Tag Archives: planning

For high schoolers, the academic year roars in with early opportunities to take the SAT & ACT. With the addition of an awesome August SAT administration, October no longer serves as the first chance to take either test. However, the month of fall foliage and Halloween treats is still one of the best times to take the SAT and ACT. What’s so great about October, besides pumpkin spice lattes? So early in the school year, classes haven’t really ramped up, which affords busy students a bit of breathing room to prep for the big tests. Most extracurricular activities, with the notable exception of fall sports, are equally slow to start. Thus, students can actually focus on the tests in October. However, other reasons sweeten the deal for October for 11th and 12th graders alike. SENIORS, even those late to the college admissions party, enter October feeling the pressure to finalize…

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If your son or daughter is currently entering 10th grade, you may not be entirely steeped in every detail of every aspect of college admissions… at least not yet! But decisions made early in high school often prove influential for better or worse once college applications start shipping. You and your teen should be thinking about academic rigor, extracurricular commitments, and innovative ways to pursue their most particular interests. And, for just a moment, you might think about admissions tests. Make no mistake: 10th grade is too soon for most (but not all) teens to take the SAT or ACT. But change is coming to the SAT, and we’re already getting questions about how to proceed. The SAT is going fully digital in the United States in 2024. American students will see a digital PSAT in October 2023, but expect the March 2024 SAT to be the first domestic digital…

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After a long pandemic period of testing uncertainty and compromises, I was thrilled to proctor live and in-person at the Fairport Public Library this weekend. We’ve worked with Rochester and Syracuse libraries for a decade to offer the highest quality proctored practice tests free of charge to anyone who wants them, and our COVID-era online tests lost their luster for some families fairly quickly. This is not to say we aren’t still offering those Zoom tests–we proctored one of those this weekend as well–but nothing feels quick like the real SAT or ACT as sitting in a room with ten to twenty equally nervous test takers… at least for now! I was also impressed by the turnout at all of our practice tests over the last week, which happened to be Winter Recess. New York State students (and their families) enjoy not one but two long breaks during the first…

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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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The traditional testing paradigm has high school juniors struggling to fit SATs and ACTs in at the end of the academic year, just as Spring Break, APs, finals, prom, and creeping summeritis set in. Some traditions deserve to be consigned to the trash heap of history along with bull fighting and jello salad. Instead, embrace a new way of looking at testing: juniors should test as early in the academic year as makes sense based on their goals and activities. For many juniors, that philosophy reveals September as the perfect time to take the ACT. Seniors, of course, are already lining up in droves for the September ACT. The traditionalists who took the June tests–at least the ones who didn’t plan for the July test date–have been waiting for months for another crack at the test. Testing in September presents plenty of upside with minimal risk for 12th graders. September…

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The College Board administers the SAT in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. ACT, Inc. follows suit by offering the ACT in September, October, December, February, April, June, and July (everywhere but New York). So if students can only take the SAT or ACT during the school year, why should they prep during the 2.5-month summer span when they can’t? The answer is obvious: because there’s no school! Today’s college-bound high school students are busier than ever before. No, that’s not a cliché. As admissions standards spiral ever higher (along with tuition), students strive to differentiate themselves through advanced classes, sports, clubs, jobs, and every other activity they can fit into each overscheduled week. This frenzy of activity reaches its peak in junior year, from the beginning of fall sports until the end of finals. Considering how many important commitments students are asked to juggle, why not try…

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