Interpreting rSAT Scores

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 5.31.21 PMThe scores for the March SATs (rSAT) were released today.  The College Board released this converter tool to use in converting SAT scores from new to old and from old to new.

The conversions indicate that the test has been re-centered.  This means that the new concordance tables are showing the mean score for the rSAT looks to be closer to a 1090.  The mean score for the previous SAT was a 1010.

A few leaders in the test-prep/college counseling world have created some nice graphics to show the score comparisons between the old SAT, the new SAT and the ACT.

Comparison and Concordance of the New SAT and ACT, Compass Education Group, Art Sawyer – May 2016

Higher Ed Data Stories – New SAT Concordance Tables, Jon Boeckenstedt – May 2016

RE-CENTERING REDUX, Ethical College Admissions, James Jump – May 2016

Five Essential Components for Success on the ACTScreen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.29.02 AM

A

Attitude – Success requires a positive attitude.  Think, “If it can be done, I can do it!”.  You need to really WANT to do well and you must squash the ANT (Automatic Negative Thinking) Eliminate all negative thinking during prep and during the actual test.  There is no room or time for negative self-talk during the ACT.  

Application – Work through retired ACT questions and take retired ACT practice tests before sitting for the real test. Understand the correct answer to every question you miss as question types repeat themselves on standardized tests.

C

Content – Fully understand the content that is being tested

Commitment – Make the test a priority.  Commit yourself to dedicated preparation and focusing on areas of weakness.

T

TimeFinding time for quality test preparation is usually the biggest challenge in the life of high school students today. ACT success requires quality focused preparation time:dedicated work on content and retired ACT questions, timed full length practice tests, time put into reading and studies. Testing time is tight on the ACT.  You must work at a fast pace. Pace increases when you know what to expect on the test and have confidence solving similar questions – practice questions from retired tests.  Pace increases with practice under timed conditions – time yourself when taking practice tests and working on practice test sections.  Read this post for suggestions specific to increasing reading speed.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

The Secret to Effective Time Management on the ACT

ACTThe ACT is a test of content, speed, focus and time management.  Once the content is learned and preparation is complete, the test of time management remains.  A last-minute concern about running out of time on this test can quickly derail all preparation.

To manage time during the ACT, I provide my students with an ACT watch.  This gives them the security of knowing that they will be able to pace themselves through the ACT and always know exactly how much time has lapsed and how much time remains in each section.  This video shows how this ACT approved watch works.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

Standardized Testing and Test-Prep Timelines for the Classes of 2016 and 2017

 

pencil_and_bubble_sheet

Standardized Testing and Test-Prep Timelines for the Classes of 2016 and 2017

Prevent unnecessary scheduling stress by knowing the dates and test-prep timelines in advance.  With sports, service trips, family commitments and school commitments, the timing of standardized tests can get challenging.

  1. Check the test dates for the ACT  and the  SAT
  2. Check your availability for those dates
  3. Schedule Practice Tests and Test Prep by backing into the test dates – Use the charts below as guides for timing.  Dates in Orange are recommended.  (EDNavigators Test Prep includes a Full Retired and Diagnostically Scored SAT, a Full Retired and Diagnostically Scored ACT, and five private test prep sessions to prepare for the selected test of preference.) If you choose to take both the ACT and the SAT, we recommend that you prep for the test of preference then schedule an additional test prep session with us to go over format/style/strategies of the other test.  The content of the SAT and the ACT is very similar.

Class of 2016

EDNavigators recommends that students complete testing by the end of Junior year in order to be in the position to meet all college deadlines (including Early Action and Early Decision) and know where they stand in crafting the college list.

If you plan to take this TEST On this DATE Complete BOTH SAT and ACT Practice Tests with EDNavigators by: Begin Test Prep Sessions By:
ACT Feb. 7, 2015 mid- December 2014 end of December 2014
ACT April 18, 2015 end of February 2015 beginning of March 2015
ACT June 13, 2015 mid-April 2015 end of April 2015
ACT Sept. 12, 2015 mid-July 2015 end of July 2015
ACT Oct 24, 2015 end of August 2015 early September 2015
ACT Dec 12, 2015 early October 2015 mid-October 2015
SAT Jan. 24, 2015 mid December 2014 end of December 2014
SAT March 14, 2015 mid February 2015 end of February 2015
SAT May 2, 2015** beginning of March 2015 end of March 2015
SAT June 6, 2015** end of April 2015 beginning of May 2015
SAT (Anticipated) October 3, 2015 end of July 2015 mid August 2015
SAT (Anticipated) November 7, 2015 end of August 2015 mid Sept 2015
SAT (Anticipated) December 5, 2015 end of Sept 2015 early Oct 2015

**Recommended Dates for SAT Subject Tests

Class of 2017

This will be the first class to be offered the redesigned PSAT and SAT, the full details of which are not yet finalized.  From preliminary looks, these tests appear to be more difficult than the current SAT.  Based on this information, for now, EDNavigators recommends that the class of 2017 aim to take the Current SAT twice before January 2016 (the last date it is offered) OR the ACT.  IDEALLY students from the Class of 2017 should complete practice SAT and ACT tests over the summer of 2015 in order to have a game plan for Junior year and leave the original SAT as an option.

If you plan to take this TEST On this DATE Complete BOTH SAT and ACT Practice Tests with EDNavigators by: Begin Test Prep Sessions By:
ACT September 12, 2015 mid-July 2015 end of July 2015
ACT October 24, 2015 end of August 2015 early Sept 2015
ACT December 12, 2015 early October 2015 mid-October 2015
ACT February 6, 2016 mid-December 2016 end of Dec 2016
ACT April 9, 2016 early February 2016 mid-February 2016
ACT June 11, 2016 early April 2016 mid April 2016
ACT September 10, 2016 mid July 2016 end of July 2016
ACT October 22, 2016 end of August 2016 early Sept 2016
ACT December 10, 2016 early Oct 2016 mid Oct 2016
SAT May 2, 2015* beginning of March 2015 end of March 2015
SAT June 6, 2015* end of April 2015 beginning of May 2015
Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT(Anticipated) October 2015 n/a n/a
SAT (Anticipated) October 3, 2015 end of July 2015 mid August 2015
SAT (Anticipated) November 7, 2015 end of August 2015 mid Sept 2015
SAT (Anticipated) December 5, 2015 end of Sept 2015 early Oct 2015
SAT (Anticipated) January 23, 2016 end of Nov 2015 early Dec 2015
Redesigned SAT(Anticipated) March 5, 2016 n/a n/a
Redesigned SAT(Anticipated) May 7, 2016 n/a n/a
Redesigned SAT(Anticipated) June 4, 2016 n/a n/a

*Though we do not usually recommend standardized testing sophomore year, students in the class of 2017 who are very busy during the fall season should seriously consider taking practice tests in March and April 2015 to see if the current SAT is their test of preference.  If the SAT is the test of preference,  they should take it in May and/or June of 2015.  These May and June SAT dates should also be considered for SAT Subject Tests.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

 

Gap Year Information, College Affordability Information, Standardized Testing Updates, College Admission Represenatives … all in one place

Since the role of an Independent Educational Consultant is still unclear to many people, I thought I’d share some of the sessions that I attended at the IECA Fall Conference last week.  The conference included break-out educational sessions, two keynote addresses, hosted receptions, round table discussions, committee meetings, a vendor hall, a college fair and numerous other networking events.

I attended the following Break-out Educational Sessions:

  • Gap Years:  What’s Out There, How to Structure One, and Simple Vetting Options
  • Testing College Readiness:   What are the Redesigned SAT and ACT Measuring and How Do We Best Prepare Our Students
  • Anatomy of a Financial Aid Award
  • The Fading of Facebook: the Evolution of Teenage Online Social Interactions

I heard Keynote Addresses from:

  • Justin Bachman – 17 year-old high school senior with Tourette’s Syndrome, severe ADHD and dysgraphia
  • Ashely Merryman – Best-selling author and award-winning journalist (NurtureShock:  New Thinking About Children Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing)

I attended Hosted Receptions/ Presentations from:

  • University of New Haven
  • Oak Meadow Independent Learning
  • Warren Wilson College

I Visited the Following Booths at the Vendor Hall:

  • Colleges That Change Lives
  • American Gap Association
  • Summit Educational Group
  • YouScience
  • IECA Foundation
  • American Institute of Certified Educational Planners
  • College Affordability
  • College Cost Navigator
  • Guided Path
  • Wintergreen Orchard House
  • Human eSources, Ltd.

I Met Representatives/Admissions Representatives from the following Colleges and Universities:

  • American University
  • Bucknell University
  • Eckerd College
  • Rollins College
  • University of Miami
  • University of Richmond
  • University of South Carolina
  • New York University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Ursinus College
  • Susquehanna University
  • University of New Haven
  • Warren Wilson College

It was an action-packed educational week.  I met great people and learned a lot.  In future posts, I will share, more specifically,  some of the key information I learned.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators

It’s Essay Season – The Three Types of Essays Required of College Applicants

overwhelmedHigh school students are asked to write three types of essays
throughout the college application process.  Each essay type is unique and requires a unique approach.

Know the essay purpose.  Know the reader/audience.  Know the format.  Have a plan.

SAT/ACT Essays (1-3 handwritten pages written under time constraints)

The Standardized test essays are persuasive essays.  They measure:

  • how clearly a student can express and defend an opinion
  • a student’s ability to write a traditional 5-6 paragraph essay
  • grammar, usage and mechanics
  • the ability to write under time constraints

Scores are not base upon accuracy of facts. Students are not judged on their opinion, but their ability to express and defend it.

The Personal Statement Essay (“your story” usually 650 words or less)college essay rescue

  • This is, essentially, a personal story or autobiography. It is the student’s way to set himself apart from the other students who present similar transcripts and test scores.
  • It is a way for the college to get to know the student.
  • It requires the student to dig deeply inside himself and reflect upon his life, who he is, and what he values.

The Supplemental Essays (“why us?”  “tell us more” usually 250 words or less)

  • These short essays tend to be either fact based or creative.
  • The fact based prompts require the student to research and explain or defend something.  They should contain accurate information.
  • The creative prompts are ways for the admissions readers to dig deeper into who the student is.

The three essay types above are very different and need to be approached differently.

 EDNavigators offers assistance with all of these essay types.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

Related Articles:

Essential information about the SAT Writing Score and the Essay

The New SAT vs the Current SAT vs the ACT – A Preliminary Look

EDNavigators Introduces Guided Path for Comprehensive Management of the College Process

Common Application Essay Prompts for 2014-15

Rising Seniors – Summer Timeline for College Applications

College Application Checklist for Rising SeniorsFirst semester senior year is busy.  Class rigor and grades for senior year count toward college admissions. EDNavigators encourages students to remove some of the senior year stress by beginning applications over the summer.

What can a rising senior do over the summer in preparation for college applications?

June and July:
1. Plan and adjust college by researching and visiting colleges.
2. Prepare for the SAT or ACT if taking it in the fall.
3. Go to the website of or call the college of interest to find out:
• If it accepts The Common Application – If yes, are supplements required? Are they available yet? Supplements to the Common Application become available on a school-by-school basis. Princeton University’s Supplement to the Common Application for the Class of 2015 is available now as well as Purdue, Amherst and Penn.
• If it accepts The Universal College Application – If yes, are supplements required and are they available yet?
• If it has its own application – If yes, is it available? For schools with rolling admission, the sooner you complete and submit the application, the better your chances of getting in. Penn State’s application becomes available September 1.
There are different application requirements and different timelines for each school. The only way to get the information you need specific to each school is to go to the school’s website or call the school’s admissions office.
4. Write the common Application Essay. The Common Application Essay prompts will remain the same as they were last year. They are available now.
5. Take time to do things you enjoy

August:
1. On August 1, The Common Application and The Universal College Application go live for the next school year. Complete the core sections during the month of August. The Common Application and The Universal College Application for Fall 2015 will be available August 1, 2014
2. Continue to adjust and revise the college list
3. Continue with test-prep
4. Take time to do things you enjoy.

 Specifics for the Classes of 2016 and 2017

WILL THE NEW SAT BE EASIER?

New SAT - Graduation CapToday the College Board released more information about and sample questions for the New SAT.

While all of the details are not yet released, my gut reaction to the New SAT is positive.  The New SAT looks like it will address the skills necessary for and relevant to college success.

As a test-prep tutor and educational consultant, I am frequently asked to compare and give educated insight into the SAT and the ACT.  A few common questions and answers pertaining to the ACT, the SAT and the New SAT are below.

Will the New SAT be easier than the current SAT?

The buzz amongst high school students is that the new SAT will be easier than the current SAT.  In one way, that is true.  By removing the wrong answer penalty students do not have to worry about whether or not to guess.  Other than that, absolutely not.  This test will be difficult for students who are not prepared.

  • The essay is significantly more involved than the current SAT essay.
  • The reading section will require the student to identify both the correct answer AND why it is correct.
  • The math will include more involved word problems.
  • Interpretation of science charts and tables will now be included.

Is the New SAT more like the ACT?

Yes, because it is now more achievement based like the ACT.

No, because the format and structure of the two tests differ significantly.

  1. The ACT essay, like the current SAT essay is a persuasive essay. The New SAT essay will require critical reading, analysis of a persuasive essay and analytical writing.
  2. The New SAT has a “no calculator” section.  The ACT allows calculators for the entire math section.
  3. The New SAT will measure understanding and interpretation of social studies and history.  The ACT includes these subjects but does not include their measure in the test results.
  4. The New SAT will integrate science into the reading, writing, math sections. The ACT has a separate science section

What do I like about the New SAT?

  1. It will include more critical reading, something that I believe is essential to success in college.
  2. It will incorporate real life scenarios in math, making it more relevant to life situations.
  3. There will be a significant focus on algebra and its application – the foundations of higher level math.
  4. No calculator will be allowed for portions of the test. I have found that today’s teens rely too much on the calculator.
  5. Vocabulary tests will be more relevant.  Student will analyze the words used and how they affect meaning. – No more memorizing words that will most likely never be used again after the test.
  6. Science, history and social studies are integrated into the test and knowledge of these subjects is reflected in the score results.

I will post more details about the New SAT as they become available.

Sandy Aprahamian, Principal, Independent Educational Consultant, EDNavigators

 

Important Information for College Bound High School Students with ADD/ADHD or any Learning Disability

education-labyrinth1.jpgKnow your standardized testing accommodation options and deadlines early – as early as freshman year of high school.

SAT and ACT Testing Accommodations – Frequently Asked Questions

When should accommodations be requested?

  • For accommodation for sophomore PSAT or PLAN, requests should be made spring of freshman year.
  • If accommodations are not needed for tests given in the fall of sophomore year of high school, accommodation requests should be made in the spring of sophomore year.

Who submits the request?

  • The school disability coordinator or guidance counselor – When making the request, the counselor should be specific about what the student needs.

What must be included in the request?

  • Evidence of a professionally diagnosed disability and documentation proving how the student’s limitation impacts both daily functioning and the ability to take standardized tests Formal psychological testing for the ACT must be no more than 3 years old.  Formal psychological testing for the SAT must be no more than 5 years old.  Generally, testing should be repeated for students when they are 16 as the tests are then given on the adult scale.

What are the differences between the extended time accommodations for the SAT and the ACT?

50% Extended Time:

  • SAT: Time and a half is given per section. The student must wait for the time to expire for each section before moving on to the next – The full-time spent on the test is 1.5 times as long as it would be without accommodations.
  • ACT: Student self-paces through the test, going on to the next section at his or her own pace. The test ends when he student finishes OR when the 1.5 time has expired.

100% Extended Time / Special Testing at school (typically for students with more severe deficiencies than ADHD)

  • ACT – The student takes one section per day. He/she is given double the standard time for each section. For example, English would be 90 minutes, Math would be 2 hours etc.

When will I hear if the accommodation has been granted?

  • ACT Response Time: about 4 weeks
  • SAT Response Time: about 7 weeks

Who grants a higher percentage of accommodation requests – ACT or College Board (SAT)?

  • ACT

When accommodations are approved, what tests do they include?

  • College Board Accommodations Include: SAT, PSAT, AP Exams
  • ACT Accommodations Include: ACT, PLAN

EDNaviagators suggests that students with disabilities get the wheels in motion for accommodations spring of freshman year of high school. Have the request submitted before the end of freshman year.
Submit requests to both College Board and ACT since the only way to know which test is better for the student is for the student to take full practice tests of each.

Since these guidelines and procedures are subject to change, it is always best to confirm with the official websites:
Services for Students with Disabilities: The College Board
Services for Students with Disabilities: ACT

Sandy Aprahamian, Independent Educational Consultant, EDNavigators