Extended Time On The ACT & SAT

Many students who have diagnosed disabilities are uniformed that there is a way to get Extended Time on the ACT or SAT test. As there are several steps involved in the process, it is pertinent to apply for extended time a few months before the actual test date. The Collegeboard and ACT have their own policies to get an approval for time extension. Any extra time on these tests  allows for a more comfortable testing period and reduced anxiety!

Check the following links for further information regarding the Policies from the ACT and Collegeboard SAT test:

ACT Time Extension

SAT Time Extension

Is it OK to Just Show Up?

It’s funny that this question comes up so often when I talk to a student prior to starting a class. This is when I have to bite my tongue and hold back from saying, “Why not, who really wants to put in time outside of class working?” I mean we all have a life, whether it’s playing sports, hanging out with friends, or tweeting the next big update. This was the same mindset I used to have when attending classes back in high school and college, too (minus the Twitter updating).

I believe it was freshman year of high school when a student in my tech class openly questioned the teacher saying homework was worth only 5% of his grade, so really all he had to do was perform well on tests. A completely true statement from a mathematical standpoint, but mind you, he ended up dropping the course a few weeks later.
Is this always the case? No, there is always going to be that one student who never does any work outside of class and aces the test. Frustration comes over everyone else who studied for days on end, and they wonder why their grade was not even close to an A.

This is when you have to think and analyze the work put in and remember what Gandhi said: “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”

If you think about it what if you had not studied at all?  Who knows if you would have even passed the test. Maybe the result you were expecting didn’t show up, but look at the positives. Did you fail the test or really were there just a few small mistakes? This is the same mindset I tell students to come into when joining a class. Think of it as a full immersion. You really want to practice in and out of the class and use any resources provided. It’s interesting how the mind works when you consistently practice or repetitively perform an action. It starts to become second nature. Same thing with test prep. If you constantly work on problems, you’ll start noticing that not only speed improves, but also anxiety starts to diminish. When before you thought you were hurried on a certain section, now it takes 5 minutes less than the given time. Trends in questions and topics also start to click. A math problem may be stated differently, but you notice that it involves the same methodology of area or perimeter; a reading section has the same ideas to focus on like character relationships; in the English section you notice that the proper punctuation is not used to separate the independent and dependent clauses.
Timing is so important on the ACT or SAT that sometimes it comes down to those last few problems in each section. Were able to answer them without feeling hurried? This level of comfort truly comes after consistent practice.

The SAT is Switching to Computerized Tests: What You Need to Know

As a parent of future college students, you will be glad to know that the SAT Suite of Assessments is constantly evolving to meet the needs of students and educators.

The College Board has announced that the SAT will be taken digitally beginning in 2023 for international students and beginning in 2024 for U.S.-based students. This change comes after the successful pilot of the digital SAT assessment in November 2021 and the positive feedback received from students.

The vast majority of students who participated in the digital pilot found the test to be less stressful than prior versions, and 100% of educators reported having positive experiences. These results suggested that moving to a digital format could potentially help reduce stress and improve outcomes for students taking standardized tests.

This new opportunity brings about a lot of changes in the test format, which will help your kids prepare and do better, and also help your stress for their future decrease!

What’s Changing

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” said Priscilla

Rodriguez, vice president of College Readiness Assessments at College Board.

The new digital SAT will take about two hours instead of the current three, it will feature shorter reading passages, and have one question associated with each passage.

Additionally, graphing calculators will now be allowed in the entire math section, and students and educators will receive test scores back faster, to help students make key college decisions in a timely manner.

Representatives for the College Board are optimistic that the changes will improve the test experience and make cheating more difficult. In fact, each student will see a unique version of the test. They will also benefit from receiving more relevant information, as well as being able to access digital score reports that provide information on two-year colleges, careers, and workforce training programs.

Furthermore, the College Board by transitioning to digital tests is committed to addressing inequities in access to technology. In fact, students will be able to use their own devices or school-issued devices to take the digital SAT.

How to prepare

The digital SAT is coming, and students need to be prepared. They can no longer rely on traditional methods of studying, such as attending a brick-and-mortar school or taking a generic course. They need to find a personalized solution that will help them succeed on the test.

The best way to prepare for the digital SAT is to find a course that can be personalized to your needs.


The Value in an ACT or SAT Prep Course

With thousands of companies throughout the United States touting themselves as the “BEST” Test Prep course with their own strategies and teaching methods, students and parents remain confused as to what course will really provide results. Promises & Guarantees are made from each course and students pile in to prep classes expecting…well…the unexpected.

The best plan of action before researching courses and asking around for recommendations is to consider taking a practice ACT or SAT test.  Many high school offer sign up dates to take a simulated exam, which students should take advantage of.  A test should be completed in one sitting and timed as if it was a real test being administered. This is a great way to gauge if a student has timing issues and what specific subject areas are of difficulty.  When grading a test look at question types in each section that were wrong and see if there is a trend. For example, in the English section you may notice sentence structure or punctuation questions are consistently wrong and in the Reading section the Inference questions may be the ones you are getting incorrect.

At this point, if a student is close to their goal it may be wise to see if the errors can be worked out by learning the content behind the incorrect questions. If you are far from your goal or cannot seem to find an answer to correct the small errors in each section, start seeking a tutor or program. When looking for a course consider what is worth your money. So many times students follow their friends and sign up for a static course. When I say a static course it means a class that teaches the same principles and strategies to a large group of students no matter if you enter a class with a score in the 90th percentile or 50th percentile. This may work for some students, but fails in many cases as students notice little or no improvement when leaving a course.   Each student coming in a class has different issues and learning approaches. If students are lectured on information already known which may be redundant, they tend to zone out and feel the class is a waste.  A student coming into a class is seeking a different approach to answer a question not the same method that was not working prior to showing up.

This is why it is important to look for courses that provide (a)Dynamic, Customized classes,  (b)Help as needed outside of the classroom, and (c) Smaller groups or One-on-One so teachers can focus on each student.

A student coming into a class with an ACT or SAT Math section score in the 99th percentile and Reading section score in the 60th percentile is looking for a course that is more focused on teaching methods to increase his or her Reading section score. This is why it is vital to find a Personalized Class that puts only a few students with similar strengths and weaknesses together in a class. When a teacher is able to focus on only one student or a few students, the teacher can adjust the  course lecture to focus on the needs of the student(s).  Homework provided would focus on the particular questions students need help with. Outside of class is when students are able to practice and show results. When questions do arise a student should not have to wait until the next class and be able to contact teachers immediately.

To spend hundreds of dollars or a couple thousand on a prep course for a parent is not always economically convenient. That is why it is vital for a course to be personalized to provide a higher ACT or SAT score converting to tens of thousands of dollars saved through scholarship money from colleges. This is why it is best to research courses and look for “Value” in classes that cater to a student’s needs. Value does not always mean the cheapest course, but the one that focuses on the students and addresses the areas a student is really having difficulties with.

Now take the FIRST STEP and complete a test as I have provided a link below for a FREE test!