Many parents are confused about which test their child should focus on – the SAT or the ACT.  That is why having a test plan in place can make all the difference.

When I worked in admissions – for UCLA, Caltech, and Scripps – the way we looked at test results varied.

At Caltech, test scores mattered a whole lot, especially the math scores and the science Subject Test scores.  On the other hand, at Scripps College, when evaluating a student’s test scores, we had some flexibility about how high the scores had to be.  A young person’s potential in an area or major was enough to give her serious consideration.  The test scores would typically support or not support this potential.

As an independent educational consultant, I keep my admissions lessons in mind.  Here’s an example of how that knowledge and experience helps our students.

When Johanna came to us in her sophomore year, we helped her develop a calendar for her SAT and Subject Test requirements.  With our guidance, she found the right test prep tutors to work with her on her weak points and build upon her strengths. We also helped her identify “best fit” colleges early on.  Knowing where she would be applying to college gave her the peace of mind to shoot for their mid-50% reported scores.

Johanna knew her goal for testing and studied for her SAT with that goal in mind.

Johanna’s plan was to take the SAT in December of her junior year.  Unfortunately, she got sick the night before the test and although she took the December test, she didn’t feel as though her scores were an accurate reflection of her true abilities.  We helped her with a new test plan and she took the SAT a second time in May of her junior year.

Johanna did remarkably well on her May SAT.  And she even took her SAT Subject Tests in June of junior year and scored over 700 on each.  Johanna was admitted to almost every one of her colleges early, many of which offered her scholarships!

If your child needs additional support in preparation for the SAT or ACT, you may find it necessary to work with a test prep company.  The right company can help students understand the best way to approach the test. Here are a few questions to consider asking test prep companies:

  1. What approach do you use to help students?
  2. How many hours should my child plan to study for the test each week?
  3. What methods to you use to help students with text anxiety?

If a student starts working with us early enough, like Johanna, we can develop a clear test plan – for ACT or SAT – with colleges in mind, helping students avoid the test frenzy in the fall of senior year.  Every student has unique needs.  Some need more time to prepare, whereas some might take a test only once and be done.  Some families can’t afford expensive test prep services.  Some students don’t feel like they test well and may need to explore test-optional colleges.  We help families in all of these situations.

If you are a parent of a high school student and you want to be sure your child has a manageable plan for SAT or ACT testing, contact us.  We can help your child develop a test plan that’s right for them.  We can even help you find the best test prep company for your needs.  To learn more about our services and to schedule a free consultation, click HERE.

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