The last thing students want to think about this time of year is standardized testing. Torn between March Madness, incipient Spring Fever, and the start of a new baseball season on the one hand, and their end-of-the-year push for their best grades of the year and looming final essays, projects, and exams on the other, many students go into deep denial about standardized testing in the spring. At CollegePrepExpress, LLC, we feel ya, ye overburdened teens.
The brutal truth is that standardized tests–irrespective that most don’t measure anything worth measuring–do still count a lot for college admissions to most schools. Those who tap their best internal resources to find a way to carve out about a half hour a day for test prep over the last three months of the school year are handsomely rewarded: 9th and 10th graders can put some SAT Subject Test scores in the bank, to be withdrawn for their college apps only if they do well, and 11th graders can take a real shot at BEING DONE with the whole standardized testing process before they leave for summer vacation, making the fall of senior year so much more productive and–let’s face it–so much more enjoyable.
So which standardized tests should you take? 9th and 10th graders should in most cases take at least one SAT Subject Test on June 6. Math Level 1 is a great introduction to the mathematical material covered on the big SAT and ACT tests, and, once again, it’s a no-lose proposition with score choice. A worst-case scenario is that you gain valuable testing experience. Similarly, since you can take up to three one-hour Subject Tests,CollegePrepExpress, LLC, recommends that you take a test in any subject that overlaps with a class at school. For example, if you’re taking U.S. History, take the U.S. History Subject Test; if you’re taking Biology, take a Biology Subject Test; if you’re good at English, try the Literature Subject Test (note that you need no content knowledge in the history of literature; rather, it’s a reading comprehension and literary terms test, where about half the passages are based on poems). The timing is great with regard to final exams: as you’re studying for either your finals or your Subject Tests, you’re simultaneously studying for the other :-).
As for juniors, you should follow the advice in the preceding paragraph as well. That is, take up to three (three darts are better than one or two) Subject Tests–definitely a Math Level 1 and/or 2, and any other subject you’re currently taking in school that has a Subject Test in that discipline. That’s in addition to the regular SAT and ACT, which you should, in most cases, be planning to take on April 10 (ACT), May 1 (SAT), and again on June 6 (SAT). Hey, no one said junior year was going to be easy. But just think, if you buckle down now, and dig deep with a disciplined approach to standardized tests, you may well be DONE with them by the end of junior year. You will thank me in the fall, if not sooner ;-).