Standardized Testing: What To Make Of It All?

imagesThe big question confronting most juniors in planning for college is which standardized tests to register for.

▪   How did you do on your PSAT? Although a “practice” round, the PSAT still offers valuable feedback. What were your strong points? What areas do you need to work on?

▪   Take online ACT practice tests and SAT practice tests to understand which test is the right one for you. Many students ask which is easier: the SAT or ACT? The tests are different — the SAT was created to test aptitude— it tests reasoning and verbal abilities, while the ACT tests achievement— what you’ve learned in high school. Compare ACT and SAT scores.

  •  Talk to your guidance counselor, as well as your parents for input on which test(s) to take.
  • Look at school websites to understand their specific testing requirements. For example, some schools require the SAT and 2 Subject Tests, some require 3 Subject Tests, while others require none.
  • Test optional schools offer a different route. Hundreds of colleges do not require either exam as a part of their application process. FairTest, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing,  provides a complete list of 4 year SAT/ACT test optional universities.
  • Juniors, plan ahead by looking at the ACT and College Board test dates and registration deadlines for the school year. Think about your commitments, choose test dates that do not conflict with any of your own personal obligations and talk to your parents to clear the test dates you are considering with the family calendar as well. Sign-up for tests as soon as possible to ensure your spot at the location of your choice
  • Seniors, if you are considering retaking a test, register now. If applying early decision, check with the admissions office to determine the last possible test date that will be considered.
  • Keep a master calendar of the tests, test dates and locations that you register for. Make sure your family is aware of your testing schedule.
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