So first off when deciding whether to take the ACT or the SAT, it's important to note that since 2007 every college in the country accepts both the ACT and the SAT exam for admissions.
This means that students no longer have a college-motivated reason to take one exam over the other, but instead should take whichever exam they perform better on.
How do you determine that? Well we'll talk you through that, but first let's take a look at the basic structure of each test:
PHASE 1: ACADEMICS
What classes do I need to take?
That's a really important question, and is based on two factors:
The answer to the first question is dependant upon the state and academic program you are with (if you are homeschooled check out the bottom of this article for a little more advice). We have a list below of the ranges of credit requirements for most states.
The second question is a lot easier. Most colleges have relatively straightforward credit requirements, and pretty much any state's basic graduation requirements would meet the admissions requirements for ~90% of schools. There are some top-tier colleges that are looking for more challenging academic workloads, and there are some specific departments/majors that might want more than the standard number of credits (engineering may prefer students with 4+ science credits, for instance). To find...
Let's talk about a popular subject:
Everyone seems to be doing it. And it sounds amazing: take inexpensive or even free classes at college that meet both your high school and college credit requirements.
Yet in my 12 years as a college prep consultant I have seen many, many families that rushed into signing their teen up for dual enrollment before they had a plan in place, and ended up shocked when they realized the credits weren't all they were hyped up to be when a college wouldn't accept their credits, or just counted them for electives and made the teen take the general studies classes again (boy is that a downer), or even realized too late that their teen wasn't ready for college-level work and was permanently stuck with a low grade on their college transcript.
Dual enrollment is a great tool for specific situations. But it can also way overpromise and underdeliver in other circumstances. So if college credit early is your goal, here...
So I've received multiple questions from individuals who are planning out their course load and trying to determine whether to take Geometry or Algebra 2 after completing Algebra 1. It's an understandable question, so in this article I'll take a look at the arguments for both routes, but the short answer is either way is fine. Now let's take a look at the reasons for each route...
A Short History (and a little about test preparedness)
Parents, chances are pretty good that you took courses in the order of Algebra 1, Geometry, and then Algebra 2. You probably also only had to take 3 math courses in high school, and there was probably very little integration of geometry into your algebra curriculum. Since students were required to take the ACT or SAT (and usually with little to no prep work), it made more sense for students to take geometry before algebra 2 for test purposes so that they had at least seen some geometry before they took the test.
But things have...
College Board made a big announcement in January that they were going to be discontinuing the SAT Subject Tests, discontinuing the optional SAT essay, and also that they were going to continue working towards a digitally delivered version of the SAT.
What does this mean?
Dropped Subject Tests
The SAT Subject Tests were exams over individual subject areas that were used to supplement the primary SAT in the application process. Unlike the AP or CLEP tests, the SAT Subject Tests did not offer the possibility of earning students college credit.
The reality is fewer colleges have been requiring/recommending the SAT Subject tests anyways, with the ones who have been using the tests primarily being top-tier schools. So for most schools, this part of the announcement will not matter. College Board made this as a business decision, reflecting the fact that the demand for these tests was no longer there (amplified all the more by the COVID challenges to testing availability).
One of my recommendations if you decide to attempt credit by examination (using AP or CLEP tests) is to get a prep book (or online resource) and work through the book while completing your related high school subject.
With it being January and the start of a new semester, it's a great time to start preparing for the tests.
I won't get into the details about the AP & CLEP here, but rather want to point you to some awesome resources to help you be ready!
NOTE: though there are definite differences in the exam formats, resources to help you prepare for the AP can typically be used to prep for the CLEP and vice versa.
Math. The sheer word can strike terror in the hearts of parents and students alike. I’ve been tutoring math for 13 years, and the number of technology tools to help students learn math has grown exponentially. For those times when you need some extra support, here is my top collection of resources for more practice and help (I am not paid for any of these recommendations):
Sometimes all that’s needed is some extra practice. Here are some websites that can allow you to create or locate free worksheets:
Free, pre-created worksheets for every primary concept pre-algebra through calculus.
While not as extensive as Kuta Software, Math-Drills still has a robust number of math worksheets available.
IMPORTANT: The deadline to apply for the Tennessee Promise Scholarship is TODAY November 2 (11/2/2020)! You can apply online here.
Okay, so I'm just going to say, if you don't live in Tennessee, this post isn't for you.
Talk to you later!
But...if you do (like myself) live in the great state of Tennessee, keep reading...
I received a question last week asking "what is the difference between the Tennessee Hope Scholarship and the Tennessee Promise?"
While the TN websites for each are fairly straightforward, there really isn't that much that concisely deals with what the difference is between the two, so I wanted to address that here.
SHORT ANSWER: The Tennessee Hope Scholarship is a 4-year scholarship funded by the state lottery that can be applied to any college/university in Tennessee.
The Tennessee Promise...
Want my FREE 10-Page ACT Prep Guide? Visit here to download, and you can learn more about my Online ACT Prep Course here (with both 4 and 16 week study plans, and access to both Magoosh and Study.com's ACT Prep Courses!).
One of my ACT students emailed me asking "Should I sign up for Test Information Release (also referred to as TIR)?" so I wanted to address that issue and talk about choosing your test dates.
Test Schedule Overview
The ACT is typically offered 7 times a year: September, October, December, February, April, June and July.
You can take the ACT multiple times, and should plan on taking the exam 3-4 times to reach your target score (and prepping for each of those dates!). So with that in mind, let's break down some considerations:
When To Take Your First Test
Your first test should typically be during either your Junior year (or your Sophomore year if you...
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