EdNavigators

Things to Consider in Deciding Between the ACT and the SAT (as of January 2017)

  screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-12-41-56-pm2016 was a big year of change in the standardized testing landscape.  Now that the rSAT has been in place for almost a year and the ACT has slipped in its own test changes, it is more clear how the two tests compare.  Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that more changes are not on the horizon (either subtly slipped in changes or announced changes)  For now though, below is a comparison of the ACT and the SAT as of January 2017

Total Time:

SAT ACT
3 hours 50 min with essay (3 hours without essay) 3 hours 35 min with essay (2 hours 55 min without essay)

Math

SAT ACT
Questions/Concepts are Narrow and Deep Questions/Concepts are Broad and Shallow
60% of Math is Algebra 30% of Math is Algebra
There is  No-Calculator Section Calculator is allowed for entire math section
You have 83 seconds/question You have 60 seconds/question

Reading

SAT ACT
Requires deep understanding and includes graphics (13 min/passage 10-11 questions/passage) 65 min total Requires quick and efficient reading (8.75 min/passage 10 questions/passage) 35 min total

English (very similar tests - grammar, editing, punctuation, rhetoric)

SAT ACT
48 sec/question - includes graphs and charts and more main idea and author’s intent questions 36 sec/question

Science (neither test requires much specific science knowledge)

SAT ACT
21 science questions included in the test -no separate science section Separate section -  requires quick interpretation, reasoning and analysis

Essay - Optional for Both SAT and ACT

SAT ACT
Analyze a persuasive essay

Score is separate from the 800 Reading/Language and the 800 Math

Write a persuasive essay - ACT essay scoring has changed a lot in 2016

Score is not calculated in the composite but is calculated in the ELA subscore

 

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE DECIDING BETWEEN THE TWO TESTS:

Super-scoring: more schools super-score the SAT than the ACT (This decision is controlled by the colleges and is subject to change at any time. Checking the school’s website is the only way to know the school’s current policy.)

SAT Subject Tests: some schools that require SAT Subject Tests do not require the SAT Subject Tests when the student submits the ACT score (Rice, Tufts, McGill)

Accommodations:  

  • SAT extra time is added to each individual section (if given 1 hour to take the English Language, the student must wait that full hour before moving on to math) - SAT just made the process of getting accommodations simpler (yet to see if ACT will simplify their process as well)
  • ACT extra time is given for the test as a whole - The student moves through the test at his/her own pace and may leave the testing center if finished before the full added time is used.

Cancelling of Scores

  • SAT - you have until 11:59 EDT Wednesday after you take the test to cancel your scores
  • ACT - If you ordered that your scores be sent to schools, you have until Thursday noon central time after the Saturday you took the ACT to stop your ACT scores from being sent to the schools.  ACT also has a process to delete a test from record.

Sending of Scores

  • SAT - scores are ordered and sent in a bundle
  • ACT - scores are ordered and sent one test at a time

***all of the above information is subject to change - the only way to know the current information is to visit the SAT, ACT or college websites

EDNavigators recommends that all students take a full practice ACT and a full practice SAT before deciding which test to prepare for and take for real.  It is the only way to know which is better for the student and to avoid second-guessing the decision later in the process.

Ten Valuable Take-Aways from The HECA Conference in Philadelphia June 2016

I met many knowledgeable and caring professionals including other IECs (Independent Educational Consultants), college presidents, college admissions representatives, vendors and authors at the HECA conference in Philadelphia last week.  I toured eight college campuses, attended nine workshops and listened to leaders in the field speak about college admissions, Liberal Arts Colleges, the current and future state of higher education and the Coalition for Access and Admission in Higher Education. The conference was extremely valuable and information rich. These ten valuable take-aways offer only a glimpse of what was offered.

Ten Valuable Take-Aways from the HECA conference in Philadelphia June 2016

(- not all new information, but information that I feel is valuable for my students and families to know)

  1. Checking the box indicating that you are applying for financial aid in the college application can cause your application to be considered incomplete to the college until all financial firms are submitted.
  2. It is important that after registering for any future SAT test, students check the email associated with their College Board account. The College Board implemented a new plan in June 2016. Selected students who register for the test will receive an email stating that they are required to submit a Verification Form by a given deadline. If the form is not submitted by this deadline, College Board will cancel the student’s registration and credit the registration fee back to the credit card. Avoid the surprise of showing up for the SAT only to find that you are not actually registered.  Students MUST check their email often.
  3. There are three different routes to the military: Service Academies, ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) and OCS (Officer Candidate School)  Each path has different requirements
  4. There is a company called New Frontiers in Learning that is full of trained professionals to help students with learning difficulties navigate the transition to college and learn to self advocate.
  5. HECA members as a whole are dedicated, collaborative, extremely caring and knowledgeable professionals in the field of college consulting.
  6. Liberal arts students are in demand: CIC Website For higher ed professionals - LiberalArtsPower For students and parents-  LiberalArtsLife Can you see yourself in this environment- @smartcolleges twitterfeed
  7. Purpose fuels GRIT and experiencing failure is essential to building resiliency
  8. Colleges want to admit students who will succeed there. If there is a concern about that, some colleges give the student a chance to try it out before committing. (Passport Program- St Joseph's University)
  9. Colleges and Universities have priorities in building their class each year. Their goal is to build a community of students who will help the university continue on its mission.
  10. Each college/university has special qualities just as each student does. The staff and faculty at those colleges really want their students to take advantage of all the school has to offer.
  • A pre-med student really can actively pursue the arts in college as well. Muhlenberg College, Swarthmore College
  • A women's college can be made as coed as the student desires it to be.
  • Traditions are strong on most campuses (Bryn Mawr /Haverford/ Lehigh/Lafayette)
  • Engineering and business can be combined. (Lehigh IBE, Villanova SBI)
  • Pass fail evaluations require exceptional knowledge of a given subject and/or field. (Swarthmore College Honors Program)
  • Intellectual curiosity is very important - Haverford College
  • Jesuit colleges have the mission of developing students of giving character with a strong appreciation of differences. (Villanova University, Saint Josephs University)
  • Not every arts focused student needs to present a portfolio for admission. For schools that do require it, specific types of art are required and the admissions staff is there to help students through the process. (Muhlenberg College, Tyler School of Art at Temple University, University of the Arts in Philadelphia)
  • There are colleges who aim to provide both admission decisions and financial aid awards to early admission applicants by December 20. (Drew University)
  • Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

     

    Improve Reading Speed and Comprehension for the ACT

    Read to SucceedReading is a learned skill that builds upon itself. Reading often is the best way to improve comprehension and reading speed. Reading connects people places and times. It builds on personal experiences and learned knowledge.

    A reader can improve reading comprehension by:

    • Selecting reading material of interest.
    • Reading with purpose - reading title page/ copyright and introduction and connecting time and place if given - getting any background available
    • Focusing - shuting out negative thinking and distractions
    • Looking up new vocabulary and concepts as they come up

    A reader can improve reading speed by:

    1. Understanding that Speed Reading is basically more focused reading.  The best way to increase reading speed is to read often with focus and concentration.  Continued practice is key.
    2. Gently trying to read faster than comfortable.
    3. Grouping Words
    4. Trying out these free apps/software programs:  

    Acceleread App - use the free version of this app for an introduction to the process of and skills needed for speed reading.

    Spreeder:  a free online speed reading software where you can copy your own text and practice reading it with custom speed and grouping (set speed and grouping preference in “settings” under the passage) - I have no experience with the paid version of this program.  I think the free version should be fine for practicing. Copy and paste portions of  these Newspapers and Magazines The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Scientific American, The Atlantic Monthly, or The New Yorker into Spreeder and read them for speed and comprehension.  While reading, determine the purpose, main point and tone of each article. . (You may eventually want to copy and paste the article you select into Spreeder to practice reading it at the speed needed for the ACT.)  A reading speed of at least 300 wpm is needed to get through the ACT.  This reading speed is also important to get through the large amount of reading that is required in college.

    Sandy Aprahamian, Principal, EDNavigators LLC

    Practice Test Date for ACT Added

    Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.03.31 PMEDNavigators will be offering a practice ACT in Malvern, PA on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 8AM-12PM.  Test details and registration information can be found here.  

    Basic overview of the ACT.

    The New SAT vs the Current SAT vs the ACT -A Preliminary Look

    More information on the ACT

    It's Essay Season - The Three Types of Essays Required of College Applicants

    overwhelmedHigh school students are asked to write three types of essaysthroughout the college application process.  Each essay type is unique and requires a unique approach.

    Know the essay purpose.  Know the reader/audience.  Know the format.  Have a plan.

    SAT/ACT Essays (1-3 handwritten pages written under time constraints)

    The Standardized test essays are persuasive essays.  They measure:

    • how clearly a student can express and defend an opinion
    • a student’s ability to write a traditional 5-6 paragraph essay
    • grammar, usage and mechanics
    • the ability to write under time constraints

    Scores are not base upon accuracy of facts. Students are not judged on their opinion, but their ability to express and defend it.

    The Personal Statement Essay ("your story" usually 650 words or less)college essay rescue

    • This is, essentially, a personal story or autobiography. It is the student’s way to set himself apart from the other students who present similar transcripts and test scores.
    • It is a way for the college to get to know the student.
    • It requires the student to dig deeply inside himself and reflect upon his life, who he is, and what he values.

    The Supplemental Essays ("why us?"  "tell us more" usually 250 words or less)

    • These short essays tend to be either fact based or creative.
    • The fact based prompts require the student to research and explain or defend something.  They should contain accurate information.
    • The creative prompts are ways for the admissions readers to dig deeper into who the student is.

    The three essay types above are very different and need to be approached differently.

     EDNavigators offers assistance with all of these essay types.

    Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

    Related Articles:

    Essential information about the SAT Writing Score and the Essay

    The New SAT vs the Current SAT vs the ACT - A Preliminary Look

    EDNavigators Introduces Guided Path for Comprehensive Management of the College Process

    Common Application Essay Prompts for 2014-15

    ACT Releases Statistics on the Condition of College and Career Readiness

    The ACT just released The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014 report.

    From the Document: Condition of College and Career Readiness 2014

    Some Highlights of the Report:

    • With the ACT test-takers outnumbering the SAT test-takers, there is more data to look at than ever before. 
    • The state with the highest composite score:  Massachusetts.
    • The race/ethnicity with the highest percentage of students meeting three or more benchmarks:  Asian
    • 26% of the high-school graduates who took the ACT in 2014 met the college readiness benchmarks in all subjects.

    From the Document:  The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2014

    EDNavigators ACT Practice Test Dates will be published within the week.  Check the website for updates to the schedule.

    Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators, LLC

    Attention High School Athletes: The Academic Index

    Ivy League Pennants What is the Academic Index (AI)? - The Academic Index is a tool used by the Ivy League Schools to measure a high school athlete's academic performance and to determine whether or not the student has the academic credentials necessary to be admitted to the school.

    Why is the Academic Index Important? - In order to be accepted by the admissions office of an Ivy League School, high school athletes who plan to play their sport in college must meet the school's Academic Index.  It has become more important to understand the AI early in high school as high school athletes are being offered early verbal commitments from coaches as early as freshman year of high school.  If a student has his/her heart set on any Ivy League school, it is essential that the student knows whether or not he/she can meet the Ivy League's AI before making a decision on the early verbal offer from another school.

    Two New York Times articles by Bill Pennington are great resources on the topic of the Academic Index (AI) -

    Before Recruiting in Ivy League, Applying Some Math The Graphic on the left of the article show sample calculations.

    A Rare Glimpse Inside the Ivy League’s Academic Index

    To Get a General Idea of your AI:

    Add the results of 1, 2 and 3 below together:

    1.  SAT or ACT Index Number:

    • If using SAT scores to calculate AI, add reading and math scores and divide by 20
    • If using ACT scores to calculate AI, multiply the ACT Composite Score by 2.23

    2.  The GPA Index Number (this index number used to be based on class rank)

    The university has a conversion table to convert grade point average to an Academic Index number. The conversion can handle any conceivable grading scale, weighted or unweighted. A couple examples:

    • 3.5 (out of 4.0) unweighted yields 73 AI points,
    • 3.7 weighted is 71 points
    • 3.3 unweighted is 70 points
    • 3.0 unweighted is worth 67 points

    3.  SAT or ACT Index Number from step one or SAT II Subject Tests:  Add your 2 best SAT II subject tests together and divide that total by 20.

    Another article with valuable information about affording an Ivy League education:

    Financial Aid Changes Game as Ivy Sports Teams Flourish by Bill Pennington

    Sandy Aprahamian, Principal- EDNavigators LLC

     

    How to Access Free SAT Math Test Prep on Khan Academy

    Next week, on April 16, the full blue print and sample questions of the New SAT will be revealed. We were told in March that Khan Academy will be providing free SAT test-prep. Khan Academy has already loaded SAT prep to their site. Khan Academy is a valuable tool which I recommend that all of my students take advantage of.  Fifteen to thirty minutes of independent practice a day goes a long way.This two-minute video shows how to access Khan Academy and use its free online SAT Math preparation materials.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuBlkfO8vwE&feature=youtu.be

    Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators

    Who is Logan LaPlante? What is hackschooling? It’s worth twelve minutes of your time to find out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY I came across this video when reading the most recent Edutopia blog.  I encourage you to set-aside twelve minutes to watch it.  In this video, Logan proves that there is more than one way to get an excellent education.  Options in education are available and attainable.

    Logan LaPlante is a teen full of life, inspiration and passion.  He is a self-described hackschooler who is sculpting his personal and unique path to happiness.  Logan clearly has family, friends, educators and supporters who are open-minded about education and understand that education is not a one-size-fits-all experience.  These role-models have enabled Logan to navigate his customized educational path.  Kudos to Logan and to those supporting him on his journey.

    Hackschooling is a term that was coined by Logan LaPlante in his Tedx speech.  Logan describes hackschooling as "hacking school" - breaking it down into small pieces so that it may be improved.  The best innovators are those who think outside the box and find better ways to accomplish a goal.  By “hacking school” Logan is building his own, improved and customized model of education.

    In 2013, I started EdNavigators with the hacking mindset.  My goal as an educator has always been to customize education and help each student I work with find and implement the educational/life-path that matches his or her unique self. My mission is to help students, like Logan, navigate their own educational paths.  I offer my teaching skills, knowledge of the educational process and personal experience to guide each student on his or her journey. I enjoy the variety of working with students from different backgrounds and all school environments including homeschoolers, hackschoolers and unschoolers.

    I wish the happiest of holidays to all of the students and families with whom I have worked this year.  I wish you the very best on your education and life path and feel fortunate have the opportunity to guide you in discovering your dreams and making them a reality.

    Without my own supportive family, friends, educators, and supporters, EdNavigators would not exist. Thank you for everything.  I wish you all true happiness and a life of purpose.  Make your dreams a reality in the year ahead.

    Sandy Aprahamian, Owner, Independent Educational Consultant, EdNavigators