Posts Tagged ‘taking the SAT’

What is Score Choice?

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

What is Score Choice? What is Super Scoring? What’s the difference?

When you are taking the SAT exam many hours go into studying and preparing for the exam.  You take mocktests, work on practice problems, and formulate your perfect strategy to beat the test. Then you take the SAT test and, for many people, the work ends here. Don’t be one of these people. You still have a couple strategies you can consider.

One of them is Score ChoiceThe College Board, the company that creates and administers the SAT, allows you to implement Score Choice if you so choose.  Essentially, Score choice allows you to elect which SAT score you can submit to colleges.  If you take the SAT multiple times, Score Choice enables you to select your best score and submit that score, and that score alone, to colleges.  There are some schools that require you to submit all your test results and your college counselor will know which ones, but Score Choice allows you, whenever possible, to put your best foot forward.

Another tool at your disposal to help you along with your SAT process is Super ScoringSuper scoring allows you to select the best sub scores from different tests and amalgamate them into a single Super Score. That is, if your best score in math occurred the first time you took the SAT Exam and you received at 700, your best writing score occurred the second time you took the SAT Exam and you received a 650, and your best reading score occurred the third time you took the SAT exam and you received at 730, you could combine these three scores to get a combined result of 2080 through the magic of super scoring.  Not every admissions office accepts super scoring, so you should check with your College Counselor, but, like Score Choice, Super Scoring is a valuable resource to be aware of.

Choosing a Test Center for the SAT

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

How do I choose the right test center to take the SAT?

When taking the SAT, it doesn’t matter which test center you choose, since you’ll either know the material or you won’t, right?  Well, not quite.  While it’s true that you’re not going to magically remember what a function is the minute you set foot on a well-run testing site, a poorly run site can really shake you up.  This aspect of taking the SAT is often under appreciated, and you should take it seriously.

At certain public school testing sites in Manhattan, for instance, you’ll have to walk through a metal detector and you may need to wait in the gym for as long as an hour before the test begins.  These aren’t the kinds of distractions you want to have on the day you finally take the SAT.

If possible, take the SAT at your own school.  You know how to get there, and you’ll be familiar with your surroundings.  The SAT is just like football: it’s always best to have the home-field advantage.  You’re likely to be calmer and more confident than you would at another site.

If it’s not an option to take the test at your own school, however, don’t worry.  Look for a nearby private school site, since these testing sites tend to be quieter and better run than public school sites.  There are also a handful public school testing sites that are run well.  (For instance, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, in Yorkville, NY, is a great place to take the test.) CATES tutors and administrators have years of experience with guiding students to different sites, and we can help you find the site that’s best for you.

Of course, if you’re going to an unfamiliar school to take the test, make sure to take the time in the weeks leading up to the SAT to make sure you know exactly how to get there.  The last thing you want is to get lost on your way to the testing site.

The best testing sites are quiet, organized and without distractions.  That’s the environment you want to find.

Preparing for the SAT

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

What are the major steps of the preparing for and taking the SAT exam?

First things first.  In October of your junior year, you’re going to take the PSAT in school, however if you want to start your work earlier, take a free diagnostic PSAT at CATES Tutoring.  Because the PSAT exam, like the SAT exam, is administered by the College Board, it should give you a pretty good idea of how well you can expect to do on an actual SAT exam.  Unlike the SAT, however, the PSAT won’t be sent to colleges (though a high PSAT score could help you secure a National Merit Scholarship).

Even if you’re happy with your PSAT score, you want to take at least three full SAT practice tests before sitting for the actual SAT.  (CATES Tutoring offers practice SAT exams almost every weekend.)  You’ll also want to meet with a tutor, who can help clarify material you find confusing, and help you develop a personalized study plan.  Junior year of high school is one of the most overwhelming times of your life, and having a tutor who knows the ropes and tricks of test prep will help you maximize the time you have, and get the SAT score you want.

Finally, figure out when you want to take the SAT.  The test is offered several times each year, in January, March, May, June, October, November, and December. You’ll want to find a date to take it that gives you enough time to prepare, and to take at least three practice SAT exams, but also gives you plenty of time to retake the test, if you’re unhappy with your score.

When you get your scores back, compare them to the average scores of the colleges and universities to which you’re applying.  Did you get the score you wanted, or do you want to take the SAT again?  If you decide to retake the test, make sure to budget time for more practice tests, and more tutoring.  Be realistic about your expectations, and thorough in your preparation.