Test Prep

PSAT results are out  - Next Steps

Test Prep/Testing Timeline

Practice Test Dates are specific to EDNavigators LLC. SAT and ACT Test Dates are nationwide.

Practice Test Dates are specific to EDNavigators LLC. SAT and ACT Test Dates are nationwide.

If you are a sophomore in high school

  1. Go over your PSAT using the Khan Academy site as soon as you can.  The answer explanations are there and going over the specific questions you missed will give you the best feel for which areas to study. It will allow you to see the types of questions you missed and the types of mistakes you made.

  2. Continue to focus in school. If there is a math concept you do not understand, stick with it until you understand it. (Khan Academy has great math video tutorials.)

  3. Read often - suggested reading resources

  4. Plan to take a full practice SAT and/or ACT this spring or summer and plan prep based upon your results. This page helps with planning of prep and test dates.

If you are a junior in high school

  1. Go over your PSAT using the Khan Academy site as soon as you can.  The answer explanations are there and going over the specific questions you missed will give you the best feel for which areas to study. It will allow you to see the types of questions you missed and the types of mistakes you made.

  2. Continue to focus in school. If there is a math concept you do not understand, stick with it until you understand it. (Khan Academy has great math video tutorials.)

  3. Read often - suggested reading resources

  4. Continue prep on Khan Academy or begin test prep between now and June depending upon your schedule.  This page helps with planning of prep and test dates.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Standardized Testing

Guide to Understanding PSAT-NMSQT Scores

Start thinking about Your Best-Fit College or University (Academic fit, Social fit, Financial fit, Cultural fit, Environmental fit)


Sandy Aprahamian, M.Ed.

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.

Interpreting rSAT Scores

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 5.31.21 PMThe scores for the March SATs (rSAT) were released today.  The College Board released this converter tool to use in converting SAT scores from new to old and from old to new. The conversions indicate that the test has been re-centered.  This means that the new concordance tables are showing the mean score for the rSAT looks to be closer to a 1090.  The mean score for the previous SAT was a 1010.

A few leaders in the test-prep/college counseling world have created some nice graphics to show the score comparisons between the old SAT, the new SAT and the ACT.

Comparison and Concordance of the New SAT and ACT, Compass Education Group, Art Sawyer - May 2016

Higher Ed Data Stories - New SAT Concordance Tables, Jon Boeckenstedt - May 2016

RE-CENTERING REDUX, Ethical College Admissions, James Jump - May 2016

PSAT Scores are Back - Tips on Interpreting Scores -

PSAT scores were released over the past week.  For those students who were able to access them, many are not clear on how to interpret them.

Most common questions:

Based on my PSAT results, how will I do on the SAT?

Official concordance tables have not been released to predict how the 2015 PSAT scores would project to the SAT - A perfect score on the SAT is a 1600. A perfect score on the PSAT is a 1520. The PSAT perfect score is lower because the SAT is more difficult than the PSAT. The PSAT 1520 perfect score is shifted down to account for its differences in difficulty level. While a perfect score on the PSAT suggests you might earn a perfect score on the SAT, this is not certain because the additional questions on the SAT will be more difficult than those that were on the PSAT.  Many in the industry have also noticed somewhat inflated PSAT scores this year.

Will I qualify for the National Merit Scholarship?

National Merit Scholarship Qualification is based on your NMSC Selection Index Score.  The selection index score can be found on the third page of your PSAT score report.  The Selection Index Score is calculated by weighting your Writing score ⅔ and your Math score ⅓ - More information about the PSAT/NMSQT can be found in the student guide.

Official selection index score cut-offs have not yet been determined for the class of 2017, but the predicted scores by state can be found here.

Should I take the ACT or the SAT?

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I refer to this article and chart by Compass Prep with the reminder that the most difficult SAT questions were left off the PSAT, the scoring of the March SAT will be delayed and preparation for one test overlaps preparation for the other.

If I decide to take the SAT, do I need to take it with writing?

It depends. This link will provide some insight into that.

Sandy Aprahamian, M.Ed.  EDNavigators LLC

 

Five Essential Components for Success on the ACTScreen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.29.02 AM

A

Attitude - Success requires a positive attitude.  Think, “If it can be done, I can do it!”.  You need to really WANT to do well and you must squash the ANT (Automatic Negative Thinking) Eliminate all negative thinking during prep and during the actual test.  There is no room or time for negative self-talk during the ACT.  

Application - Work through retired ACT questions and take retired ACT practice tests before sitting for the real test. Understand the correct answer to every question you miss as question types repeat themselves on standardized tests.

C

Content - Fully understand the content that is being tested

Commitment - Make the test a priority.  Commit yourself to dedicated preparation and focusing on areas of weakness.

T

Time - Finding time for quality test preparation is usually the biggest challenge in the life of high school students today. ACT success requires quality focused preparation time:dedicated work on content and retired ACT questions, timed full length practice tests, time put into reading and studies. Testing time is tight on the ACT.  You must work at a fast pace. Pace increases when you know what to expect on the test and have confidence solving similar questions - practice questions from retired tests.  Pace increases with practice under timed conditions - time yourself when taking practice tests and working on practice test sections.  Read this post for suggestions specific to increasing reading speed.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

The Secret to Effective Time Management on the ACT

ACTThe ACT is a test of content, speed, focus and time management.  Once the content is learned and preparation is complete, the test of time management remains.  A last-minute concern about running out of time on this test can quickly derail all preparation. To manage time during the ACT, I provide my students with an ACT watch.  This gives them the security of knowing that they will be able to pace themselves through the ACT and always know exactly how much time has lapsed and how much time remains in each section.  This video shows how this ACT approved watch works.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

Standardized Testing and Test-Prep Timelines for Recruited Athletes Graduating High School in 2017

Standardized Testing and Test-Prep Timelines for Recruited Athletes Graduating High School in 2017Testing Timeline for Recruited Athletes

In order to prevent unnecessary scheduling stress, know test dates and test-prep timelines in advance.  With sports, service trips, family commitments and school commitments, the timing can get challenging.

  1. Know the test dates for the ACT  and the  SAT
  2. Check your availability for those dates
  3. Schedule Practice Tests and Test Prep by backing into the test dates - Use charts below as guides for timing (EDNavigators Test Prep includes a Full Retired and Diagnostically Scored SAT, a Full Retired and Diagnostically Scored ACT, and five private test prep sessions to prepare for the selected test of preference. If you choose to take both the ACT and the SAT, we recommend that you prep for the test of preference then schedule an additional test prep session with us to go over format/style/strategies of the other tests.  The content of the SAT and the ACT is very similar.)

Schedule Practice Tests early enough so you will have 6 weeks between the second practice test and the first SAT or ACT you may want to sign up for.

ACT Timeline

If you need to give coaches/schools test scores by the end of Sophomore Year, follow these dates

TEST   DATE    COMPLETE PRACTICE TESTS BY     BEGIN TEST PREP
ACT April 18, 2015 end of February 2015 beginning of March 2015
ACT June 13, 2015 mid-April 2015 end of April 2015

If you need to give coaches/schools test scores by the middle of your Junior Year, follow these dates

TEST    DATE    COMPLETE PRACTICE TESTS BY   BEGIN TEST PREP
ACT Sept. 12, 2015 mid-July 2015 end of July 2015
ACT Oct 24, 2015 end of August 2015 early September 2015
ACT Dec 12, 2015 early October 2015 mid-October 2015

If you want to try to improve your scores from before, these are the test dates available to the class of 2017.

TEST  DATE   COMPLETE PRACTICE TESTS BY    BEGIN TEST PREP
ACT February 6, 2016 mid-December 2016 end of Dec 2016
ACT April 9, 2016 early February 2016 mid-February 2016
ACT June 11, 2016 early April 2016 mid April 2016
ACT September 10, 2016 mid July 2016 end of July 2016
ACT October 22, 2016 end of August 2016 early Sept 2016
ACT December 10, 2016 early Oct 2016 mid Oct 2016

SAT Timeline

If you need to give coaches/schools test scores by the end of Sophomore Year, follow these dates

TEST   DATE    COMPLETE PRACTICE TESTS BY   BEGIN TEST PREP
SAT May 2, 2015** beginning of March 2015 end of March 2015
SAT June 6, 2015** end of April 2015 beginning of May 2015

If you need to give coaches/schools test scores by the middle of your Junior Year, follow these dates

TEST  DATE    COMPLETE PRACTICE TESTS BY    BEGIN TEST PREP
SAT (Anticipated) October 3, 2015 end of July 2015 mid August 2015
SAT (Anticipated) November 7, 2015 end of August 2015 mid Sept 2015
SAT (Anticipated) December 5, 2015 end of Sept 2015 early Oct 2015
SAT (Anticipated) January 23, 2016 end of Nov 2015 early Dec 2015

After January 23, 2016, the current SAT will no longer be offered.  A newly designed SAT will be given.  EDNavigators is recommending that, if recruited athletes choose the SAT as their test of choice, they should focus on the current SAT only.

Standardized Testing and Test-Prep Timelines for the Classes of 2016 and 2017

 

pencil_and_bubble_sheet

Standardized Testing and Test-Prep Timelines for the Classes of 2016 and 2017

Prevent unnecessary scheduling stress by knowing the dates and test-prep timelines in advance.  With sports, service trips, family commitments and school commitments, the timing of standardized tests can get challenging.

  1. Check the test dates for the ACT  and the  SAT
  2. Check your availability for those dates
  3. Schedule Practice Tests and Test Prep by backing into the test dates - Use the charts below as guides for timing.  Dates in Orange are recommended.  (EDNavigators Test Prep includes a Full Retired and Diagnostically Scored SAT, a Full Retired and Diagnostically Scored ACT, and five private test prep sessions to prepare for the selected test of preference.) If you choose to take both the ACT and the SAT, we recommend that you prep for the test of preference then schedule an additional test prep session with us to go over format/style/strategies of the other test.  The content of the SAT and the ACT is very similar.

Class of 2016

EDNavigators recommends that students complete testing by the end of Junior year in order to be in the position to meet all college deadlines (including Early Action and Early Decision) and know where they stand in crafting the college list.

If you plan to take this TEST On this DATE Complete BOTH SAT and ACT Practice Tests with EDNavigators by: Begin Test Prep Sessions By:
ACT Feb. 7, 2015 mid- December 2014 end of December 2014
ACT April 18, 2015 end of February 2015 beginning of March 2015
ACT June 13, 2015 mid-April 2015 end of April 2015
ACT Sept. 12, 2015 mid-July 2015 end of July 2015
ACT Oct 24, 2015 end of August 2015 early September 2015
ACT Dec 12, 2015 early October 2015 mid-October 2015
SAT Jan. 24, 2015 mid December 2014 end of December 2014
SAT March 14, 2015 mid February 2015 end of February 2015
SAT May 2, 2015** beginning of March 2015 end of March 2015
SAT June 6, 2015** end of April 2015 beginning of May 2015
SAT (Anticipated) October 3, 2015 end of July 2015 mid August 2015
SAT (Anticipated) November 7, 2015 end of August 2015 mid Sept 2015
SAT (Anticipated) December 5, 2015 end of Sept 2015 early Oct 2015

**Recommended Dates for SAT Subject Tests

Class of 2017

This will be the first class to be offered the redesigned PSAT and SAT, the full details of which are not yet finalized.  From preliminary looks, these tests appear to be more difficult than the current SAT.  Based on this information, for now, EDNavigators recommends that the class of 2017 aim to take the Current SAT twice before January 2016 (the last date it is offered) OR the ACT.  IDEALLY students from the Class of 2017 should complete practice SAT and ACT tests over the summer of 2015 in order to have a game plan for Junior year and leave the original SAT as an option.

If you plan to take this TEST On this DATE Complete BOTH SAT and ACT Practice Tests with EDNavigators by: Begin Test Prep Sessions By:
ACT September 12, 2015 mid-July 2015 end of July 2015
ACT October 24, 2015 end of August 2015 early Sept 2015
ACT December 12, 2015 early October 2015 mid-October 2015
ACT February 6, 2016 mid-December 2016 end of Dec 2016
ACT April 9, 2016 early February 2016 mid-February 2016
ACT June 11, 2016 early April 2016 mid April 2016
ACT September 10, 2016 mid July 2016 end of July 2016
ACT October 22, 2016 end of August 2016 early Sept 2016
ACT December 10, 2016 early Oct 2016 mid Oct 2016
SAT May 2, 2015* beginning of March 2015 end of March 2015
SAT June 6, 2015* end of April 2015 beginning of May 2015
Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT(Anticipated) October 2015 n/a n/a
SAT (Anticipated) October 3, 2015 end of July 2015 mid August 2015
SAT (Anticipated) November 7, 2015 end of August 2015 mid Sept 2015
SAT (Anticipated) December 5, 2015 end of Sept 2015 early Oct 2015
SAT (Anticipated) January 23, 2016 end of Nov 2015 early Dec 2015
Redesigned SAT(Anticipated) March 5, 2016 n/a n/a
Redesigned SAT(Anticipated) May 7, 2016 n/a n/a
Redesigned SAT(Anticipated) June 4, 2016 n/a n/a

*Though we do not usually recommend standardized testing sophomore year, students in the class of 2017 who are very busy during the fall season should seriously consider taking practice tests in March and April 2015 to see if the current SAT is their test of preference.  If the SAT is the test of preference,  they should take it in May and/or June of 2015.  These May and June SAT dates should also be considered for SAT Subject Tests.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

 

C or T?

BlankI heard the question "C or T?" at Ashley Merryman's Keynote Address at the IECA Conference earlier this month.  The more I thought about this question, the more relevant it became.  This simple question can be applied to many aspects of life, including standardized testing and the college process. C stands for Challenge and T stands for Threat.  These words can be applied to the way we approach almost anything in our lives.  The word we choose to follow has a proven impact on our performance.

Is the task at hand a challenge or is it a threat?

  • If it is a challenge, the energy exerted is positive.  The task is approached with excitement.
  • If it is a threat, the energy exerted is negative.  This negative energy can lead to mistakes and panic.

Whether you are sitting for a test, auditioning for a play, applying or interviewing for a job, school or college, playing an important game or match, or walking on stage for a presentation, think CHALLENGE, not threat.

Sandy Aprahamian EDNavigators LLC

Gap Year Information, College Affordability Information, Standardized Testing Updates, College Admission Represenatives ... all in one place

Since the role of an Independent Educational Consultant is still unclear to many people, I thought I'd share some of the sessions that I attended at the IECA Fall Conference last week.  The conference included break-out educational sessions, two keynote addresses, hosted receptions, round table discussions, committee meetings, a vendor hall, a college fair and numerous other networking events.

I attended the following Break-out Educational Sessions:

  • Gap Years:  What’s Out There, How to Structure One, and Simple Vetting Options
  • Testing College Readiness:   What are the Redesigned SAT and ACT Measuring and How Do We Best Prepare Our Students
  • Anatomy of a Financial Aid Award
  • The Fading of Facebook: the Evolution of Teenage Online Social Interactions

I heard Keynote Addresses from:

  • Justin Bachman - 17 year-old high school senior with Tourette’s Syndrome, severe ADHD and dysgraphia
  • Ashely Merryman - Best-selling author and award-winning journalist (NurtureShock:  New Thinking About Children Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing)

I attended Hosted Receptions/ Presentations from:

  • University of New Haven
  • Oak Meadow Independent Learning
  • Warren Wilson College

I Visited the Following Booths at the Vendor Hall:

  • Colleges That Change Lives
  • American Gap Association
  • Summit Educational Group
  • YouScience
  • IECA Foundation
  • American Institute of Certified Educational Planners
  • College Affordability
  • College Cost Navigator
  • Guided Path
  • Wintergreen Orchard House
  • Human eSources, Ltd.

I Met Representatives/Admissions Representatives from the following Colleges and Universities:

  • American University
  • Bucknell University
  • Eckerd College
  • Rollins College
  • University of Miami
  • University of Richmond
  • University of South Carolina
  • New York University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Ursinus College
  • Susquehanna University
  • University of New Haven
  • Warren Wilson College

It was an action-packed educational week.  I met great people and learned a lot.  In future posts, I will share, more specifically,  some of the key information I learned.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators

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

Practice Test Date for ACT Added

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.04.50 PM

EDNavigators will be offering a practice ACT in Malvern PA on Saturday, October 18, 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

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

 

WILL THE NEW SAT BE EASIER?

New SAT - Graduation CapToday the College Board released more information about and sample questions for the New SAT. While all of the details are not yet released, my gut reaction to the New SAT is positive.  The New SAT looks like it will address the skills necessary for and relevant to college success.

As a test-prep tutor and educational consultant, I am frequently asked to compare and give educated insight into the SAT and the ACT.  A few common questions and answers pertaining to the ACT, the SAT and the New SAT are below.

Will the New SAT be easier than the current SAT?

The buzz amongst high school students is that the new SAT will be easier than the current SAT.  In one way, that is true.  By removing the wrong answer penalty students do not have to worry about whether or not to guess.  Other than that, absolutely not.  This test will be difficult for students who are not prepared.

  • The essay is significantly more involved than the current SAT essay.
  • The reading section will require the student to identify both the correct answer AND why it is correct.
  • The math will include more involved word problems.
  • Interpretation of science charts and tables will now be included.

Is the New SAT more like the ACT?

Yes, because it is now more achievement based like the ACT.

No, because the format and structure of the two tests differ significantly.

  1. The ACT essay, like the current SAT essay is a persuasive essay. The New SAT essay will require critical reading, analysis of a persuasive essay and analytical writing.
  2. The New SAT has a "no calculator" section.  The ACT allows calculators for the entire math section.
  3. The New SAT will measure understanding and interpretation of social studies and history.  The ACT includes these subjects but does not include their measure in the test results.
  4. The New SAT will integrate science into the reading, writing, math sections. The ACT has a separate science section

What do I like about the New SAT?

  1. It will include more critical reading, something that I believe is essential to success in college.
  2. It will incorporate real life scenarios in math, making it more relevant to life situations.
  3. There will be a significant focus on algebra and its application - the foundations of higher level math.
  4. No calculator will be allowed for portions of the test. I have found that today's teens rely too much on the calculator.
  5. Vocabulary tests will be more relevant.  Student will analyze the words used and how they affect meaning. - No more memorizing words that will most likely never be used again after the test.
  6. Science, history and social studies are integrated into the test and knowledge of these subjects is reflected in the score results.

I will post more details about the New SAT as they become available.

Sandy Aprahamian, Principal, Independent Educational Consultant, EDNavigators

 

Important Information for College Bound High School Students with ADD/ADHD or any Learning Disability

education-labyrinth1.jpgKnow your standardized testing accommodation options and deadlines early - as early as freshman year of high school.

SAT and ACT Testing Accommodations - Frequently Asked Questions

When should accommodations be requested?

  • For accommodation for sophomore PSAT or PLAN, requests should be made spring of freshman year.
  • If accommodations are not needed for tests given in the fall of sophomore year of high school, accommodation requests should be made in the spring of sophomore year.

Who submits the request?

  • The school disability coordinator or guidance counselor - When making the request, the counselor should be specific about what the student needs.

What must be included in the request?

  • Evidence of a professionally diagnosed disability and documentation proving how the student’s limitation impacts both daily functioning and the ability to take standardized tests Formal psychological testing for the ACT must be no more than 3 years old.  Formal psychological testing for the SAT must be no more than 5 years old.  Generally, testing should be repeated for students when they are 16 as the tests are then given on the adult scale.

What are the differences between the extended time accommodations for the SAT and the ACT?

50% Extended Time:

  • SAT: Time and a half is given per section. The student must wait for the time to expire for each section before moving on to the next - The full-time spent on the test is 1.5 times as long as it would be without accommodations.
  • ACT: Student self-paces through the test, going on to the next section at his or her own pace. The test ends when he student finishes OR when the 1.5 time has expired.

100% Extended Time / Special Testing at school (typically for students with more severe deficiencies than ADHD)

  • ACT - The student takes one section per day. He/she is given double the standard time for each section. For example, English would be 90 minutes, Math would be 2 hours etc.

When will I hear if the accommodation has been granted?

  • ACT Response Time: about 4 weeks
  • SAT Response Time: about 7 weeks

Who grants a higher percentage of accommodation requests - ACT or College Board (SAT)?

  • ACT

When accommodations are approved, what tests do they include?

  • College Board Accommodations Include: SAT, PSAT, AP Exams
  • ACT Accommodations Include: ACT, PLAN

EDNaviagators suggests that students with disabilities get the wheels in motion for accommodations spring of freshman year of high school. Have the request submitted before the end of freshman year. Submit requests to both College Board and ACT since the only way to know which test is better for the student is for the student to take full practice tests of each.

Since these guidelines and procedures are subject to change, it is always best to confirm with the official websites: Services for Students with Disabilities: The College Board Services for Students with Disabilities: ACT

Sandy Aprahamian, Independent Educational Consultant, EDNavigators

 

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

Essential information about the SAT Writing Score and the Essay

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 10.23.14 AMSAT scores are back today.  Many students got up at the crack of dawn to check scores.  If you got the score you hoped for, congratulations!  If not, stay confident.  Don't let this score define you.  You are more than a score.  Sign up for the next test and continue to prepare.  A positive attitude is essential. After working with many students on SAT Prep, I have seen that SAT scores CAN be improved with dedication, practice and a positive attitude.  It takes a lot of time and a lot of work. There are strategies, but not shortcuts.  It takes TIME.  The SAT is a standardized test.  There is only one correct answer to each question.  With practice and preparation, it becomes easier to find that correct answer.

The one exception to the 'one correct answer' is the essay. The essay is graded subjectively and has many possible answers.  This article, written by Debbie Stier, the author of The Perfect Score Project, is an essential read for all students (and parents of these students) who are taking or have taken the SAT for ACT.  After seven attempts, she, a published writer, could not get a score of 12 on the writing.  Her friend, whose books have been USED ON THE SAT CRITICAL READING SECTION could not score a 12!!!  (On a much more positive note - you can still get a perfect SAT score with a 10 on the writing)

On a separate note, I highly recommend Debbie Stier's book, The Perfect Score Project to parents of students who are taking standardized tests.  It will make you laugh and give you a glimpse into the testing world of teens today.  My review of the book can be found here.

Sandy Aprahamian - Principal, Educational Consultant, EdNavigators

 

Making Sense of the Testing Options and Requirements for College Applications

HELP-Standardized TestsGone are the days of simply taking the SAT to meet college application requirements. Today, students are presented with a variety of exams, some required, some optional.  These exams include:

  1. SAT (New SAT for class of 2017 and beyond)
  2. ACT
  3. SAT Subject Tests (also known as SAT II Tests)
  4. AP Exams:

(In effort to make this article a manageable length, the above list does not include IB testing or major-specific exams.)

The Basics

  • The majority of four year colleges require applicants to submit scores from the SAT OR the ACT.
  • Some highly selective schools require or strongly recommend that applicants submit scores from two or three SAT Subject Tests.
  • Some schools accept the ACT with Writing in lieu of the SAT and SAT Subject Tests.  For more information on this complicated decision, please read these articles written by Nancy Griesemer who has done extensive research on this topic.

With all of these testing requirements, it is important to create a testing plan in high school.  Freshman year is not too early to plot out the test plan since some tests may be taken then.

Possible Testing Timeline beginning Junior Year

  • SAT OR ACT :  Take one of these tests Two times between January and June (This leaves September/October of Senior Year available as additional test dates if needed.  Ideally, however, all testing is complete by the end of Junior Year - Senior year is very busy with applications and essays.)
  • SAT Subject Tests:  These should be taken May or June of the year the subject is studied
  • AP Exams:  These are given in May of the Year the subject is studied
  • Class of 2017 suggested SAT/ACT prep timeline

EdNavigators recommends the following:

  • Take a full length practice ACT and a full length practice SAT to see which test you prefer.  Prepare for the test you prefer and plan to take the test "for real" at least twice.  *Many students select to take both tests...in this case, two additional test-prep sessions would be required to discuss content and strategy for the test the student did not prep for.  The content covered on the SAT and ACT is very similar (EDNavigators Test Prep Packages are described on this page - Package 2 is to prep for the SAT OR the ACT, Package 2B is to prep for the SAT AND the ACT)
  • Take the SAT Subject Tests and AP tests around the same time because they can test similar information.   It also makes sense to take them right after completing the course.  (If a student takes Honors Biology as a Freshman, he/she should take the test(s) Spring of freshman year.)

If you feel your standardized test scores don't represent your abilities, don't panic. There are also FairTest Schools.  A recent study revealed that students who chose not to submit standardized test scores for entry into college still performed well in college.

For now, however, many colleges do still require standardized test scores.  It is worth the time and effort to make a plan and prepare.

Sandy Aprahamian, Owner, Consultant, EdNavigators

AP Exams - Quick Facts

AP Exams are the cumulative final exam for students who take AP classes in high school.AP Exams 101 Test takers do not have to have completed an AP course to sit for the exam.

For some colleges, AP exams can earn the student college credit.  For other colleges, AP courses and successful exam scores are expected for admission - no college credit is earned.

AP exams are scored from 1-5  a minimum of three is required to earn college credit but many schools require a 4 or 5 on the AP exam to award college credit.  This varies by school, by subject sometimes by department within a school.

AP exams are offered in high schools over a two week period in May.

For a full description of AP exams and the dates they are offered, visit The College Board's AP Website.

Sandy Aprahamian, Owner, Consultant, EdNavigators