Preparing for college admissions tests

June 28, 2009 5:49:34 AM PDT
For many students in the tri-state area, this summer will be filled with practice tests for the SAT and ACT. Eric Greenberg, founder and director of Greenberg Educational Group, joined us with tips for preparing for the tests. To what extent do the SAT and ACT standardized tests impact students' chances for placement in choice colleges?
Today it is much harder for students to get into the colleges of their choice. In addition to high grade point averages, students need to excel in standardized tests, such as the SAT or the ACT. These scores can boost students' chances for getting into their choice schools and possibly earn them merit scholarships.

Why has standardized test preparation become increasingly important?
The competition for getting into choice schools is greater than ever, and as a result, students need to be better prepared for the SAT or the ACT. At our educational center, we provide personalized test preparation services working one-on-one or in small groups. We also provide these services on a sliding scale for those families in financial need.

How much better does a student do on the SAT or ACT when they receive test preparation instruction?
Students will vary. With our group, we have experienced that students tend to increase their scores very significantly.

What does SAT stand for? ACT?
SAT is now called SAT Reasoning Test. It ?used to be called Scholastic Aptitude Test or Scholastic Assessment Test. ACT is the American College Test.

Do colleges view the SAT more favorably?
No. Most admissions offices have no preference.

Then why has it been the perception that the SAT has more significance than the ACT?
The SAT has been around longer, and until recently, it has been used as the standard in much of the northeast and west coast. The ACT has been around since the 1950s and has been given primarily in the south and midwest. The popularity of the ACT is growing on both the east and west coasts.

How soon should high school students begin preparing for the SAT or the ACT?
The test preparation process should ideally begin at least six months prior to taking either test.

Why is it advisable for your high school age student to practice for both tests?
Nothing beats having your child practice questions for each test in order to make a fully informed decision. The ACT and SAT offer online practice questions; however, many students may need individual test preparation to boost their scores for choice colleges.

Can students take both tests? What are the advantages/disadvantages?
Absolutely. However, a student is typically better off choosing to focus on one test or the other.

What is it that parents hope their high school-age children will achieve by test prepping with an educational service?
Most families view college as one of the most important - if not the most important of all family investments. Many parents send their children to our group or educational centers like ours, for test preparation services, but our function is also to guide parents and students through the challenging and confusing process of choosing schools and guiding them into getting into their choice schools. Our group and some groups like ours also provide personalized and thorough services every step of the way for planning and the school applications process. Most services work with students at all levels from elementary to graduate school and beyond.

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