Testing

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.

Some October 2014 SAT Scores are Delayed

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.03.23 PMSome high school students recently learned that the reporting of their October SAT scores is being delayed.  This Washington Post article provides an overview of the situation.  With many Early Action and Early Decision deadlines only three days away, seniors who were counting on these scores to complete their application may not make the application deadlines.  The score delays affect students who took the SAT in China, South Korea and, possibly Singapore.  Students who find themselves in this situation should call or email each school directly to ask how the delay will be handled.  Some colleges will give a grace period due to the circumstances - some will not.  This is frustrating all-around.  At EDNaviagotors  we encourage students to complete their testing by the end of their junior year of high school.  For high school seniors, this removes the testing burden, the uncertainty of where test scores will fall and whether or not scores will arrive in time.  High school seniors are busy enough focusing on grades, essays and applications in the fall.

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

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

 

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