Tuesday, January 24, 2012

PTA Meeting Summary - Understanding College Admissions Standardized Tests

Many thanks to Maureen from Revolution Prep for coming to present to the PTA last week about how to understand the various college admissions tests. Below are some useful slides that she shared (all graphics used are from Revolution Prep, to learn more about test prep from this company go to www.revolutionprep.com)

The format of the PSAT
 The format of the SAT

The format of the ACT
The differences and similarities between the PSAT, SAT, and ACT

As always, my advice is as follows:

All students are encouraged to examine their performance on both the SAT and ACT (usually via their PSAT and mock ACT scores). Whichever test the student is naturally better on is the one they should take twice for real. Some students feel they will maximize their score by taking a prep course or using a tutor. A course or tutor should only be used for the one type of exam they already know they have a natural ability in. If a student tests the exact same on the two tests, they should pick the test they like studying for best. Colleges will all take either the SAT or ACT with writing.

Testing should be done during the spring (January to June) of Junior year, with senior year fall as an option for re-testing. Most students at ElRo are best served by trying to maximize their SAT Reasoning Test or ACT with writing score as opposed to worrying about taking tons of SAT Subject Tests. Two or three Subject Tests are required by a small subset of the most selective colleges. If a student wants to apply to those schools, they will need to take the tests, but the majority of students will not need to focus on them. If a Subject Test is taken, it is encouraged to be taken in June, at the end of the course in that subject.

If a student is not satisfied with their testing scores, they are encouraged to look at www.fairtest.org a website that indicates schools that are testing optional (meaning no test scores must be submitted in order to be admitted).