The standardized tests needed for college can be very stressful. They are important, and they can be very tricky. It’s not that the material is hard, but learning how to take the test can be a challenge. As someone who is a bad test taker, learning these tricks is a must, and I would recommend it to all of you.
Here are the supplies I would recommend you get:
- Books! These prep books can be very helpful when reviewing for the SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests. They teach you little tricks and formulas to help you get through the test efficiently and accurately. GuidedPath offers some of Applerouth’s test prep material.
- Practice Tests! This is probably the most important part of standardized test review. The secret to mastering these tests is knowing exactly what to expect, and becoming adept at how to approach every type of problem. I promise that you will start to see patterns in the questions that are asked on these tests. Practice tests are provided in the review books, and I highly recommend that you take them under the timing constraints that will occur during the actual test. GuidedPath can keep track of your practice test scores to see how they are improving.
- Vocabulary! I know it is tedious, but if you really want to see your reading score get pushed from decent to very good, learn your vocab terms. It will make a huge difference on your score, and also, is just an important skill to have in life. Good vocab = success.
I spent last week cramming for the SAT Subject Tests, and I would not recommend it. These tests take time to understand, and I think it is far more beneficial to do a little at a time. So get started early! If you get a review book, do a chapter or two a week. You will retain more, and the process will be far less stressful. I promise.
Another issue that has been very relevant to me is deciding whether or not to apply Early Decision/Early Action, and if so, where to apply.
GuidedPath is a great resource to help you make this decision. Most importantly, GuidedPath provides all of the information needed to determine which schools offer Early Decision I, Early Decision II, Early Action, etc. This information can be found in several places on Guided Path:
You can find it under the ‘Admissions’ section when you click on any college:
Or, if you would prefer, you can find it on the ‘Applications’ planning tab. This will show a grid form of all of your deadlines:
It is important to get a handle on what each school offers, because there are lots of nuances that you must be aware of. For example, Stanford’s early application is called Restrictive Early Action. Although this is non-binding, you may not apply to any other private institution Early Action or Early Decision. This is different than most early action schools, which do not have restrictions on where you can apply.
Secondly, although not a sure-fire way of finding the perfect schools for you, the College Match Survey seems to be a very good indicator of where you would succeed in college. In my experience, this survey is very accurate, and is able to package all of the individual elements you are seeking in a college. If you haven’t had the chance to visit a school, the Fiske Guide and this survey are two wonderful resources to help you get to know the college better.
Once you have determined when you are going to submit your applications, use the ‘Applications’ tab to keep organized and stay on track! Good luck as you embark on the application process!