Fall is a crucial time of year for many students with regards to their college application process. Standardized tests are a critical part of the first few months of the school year.
Whether it’s sophomores taking the PLAN or the PSAT for the first time, juniors taking the PSAT, or seniors taking the SAT or ACT for the final time, the fall includes a variety of anxiety-ridden tests that can be confusing and hard to navigate for many students.
Method Test Prep strives to be a trusted and knowledgeable resource for as many students as possible to help guide them through this process. Below is a question-and-answer with Tom Ehlers, President and Founder of Method Test Prep, in which he goes over the questions he is asked the most this time of the year:
Can a senior take the November or December SAT or October or December ACT and still use the scores to apply for college this year?
YES! Most seniors take the October 6th SAT or the September 8th ACT. But, if a current senior decides they need to take the SAT or ACT again, he or she can still take the November or December SAT or the October or December ACT. A note may need to be included in that student’s application indicating that the student is taking the SAT or ACT again.
When should current juniors take the SAT for the first time?
Juniors can take the SAT on January 26th , March 9th , May 4th, or June 1st. There is an advantage to taking the January and May exams as these exams offer the “Question-and-Answer Service.” This service allows students to order a copy of the entire exam so that they can see exactly which questions they missed and omitted. This is an important learning tool because without it, students will just get a score but will have no idea which types of questions they missed. They do not offer this service on the March or June SATs. Note that there is an $18 charge for this service–**If you have students who qualify for fee assistance, it applies to this service as well.
When should current juniors take the ACT for the first time?
Juniors can take the ACT on February 9, April 13, or June 8. The Test Information Release or TIR is available on the April and June exams. This service is basically the same as the SAT’s “Question-and-Answer Service”. The cost is $19.
Can a person mix and match scores from different SATs or ACTs?
Yes, this practice is called “superscoring” and most admissions offices do this for the SAT but make sure you check with the schools that you are applying to. It is not as prevalent for the ACT; however, there is a small but growing list of schools that will superscore the ACT. If a student scores a 550 on the verbal and a 600 on the math on the May SAT and then scores a 600 on the verbal and a 550 on the math on the October SAT, then the student can use the 600 from both exams to report to colleges that he or she has a 1200. This is the accepted practice when applying to schools. Also note that the College Board has changed their score reporting policy in March 2009; you can opt-in to the service that will allow you to select the scores that are sent to colleges—but again, check with your school because many schools require that all scores be sent.
How do PSAT scores compare to SAT scores?
The PSAT scores are two-digit numbers while the SAT scores are three-digit numbers. So just add a zero to the end of a student’s SAT scores. For example, if a student scores a 50 on the reading portion of the PSAT, this is approximately equivalent to a 500 on the SAT.
|Test Day Tips
|The next SAT is October 6th and the next ACT is October 27th and there are a few things students should consider for the test day. By now you should be making final preparations for the exams and working on your plan.
- Be well rested the day of the test. Get a good night sleep and don’t forget to set your alarm clock.
- Eat a healthy meal the night before the test and make sure to have a good breakfast on test day. You’ll be at the testing center for a few hours and will need to energy to get through the testing.
- Dress comfortably and consider wearing layers because some test centers are warmer or cooler on the weekends.
- Bring acceptable photo ID and your admission ticket.
- Bring an acceptable calculator with fresh batteries.
- Bring two #2 pencils.
- Talk with your counselor if you have any questions or concerns about test day.
- Bring your Method Test Prep “cram” packets and review them while you have a few minutes before the test begins.