Chariot Learning Blog

From September to June, high schoolers can count on an opportunity to take at least one of the two big college admissions tests every month. Some months, however, offer ambitious test takers shots at both the SAT and ACT. Sitting for both exams in rapid succession can be a better idea than you’d think, especially in December. What makes December such a good month to take the SAT and ACT? For one thing, the tests fall early in a month that gets busier as it progresses. The SAT is traditionally administered on the first Saturday of December, followed by the ACT the next weekend. This means students can finish both tests before the first holiday parties of the season. December also deserves strong consideration for testing because the timing meets the needs of both high school juniors and seniors at this point in the academic year: SENIORS who haven’t yet…

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One of the central tenets of standardized testing is that every test taker takes a test the same way. Any aspect of exam administration from timing to breaks to even the instructions a proctor shares before starting the clock should be predetermined and implemented at all testing locations. This level of attention to detail permits fair comparison of scores from tests administered across a multitude of test sites and dates. In essence, everything possible about a standardized test must be standardized. So what happens when a proctor deviates from the script? One of my colleagues, whose state and district shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, shared the following legitimate complaints: I am LIVID. I just found out from my own daughter that the proctors at three ACT test sites/schools she has used in the last year have… not given a break because they poll the kids, who just want…

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One of the great conundrums of human history has surely been how to motivate teens to do what society wants them to do rather than what they themselves want to do. Your average high schooler may happily spend marathon sessions practicing sports, playing games, or just scrolling through social media but still balk at ten minutes of homework or chores. Unsurprisingly, researchers have been delving the depths of student motivation for decades, exploring a variety of angles across age groups and cultures. Some of the findings aren’t that surprising either, though others seem rather unexpected. An overview of the current research encompassing over 144 studies and more than 79,000 students has been published as Pathways to Student Motivation: A Meta-Analysis of Antecedents of Autonomous and Controlled Motivations, and the key takeaways of this meta-analysis are powerful: Students’ self-determined motivation (acting out of interest, curiosity, and abiding values) is associated with…

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Far too often, we evaluate math ability in high schoolers solely on the basis of grades and level of math learned. A more accurate assessment of a student’s potential on challenging math tasks–including those posed on tests like the SAT and ACT–should consider mathematical maturity. For clarity on the link between mathematical maturity and test success, I turned to author and test prep professional Dr. Steve Warner. Dr. Steve Warner, Ph.D has two decades of experience in general math tutoring and tutoring for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, and AP Calculus exams. He has tutored students both individually and in group settings. In February 2010, Dr. Warner released his first SAT prep book The 32 Most Effective SAT Math Strategies, and in 2012 founded Get 800 Test Prep. Since then Dr. Warner has written books for the SAT, ACT, SAT Math Subject Tests, AP Calculus exams,…

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The world sure has changed a lot over the last thirty years, hasn’t it? I remember the absolute thrill of the earliest days of video games, when playing Pong or Space Invaders represented the cutting edge of fun. Yet, my son’s PS 4 renders games in real time with all the cinematic realism of feature films. If we recognize on a daily basis the quantum leaps technology makes every 18 months or so, why do we cling to a view of college that still resembles higher ed in the 20th century? Everything we think we know about college–from applying to attending to paying for the privilege–is changing at a rate that even professionals cannot keep up with. Believe me, I know. Every week, I speak with counselors, educations, and admissions professionals who study higher education from every angle. We all observe a lot more misinformation and myths than actual facts.…

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The back-to-school season often feels, at least to adults, like a return to sanity. After the last couple of years, who doesn’t want to fall back into familiar routines? But while classes may start slowly, the SAT and ACT are already upon us. Fall prep for juniors and seniors alike has already started. Will you be test ready? Summer may bring a welcome break from school, but local students certainly kept the dreaded brain drain at bay by working diligently towards the August SAT and September ACT. Chariot Learning proctored full-length practice tests just about every single week. How busy were we since school let out? We proctored 16 different practice SATs and ACTs online, at our office, and at the Brighton Library. It’s good to be seeing students in person again! How many students came to these tests? Would you believe 82 different students from 23 different schools, including…

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