Archive for the ‘Test Prep Resources’ Category

GRE ScoreSelect: What the New Policy Means for Test Takers

If you’re not familiar with the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the GRE is a standardized test often required for graduate school acceptance. Like the SAT, it has verbal, math, and written sections. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, a new policy regarding the GRE has been introduced.

The new policy, ScoreSelect, allows for students to be able to choose what test scores they want sent to colleges. Previously, a student could take the GRE three times, and all three scores for all sections would automatically be sent to potential colleges. With the new policy, a student could take the GRE three times, and then choose the highest score for each of the sections to be sent to colleges. ScoreSelect will be available for test takers starting in July of 2012. According to ETS (Educational Testing Service), this will allow students to take the test more confidently.

There are mixed feelings regarding ScoreSelect. While some believe this will reduce stress for test-takers, others believe that if students can choose to submit only their highest scores after taking the test multiple times, colleges will just hike up the minimum GRE score for acceptance, making acceptance into graduate school even harder.

While ScoreSelect will be made available for those who wish to use it, students may also continue to use the old system that sends all test scores to all colleges, or just the most recent test scores to all colleges.

What does this new policy mean for test takers? The following is a list of pros and cons for ScoreSelect:

Pros:

  • Students will likely be less stressed on test day, which may allow them to perform better.
  • Taking the test multiple times will increase your familiarity with the test’s structure.
  • Students may feel more in control of their graduate application by having the ability to choose what scores are being sent.
  • Students may feel the higher scores are the more accurate readings of their abilities.

Cons: 

  • Students will likely be less stressed on test day, which for some students, may allow them to perform poorly.
  • Students may be less inclined to spend time studying for the GREs if they assume they can have do-overs.
  • With the ability to pick only the highest scores, students are more likely to take the test more often, which means more money is being spent on it.
  • College admissions boards will no longer have a gray area in which they could argue a lower-than-average score was due to a bad test day. Potential colleges will view GRE scores as your highest ability.

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Spring ACT/SAT test dates

With spring SAT and ACT test dates here, it’s important to remember your deadlines and test dates!

While you’re sitting at home taking practice tests, going over a mountain of vocabulary cards, and trying to decide where the comma should be in a sentence, you do not want to forget the most important thing: actually signing up for the test before the registration deadline! The logic is simple here. If you don’t sign up, you can’t take the test!

Here is the breakdown for approaching test dates:

SAT

April 14 SAT
Registration for this date has passed; however, if you’re taking that test, good luck! Remember to eat a good breakfast, bring plenty of number two pencils and erasers, and show up early to the testing facility.

May 5th SAT
Registration for this test date is quickly approaching. Regular registration closes on April 6th, and late registration ends on April 20th. Remember, all deadlines expire at midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on the day of the deadline.

June 2nd SAT
Registration for this test closes on May 8th. Late registration is May 22nd.

ACT

April 14th ACT
Registration for this date has passed. Remember if you’re taking the test to arrive early and make sure you remain calm and composed.

June 9th ACT
If you are not ready to take the April 14th test, sign up for the June 9th test. To register without a late fee for the June test, you must register by May 4th at the latest.

Have you taken either test already and received your scores? With the Cappex What Are My Chances (TM) Calculator you can get a handle on what are realistic admissions options for you with those scores and help you narrow down where you should be applying. It is always important to have combinations of safety, realistic and reach schools. Utilizing Cappex along with your guidance counselor is a great way to figure out where you should be applying.

Remember, the results of your SAT/ACT tests are not the end of the world. If you do not do as well as you hoped on your first or second try, you can always take the test again! So do your practice tests, study your vocabulary words, and walk in to the test with confidence and a calm demeanor! RELAX!

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Cool SAT Test Prep Tips!

Taking tests like the ACT and SAT can be very, very stressful. You may feel like your applications are riding on these results. You may have test anxiety in general. Studying for these tests is different than studying for a class final or mid-term because they cover so much information and require you to use a lot of different skills in a short span of time. Here are a few ways to prepare your mind and body for what is probably the most anticipated Saturday morning of your high school career.

Get rest. I know you hear this all the time, but sleep is so good for you! In the weeks leading up to the test, not just the night before, make sure you are sleeping enough each night. It’s hard with homework, applications, extra-cirricular activities, and a social life, but even a nap here and there will add up.

Practice! There are FREE online tests you can take and SAT/ACT practice books you can buy at bookstores. Practice different subjects each day, in addition to taking an entire practice exam as though it were the real deal (time yourself, take a break where noted, etc.). These practice exams really pay off. You’re exercising your brain and training it to jump between subjects quickly. The real test will be much less stressful after the practice ones because it will be familiar.

If you need more incentive to practice the SAT, keep in mind that by registering for and taking the PSAT (Preliminary SAT) you become eligible for the National Merit Scholarship, just by practicing for your SAT! Cool!

ACT or SAT? Make sure you know which test scores your top schools want from you. Some schools require the ACT while others require the SAT or SAT II. The SAT II is a more specialized test offered in a variety of subjects.

Register in time! The SAT is offered several times a year and the deadline is usually about 30 days in advance. Check the SAT College Board Homepage for more information on how to register.

Whatever you do, don’t cheat on an exam. That would be stupid. A large cheating scandal that broke last fall in New York City ended with 20 students being arrested (Goodbye, colleges that accepted me!) and new security measures for students taking the SAT (Hello, multiple forms of photo identification!). Steer clear of cheating, and you’ll do great.

Good luck!

Want to get matched to your college and scholarship fits? Make your Cappex profile!

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