|College Entrance Examinations|
Standardized testing for college is an issue that generates many questions and much anxiety. Although test scores are perhaps the last criteria colleges consider in the admissions process, colleges that require standardized tests use them as a means to see how students compare to other college-bound seniors in the country. Most colleges that do use test scores for admissions purposes realize that different students and groups of students have different testing profiles and will take those into account. The institutions that utilize test scores the most are large universities, and there a score might make the difference between an acceptance or denial. Most other colleges, including some of the most selective colleges, accept students with a broad range of scores. An increasing number of colleges make the reporting of test scores optional. To see a list of test optional collegs go to the Fair Test website at http://www.fairtest.org/. The following paragraphs cover testing topics that most often generate questions in students' minds.
College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) & ACT Code
St. Edward High School’s CEEB code is 362875. This number will be needed for all test registration forms and for college applications. If you give this number when requested on forms, your scores will be sent to St. Edward High School. Scores are helpful in predicting admissions to schools.
It is important to know the testing requirements at the colleges to which you apply. It is the student's responsibility to be aware of registration deadlines and in the senior year to have test scores sent directly to colleges from the testing services. This can be done when registering and later by going to the SAT and ACT websites on the internet. Students can also conduct business with SAT or ACT by telephone.
General Testing Sequence for St. Edward Students
The PLAN® program helps 10th graders build a solid foundation for future academic and career success. It is a comprehensive guidance resource that helps students measure their current academic development, explore career/training options, and make plans for the remaining years of high school and post-graduation years. As a "pre-ACT" test, PLAN is a powerful predictor of success on the ACT.
PSAT / NMSQT
The Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is designed to provide SAT practice for students in the fall of junior year. The PSAT is also used to select National Merit semi-finalists and commended students. The National Merit Selection Index (the critical reading score plus the writing score plus the math score) is determined annually for juniors, and the minimum score necessary to receive national recognition varies from year to year and from state to state. You will receive information about this test from English teachers in the fall. After the test, you receive a score report that gives you a detailed picture of exactly how you did on the test, question by question. Counselors and teachers can help you interpret this data.
SAT Reasoning Test
The SAT Reasoning Test is taken either in January, March, May, or June of the junior year and again in the fall of the senior year. You receive scores that range from 200 to 800 on each of three areas: critical reading, mathematics, and writing.
SAT Subject Tests
As a general rule, you should take subject tests by the end of junior year if the colleges you are considering require them and so that you can consider an early application option in the senior year. Consult with your teachers and counselors if you have any questions. Each test is one hour long; you may take up to three tests in one sitting.
The ACT is a battery of subject related tests in English, mathematics, reading and science; students receive a score for each test as well as a composite score that ranges from 1 to 36. When registering for the ACT you have the option of taking it with or without the optional writing component. We recommend that the test be taken with writing. ACT scores are generally comparable to SAT scores, and your college counselor is able to make the correlation for you. This test is given at dates other than the SAT dates. Talk to your college counselor about the advisability of taking this test and for registration information. The ACT is taken in April or June of the junior year and again in the fall of the senior year.
Advanced Placement Program
This program enables high school students to challenge themselves with college level work and, perhaps, achieve college credit and advanced standing when they enroll in college. Scores range from one to five, and each college has its own criteria for granting credit, normally a score of three or better. St. Edward High School offers many specific Advanced Placement courses. The examinations are given in May at the end of an Advanced Placement course. Students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses at St. Edward are required to take the examinations. Discuss the program in more detail with teachers and college counselors.
Test Preparation Programs
At St. Edward High School you are engaged in a rigorous academic program that develops your verbal, mathematical reasoning, and writing abilities that are measured by the SAT and ACT. In addition The College Board and ACT provide free practice materials in printed form and online at their websites. They developed the tests and know what strategies you should have. More extensive books and software for independent preparation are available in libraries, bookstores and online. Generally, the best preparation is to work hard in your academic courses and to do extensive outside reading, including summer reading. One cannot discuss testing without being aware of the variety of test preparation programs for all the different tests. Some students do take test preparation courses and find them helpful. If you plan to take a test preparation course, it should be with a tutor or program that understands and adjusts to your learning style and academic level. It is strongly advised that you do so over the summer and not during the school year. To be effective these courses require a great deal of effort, which could take time away from course work, creating additional stress.
St. Edward students have available to them at no cost online test preparation through Perterson's StudentEdge. To register go to www.mystudentedge.com and enter our access code which is HBVDEZKS.
Remember that the SAT and ACT tests do not pretend to measure motivation, creativity, artistic skills, kindness, decency, sense of humor and other human qualities that many colleges take into account when admitting students. These qualities are much more important than another fifty points on the SAT.