have heard the conventional wisdom “Don’t take the SAT or ACT more than three times.” That was then. This is now: Not only can you pick and choose which ACT test dates to report, but you can even delete ACT scores from a student’s academic record. For this reason, there is no downside to taking the test multiple times, only the upside of scoring higher even if only on one section.
We know that good grades and a good SAT score are important for gaining admittance to an exceptional college. However, we typically do not elucidate specifically why a good college is so important. The answer is more encompassing than simply a quality education. Though this might make ideologues cringe, here are the practical reasons to strive to attend a great college: 1) your resume, 2) peer groups, 3) networking, and 4) a great education.
Perfection, even if never fully attainable, is worth striving for. As such, I aim to prepare students holistically: academically, personally, and, in this case, nutritionally. Thus, not just with the content and process of standardized testing and how this fits into college admissions. And not even just through increasing confidence, decreasing anxiety, and boosting personal motivation. I also make sure that students have the physical fuel to perform at their potential. The SAT and ACT are long, arduous and draining exams — I take the SAT and ACT every year and can personally attest to the fact. Here are some specific tips on brain food that will keep your child mentally and emotionally energized on test day.