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College admission tests enjoying nation-wide acceptance

College admission is not always predicated on high school transcripts alone or community service or student activity records. While high school students pad their grades and service hours, many juniors and seniors will have to sign up and take entrance exams and college admission and placement examinations.

The SAT I (formally the Scholastic Aptitude Test), measures verbal and math reasoning abilities students have developed throughout their school years since it was introduced in 1941 and over 2 million took the test last year.

“According to the CollegeBoard.com, the test looks for a student’s ability to understand and analyze written material, to draw inferences, to differentiate shades of meaning, to draw conclusions and solve math problems — all skills that are necessary for success in college and the work world.” (people.howstuffworks.com/sat.htm)

Before students take the SAT many try their hand at the PSAT. The PSAT is similar to the SAT, except that it is a hour and a half shorter and includes a grammar section that is absent from the SAT. The PSAT is offered twice each year, usually in the fall. PSATs are typically taken in the 10th or 11th grade. FC administered the PSAT on campus on Oct. 18.

“I think you should take the PSAT before you take the SAT,” Ashley Chavez, ’08, said. “If you take the PSAT first you will have a sense on what to expect on the SAT.”

The SAT I, ACT (American College Testing assessment) and the SAT II are all multiple-choice tests. Students often take the test more than once to better their previous scores. Traditionally while most schools west of the Mississippi require the SAT and Eastern-based schools preferred the ACT, both tests are enjoying nation-wide acceptance.

“I think students should take the SAT more than once,” John Endicott, associate principal, said. “We need to educate the students. It is also important to take them because they help you get into colleges and it is important to get good scores so students can have a chance to win scholarships to schools they want to attend.”

According to the ACT website, “the ACT is not an aptitude or an IQ test. Instead, the questions on the ACT are directly related to what students have learned in high school courses in English, mathematics, and science. Because the ACT tests are based on what is taught in the high school curriculum, students are generally more comfortable with the ACT than they are with traditional aptitude tests or tests with narrower content.”

“I think the tests are intimidating,” Lindsay Bolduc, ’09, said, “because I want to get a good score and the tests seem hard. I feel very pressured to get a good score because I am depending on these tests to get me a scholarship.”

Generally, the latest one takes the SAT to become eligible for admission in the next academic year is in the fall of the senior year of high school.

“I’m not worried about the SAT,” Daniel Edwards, ’09, said. “I’m not even taking the PSAT. All I am doing to prepare myself is watching TV.”

The ACT Assessment tests are also universally accepted for college admission. Virtually all colleges and universities in the U.S., including all of the Ivy League schools, now accept the ACT Assessment test. In fact, the ACT is the most required exam or preferred test than any other placement test. Over 2.1 million took the ACT in 2005 and is administered by all 50 states since 1960 and costs $43 which includes the extra writing portion.

“I won’t be taking the ACT or the SAT II because I don?t know what it is and I don?t need to take them,” Christine Brenner, ’07, said. “I will be taking the SAT this year.”

It’s very important to register early for the SAT to avoid the deadline rush, since testing sites can fill up quickly and force individuals to take the SAT at a distant testing location. Deadlines are usually about a month or six weeks before the actual test, which costs $41.50 plus an additional $18 for a subject test.

“You should sign up early to take the SAT rather than later,” Joey Logan, ’07, said, “because if you wait to long you could miss it because there is no more room and you would have to wait until the next time it comes to take it.”

There is a new SAT, which is the SAT II. The SAT II is intended to measure a student’s knowledge of a particular subject, such as English, history and social sciences, mathematics, sciences and languages. The ACT Assessment is similar to this test.

“I will be taking the SAT II and the ACT,” Brittany Motte, ’07, said. “I am taking those tests because the colleges I would like to attend prefer me to take those test to get in.”

The SAT I takes just under 4 hours to complete, including the 25 minute essay while the ACT is just over 4 hours but does not include the extra writing portion which adds another 30 minutes.

Both tests are aministered on national test dates including dates in December, February, April and June. Go online to the sites below for specific dates and information on how to register.

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