CAT | SAT Testing
Well, you have most likely chosen the college you will be attending next fall. That’s great.
If you are lucky enough to have been in the position to have turned down some offers, be thankful- and gracious, to those schools you will not be attending.
Obviously, those you had to say “No thank you” to are great schools. After all, you chose to apply. And the admissions officials did a lot of work on your behalf: reading your application and essay, considering your future and your compatibility at their school. Someone cared about you and considered you a great candidate. So, thank them. Send a personal letter and address it to the admissions official who signed the acceptance letter to you. Let him or her know that you appreciate the consideration. And if the school has a survey, fill it in and honestly answer why you chose another school.
Who knows? Maybe a school you declined will be in your future. You may choose grad school there, or want to transfer. It is not only ensuring yourself a plan B, it is the right thing to do. You appreciated all the kind letters from the colleges that accepted you- be kind back.
All the best!
An email from Thursday, April 1 when scores were released.
Well you have another success story….R’s scores:
Critical Reading: 680 (from 57)
MATH 600 (from 45)
Writing 620 (from 53)
R. felt she would have done a little better on the essay (she got an 8), but the proctor did not give them the 5 minute warning!
Thank you very much. R. is greatly relieved now.
The scores are great- congratulations! Let’s focus on the proctor issue: Your proctor may forget to, or choose not to, give a 5 minute warning. What to do? Wear a watch. Practice writing the essay ahead of time so you know how to complete it in 25 minutes. Be ready for anything because R’s case was not an isolated event.
On test day you can
* Jot down the end time for each section so you can keep track on your watch.
* Use a silent alarm on your wristwatch that vibrates- set it to one minute before the end of a test section. So, if you are on a 25 minute section, set your timer for 24 minutes; set your timer for 19 minutes on a 20 minutes section- you get the picture.
*Use a countdown timer so you can see how many minutes remain rather than how many have gone by- much easier.
* Count on the proctor to give a warning.
* Rely on the classroom clock- you may be unable to see it from where you sit.
* Worry too much if you run out of time on a section. Stay cool and do your best on the other sections.
All the best!
Question: Should my freshman son be taking the SAT II in Biology? He is just finishing up Bio 1.
Answer: No, he is not ready.
(Unless he is ready to learn Bio II before the test.)
The above question is one of many I get regarding the timing of SAT IIs.
You submit an SAT II score to show a college admissions board that you have mastered a subject. Some colleges require certain SAT II scores to determine your placement. In either case, mastery is rarely achieved in a beginning level course. This is not to say that an avid student might not score well, but that is usually with significant preparation beyond the basic material learned in class. SAT IIs are best taken after an advance course.
Here is a suggested timetable. Take the subject test as soon after completion of the course suggested. With all classes, take honors or AP if possible.
Foreign Languages: Language level 4
Sciences: Biology 2, Chemistry 2, Physics 2
Literature: AP Literature, English 3
Math Ic: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II
Math IIc: Pre-Calculus, or Algebra 3 with Trigonometry
US History: US History 2 or US I and US Government
World History: World History
As with anything you do, you know yourself best, so if you truly feel you are ready, go ahead and take the test. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the test information and format first by checking out the free test questions on collegeboard.com. And remember, studying for these tests is a good idea- they are a way to show colleges what you know and a great score will definitely be an advantage when acceptance decisions are made.
All the best!
The Subject tests are SAT IIs (“SAT 2s”), which test on specific topics such as math, languages, literature, biology, and more. No subject tests are given in March, and language with listening is only given on specific dates and requires special equipment. Visit collegeboard.com to see the exact schedule and take a free subject test. Many colleges do not require an SAT II.
Step 1: Know
Either your intended area of study or how selective your college choice may be. . .
Visit the website of a college you are interested in and click on admissions and then application process. Some may have it directly on that page, others may have you open a requirement grid because they request different tests for different majors. For instance, Cornell wants 1 and sometimes 2 subject tests; an engineering applicant needs one in Math and one in a science, whereas a Hotel Administration applicant needs only one in math.
Step 2: Plan
Recall that SAT IIs are administered on the same dates as SAT I (the one you take to apply to college), so you cannot take SAT I and SATII on the same day. Each SAT II takes 1 hour and you can take up to 3 on the same test date- that is a lot of focus and a lot of studying beforehand! If you are preparing for any AP tests, the best time to take an SAT II is May, the same week as the AP tests. Take the SAT II in the same subjects as your AP tests so you don’t have to double up your studying- Truly the best use of your time and effort. That means you can take the SAT I in June, and focus all your energy on that after AP’s are over and before exams bog you down. Or maybe October (last opportunity for early decision) or November of senior year is a better time so you can study over the summer.
Step 3: Prepare
Study! It is the best way to do well on a subject test. Get to know the format so when you get in there, you can show what you know.
All the best!
Well, the March SAT is now history and the calls, texts, and emails from DVD users here and abroad are coming in. Sounds like you all did well!
Thanks so much for keeping me informed. I love your feedback and your stories- both successes and disappointments. Today, I want to share two events because they could happen to anyone.
Know where your test center is- drive there sometime before the test if possible.
Kyle left home the morning of his test early, punched the address into his GPS, and arrived 20 minutes early, only to find 6 other cars lined up in front of a house, not a school! Turns out, there are 2 places with the same address. Kyle called his dad, who told him to “just come home”. No way! Kyle was ready. He called the school’s number, which he found on his admission ticket (smart!), and was told that they would wait! All seven cars headed over and were only 30 minutes late. The students were rushed in and helped to quickly fill out the personal information on the scantron and began the test along with everyone else. Kyle was not nervous or flustered by the confusion- just happy he could take the test. He had put in so much time and effort that he did not want to wait until May.
Make a mistake on the answer sheet?
Get help from the proctor.
Trey, a get IT DVD user, told me that on his January SAT he discovered he was marking the answers for section 6 in the section 7 grid. Rather than try to erase everything and lose test time, he resumed in section 6 and then told the proctor immediately after time was called. The proctor helped him fix the error, and also filled out a report that accompanied his score sheet to explain the error. Trey’s scores were released a week later than most scores, but he did his best and did not become flummoxed; his Critical Reading increased 120 points and his Writing 110. His results were too important to him to let a small mistake affect his performance.
Mistakes are made, accidents happen, but they don’t need to affect more than the moment in which they occur. Both boys were smart- each studied hard and focused on the outcome rather than giving up quickly in frustration. It is best to prepare for the test, and determine to stay calm and focused. Do your best; if all else fails, there is always another test date.
All the best!
Getting ready for the SAT or ACT is really just about being educated- after all, that is why a college looks at a board score- to determine if your education level is a correct fit. Starting early is easier than starting late:
* You have more time to study, and thus time to skip a day (or week, or month) when you are really busy.
* Learning takes time for the information to sink in!
Allow time for repetition.
* Prepare while you are learning the same material in class.
Let’s say you are in Geometry, and you are learning about triangles; knowing you will see this again on the PSAT or ACT makes it relevant and encourages mastery for the long term rather than just for the next unit test in class and then a quick review before the final. The same with vocabulary; why cram fast the night before just to get the A? Rather, you will need to know these words: review every day before the test, then cram if you need to, but then review them again everyday for the week after the test. Really know the words and use them so you learn them.
*Sign up on collegeboard.com for the question of the day.
You can do this even if you are in fifth or sixth grade. Each day the question has answers and explanations. So, you may learn a little, but more likely, you will recognize topics more readily in class because you have been primed- you have seen it before. This “memory” helps so much when learning. The questions are emailed to you daily, so it is an easy way to get used to how questions are asked on the test. And it is free.
*Begin studying by the middle of Algebra I
By end of freshman year (or earlier if you take Algebra 1 early) purchase good review materials and do a little each week or month. Remember, it is easier to reinforce what you have learned recently than to learn something all over again- and it will help with your school grades. For in depth explanations, look at my DVDs on getsatprep.com
Finally, if you feel overwhelmed, remember that you want to go to a college that will work for you. Your scores reflect what you’ve learned more than your ability- if you haven’t learned it all yet, you can find a college that will fill in what you need to know, and will present material in a way that is best for you.
All the best!
Today I had a very concerned mother, Barbara, ask me if she had made a mistake signing her daughter up for the March SAT. Seems another mother, Marcy, told her March was “harder” because “lots of smart kids take it in March.” Marcy also warned Barbara against October. She recommended May.
Here are some facts:
The tests scores are based on the test, not on the other test takers.
There is an equating section on every test that does not count towards the overall score. It counts towards making future tests, thus ensuring that a test score reflects the material tested and thus each individual student’s score. How could it be otherwise and still be a fair test?
If you study and feel ready then it is a good time to take the test.
Barbara’s daughter had been studying for 2 months- why wait?
March is a down time from many activities.
Many sports events and clubs are winding down in the beginning of March , so take the test at a time that fits your schedule.
Especially in NJ, March is ideal
State tests (such as HSPA) are administered the week before the SAT. Students are in “test mode” and they have a week free of homework to study! Perfect timing.
Relax! The SAT and ACT are hot topics, especially in Junior and Senior year. But, if you listen to every rumor, you will never find the test date that is perfect for you.
All the best!