Tuesday, April 21, 2020

June SAT Cancelled: How to Adjust

Because of COVID-19, the College Board recently announced the cancellation of the June test. 

Many colleges are responding to this pandemic by adjusting their admission requirements. Submitting a test score, for many schools, is not a requirement for current juniors

So what does that mean for your test preparation plan? Should you just abandon ship altogether? 

Here are five adjustments you can make with these new changes:

1) Stay the Course

Let's face it: with fewer tests scores and weird spring GPAs for many high schools (pass/fail anyone?), colleges will be struggling to find meaningful and measurable data to compare applicants in 2021. Test optional does not mean test blind. So, stay the course, get a good ACT or SAT score on the books, and improve your chances of admission. 

2) Reduce the Stress 

A stress brained does not perform as well as an unstressed brain. So don't stress about the test cancellation. Instead, consider this an opportunity to spend more time getting comfortable with the testing format, the questions, the time allowed and the overall experience. With more experience comes more comfort and less stress. 

3) Register Early

As of today, the ACT test in June is still open for registration. But this is the only test available over the next several months. This means many will rush to register for the fall tests. So register early to avoid the mad dash. 

4) Take More Full-Length Practice Tests

Now that you have more time to prepare for test day, use the time to take more full-length practice tests. In all honesty, the hardest part of my job as a test prep instructor is to have students develop the stamina needed to sit for three or four hours and take a test. With the extra time you have until the fall test dates, schedule full-length practice tests every several weeks. Practice sitting and focusing for long blocks of time so that your brain can remain fresh and focused for the whole time. 

5) Read

Reading is the path to better scores. After all, this is a reading test. For those of you saying, "well, it's a math test too," then I would like to remind you that the math section is mostly reading. Word problems, the ways the questions are worded and answer choices are all set up as reading challenges. You may need math to get the solution, but you need to read to understand the question first. So really, the ACT and SAT are simply reading tests. And to get better at a reading test, read more! 

All in all, despite these new changes to test dates and potentially test formats (the ACT says they will have an online test ready for fall/winter), the message is to stay the course, reduce your stress, register early, take practice tests and read. 

If you need help with any of these, contact CROSSWALK today. CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for test prep and academic tutoring. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

SAT & ACT Not Required for UCs: What That Means for You

Big news: in response to COVID-19, the University of California system just announced adjusted admission requirements for 2021 applicants. Most notably, the SAT and ACT are not required. 

This presents a major opportunity for many families. This decision will reduce the stress around college admissions for many. 

Nevertheless, this doesn't mean the SAT and ACT are going away. First, this is a temporary decision just for 2021 applicants. 

Second, students who still choose to take these tests this summer and fall, assuming that is even possible, may have an opportunity to differentiate themselves from other applicants. After all, with the adjusted admission requirements, colleges will likely want to know how a student spent their time during the stay-at-home order. Students who perform well on the SAT or ACT can show colleges that they spent their time studying, learning and preparing. Evidence of motivation and productivity might be the path towards more admission opportunities in 2021. 

Furthermore, since the test is optional, there is no stress in taking it! As CROSSWALK students know, stress is the enemy of test performance. So remove the stress, and see your score go up!  

With this new landscape, how is CROSSWALK responding? With FREE test prep and a new (free) podcast

Here are the details: 

1) Free Test Prep: 

CROSSWALK continues to offer its six-week test prep program on Monday nights from 6-7:30. It's online. And it's free. Contact Brooke Higgins directly for sign up information at mail@crosswalkeducation.com

2) Free Podcast (English and Spanish available!) 

CROSSWALK and InspirED have taken their partnership to the next level with the "Plan for College Admission" podcast. Find us wherever you get your podcasts or right here. These are crazy times but Brooke and Marisela offer the latest news and changes so you stay informed, prepared and inspired. 

Y para los hispanohablantes, el podcast está disponible en español también. Busca el "Plan para Admisión Universitaria" en tu lugar favorito para podcasts o aquí

Stay connected with CROSSWALK on Facebook, Instagram and on the web. CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for test prep.