What You Need to Know about College Testing
- Friday, August 01, 2008
Students are often awarded college credit (one-half to two years’ worth) for earning high scores on these tests, and they are almost always granted advanced placement in their college classes in the areas where they have tested well. In addition, several solid scores on APs or CLEPs look very good on a high school student’s transcript. Selective colleges in particular are more likely to grant admission and academic scholarships to students with such a record. I will cover these exams in more detail, as well as other ways of highlighting advanced academics for college and scholarship applications, in a future column.
The College Board’s Web site thoroughly explains most of the above tests—SAT I, SAT II, AP, and CLEP—and provides many special tools for you and your high school students. These include college searches, career planning helps, scheduling charts, an SAT Question-of-the-Day email list, other test-taking advice, and much more. This website is also the place where you and your student should go to sign up for the tests. A complete testing calendar is available, and special accommodations for students with disabilities are explained fully. Upon first visiting the site, your student must register to create a profile that the College Board will keep constantly updated. This profile will keep track of the schools your teen is considering, your student’s test registration information, all test scores, and more. The College Board is found online at www.collegeboard.com/testing.
If you would like more information on the ACT exam, visit their website at www.actstudent.org.
Some of you might be wondering why I have not mentioned the PSAT exam (Preliminary SAT), otherwise known as the NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). This test is considered a “practice” test for the SAT I exam, and students are allowed to take it only in October of their junior year. Registration is completed through a local high school. This is the test that determines which students qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. However, the amount of money awarded to National Merit Scholars by most colleges is relatively small. In addition, due to the large number of excellent test preparation books available, I believe students can gain plenty of experience taking several SAT I practice tests at home under strict, timed conditions. However, if your teen is interested in this test, details can be found at the College Board Web site.
High school homeschoolers who are thinking of applying to four-year colleges should invest in an in-depth college guide to learn the specific testing requirements along with other important details about various schools. Fiske and Princeton Review are good choices: both cover the “top” 300-366 colleges in the nation.
Remember: there are three key elements involved with scoring well on these tests. First—read! Second—practice! Third—relax! Is it really that simple? I am happy to assure you that when it comes to college testing, yes, it is.
Kim Lundberg is the busy mom of 10 great kids. She and her family have been homeschooling for 16 years, and they make their home in beautiful northern California. Kim enjoys teaching drama, writing, and world history classes, as well as reading mysteries, baking goodies, camping, and listening to her kids talk, sing, and make music. Visit her blog at www.HSEBlogs.com/kim
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