Planning for the Year Ahead

College Calendar

Yearly Calendar

June is here, and another academic year approaches the all-too-familiar frenzied climax.  Whether student or teacher, expert or novice, STOP.  BREATHE…ONE FULL BREATH.  Turn around on your timeline to face the past.  You made it.  Congratulate yourself, knowing there’s always more to come.

Snap back to now.  On deck we have: any and all finals, APs, SAT Subject Tests, potential SAT and/or ACT retakes.

Let’s start with seniors and work earlier chronologically:

SENIORS!  Those finals won’t get good marks by themselves.  No compromise to diligence here; see your final game through.  The victory lap will be that much sweeter.  As you do so, please remember those who helped you get here.  Celebrate the success together.

JUNIORS!  Yes, you are inundated, so let’s look at it.  Finals are your wildcard here.  Identify that class final giving you the most stress.  Name three activities you will do NOW to prepare in due time for the day of this final.  Pool your resources, and gear up.  See your teachers.  Put in the time.  Know the formats of the tests (multiple choice vs. free response vs. essay portions etc.), see the calendar’s bigger picture.   Cover two bases by studying overlapped topics to at least start studying.  For example, your Algebra 2 final is on deck.  You might also be taking the Math I or Math II Subject Test soon, so be thoughtful of the overlap.

SOPHOMOREs and FRESHMAN – now at the end of the first term, build your foundation – namely grades and studying ethic.  You can’t fabricate luster!  It is derived from a solid foundation built by you.  Therefore, final exams are key here: assemble study groups, engage your teachers, and ask questions, ask questions, ask questions!  As soon-to-be rising juniors, take a moment and re-read above what the juniors are dealing with.  You’ll be there next year at this time.

Regarding standardized tests, they inform and affect your matriculation options.  Moreover, they are woven into the big picture’s fabric.

Taking SAT or ACT this month?  Your “A Game” is mandatory on test day.  Note though, you have calendar insurance: the Fall SAT/ACT administration dates are viable for you.

What about the SAT Subject Tests/SAT 2s? Consider the following criteria for saying YES to any Subject Tests:

  • Do you have a subject in school you’re passionate about?
  • Getting a good grade in that class?  You’ll want the foundation of knowledge since Subject Tests usually cover several spanned topics.
  • Is there a corresponding Subject Test worth trying?
  • How can you layout options to weave in one or two to your schedule?
  • Getting feedback on your decision?  For example, if you take/took APs in May, you might take the May SAT date and reserve it for the Subject Tests.  If you don’t have APs but finals in June (as most AP classes treat the AP as that class’s final), take the Subject Tests in June to capitalize on the overlap.
  • Remember your calendar wildcards to use later once you have your results.  Here’s a link to an option called “Score Choice” http://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-score-choice.  The policy describes how you can show and/or hide scores that you would ultimately submit.  In prepping your college apps, you must consider though “Score Use”.  In other words, College Board said, “We have a policy that test takers can hide certain scores.”  Colleges responded with essentially, “Fine.  And here are our individual policies of how we then will view your information.”  Link to the PDF policy listed on College Board’s site is: http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/sat-score-use-practices-list.pdf.  Bottom line is focus on the tests, eyes on the immediate prizes.  Someone else’s policy shouldn’t prevent you from trying your best.
  • You may need to have the Subject Test scores for application to certain colleges. If not, they are feathers in your cap.
  • Take a practice test.  How did it feel?  Gauge your instincts.  Either the YES light is flashing inside you or the NO one is.  Identify it. Then, honor it.

APs

  • Presumably if you’ve made it to the end of the year with an AP still in tow, you’re enjoying at least moderate success.
  • Again, take a few practice tests.  Yes, to get actual APs to practice from is difficult, but shop around at the bookstore or poke through friends’ choices to see what overlaps you can see so you don’t compromise study time veering outside of what material you’ll need to know.

Stay focused on your priorities.  Keep your own score card.   A simple, daily calendar check-in affords you the ability to prep for upcoming events.  But it takes a village.  Educational professionals are out there, and they will help guide you to those informed decisions.  The best is yet to come…

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