Chariot Learning Blog

In October 2023, I had the pleasure of speaking, as I do every year, to the Brighton PTSA about what the SAT and ACT are, why they matter, and what families can and should do about them. This year’s presentation was distinctive because we’re now talking about a digital SAT starting in the United States on March 2024. I’ll be delivering this seminar quite a bit over the coming months and years, but you don’t have to wait for me to come to your school–we have a recording! Enjoy the video and feel free to follow up with questions. Looking for more information about the digital SAT? START HERE

Our friend and colleague Kristin Cocquyt of Cocquyt College Consulting offers student-centered, fit-focused college counseling in Webster, NY and through the Zoom-verse. This guest post promotes the benefits of finishing those college applications early! To procrastinate is to be human, but to tackle the college application process with fortitude and precise planning is…. well, hard. The college search and application process is full of details and deadlines and for most teengers is straight-up intimidating. If you’re in the midst of the college search and application process, it can feel like another varsity sport or AP class (or two) with the required time investment and homework. Your color-coded spreadsheet of deadlines and usernames and passwords is intense, and you have multiple Google Docs going with essay drafts. The college application process can sort of take over and distract you from the other glories of senior year. I’ve coached over 600 students…

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A restless urge to compete impels all great success in a way that less ambitious emotions cannot. Often, we are competing with others for some coveted prize or championship. Other times, we compete with ourselves, to beat our best time or turn out our most perfect effort. Even when we strive against the seemingly unyielding barriers of space and time, we are competing; those who break speed records or delve impossible depths compete against reality itself, and sometimes even win. The highest test scores often go to the fiercest competitors. Make no mistake: greatness will not simply fall into your lap. Championships, awards, and glory go to those who fight relentlessly for them. On the day of your official ACT or SAT, your competition is far greater and more vast than you can probably imagine. If you want to earn a 99th percentile score, you’ll have to best somewhere between…

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Anyone who has ever been tested knows that nobody succeeds in bringing their best performance to every single challenge, particularly the ones that matter most. Yet, despite how utterly commonplace underperformance is, most people seem surprised when it happens and ill-prepared to learn from the experience. Like most educators, Professor Richard M. Felder was all too familiar with this phenomenon among his Chemical Engineering students. Unlike the rest, he took solid, productive action by formulating what has become a legendary Test Preparation Checklist that students can use to audit their preparation after a disappointing score. I often recommend this resource, but recently realized that the checklist applies more accurately to the kinds of classroom tests Felder administered than the standardized tests we help students prepare for. Consider this the first version of a Standardized Test Preparation Checklist that should ideal for any student or educator assessing the primary causes–and obvious…

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We at Chariot Learning administer a lot of practice tests throughout the greater Rochester area. A LOT of tests. During our busiest weekends, we’ve run three or more at different schools, libraries, and other locations. I actually proctor many of these tests myself as a way of meeting students and observing trends. One trend that doesn’t seem to be going away is that of the “repeat offender”–the student who comes to take the same test over and over. Why would someone sit for the same exam multiple times? Usually, the reason can be traced to poor planning or failure to recognize that we administer the same SAT or ACT at every location. But some students commit to grinding out a better score, no matter how inefficient their efforts may be. This leads to a mindset that suggests taking the same test over and over is better than not testing at…

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Clothes, it is often said, make the man. But can the right clothes make the man test better? If we accept that our best scores come from managing every aspect of the testing experience we can, then even something as prosaic as wardrobe choice can impact performance. Dressing for success of test day involves more than remembering your lucky socks–though you can wear them too if that will help! When laying out your wardrobe (along with all those other test day necessities) the night before a big test, your main concern should be COMFORT. Consideration of comfort should include a few important factors: Freedom from distractions You don’t proctor as many practice tests a year as we do without seeing lots and lots of hoodies and sweatpants. Why are sweats so popular? When sitting in place for hours on end, teens intuitively favor apparel that is non-binding and free flowing.…

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