Even in a “normal” school year, the process of preparing for, taking, and responding to standardized test scores is a stressful and overwhelming one for students and families. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, test centers across the country have closed or canceled exams throughout the spring and summer, and even into the fall, sending the world of college admissions into a frenzy. One of the ways that colleges have responded to these obstacles is to implement test-optional admissions policies for the upcoming admissions cycle, to avoid disadvantaging students who have been unable to sit for an ACT or SAT.
In light of the recent dissolution of the SAT Subject Tests by the College Board, many students in the US and around the world are wondering how now to demonstrate their academic knowledge to universities. While stellar grades, internships, and independent research will always remain a core part of this process, we also know that some colleges still value being able to compare student achievement in standardized test settings. If you’re already enrolled in AP or IB courses at your school, good news!
Watch our expert counselors answer some of your most pressing questions about how to best navigate and prepare for standardized testing in the time of COVID-19. Check out the recording of the IvyWise Live webinar Standardized Testing in the New Normal. College entrance exams have experienced major shifts over the last year that are leaving many students unsure about what their preparation strategy should look like moving forward.
The math sections of the ACT and SAT can be a challenge for many students, especially those who tend to struggle in these subject areas. If you want to know how to improve your math scores, see how to learn maths fast. However, there is good news for students who are looking to improve their math scores on these standardized tests: by mastering a few easy concepts you can be well on your way to reaching your goal scores.
Summer may be around the corner, but for many college bound students the June SAT or ACT is one of the last opportunities to reach their goal scores. These test dates are the last test offerings of the school year, so it’s important to know what to focus on in your test preparation between now and June. While preparing for college entrance exams at the tail end of the school year and into the start of summer break may not be appealing to many students, it can be a great opportunity to reach that goal score before starting on college applications later this summer.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a key that unlocked all of the answers to questions on the SAT, ACT, and other standardized exams that can give students major anxiety? While there's no one tip or trick that will help you achieve a perfect score, practice and a proper test prep plan can help dramatically improve students’ performance on college entrance exams. There are also some test-taking strategies and “hacks” that students can utilize to maximize their time and performance on these high-stakes tests.
Taking the ACT this spring? There are a number of formulas that students should know before sitting for the test, and many can be programmed into students’ calculators beforehand in order to save time and give students’ the best chance of completing the math section in time and to the best of their ability. There are a lot of math concepts tested on the ACT and the ACT does not provide students with any formulas on a reference sheet.
The requirements for college entrance exams like the SAT or ACT have experienced some major changes over the years with the rise of test-optional admissions policies and the fact that the SAT, which previously required students take the essay section, has now made that essay portion optional. As a result, some colleges have stopped requiring first-year applicants to submit SAT and ACT essay scores as part of their testing profile. So where does this leave students weighing whether or not to take the optional essay portion of the SAT or ACT?
The ACT is an important exam and your score will be used not only for college admission purposes, but also to determine qualification for scholarships and even course placement. Your performance on the ACT Math section may be particularly important for admission into a technical school or a quantitative major. So if you choose to take the ACT, how should you prepare for the math section?
The science section on the ACT can make many students nervous, especially those who dislike science, and can lead those students to falsely believe they should avoid the ACT altogether. However, the key is knowing how the ACT science section operates and coming to a firm understanding that the ACT does not necessarily test the depth of your scientific knowledge, but rather analytical skills in a scientific context. What Does the ACT Science Section Test?
If you are planning to apply to a college or university in the US, chances are you’re going to have to take either the ACT or the SAT. At IvyWise we advise students to prep for test – not both. So how do you decide which one is the best fit for you?
The spring semester is testing season! Whether students are preparing for the last administration of the current SAT, the February ACT, or the new SAT in March, test prep and performing well come test day is on the minds of many students this January. Outside of the changes coming to the SAT this spring, there’s another factor that may impact students this testing season: test anxiety.
As most families preparing for the college admissions process are already aware, the SAT as we know it is now gone. Apart from students who get a makeup examination because of test-day weather, the last administration of the SAT in its current form was in January. Now, juniors preparing to apply to college must choose: Take an unfamiliar SAT in March or take the ACT instead.
The most important piece of information that students will receive after taking the ACT is their Score Report. The ACT Score Report is multi-faceted, and contains information that not only lets students know how they did, but also understand their specific and relative strengths and weaknesses to help guide their preparation for the next test sitting. So how can students and parents use this information to improve their scores in the future?
Junior year is probably the most important college prep year, and students need to ensure they’re on track in order to be prepared for the college admissions process next fall. The college admission process is about self-discovery and it is important to start by setting clear goals each year of high school – especially junior year! Junior year is critical.
College admissions want to see you exploring your interests and making an impact outside of the classroom, and that includes what you’re doing during your summer break. Planning a productive summer can help you better understand your college and career goals, and can help you stand out during the admissions process, too. While students should start planning their summer activities at the start of the year, it’s not uncommon for many students to wait until the last minute to decide how to spend their summer break.
The SAT and ACT are the most often used exams for college admissions in the US, and given that they are standardized, they must be taken under strict time constraints. Students can struggle with the limited amount of time per question, leaving points on the table when they’re unable to finish certain sections. Simple pacing strategies, however, can help students improve their test performance and overall scores.
The two most commonly asked questions by students regarding ACT or SAT test prep are: “When is it too early to begin test prep?” and “How much prep is too much prep?” While the answers to these questions vary per student based on college admissions goals, academic and extracurricular priorities, and personal SAT or ACT test goals, it’s important to keep a couple of key points in mind so that students are spending their time in the best way possible and not overdoing test prep.
Just because you’re not a junior or a senior doesn’t mean you can’t be preparing for the college admissions process now. The earlier that you start the better, and there’s a lot that freshmen and sophomores can do now to stay on track for the college admissions process senior year – and even get ahead. All four years of high school count in the college admissions process, not just the last two.
With all of the stress, pressure and confusion surrounding the college admissions process, it's no wonder that people start to develop their own theories on how it all works. You've likely heard a "secret" admissions rumor from a friend of a friend that has made you panic. But what is the truth?
Standardized tests are a controversial factor in the college admissions process, and with so many opinions on the value of these college entrance exams, misinformation can run rampant. From the value of one test over the other to how to prepare and how scores affect a student’s chances of admission, there are many myths out there about the SAT and ACT. In order to have success in the college admissions process, parents and students need to first separate fact from fiction.
IvyWise counselors Nat and Eric offer advice on when and how students should start planning for standardized testing and discuss the important distinction between test-optional' and 'test-blind' on the college admissions podcast, giving listeners expert insight from former admissions officers. Listen Now! According to NACAC, 58.
Do you dream about sinking that winning buzzer shot in the Sweet Sixteen tournament? How about celebrating New Year's Day with a touchdown at the Rose Bowl? While nearly 60 percent of U.
With an increasing number of new technologies and an expanding global population, self-studying is on the rise. Education is no longer confined to just the classroom, and some would argue that the classroom model is outdated and does not meet the intellectual needs of individuals in such an interconnected society. Being an autodidact, or self-teacher, has become increasingly feasible due to MOOCs (massive open online courses), Internet encyclopedias, and more colleges and universities offering courses online.
As 2021 winds down and seniors begin putting the finishing touches on their early applications, the college prep process is still going strong for younger students. Setting academic and college prep goals for the coming year is a great way to get students excited about their college prep and alleviate some of the stress commonly associated with planning for college. While there are still a few more months until the New Year, starting to think about academic and college prep goals now will make it easier for students to identify solid goals by the time the new semester rolls around.
For many high school students, spring semester means standardized test season. Like it or not, these tests are a big component of college applications, and while a perfect score alone won’t get you into your dream college, it is important to do well on these tests in order to have the greatest chance of admission. With changes coming to both the SAT and ACT within the next year, it’s crucial for current sophomores and juniors to know what to expect and how to prepare.
While it can be tempting to simply count down the days until summer break, spring semester is a prime time for high school underclassmen to prepare for the college admissions process, and for college-bound seniors to close out the year on a high note. Believe it or not, seniors, you are not off the hook just yet! Here are some tips for high schools students to ensure a productive and successful spring semester.
Has this ever happened to you? You’ve studied hard for your chemistry midterm, but when you walked into your exam and opened the test book your mind went blank. As you sit down to start your test, you notice your sweaty palms and a pit in your stomach and a constant stream of negative thoughts prevents you from performing your best.
Online instruction has been growing in popularity over the years because it can connect people from all over the world – and right now it’s necessary as students continue their studies after school closures due to the current coronavirus pandemic. As students connect to instructors online, the demand for virtual tutoring and test prep is growing. But is it effective?
IvyWise counselors Christine, Nat, and Eric discuss how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting higher ed and how the Class of 2021 can navigate the altered application cycle this semester on the college admissions podcast, giving listeners expert insight from former admissions officers. Listen Now! It has been well over a year since the pandemic's onset and information and responses are still continuing to evolve.
In my last article, I discussed a process for how to effectively and efficiently read through the Reading Comprehension passages on the SAT and ACT. Now, we’re going to take a look at how students should approach answering the actual questions within these sections. Always remember this: Reading Comprehension is ultimately an open-book test.
Every year, another group of students prepares for a fresh cycle of test prep, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. One of the most difficult (and time consuming) parts of the SAT and ACT is getting through the reading comprehension passages efficiently and effectively. I’m here to give you some tips on how to conquer the reading passages on the SAT and ACT.
The summer is an important time for college prep, and students should be spending it wisely. Spending your summer solely preparing for the ACT or SAT is not impactful in terms of strengthening your application, but interspersing some test prep in between your regular summer activities can go a long way toward helping you reach your goal score. For students taking a challenging course load, the school year doesn’t offer many opportunities to squeeze in additional test prep.
The SAT and ACT Math sections can be intimidating for many students – even those who do very well in their high school mathematics classes. However, the reality is that both the SAT and ACT test math concepts that high school juniors have typically already covered in their high school math courses. So, in some cases, it’s not the material that students struggle with, but how the questions are presented on the exams – which differs greatly from what is traditionally tested on high school math exams.
When preparing for the SAT or ACT it’s important to understand all the nuances of each exam, including the sections, content, question types, and more. Even though the essay is optional on both exams, many colleges still require an SAT or ACT essay or writing score in order to be considered for admission. Before preparing for the SAT or ACT essay, make sure you know what to expect on each.
If you’re not already preparing for the SAT or ACT, now’s the time to get started! The spring semester is a popular testing time, and high school sophomores and juniors need to have a plan in order to prepare for these important college admission exams. An excellent SAT or ACT score is not a guarantee of admission, but it can be the difference between the “maybe” and the “no” pile when admissions officers are reviewing applications.
IvyWise KnowledgeBase IvyWise Newsletter Applying to US universities as an international student can be a daunting process, and the pressure surrounding college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT can cause additional anxiety. As an international applicant the stakes are high, with some of the US’s most elite colleges posting extremely low international admission rates. Test scores, while not enough to gain admission alone, are critical pieces of the college application process, and international applicants need to understand how to make the most of their test prep.
It’s test prep season for high school juniors, and many will start preparing for the SAT or ACT this fall in anticipation of spring exam administrations. This year saw a lot of changes to the SAT, and for students just becoming familiar with the new exam there are a number of test prep tips to keep in mind that are very different from strategies promoted for the old test. For those just beginning to consider test preparation, it’s important to remember that a perfect SAT or ACT score alone won’t gain admission to a top-choice college, but great scores are necessary in order to be competitive in the highly-selective college admissions process.
For international students preparing to apply to US universities there’s a lot to consider – from the holistic admissions process, to other things like visa requirements and tuition costs – but one thing that many students overseas recognize the importance of is college entrance exams, specifically the SAT. However, this isn’t the only test that international students need to consider when applying to US universities. While college entrance exams such as the SAT or ACT are required for all applicants at many US colleges and universities, there can be additional tests that are either required or suggested, and some of these apply specifically to international applicants.