As college application season begins to slowly wind down, just as surely senior anticipation begins to ramp up!With Early Action applications at some institutions due as early as October 15, colleges have begun to issue admission decisions to early applicants.
Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admission process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC. Contact Marla via www.achievecoach.com
With a new experimental section tucked in following its Science section, the ACT will require an additional 20 minutes of testing time starting this September.
It's not unusual for experimental questions to be included in standardized testing in order to try out new question types, gauging student performance and likelihood of correct or incorrect responses. This method of "testing" the test questions is designed to ensure statistical validation and reliability. The SAT too had long utilized experimental questions during test administration, currently providing their experimental section to students who forego the optional essay.
Testing Out the Test Questions
While responses to experimental questions do not count for or against a student's total score, test takers need to be aware of the extra time -- and additional stamina -- required to get though a 3-hour and 35-minute test, soon to be an additional 20 minutes longer. While the ACT has displayed a modicum of courtesy in placing this section following the four main sections, including Reading, Math, English and Science, students who are signed up to take the essay portion need to save up additional energy and focus for this last piece at the very end.
“On the new SAT, it’s easier than ever for students to show their best work. Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy is free and personalized, and we see students achieving substantial score gains,” said in a statement from College Board President David Coleman. ^
With so many choices available today for both SAT and ACT preparation — books; phone apps; sample test questions found online; private or group tutoring — I firmly recommend that students avoid walking in cold on a test day. Even some small measure of review can make all the difference between a great testing day resulting in a score that the student is happy to submit — or a day when the exam could have gone better with a little advance understanding of what to expect.
One of the intangibles of advance preparation is increased confidence on test day, an important ingredient for success, in particular, for the student who may be anxious about testing. However, students who engage in private tutoring should not be lulled into a false sense of security. Potential for testing success is not necessarily a function of how many hours students spend in live tutoring sessions, but rather the time and focus devoted to practice beyond the tutoring hour. Simply put, the keys to testing success rest on preparedness; familiarity; confidence -- and solid sleep the night before!
^ Jaschik, Scott. "College Board Releases Data on Khan Tutoring." Inside Higher Ed. May 9, 2017. Accessed December 22, 2017. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/05/09/college-board-releases-data-khan-tutoring.
"They believe they can get more students to go to college and stay there by making high school harder."
It's a perfect marriage: opportunity coupled with access. One high school in Spokane, Washington is working hard to build bridges between their typically under-challenged, low-income student population and challenging courses that normally would fall outside of their academic plan.
Aside from building esteem through meeting the demands of harder classes and achieving academic success, high schoolers plant seeds that will support their preparation for learning and performance at at the college level.
Why Placing Students In Difficult High School Classes May Increase College Enrollment READ MORE
Photo Credit: Sarah Butrymowicz
For both parents AND students:
Increased focus, motivation and confidence. According to a series of studies, talking to yourself -- out loud-- can provide benefits to learning and performance, potentially valuable in learning; task management; social interaction and even athletic performance. The research points to how different ways of putting thoughts about yourself into words can reset how you approach a task. An article from The New York Times explores another way we can all use self-talk as a tool.