TESTING THOUGHTS WITH REGARD TO THE VIRUS
- Over 1600 4-year colleges/universities have waived the SAT/ACT requirement for the class of 2021. This is more than two thirds of the total number of such schools in the U.S.
- Many of the schools who are waiving the testing requirement for this year’s seniors have decided to permanently waive the requirement, but most do not seem to be making that call just yet.
- Also, some schools have become test optional (SAT/ACT isn’t required; but if you submit it, it will be considered), and others have become test blind (SAT/ACT won’t be considered as a factor in admission to the school).
- Test-optional and test-blind schools often waive the SAT/ACT requirement for scholarships, as well, but don’t bet on it. Check each school’s website.
- I’ve been in contact with our regional College Board rep, and he said that he’s hoping that more SAT test sites will open in December, 2020 and thereafter. Honestly, I don’t think anyone can predict that until we have the virus under control and it feels safe to place groups of high-school students in close proximity for several hours.
- The ACT is developing an at-home, remote-proctored test that it hopes to make available for a limited number of students beginning in December, 2020.
- I suggest that juniors who need to test, register to take the SAT/ACT in February 2021 or after and keep open the possibility of cancelling. Between now and then, watch the virus and vaccine news and decide whether or not you feel safe being in a classroom with other test takers. If you do and if you can find a test site for one of those dates, take it.
- If you don’t feel safe, it’s not worth risking your health or that of your family for a test. There will be plenty of test-optional or no-test schools you can apply to. Fair Test is a good resource for finding those schools.
- If you can’t find a site offering the test, know that you’re not alone, and colleges/universities will be aware of this obstacle. Typically, they eventually find a way to make the application process work despite hurdles that students face. They’re not fast about it, but they eventually make the process work.
- Want to read more? Take a look at this 9/25/20 EdSurge article by Emily Tate, 1,600 Colleges Are Now Test-Optional. How Many Will Go Back?
I’m sorry that I don’t have more definitive answers right now. If you’d like to talk further by phone/Zoom, please let me know. I’ll be happy to schedule an appointment with you. Lori Sauter [email@example.com]
SAT/ACT/AP EXAM SCHEDULES
SAT Dates, Locations, and Fees 2020-21 (lefthand column)
How long should I study?
PrepScholar suggests this for the SAT:
Once you know your base score based on the PSAT or an online practice test, figure out your target score. Your target score will be based on colleges you want to go to. Then, plan to study for the following lengths of time based on how much you need your target score to improve over your base score:
0-50 SAT Point Improvement: 10 hours
50-100 Point Improvement: 20 hours
100-200 Point Improvement: 40 hours
200-300 Point Improvement: 80 hours
300-500 Point Improvement: 150 hours+
Need help preparing for SAT/ACT tests?
- Free online study options (such as the Kahn Academy and the LearningExpress Library)
- Check-out-able books in the Career Center and in South’s library
- Schedules for test-prep courses in the Career Center (All test-prep courses incur some cost, and South does not endorse specific classes.)
Come by to see which method sounds right for you.
ACCUPLACER Tests may be used by Lane Community College (and other community colleges and vocational schools) to place you in appropriate reading and writing courses. (Lane uses the ALEKS test to place students in math courses.) Lane may also be able to place you in your courses without taking a test. Visit its Testing Office webpage to learn about other placement options. For more information about Accuplacer, visit the Career Center or https://accuplacer.collegeboard.org/.
The ACT (American College Test) is a national college-entrance exam accepted by nearly all 4-year U.S. colleges/universities. It is a curriculum-based test with sections of reading, English, math and science reasoning. An essay segment is optional, but some colleges require it. Test scores range from 1-36. If possible, 4-year-college bound juniors should test by the end of winter term. Seniors should test by fall at the latest. See above link for date and deadline schedule. Visit the Career Center or visit www.act.org for more information.
The AP (Advanced Placement) Tests offer students an opportunity to earn credit or advanced standing at many of the nation’s colleges and universities, usually after taking a yearlong AP course. SEHS administers AP tests for courses offered at South such as Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, English Language, English Literature, French Language, US History, European History, Spanish Language, Environmental Science, Physics I & II, and Comparative Government & Politics. Scores range from 1-5 and are reported in July. Colleges vary in policies granting credit, ranging from granting a full year’s worth of credit to granting no credit. They may also offer introductory course exemption. Students should check with colleges for individual AP-credit policies. See above link for test dates. Test registration takes place within the classes, themselves. Visit the Career Center or www.collegeboard.org for more information.
ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (PPL) Tests may be used by Lane Community College to place you in appropriate math courses. Lane may also be able to place you in your courses without taking a test. Visit its Testing Office webpage to learn about other placement options.. For more information about ALEKS, visit the Career Center or https://www.mheducation.com/highered/aleksppl.html.
The ASVAB Test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) measures basic skills and vocational aptitude. It is administered by the military without obligation and without charge. It is a great career exploration tool for all students, regardless of post-high-school plans. South doesn’t routinely offer the ASVAB, but visit the career center for suggestion as to where to take it.
IB (International Baccalaureate) Exams are written and graded internationally. Students may opt to take individual certificate tests or the full diploma (six tests including two during junior year and four during senior year). They are similar to AP exams in providing the opportunity to earn college credit or advanced standing. The tests are offered in Literature, History, Biology, Physics, Math Studies, French, Japanese, Spanish, and Economics. Scores range from 1-7, and are sent out in July. As with the AP exam, colleges vary in policies granting credit, including granting a full year’s worth of credit, a semester’s worth of credit, and/or course exemption. Some also award credit for students having taken the IHS-required Theory of Knowledge Course and/or attaining the full diploma. Students should check with colleges for individual credit policies. Visit the Career Center or IHS office for more information.
The PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a standardized test that provides practice for the SAT. It also automatically enters testers in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship competition. The PSAT measures: critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills. At South during the 2020-21 school year, due to Covid-19, the PSAT was not administered during College/Career Day in October, as it usually is. There may be an opportunity for SEHS to administer the test on January 26, 2021, depending on a decision by School District 4J. If South is unable to offer the PSAT on that date due to school closure, juniors may still be able to participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program using this alternate method. For more information, contact the Career Center (Lori Sauter, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The SAT (acronym which no longer has any meaning) is a national college-entrance exam accepted by nearly all 4-year colleges/universities. It is a test with math and evidence-based reading and writing sections. An essay section is optional, but some colleges require it. Test scores range from 400-1600, with the essay scored completely separately. If possible, 4-year-college bound juniors should test by the end of winter term. Seniors should test by fall at the latest. See above link for date and deadline schedule. For more information, visit the Career Center or www.collegeboard.org.
The SAT Subject Tests are one-hour tests designed to test a student’s depth of knowledge in core subjects. They are given on the same test dates but cannot be taken the same day as the regular SAT. Some colleges/universities use Subject Test scores for admission and/or course placement. Selective colleges often require them for admission and want to see two or three in different subject areas. Check with colleges for their specific requirements. See above link for date and deadline schedule. For more information, visit the Career Center or www.collegeboard.org.