One of the great American rites of passage is taking standardized tests. For decades, usually, juniors and seniors have taken the SAT and ACT in preparation for their college applications. Despite the fact that the tests are changing, colleges still use them an assessment tool in their evaluation of candidates. Even as some stray away from the tests and become more “test optional,” don’t expect them to actually go anywhere anytime soon.
Here are few things to consider:
How important are the tests?
Very. Colleges rarely admit this in public. That’s not to say that a super high score is necessary, but it’s more than likely that your child will need to take it. Your son or daughter should be willing to give up a few Saturday mornings as a small sacrifice to make their future great.
How many times should he/she take the test?
The standard answer is at least twice. Although it varies based upon ability, aspirations, and affluence. In addition, the ideal is to take two Subject Tests. If this can happen before the end of the junior year, your kid is setting themselves up for success.
When should they start taking the tests?
Increasingly, I am recommending that students take a diagnostic ACT and SAT at the end of sophomore year (June) or at the beginning of junior year (August). The first administration for most juniors is sometime before the end of March of their junior year. Many juniors take the October or December or February ACT or the SAT in December or January or March.
What score should my kid aim for?
Your child needs to do the best they can do. They need to prepare with a tutor. Yes, elite schools have score expectations but please do not put pressure on your kid to get a certain score. With over 3,000 colleges and universities in the country, we will help them to find the right places to consider regardless of their score.
What about the SAT Subject Tests?
While most colleges do NOT require Subject Tests, many so. These are one hour, discipline-specific tests that should be taken at the conclusion of a course or in a class where your student has shown prowess. It is critical that you check the dates and deadlines to register for these tests as well as the testing requirements of the program at the schools where your kid is considering applying.
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