Standardized Testing for American College Applications

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Standardized testing is a component of a student’s application that some universities use to properly compare applicants from vastly different high school settings and socioeconomic backgrounds. Virtually all standardized tests, including the well-known SAT and ACT tests, aim to capture a student’s aptitude. Other tests may be more specific in purpose – for example, the IELTS and TOEFL aim to assess one’s English-language abilities, and the SAT subject tests assess one’s mastery in particular areas such as chemistry or history. As test-taking will be a reality for most students intending to apply to American colleges, the attached FAQ will attempt to explain everything you need to know about the SAT and ACT!

If you’ve decided you need to take ACT or SAT, you need to know that SMUS offers both in-person and online preparatory resources for the SAT and ACT.

In-person prep courses are offered through the SMUS Education Extension and taught by trained Princeton Review staff on our campus. These comprehensive courses give students a solid overview of all content, teach exclusive strategies to tackle each section, and ensure students are confident and well-prepare with extensive in-class practice. Lessons take place after school and on the weekend, and will offer students the chance to write timed full-length practice tests as part of the prep course. There is also an option for students to take only the four full-length supervised practice tests and not the accompanying lessons.

The SAT prep course began in late February to prepare students specifically for the new SAT exam in May; late registration is still possible (SAT course schedule Spring 2016). The ACT prep course begins on April 9 to prepare students for the June exam; ACT course schedule Spring 2016.

There is also a variety of online and print materials, including practice tests, that students can access or purchase to help them study for either test. The Collegeboard, which administers the SAT, allows students to link their accounts to Khan Academy where they can access free online tutorials. In addition, Princeton Review, Kaplans, PowerScore, 4Tests, Spark Notes, and PrepScholar all have free online resources and practice tests that students can access, and study books by many of these publishers are available for purchase.

Though all the information around US college admissions can at times feel overwhelming and unnavigable, the university counselors are always here to answer questions and talk about the best plan of action for your son or daughter. Don’t hesitate to email, call or drop in for a visit!

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Timio Colistro
Timio Colistro is a University Counsellor at St. Michaels University School.

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