Thursday, February 9, 2017

SAT and ACT: Info & Prep

ACT & SAT
Many colleges require standardized testing for admission. All colleges take both exams, the ACT and the SAT, and show no preference for either exam.



SAT PREP
Free practice is available here https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/practice/full-length-practice-tests and https://www.khanacademy.org/sat
Free practice requires YOU to actually initiate and do the work. Some students take an SAT prep course because they need the structure of showing up for the course and doing the assigned work. Your free practice can be done anytime, starting NOW. If your PSAT scores were below 500 on any section, you must prep.
It is helpful to look at the TIPS for each section so you become a better test taker. That alone will RAISE your scores.
REGISTER FOR THE SAT
  • March, May or June is when juniors could consider taking the test. Retest in October or November of senior year.
  • Colleges superscore the SAT, taking your highest CR, M and W scores from multiple test dates.
  • Colleges frown upon you making this a hobby/part-time job: taking the test 5 times is too many. Prepare well, take it, look at your scores, regroup and take again. 
  • Colleges frown upon taking it only once. You really should take it twice. Scores typically rise the 2nd time due to your familiarity with the test.
  • Look at your schedule for sports, job and family commitments and sign up at http://sat.collegeboard.com/register/.
  • If it is your first time at http://collegeboard.org/it takes a while to create your profile (25 minutes). Our School Code is 200805. When you register, make sure you indicate our high school code, which is different from the high school where you are testing.
  • Some Ivy League colleges require 2 subject tests. You can't take SAT plus subject tests on the same test date. Plan ahead for this extra testing requirement.
ACT Prep
  • College Advising Office has free prep-question booklets.
  • Familiarizing yourself with the rules and strategies for the ACT is important.
  • Taking a free practice exam at their site is also helpful so you become familiar with the types of questions.
  • Purchase a $20 prep book at a book store & review the website for free: http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/tips/index.html
ACT Tips like this are CRUCIAL:
  • "Answer every question. Your scores on the multiple-choice tests are based on the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no penalty for guessing. There is a penalty for blanks."
REGISTER FOR THE ACT
  • Set up your account https://services.actstudent.org/OA_HTML/actibeCAcdLogin.jsp
  • Take the exam WITH WRITING in June and September. No reason to take it without writing the first time. Second time (Sept), if you are happy with your June Essay score you could skip this optional section.
  • Our School Code is 200805. When you register, make sure you indicate our high school code, which might be different from the high school where you are testing.
  • If you plan on using the ACT with Writing to substitute for SAT + 2 Subject Tests, check the admission page for your colleges to see if they do that substitution. (It can save you from excess testing; ACT with Writing is one testing day, equal to SAT plus 2 subject tests, 2 test days)
ACT & SAT Prep Sites (free)

Number2.com offers free prep after you register.

March 2 Success is a free test prep site sponsored by the U.S. Army:
Register for free and use the practice questions to get ready for the ACT or SAT.

SAT-only Prep Sites (free)
Answer the SAT Question of the Day at
Sign up to receive the Question of the Day by email by setting up a free collegeboard.com account.
The official SAT site has a free full-length practice test:

ACT-only Prep Sites (free)
The official ACT site has free practice questions here:

No registration needed for this free ACT practice exam:
http://www.4tests.com/exams/examdetail.asp?eid=13%20


Yes, this will feel like you added another course to your already busy schedule. That is a normal feeling. Embrace it.

Scoring
  • The ACT score range is 1-36. National Average is 21.
  • The SAT score range is 200-800. The National Average is 520 for each of the 3 sections.
  • Want to know if you performed better on the ACT or the SAT? Check out the Concordance Table. All concordance tables must be 2016 or later to be accurate. 
  • Test Optional colleges: over 800 colleges do not require standardized tests.
  • Confused by SAT's Score Choice? Send all scores to your colleges and keep things simple. Here's the reason why, from University of Virginia: "Most colleges in this country have been looking at your best combination of SAT scores for many years. When Score Choice was introduced, it was advocating a more restricted version of what we already do. At UVa, our practices remain the same. Our system is programmed to pull the best verbal, best math, and best writing scores over multiple test dates."
Test Prep Companies in the Portland Area
Cheverus students report success with the following test prep companies:

links verified 4/2017

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