College Testing Updates
Fair Test: (Test Optional) www.fairtest.org/colleges-and-universities-temporarily-waiving-acts
- September 26, October 3, November 7, December 5, March 13, May 8, June 5
- September 12,13, 19 October 10,17,24, 25
The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty among students and families about nearly all aspects of the college admission process, including the role of standardized testing.
For a list of schools going test optional visit:
With schools closed and the May SAT cancelled, it might be tempting to throw SAT prep out the window along with all other semblance of normality. However, even with the SAT cancelled, it is important for students planning on applying to college next fall to continue to prepare for their exams.
While some schools have announced that they will be going test optional, the majority of schools (as of right now) are still indicating that they will be expecting scores. And even for schools that are completely test optional, a good SAT score can bring some balance to weaker grades or extracurriculars. A strong SAT score can also still help students earn scholarship money: some schools that have waived SAT requirements for admission are still requiring that students submit scores if they want to be considered for merit scholarships.
The good news is that with exams cancelled until at least June (if not later), there’s more time for students to study. The bad news, of course, is that with classes moving online and the daily stress of being at home in isolation, many students may not feel that they have the bandwidth to focus on something as far away as a distant June (or even August) test date. Here are a few ways to discuss SAT preparation in the time of COVID-19 with your students.
Focus on consistency over intensity
People always overestimate the amount they can get done in a day and underestimate the amount they can do in a year.
This is especially true when it comes to preparing for the SAT when there isn’t another test for several months.
Coach your students to do a little prep every day and not to worry about packing in the practice tests or doing a ton of problems in one sitting. This is a time to create a habit that sticks, not a time to sit in front of a book or a screen and grind out practice problems.
If your students can commit to doing ten minutes of SAT math or a single writing and language or reading passage every day while they’re stuck at home, their scores are going to improve.
In test prep there is always going to be a push towards improving by as many points as possible in as little time as possible. Now is the time to help students resist the urge to overload themselves and burn out. Encourage them to focus on getting just 1% better every day.
Treat studying for the SAT as a way to be together…. Or apart
One of the worst parts of pushing education online is when it turns into a solitary exercise. Think about the best classroom experiences – they aren’t just with a teacher who lectures at you nonstop or builds around studying on your own. A lot of learning happens both in on-topic classroom discussion and in the incidental chatter between classes as students are trying to finish their homework as quickly as possible with the help of their friends.
But for our students who are stuck at home, they don’t need to be learning alone. Getting together with friends over video chat is not as fun as sharing TikToks, but it can be a way to structure face-to-face time with one another that they might not otherwise get. Encourage your students to self-organize small study groups online when appropriate.
Of course, some students have the opposite problem. Students with siblings or who live in small spaces may not feel that they can get away or have any time to themselves. For students who do need that alone time, studying for the SAT can be a good excuse to get their parents or family to leave them to their own devices for an hour or two.
But more than anything, focus on the process
A great (and easy-to-implement) strategy for helping your students focus on process and build self-accountability is called habit stacking. According to author James Clear, “one of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking.”
You can easily work with your students remotely to help them create SAT study habit stacks of their own. Here is the formula for habit stacking:
After/before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].
For example, let’s say you’re stressed out and want to relieve your anxiety. A habit stacking statement would be:
After I eat dinner (current habit), I will meditate for five minutes (new habit).
Now, since our mission is to help our students build a healthy and consistent SAT study habit, we can work with them to fill in the blank to create a habit stack of their own. Like this:
After/before __________, I will dedicate 10 minutes to my SAT studies.
We all know that cramming for the SAT at the last minute is always stressful and mostly ineffective. But 10 minutes a day can go a long way when students have more time to prepare, as they do now.
This is a stressful time for everyone, and chances are that the compression of testing season into next semester is going to make a lot of seniors’ fall semester stressful in other ways. Now is the time to help students with their plans on when they are going to take their tests, and how and when they are going to study. Even if those plans do have to change, that sense of structure will help set students up for success and give them a sense of normalcy.
STUDENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE TO REGISTER FOR EXAMS AND
SEND SCORES TO COLLEGES
REGISTER FOR ACT TEST
Most students will take the SAT at least twice, and the first time will usually be sometime during their junior year in high school. SAT Preparation is helpful and necessary for anyone who intends to take the SAT. Many high school students have found that an SAT Prep Course will help them perform better on the SAT, whether they are taking it for the first time or if they have taken the test several times before. The SAT is made up of multiple choice questions on verbal and mathematics skills. The entire exam lasts approximately four hours.
While most students dread taking the SAT, it is a necessary evil and SAT Prep can help immensely. SAT Prep will help students prepare for the SAT in a variety of ways. First, an SAT Prep course will encourage students to relax. Second, it will show them exactly what to expect on the exam. SAT Prep gives students sample questions and shows them how questions are often worded to "trick" test takers. Students also have the opportunity to take one or more sample SAT exams.
On the College Info (SAT/ACT) pages of the SFP website, we list courses that are available to you at SFP to help you make this process more convenient. We have made these cost effective courses available; they are comparable to other courses that are offered at a much greater price. We do not recommend this over any other SAT Prep course you might be interested in; however, they are conveniently offered here after school.
It is our hope that you look into this matter and that your child begin the preparation no later than January. For more information please contact the guidance/college office anytime during school hours: 718-423-8810 X 245.
Director of Guidance and College Office
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