Why do I have to take the SAT (ACT)?
There is a wide range of performance in the educational system. An “A” in one school district does not necessarily mean the same as an “A” in another school district. Even within the same school, students know which teacher gives “easy A’s” and which teacher is tough but prepares students for end of year exams. College admissions officers need a way to decide who is best suited for their schools and grades are just not enough. Standardized tests help them interpret student standings and determine who is best suited for their schools.
How do colleges and universities use the SAT and ACT?
College officials look at a variety of factors when considering applicants. These factors include course descriptions and difficulty levels, GPA, extracurricular and volunteer activities, athletics, and work experience. Different schools place different degrees of importance on the SAT and ACT, but both can be important aspects of the admissions process. The best way to determine what your university wants is to contact the school and ask which test is preferred, what the 25/75 range of accepted student scores are, and how much emphasis is placed on each test.
How much will my score go up after taking a test prep class?
Some of the big test prep companies promise unbelievable rewards, but are those rewards real? In the end, the answer is that it depends.
While there are legitimate companies out there, some use “faulty testing.” This practice includes giving students an incredibly difficulty diagnostic test at the beginning of instruction and a much easier test at the end of the program therefore showing tremendous improvement. These scores are inflated and incredibly unreliable. To back up guarantees, many test prep companies place demands on students (such as the student may never miss any part of any class and never miss a homework assignment) in order to back up their guarantees. These guarantees also do not take into account the starting point of the students. For example, it is easier to raise an ACT score of 17 five points than it is to raise an ACT score of 31 two points. Additionally, guarantees often only include having the student take the exact same class which did not work the first time without additional fees.
At TRP test prep, diagnostic and practice tests are actual past tests developed by the testing companies. It is impossible to falsely inflate the scores of these tests. In addition, TRP realizes students have busy lives and sometimes miss a class or forget homework. While we do have some restrictions, we make every effort to accommodate a hard working student who has scheduling difficulties. Since the needs of juniors in the spring is very different front he needs of seniors in the fall, Spring and Fall TRP classes are structured differently and have different goals. One goal that does not change at TRP is to make the student feel more comfortable taking the test. We do not promise inflated results but know the evidence of our test prep ability lies in the schools our students choose to attend and the grateful words we receive from them.
Which test should I take, the ACT or SAT?
This is a personal decision. The TRP recommends looking at three main aspects before making this decision. First, students should go to the college websites to ascertain which test is most acceptable or if both are equally well considered. After being certain of the acceptance of both tests, students should take an SAT and an ACT practice test in as close to the actual testing situation as possible. This helps determine if there is a personal affinity for either test. Finally, contacting TRP to discuss test options is always a good idea.
When should I take the test?
Student needs and location can help make this decision. For example, many northern students take the SAT in May because of exams in June. In southern schools the opposite is sometimes true. The ACT and SAT are both offered several times throughout the year although locations near you may vary.
It is wise to contact the SAT and ACT websites to check up to date registration and testing procedures. Researching options available on the different test dates may also be an important consideration. For example, the SAT offers the Question and Answer Service on specific test dates, usually October, January, and May. This is very important if additional SAT tests are planned, not so important if this is the last SAT you will take.
The PSAT is taken in October of junior year in most cases. Some students may opt to take it earlier than junior year, but these students are not eligible for scholarships, such as the National Merit Scholarship, resulting from high PSAT scores.