Day 4: Tackling Those Tests
[View the entire series HERE]
This topic is one of those good news/bad news kind of things. I don’t want to burst your bubble, reader, but it’s best you know the truth right off the bat.
The good news is that more and more colleges are finding other ways to evaluate their applicants, and no longer placing so much emphasis on SAT or ACT scores any more. Some colleges have even become test-optional, meaning they no longer require them at all. They — the SAT optional schools – are allowing students to demonstrate their mastery and skills in other ways. If you read the previous article in this series, you’ll understand why this is such great news.
The bad news is that it will take some time (probably a long time) before all colleges see the logic and follow suit. Meaning, if you’re applying to colleges today, or in the next few years, you’ll be among the millions of students (yes, millions) taking the SAT or ACT for college admissions each year.
Armed with this data, you’ll need to be ready — ready to ace the test (as in ready for the English, the Math and maybe the Writing portions), and ready to sit and actually take the test (a different matter altogether).
When homeschooling high school, remember, time is on your side. There is plenty of time to get ready — if you start early and plan things out.
In 9th and 10th grades, start looking at old tests. Pick up some study guides or find some online. With a parent’s permission, open an account on the College Board web site and/or the ACT Student Site; and then, start poking around.
In 10th or 11th grade, take the practice SAT exam. This test (called PSAT) is given in the fall, once a year. Contact your local high school to find out when and where to go. Keep up your grades in your regular coursework, and make sure to address any areas that may be troubling you. Remember, you’ll be tested on English (including reading), math, and (until next year) writing for the SAT. The ACT includes science, too. If you want, you can also enroll in a study course, too.
In both 11th and 12th grades, take the SAT or the ACT — or both. Some teens test better on one or the other. Take the test at least once in 11th grade and again early in 12th grade. Because taking the tests offer practice (and usually higher scores each time), some teens actually take the tests 3 times or more.
With some planning and some practice, every high schooler can be ready for standardized tests. It’s never a good idea to wait until the last minute, so knowing what to expect will give you a major leg up over the other students who wait until Senior year.
Stay tuned tomorrow for — Day 5: Marketing Yourself.
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