We’ve got more information to report on the forthcoming SAT redesign. Apparently, the SAT redesign will, according to “The Washington Post,” be “an ambition effort” aimed “to better meet the needs of students and schools.” Within the last decade, the writing section was added to the SAT and the formatting of a number of questions was changed. And now, here comes another revamp from The College Board, owners of the SAT exam. So what exactly do we know about the redesign? Well, in an email to members of The College Board, the following was stated, as quoted by “The Washington Post”:
“In the months ahead, the College Board will begin an effort in collaboration with its membership to redesign the SAT® so that it better meets the needs of students, schools, and colleges at all levels. We will develop an assessment that mirrors the work that students will do in college so that they will practice the work they need to do to complete college. An improved SAT will strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career. This is an ambitious endeavor, and one that will only succeed with the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the strong coordination of our councils and committees, and the full engagement of our membership.”
The goal with the SAT redesign is to increase the value of the exam to high school students, higher education professionals (i.e. college admissions officers, professors), and K-12 educators. What do you think about what The College Board is saying? What changes do you foresee for the SAT? Let us know your thoughts by posting below! Lastly, The Ivy Coach offers fantastic SAT tutoring. Fill out a consult form to inquire more about our tutoring services.Categories: SAT / ACT Prep, Standardized Testing Tags: Changes to the SAT Exam, Changes to the SAT Test, SAT Change, SAT Changes, SAT Redesign
There will be changes forthcoming to the SAT. We don’t yet know what exactly on the test is going to change and we don’t exactly know when these changes will take effect. But the College Board’s new president, David Coleman, alluded to these changes down the line upon taking his position. In a letter to members of The College Board sent recently, Mr. Coleman wrote as referenced in a piece by Tanya Abrams on “The New York Times’” “The Choice” blog, “We will develop an assessment that mirrors the work that students will do in college so that they will practice the work they need to do to complete college…An improved SAT will strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career.”
In his letter to members of The College Board, Mr. Coleman did not cite specifics. But citing source material could be a forthcoming change on the reading portion of the SAT, suggests Tanya Abrams. And maybe students won’t have to study so many vocabulary words prior to taking the exam in the future. That change, too, is a possibility. Mr. Coleman nonetheless expressed that the SAT is still the best overall standardized test out there (distancing the test from its competitor — the ACT). But we suspect his remarks are a sign that changes to the SAT are not far away.
What parts of the SAT do you think The College Board should adjust? Do you think the SAT is a fair exam? If not, why not? Do you think students should have to study so many vocabulary words prior to taking the test? We’re curious to hear your thoughts on the matter so post a comment below! And, don’t forget, The Ivy Coach offers SAT tutoring to students around the world.Categories: SAT / ACT Prep, Standardized Testing Tags: Changes to SAT Test, Changes to the SAT, SAT Changes, SAT Exam Changes, SAT Test Changes
There’s an article in “The Duke Chronicle” that discusses how certain colleges — DePaul University, Oregon State University, and Eastern Washington University are using “noncognitive measures” to evaluate college applicants. According to the article, “Noncognitive measurements have risen in popularity in recent years as a way to evaluate applicants. These measurements provide an alternative way to assess students, eschewing traditional ‘cognitive’ factors, such as high school GPA and SAT scores, in favor of intangibles such as integrity and communication skills.” Duke’s always witty Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Christoph Guttentag, said that Duke has no plans to use such measures in the future.
Guttentag goes on to say that Duke actually doesn’t just use cognitive measures to admit students. SAT scores and grades aren’t the only factors in admissions. One’s college essays, college interview, letters of recommendation, etc. are all non-quantifiable measures. So just because Duke isn’t using, say, “The Personal Potential Index,” one of these noncognitive tests developed by ETS, that doesn’t mean they aren’t factoring in noncognitive measures like “communication skills, ethics and integrity, knowledge and creativity, planning and organization, teamwork and resilience.” Much of that, without question, can indeed come across in those essays, in that interview, and in those letters of recommendation!
And that’s why college essays, interviews, letters of recommendation, and the host of other “noncognitive” measures matter a great deal in the highly selective college admissions process! And highly selective colleges like Duke have no plans to change the admissions process going forward. Do you think Duke applicants should have to take “The Personal Potential Index?” Let us know your thoughts on the matter by posting below!Categories: College Admissions, Standardized Testing Tags: Applicants to Duke, Duke Admissions Requirements, Duke Applicants, Duke Application, Duke University Application
We’ve been writing quite a bit about AP testing of late. To briefly sum up what we think about AP testing, we advise our students at The Ivy Coach to take as many AP tests as possible. We advise them to take AP tests in subjects that their high schools don’t even offer and, through our AP test tutoring, our students quite often excel on these tests. It shows college admissions officers at highly selective colleges that our students are naturally gifted and love learning new disciplines — even if their school doesn’t offer courses in these disciplines. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t see major flaws with AP testing. Do we believe that colleges will stop offering credit for AP tests? Yes.
Dartmouth College now officially does not accept any AP test score as the equivalent of college credit. Why? Because they don’t think AP courses are the equivalent of a college-level course. And neither do we. In your high school AP course, do you have to write a twenty-page paper and a couple of ten-pagers? Likely not — because students are too busy studying for the AP exam. Well, many college courses mandate that students write 10 and 20-page papers. So how exactly is this all equivalent? And this is just one example…since we’re summing up our beliefs on the subject.
Anyhow, according to an “ABC News” article, “Dartmouth’s decision comes at a time of rapid growth for Advanced Placement. Some 2 million students took 3.7 million AP tests last spring, figures that have more than doubled in the last decade. In 2011, 18 percent of U.S. high school graduates passed at least one AP exams (by scoring at least a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5), up from 11 percent a decade ago. But the program also has faced criticism that its growing popularity has resulted in watered down courses.” The article by Holly Ramer goes on to say, “Rather than award credit for an introductory course to incoming students who got the highest score on the AP test, the department gave those students a condensed version of the Dartmouth course’s final exam. Ninety percent failed, Tell said. And when those students went on to take the introductory class, they performed no better than those who did not have the high AP test scores.” Well, that just says it all — doesn’t it?
High school courses just aren’t as rigorous as college courses. If you attend a school like Dartmouth, you’re surrounded by smart students. You’re likely not surrounded entirely by smart students in your AP class in high school. There are likely students who won’t be able to get into Ivy League colleges in your AP course in high school. To stand out in a classroom of an Ivy League school, you’ve genuinely got to be exceptional. Such is not the case in high school. It just isn’t. It’s fantastic that some students get to save money towards their college tuition by getting credit for AP courses. But many students don’t save money towards their college tuition through AP courses. Many just get placed into higher level courses (since the AP test gets them out of taking the introductory course). So it can be even harder for students in the end. We’re not saying that the AP program is terrible. We’re just saying that it has some significant flaws that we’ve only touched upon here.Categories: Standardized Testing Tags: Advanced Placement Tests, AP Testing, AP Tests, Prep for AP Exams, Prep for AP Tests
Are you a student trying to decide between ACT testing and SAT testing? If you are, here are the Top 10 Reasons To Take the ACT. We’ll be following this post up with a Top 10 Reasons to Take the SAT. And, remember, The Ivy Coach offers fantastic tutoring for the ACT to students around the world.
10. Take the ACT if you have a strong short-term memory.
9. Take the ACT if you like science.
8. Take the ACT is you don’t do well on sentence completions. The Reading section of the ACT is straightforward – there’s no sentence completion
7. Take the ACT if you cannot (or have no time to) memorize thousands of vocabulary words.
6. Take the ACT if you prefer 4 answer choices instead of 5 answer choices. On all subtests of the ACT, there are only 4 multiple choice answers.
5. Take the ACT if you don’t want to lose points for guessing and getting wrong answers.
4. Take the ACT if you want to avoid taking SAT Subject Tests. Many colleges will accept the ACT in lieu of SAT Subject Tests.
3. Take the ACT if you like easier questions. The easy questions are easier on the ACT than on the SAT.
2. Take the ACT if you do well on classroom exams but don’t do well on standardized tests.
1. Take the ACT if you have to study hard to get good grades.Categories: SAT / ACT Prep, Standardized Testing Tags: ACT Prep, ACT Test, ACT Testing, Prep for the ACT, Prepping for the ACT
At The Ivy Coach, we offer SAT test prep with dynamic tutors who help prepare students around the world for this all-important exam. If you’re a student trying to decide between taking the ACT or the SAT, we’ve posted reasons to take the SAT below. The ACT is better for some students and not others. The same is true of the SAT. It’s all about the right fit. So here are our Top 10 Reasons to Take the SAT:
10. Take the SAT if you did well on the PSAT.
9. Take the SAT if you’re a strong reader.
8. Take the SAT if you don’t have a strong memory.
7. Take the SAT if you like test strategies (i.e., universals are 90% wrong).
6. Take the SAT if you’re a slow test-taker. The ACT is a much faster exam than the SAT. On the SAT, there’s more time to do more questions.
5. Take the SAT if you’re at a lower level of math. The ACT has questions on trigonometry. There’s no trigonometry on the SAT.
4. Take the SAT if you have not yet taken geometry.
3. Take the SAT if you’re not so great in math but like figuring out problems.
2. Take the SAT if you don’t have to study very hard to get good grades.
1. Take the SAT if you’ve always done well on standardized exams.Categories: SAT / ACT Prep, Standardized Testing Tags: Prep for the SAT, Reasons for Taking SAT, Reasons to Take the SAT, SAT Test Prep, SAT vs ACT
TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language, a test that our tutors at The Ivy Coach help students around the world interested in applying to U.S. universities prepare for. Our TOEFL prep is for students who attend school in another country in which instruction at that school is in a non-English language. The TOEFL is a four-hour exam measuring reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.
The reading section of the TOEFL exam consists of 36-56 questions over the span of 60-80 minutes. Students read three or four questions from academic texts and then answer questions regarding these texts. The listening section of the TOEFL consists of 34-51 questions over the span of 60-90 minutes. In this section, students listen to conversations, classroom discussions, and lectures. They then answer questions related to what they heard.
The speaking section of the TOEFL consists of 6 tasks over 20 minutes. In this section, students “express an opinion on a familiar topic l speak based on reading and listening skills,” as referenced by ETS. The writing section of the TOEFL consists of 2 tasks over the span of 50 minutes. Students have to support an opinion through writing and formulate essay responses based on reading and listening tasks.
And how do you take the TOEFL? You can take it over the Internet! Have questions on the TOEFL? Our TOEFL tutors can answer them. Post your questions below.Categories: Standardized Testing Tags: Prepare for the TOEFL, Study for the TOEFL, TOEFL Prep, TOEFL Preparation, TOEFL Studying
We’ve been pretty critical of The College Board this year (remember the SAT that was going to be offered to students at Amherst College?). But this post isn’t about that SAT administration. It’s about getting to know your high school guidance counselor and how important it is to establish a relationship with him/her early on.
Jennifer Karan, the Executive Director of the SAT Program at The College Board, wrote a great article about how high school freshmen can take a more proactive approach with their education by planning towards college early. She suggests getting to know your guidance counselor right at the beginning of your high school career (always great advice). Your guidance counselor can help shape your course selection and discuss with you your extracurricular interests and activities. While high school guidance counselors are often overwhelmed (check out our infographic for some statistics on this), the more you get to know your guidance counselor, the more help he or she can be to you as you go about trying to get into a highly selective college. Developing that relationship is important (and don’t forget that your guidance counselor has to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf that is sent to all colleges to which you apply).
Have a question about The College Board’s SAT program? Post it below and we’ll get you answers. Interested in SAT tutoring? The Ivy Coach offers SAT tutoring to students around the world with the best instructors you’ll find.Categories: SAT / ACT Prep, Standardized Testing, Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: College Board, College Board Program, College Board SAT Program, SAT Program The College Board, The College Board
Our Founder, Bev Taylor, wrote a controversial “Huffington Piece” article a couple of months ago about how AP tests are a bit of a scam. She told the story of how her son, who had already been admitted to the Ivy League school of his dreams, chose to doodle on his AP Calculus exam. Why? Because the college he was matriculating to didn’t have a hard math requirement and he didn’t have a shot at getting a ’5′ anyway. One person (“SteveinLA”) wrote in the comments section to the article: “Your son had the opportunity to demonstrate that he had some competency at mathematics…and he chose not to. That tells me much about his character. Your anecdotal story emphasizes the need for teachers of AP courses to be strict regarding their grading policies, as we look like fools when the student receives an A in the class and scores a 1 on the exam. But, that’s what happens when students have no pride, grades are due May 31st and the AP exam scores come out in July.”
We happen to think that “SteveinLA’s” comment is rather foolish. Bev’s son’s pride is not linked to a score he got on a meaningless test that had no chance of impacting his future. There was zero point in his having to take the test since his school didn’t have a hard math requirement and it wouldn’t impact his AP Calculus grade. The AP program is built on the foundation that students (and their parents) can save money towards college degrees by receiving credit in high school for AP courses. Well, “SteveinLA,” what do you have to say of Dartmouth College’s decision to eliminate AP scores counting towards college credit? Does this contradict all that you believe about the AP program?
According to “The Dartmouth,” “The College’s new policy to stop accepting pre-matriculation credits for incoming students may impact students who wish to save on tuition by graduating early. The change, voted upon by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on Nov. 12, will take effect beginning with the Class of 2018, according to Registrar Meredith Braz.” We apologize, “SteveinLA,” if this is a blow to your pride. High school coursework has no business in the same sentence as college coursework. And more and more colleges will stop accepting AP credits in the future.Categories: Ivy League, Standardized Testing Tags: AP Exam, AP Exams, AP Test, AP Testing, AP Tests
At The Ivy Coach, we don’t work with parents of prospective kindergartners interested in gaining admission to selective kindergartens (though we do recommend Stephanie Sigal for ERB prep). Yes, if you live outside of Manhattan, you read the above sentence correctly. For Manhattanites, parents stress out about getting their kids into the very best kindgergartens. And we think it’s a little bit silly. But we do understand that getting into the right kindergarten is important to getting into the right elementary school. And we understand that getting into the right elementary school is important to getting into the right middle school and subsequently the right high school and — wait for it — college. We know it sounds ridiculous but your sixth grade math grades do matter as you seek to get into the advanced math course at your school. The advanced math students don’t become advanced math students by luck overnight.
Many parents in Manhattan still believe that highly selective colleges recruit more out of schools like Exeter and Andover than they do out of public schools. Was this the case a long time ago? Yes. It absolutely was. Is it the case now? No. Ivy League colleges seek out public school students. They want public school students and their admissions statistics entirely reflect this shift from generations past. So Manhattan parents, know that your child doesn’t have to go to Dalton to get into Dartmouth — no matter what the Dalton admissions officer tells you.
If your child getting into the best kindergarten matters, then by all means do what you think is best to try to get them in. Stephanie Sigal is excellent for ERB test prep in Manhattan (the ERB is the admission test for kindergarten). But if you think these parents are a bit too stressed and obsessed, then you have our assurance that it’s ok to relax and live a little. You can still get into a great college without even going to kindergarten whether or not the Dalton admissions officer says as much.Categories: Admissions Process, Standardized Testing Tags: ERB Kindergarten Prep, ERB Prep, ERB Preparation, ERB Test Prep, ERB Testing Prep