Which Standardized Test Should I Take?

Hear expert advice on how to choose the best standardized test for your college applications.

Date 06/03/2021
Duration 1:00:54

Webinar Transcription

2021-06-03 Which Standardized Test Should I Take?

[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar. Which Standardized Test Should I Take? To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.

Now let’s meet our panelists.

Hi everyone. My name is Maria and I’m a 2020 grad from Harvard. I studied sociology and health policy, and I’m now doing government consulting soon to be moving to DC. Um, but coming to you live from Miami. Um, so for today we’re talking about the different standardized tests. Um, and I just wanted to give a brief intro into some of the standardized tasks that colleges look at.

Um, some might not apply to you, but these are just some of the ones that, um, CollegeAdvisor look at. And [00:01:00] also some that I have taken then that I’ll be speaking about. So the first one is the PSAT’s is just a pre sat. It’s usually you can start taking it from eighth grade, but oftentimes students don’t take it at all, or mostly, well, most students that get 10th and 11th grade, but some students don’t take it at all.

So definitely. If you are about to be a senior in having to get it, like don’t freak out. This is definitely not going to be one of those required tests for college, but it’s something that you can take. Um, there’s also the sat and previously also the sat subject tests, which have now being discontinued.

There’s the act, there’s the tuffle, which is for, um, international students. Usually just approve English language, competency, and the APS. Um, and then, so this site is mostly about just factors that a student should take into consideration when choosing the test, I’ll go more into depth about like which task is more suited for what students, especially when it comes to the sat and act, which even though have [00:02:00] been optional because of COVID are usually required for most schools.

And even if they’re optional, we do, um, highly recommend that students take it. Um, if possible. So, um, something to consider like more broadly is the timing of when you’re going to be taking these tests. So again, like the sat and the act kind of alternating test dates. So one like rough consideration could be, um, just which month actually works best for you.

I know that with COVID things have been thrown around a lot. Some centers may not centers may not even be offering one of the tests. So that’s a consideration also, um, a balance between your high school. Work and your college prep. A lot of students were really stressed out about APS about final exams.

And so, um, a lot of students often do choose to take the test, the sat test that’s going on, uh, this weekend, actually. So just considering your timing about, you know, which month might be a little bit stressful to be preparing for both, um, academic tests from school and also standardized tests, um, in [00:03:00] regards to AP tasks, considering your extracurricular and your academic workload, you know, you don’t want like all your classes to be AP.

If you are in like a club sport or in an orchestra or something that’s really time consuming, you might not want like a ton of APS. Um, also another really important consideration is just, um, your actual interests in some of these APS. A lot of students just feel like they need to check off the box and as many as APS as possible, but oftentimes you don’t actually get to really learn about things that you’re really interested in.

Um, and another consideration would also be, um, if you’re applying, let’s say under the pre-med category for college, you might want to take like some of those science APS, like biology, your psychology, your chemistry, physics, um, some of the standards, but also again, like if you’re interested in like psychology, you could also like take that one.

Just something that shows that you, um, have rigorous coursework and some of these like science, um, Yeah, science courses could be, hopefully if you’re, pre-med [00:04:00] obviously, if your, if your narrative is more, um, like you want to go into like Houston lit, maybe, you know, make sure you take, um, English, language, English, literature, things like that.

Um, also another like broad recommendation is, um, to take the PSAC at least once before senior. Um, I’ll go more into depth about this, but there’s actually a scholarship, um, available for students who place really well on the PSAC, their 11th grade, uh, in 11th grade. So that’s one reason, but another reason is it just gives you really good, um, practice for what it’s like to actually take the test.

Um, I know you can take a lot of practice tests on your own, but being, having to like sit down for an actual standardized test can give you a feel for what it’s like to take the sat. Um, and honestly, I highly recommend taking a lot of practice tests for the sat act and T if you wanted to compete for that scholarship, it’s called the national merit.

Again, I’ll go more into it, but practice tests, I feel like are definitely the best way to study for these because it gives you again real [00:05:00] time, um, kind of like experience for taking those tests. Um, and lastly, once you’ve taken already, like some of these tests, another loss consideration is thinking about whether you hit the score that you really want, or, um, based on the schools that you’re aiming at, if you want to retake some of those tests.

Um, moving on to the PSVT. So this is again, a practice version of the sat exam it’s taken only once per year and usually administered by your, by your high school. And it’s mostly con uh, most commonly taken 10th and 11th grade, but can be taken as early as eighth grade. Um, but only, like I said before, your 11th grade scores can be considered for what’s called the national merit scholarship.

And it’s a really competitive process. Less than the top 1% go to be finalists, go on to be finalists. And so you can score really, really well. And like, definitely don’t feel like if you didn’t get national merit than like that you didn’t play well or that you won’t do even better when you actually take the sat.

Um, the structure of the [00:06:00] PSVT is two hours and 45 minutes long with a maximum score of 1520. And you can notice that’s different from the actual sat max, which is 1600. Um, and it’s broken down very similar to the sat. So there’s, um, a math section, which takes like half of that. So that’s, um, a total of 60 minutes, um, which is twenty-five minutes with no calculator and 45 with calculator.

And then the other portion is split half between the evidence-based reading and half between writing and later. And, uh, the max score for each of those is three 80 and it takes 60 minutes to do the evidence-based reading and 35 minutes to do the writing and language. Um, so it’s just a breakdown. You can find all of those.

Definitely. You look this up online, or if these slides are shared afterwards. Um, so moving on to the next, uh, like big tasks, standardized tests, um, you’ve probably heard of the sat so that one’s actually administered seven times per year in the U S um, and it alternates on like different [00:07:00] months on summer consecutive song, just like skip a couple of weeks.

And then, um, it’s three hours and 15 minutes, uh, and those 15 minutes are, if you’re, if you’re doing the optional essay, um, before it was always three 15. Now that the essay is optional, you could just do the three hour exam. And the highest score is a 69. So the score is split between math, which is 800 and then like, just like the PSVT, all the writing and reading so that, um, so writing, being mostly like grammar, so evidence-based reading and writing.

Um, and so this gives you, this life gives you a little bit more of a breakdown of what it tasks. So for math, it would test like algebra problem solving data analysis and advanced math. And then for what we call EBR w right. Um, evidence-based reading and writing, um, it tests more like actually understanding complex passages, identifying words in context, uh, grammar and argument building, and then essays optional.

Um, and some schools do [00:08:00] require it. I think, again, for COVID most schools, most schools are saying it’s optional. So I would say just before you actually sign up for the task, make sure that the schools you’re interested in, um, or in saying that it’s required, if you’re not going to take the same. Um, moving on to the act.

Um, it’s an also administered seven times per year in the us, um, that one’s a little bit shorter. It’s three hours and 35 minutes. And the highest score is a 36 that one’s also scored a little bit differently. It’s still split between English, math, and reading, but it also adds a science component. And the way it’s, um, calculated is not like before where like each section actually takes like a numeric value.

It’s you get a score from one to 36 in each of those sections. And then you average the four, um, scores, um, to get like your final composite score. Um, the English is 75 questions and it takes 45 minutes and it tasks it’s very similar again to, um, the, the English and the reading portion is very similar to [00:09:00] the AB or w from the sat.

The math is 60 questions in 60 minutes and tasks, a little bit more, a test pre-algebra elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, uh, coordinate geometry, plain geometry and trigonometry. So just as you’re deciding, like which tasks you should take, make sure that you take practices. And then you look at the actual, um, like coursework that you should be preparing for so that you don’t get to the test and like, assume that you’re going to see the same math that you’re going to see that you would have seen in the sat.

Um, for the science. This is the one that’s completely different from the essay. So there’s 40 questions that you have 35 minutes to answer, and it tests, interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem solving. Um, but I can tell you, like, it definitely there’s like a lot of charts. Um, it asks you like, even like being acquainted with like the scientific process and like, um, knowing having more of an analytical mind in like the stem field definitely really helps with this [00:10:00] test.

Um, and just like the sat, the writing portion is optional and it’s a 40 minute essay. So a lot of students have this question, which is, you know, which should you take the sat or the act. And there’s a lot of considerations. I think, again, this gets circulated afterwards. You can definitely take a longer look at the chart, but something that’s really important is what are your strengths, right?

If you. Are really good at science and have been, are good at like analyzing graphs and data. Um, maybe the sat is better for you if you, um, maybe are not as like, if you’re stronger in math, actually some people said the sat might be better because there’s a section where you don’t need a calculator and there’s a section where you need a calculator.

Um, so that might be something that you’re interested in for the sat. Um, just looking at what topics you’ve covered in school. That’s another really big one, but to tell you the truth, like I, so I studied for the sat for a pretty long time. Cause I thought it was the [00:11:00] only one I was going to take and I ended up just taking the ACE S E the act just in case, um, after my sat and all I had to study for was like the science.

It was very, very similar. Um, that might’ve been because I had taken already like taken algebra, um, and I had two. Um, a couple other like math courses, but definitely looking into the practice tasks to give you a gauge about which one’s best. Um, I think there’s also like a very minimally, like, like a very small difference between the price that you pay for each test.

One is like maybe like less than $10. I think the difference is less than $10, but I know one of them is cheaper than the other, um, if that’s a consideration as well. Um, but moving on, um, there’s a pull here that I think Hannah’s going to submit and it’s what standardized tests are you planning to take?[00:12:00]

And Hannah feel free to let me know when you think is a good time to move on. Yeah, we’re getting a lots of people are saying the sat. Um, we have 28 people saying sat, eight people saying, act seven on the sat. And then a few are saying, um, AP exams and the international exam. And yeah, I think we’re, uh, if anyone else would like to submit, please do, and then I’ll close the poll in a second.

That was good. Thank you. Okay. Sounds good. Closing it now. Awesome. So, um, next up is a little bit more about the way I kind of thought about standardized tests and how to take them. So I did end up taking the PSVT. I took [00:13:00] it four times, but really like, I didn’t know what I was doing at all. It was just part of like being in school.

So I took it, um, eighth grade, my, my middle school offered it and the ninth, 10th and 11th, it was just kind of expected. In a random day in the school year, everyone would go and take a test. And no one that I knew even like studied for it. And then 10th grade, I actually like met someone who was like, oh, you know, like this could actually like help you to get a scholarship in 11th grade.

So after I took it, my 10th grade, I like was like, okay, maybe I should study a little bit for like 11th grade. Um, and so definitely again, don’t feel I didn’t get national merit scholarship. Like I know tons of people who didn’t and like, you know, I was admitted to Harvard and like, I know a lot of other students at Harvard who like didn’t get national merit or who didn’t even take the PSVT.

So I’m just saying this to make sure that like, if you’ve taken it like fantastic, like I hope you did really well. I hope they give you a lot of like, prep that you hopefully scored well enough to get on national merit. But if you’re the other who like hasn’t taken it, definitely [00:14:00] don’t freak out about this.

Um, I took the sat twice, so I took them on like consecutively. I took the first one and it felt like I could do better. So I studied more. And then I did the, did it a second time. And then I think a month or two afterwards? No, like two or three months afterwards, I studied, um, between the time I studied for the science portion and did the act, um, and again, like a lot of people feel like very stressed out about these tasks.

I like, on the day I took my act, I realized I had registered for the wrong school. So I showed up to the wrong school and it was like miles away from the actual place I was supposed to take it. So like, I had to like speed there and like, I was super stressed out and everything. And like, they really like the people administering the tests, usually like really know how stressed out you can be and like will really make it as comfortable as possible.

Um, so again, if you’re out there and like, I feel like you’re really stressed and you’re like one of those people who like get there super early. [00:15:00] Just like take a dip, like a deep breath and like, remember like there’s tons of people out there who are feeling just like you and like, you’re going to do great.

Like, just make sure you take like practice tests before. Um, so definitely don’t stress too much about this. It’s also just one of the many considerations to going and being admitted to college. So, um, yeah, again, just want to take a brief point here to make sure that, you know, like this is very one of the, one of the many considerations.

Um, and then the last thing is I took AP exams. Um, so I took 90 P exams throughout like high school. Um, so that’s a little bit of like my process with that. Um, the preparation that I took is my high school provided some online prep courses. Um, so I took those and then I just took a ton of practice tests.

I didn’t have a tutor or anything. I just decided. You know, if I take enough practice tests, I’ll get used to like the type of questions that are being asked. And again, that’s why I think it’s definitely the best way to study. It’s you just, I saw so [00:16:00] many repeated questions. Like there’s only so many questions that the sat can link, give students before they start recycling them.

And so it might be different numbers, but it’s very similar strategies. So really helpful to just take the practice test in sections. It’s really helpful to take a full test as well, because sometimes it’s like really stressful too. Um, or it’s really stressful to take like a whole test and students like shy away from that.

But then you realize like, you know, it’s helpful to know, like, what is your time management look like? Do you get burnt out after like two or three sections? Um, so that’s helpful. And then something else that I would recommend is if you’re planning to take it. Like in paper, uh, like a sit down with paper exam and you’re studying online.

Like, make sure you take at least one or two, like practice us on paper. Because the first time I took the sat, one of the reasons I decided to retake it is one of the sections that I took. I hadn’t done a paper version at all, and I accidentally like bubbled in, in the wrong section. And it took time and [00:17:00] like stressed me out to have to like erase some of the bubbles during a section.

Um, so I would definitely say like, make sure you take like a paper exam if you’re going to take it in person. Um, uh, what else? Oh, I also took the sat consecutively, like I mentioned, and I took the act practice tests and sections, um, in order to take the act and I just took the act ones. Um, so that was what the process looked like for me.

Um, so this comes back to an earlier point, like how important are standardized tests in a college application? So I would say they’re very important and that. A lot of schools do look at this as just like a standard of like, okay, you know, what college experiences, like, how, I mean, what high school experiences have you had?

Have you learned some of these basic, like math, grammar, writing, reading, like different things that, um, they expect you to be competent at, but it’s not the most defining part of your application. Like a lot of students did much better than I did [00:18:00] in their standardized tests. Like I did not score, I didn’t have a perfect score on my sat or my AC.

And I was able to get into like some very tough schools that other people who had higher scores than I did not get into. And students who had lower scores than me also got into some of these schools. So again, it’s one of many considerations, um, including your essay, including your extracurriculars. Um, so definitely don’t stress out about this and leave other things happening.

Um, so the way, um, I’ve heard like a lot of admissions officers describe this specifically at Harvard is, um, some of these standardized scores, your GPA, your academic record helps to get you on the bubble. And then there’s like a bubble of consideration. And then there’s things that tip you in including like, again, like a really great essay, um, that just shows like you would bring like great perspective to campus.

That could be something that bumps you out of the bubble and into like the acceptance. Um, something else can be like, if [00:19:00] you are really talented athlete and like are getting recommendations from the coaches, that’s something else that can tip you on. So there’s lots of different things that can tip you in, but a lot of these academic, um, I guess like standards is what helps you to get on that bubble of consideration.

Um, also it’s important for you as well as the admissions officer, because it gives both you and the admissions officer, an idea of your academic rigor. Like if you’re scoring like really, really badly on like math, maybe it gives you on like a PSA to your, on a test. It gives you an idea of like, okay, like maybe math is not my strong suit.

Like maybe it’s something I need to, if I want to do something that requires math, like I need to work harder on it. Maybe helps points you to like a career choice or like a major choice, like which major you’re going to, you’re going to, um, do in college. And so it’s really helpful, but it’s also not like super definitive, like admissions officers know.

There’s plenty of really talented students who are just [00:20:00] not good test takers. And so, um, that’s something that like all admissions officers know and like, just know that that’s also going to be something that they consider. Um, and so what advice would you give to someone looking to find the right test and Excel?

Um, I would definitely say, like, I think I’ve mentioned this before, like take a ton of practice test, um, look at the comparison chart that, um, is one in one of these slides that just says like sat versus act and that’s another really helpful tool. Um, and then just be really realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.

Like make sure if like, you know, if science is not your strong suit, don’t take the act unless you’ve like really studied. And you feel confident about that if, you know, taking like a. Kind of like, if you are not very strong with like non calculator math, like don’t take the act unless you’ve practiced that and feel confident with that.

So I think that that’s [00:21:00] something that should be on your mind. And again, I’ll just reiterate, take as many practices as you can.

And then this is another poll and it’s where are you in the application process? So again, I’ll just, um, defer to you, Hannah, as when you think it’s a good time to,

okay. We’re seeing some answers come in. Um, it seems like the majority of people are researching schools. Um, some people haven’t started yet, which is totally fine. This is a, um, it’s a good time of year to start. To be at places like the sweater and start thinking about stuff. Uh, yeah. 27 people are researching schools.

Three people are working on their essays and three people are getting their application materials together.

Okay. I think, uh, looks like answers are [00:22:00] slowing down. So I think we can close the poll in a moment if anyone else wants to, um, wants to answer and then we can move on

Okay. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and you can remember, you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving onto the live Q and a. I will read through the questions you submitted in the Q and a. Paste them in the public chat.

So you can see and then read them out loud before a panelist gives you an answer as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. Okay. So our first [00:23:00] question is, um, what sat slash act scores are required to attend Ivy league universities?

Yeah. So this might be a very unsatisfying answer in that. Like, even when I looked that up, most of these top schools, Ivy leagues don’t actually give any numerical, like, answer for that. Like they do say like, you know, they want like really good scores, but they have very blanket statements. Like, and I’m even looking at like, you know what Harvard says about like the SATs, like, you might find something on like Friday or Cora or something in a non, like, not the actual, like universities, um, websites.

Uh, that says like a specific score, I would say, like, you want to be as competitive as possible if I’m giving you again, because this is an unsatisfactory answer I can give you like maybe a target score to look at, which would be helpful. But I just want to reiterate, like, this is like my own personal, like, like thought on what a good, [00:24:00] um, again, like a score that you could shoot for, but definitely not something that’s like, if you don’t get this, like you’re not going to get in.

That’s definitely not the case. Universities make that very, very clear on their websites. But I would say like, for an act, like, shoot for like in the range of like, you know, above a 31 or 32, like if you’re looking at again, like the top, top schools, like Ivy league schools, like yeah. Do like 31 32 is like, you know, that that’s like pretty solid score.

Um, For the sat, like if, obviously like getting a 1600 is extremely like rare and like very, very hard, I would say like, shoot for something like no 1540 ish, like 15, like something in that range, like 15, 40, 15, 50, like we’ll again, like just be a good score. Um, it definitely, there’s plenty of schools that are not like Ivy league.

Like [00:25:00] that will also take a lot of other different scores, even like the Ivy leagues will take different scores. I’m just saying if you’re looking for a number to shoot at, um, to shoot for. Sorry. Um, it that’s definitely, those are two that I would recommend.

Okay. Our next question is what about IB exams? Yeah, so to be perfectly honest, I did AB only in middle school, so I am not very familiar with IB and high school. Um, I’m not sure when, when I looked, so I looked at my admissions page, my admissions file when I got into Harvard, once I actually, like, I think it was my sophomore year of college and there was no mention of my middle school.

I’d be that like makes a lot of sense. Um, so I don’t know about high school. Um, I’m sure that that’s looked at with a lot of rigor, a also bumps up your like GPA. Um, but I’m assuming that it follows the same line as like, you know, with AP exams, [00:26:00] you are shooting for like a four and a five. Um, I don’t know what the equivalent would be for like an IB test, but I would say definitely shoot for like, trying to do as well as possible.

But I, uh, I can’t give you like an actual, like, um, informed answer on like a score, but I’m sure something that I can say is I’m sure that they do look at your IB scores in your IB classes. Um, and the fact that you’re taking IB is definitely seen as like a prestigious.

Okay, our next question is in an AP exam, we will be provided formulas to assist in our efforts. Would that be the same for these standardized tests? I assume this person means the act and sat. Yeah. Um, as far as I know you don’t, um, I didn’t, so I knew that they changed the sat. Um, Hannah, if you want to chime in on this, but as far as I know you don’t, or that was in the case when I took the sat or the act.

I don’t know if that’s changed since, but I don’t think so. [00:27:00] Yeah. I, I think you’re right. Okay. Um, okay. Our next question is. Um, should we be taking the sat slash act in junior or senior year? Yeah. So I definitely recommend taking it your junior year again, if you haven’t taken it yet, um, there’s still time.

Um, if you haven’t taken it yet and you don’t feel ready, don’t take it. If you’re not ready. Um, I just personally think it’s easier to take your junior because you’re coming off, comes out August 1st, which means there’s going to be a lot of essay writing. There’s going to be a lot of, um, just filling out like a lot of information on your common app.

And the last thing you want to do is be stressed out about school, about essays and about standardized tests. And so if you haven’t taken it yet, maybe something you could do in the meantime, if you feel like you’re not ready, like start working on some of those essays or start working on other things that will lower your load.

But if you have the chance to take it before your June, uh, before your senior year, I [00:28:00] definitely say like, it’s a good idea.

Okay, our next question is what do you do if you apply for college that requires sat and act scores, and you aren’t able to take them because they’re either getting canceled or being pushed back on unreasonable dates. And I think there’s actually been a few questions, questions about, um, uh, sort of the whole test optional landscape during code.

Sure. So, um, I’ll answer that as like yeah. A series of questions in terms of like required versus optional, what that actually means. Um, so I know most schools are seeing that it’s optional, especially during COVID because again, like students don’t have access to some of these centers. Um, I would say that for the, if I wasn’t aware of a school that required it, no matter what, like I would say, definitely reach out to the admissions office and explain your situation.

Um, as far as I know, most schools are very, very [00:29:00] understanding of like, if you can’t take, like, some students have to drive, like for hours to like get to a place where like they can actually take it and sometimes it’s canceled. Um, and so I would definitely reach out and express your concern to the school directly.

Um, I think they should be pretty understanding of that. Um, yeah. I wouldn’t be surprised if they said like, no, you’re not getting in, unless you take this test or like, they will find a way to help you take it, even if it’s online. Um, but if they’re requiring it, I don’t see why they wouldn’t provide some way for you to take it.

Um, like I said, that would, I think that’s an exception to the majority of schools that say it’s optional. So that kind of segues into like, what does optional mean? So I think the best way I can explain this is that even before COVID anything that was. With something that people were encouraged to do with the could, because it helps you to stand out.

Like, let’s just put ourselves in the shoes of an admissions officer. If you get two really excellent students with pretty much like, very similar, like scorings on [00:30:00] everything. If you have a student that does something extra and they’re able to like, again, like they won’t count it against you, if like part of, if they look at like the region that you’re in and you’re looking at a really, really rural place where like, it’s really hard to access one of these tests.

And like, I’m not sure if you would like read about it in one of your essays or you, there’s a part where you can also include like different comments in, in like the common app. Like something additional that you want to add. That’s not an essay or anything, but just something you want the admissions officers to know that could be a place.

But if they see that your school where you go to schools, like in an urban place where there’s sat centers and ECT centers, and you’re literally in the same spot as somebody else who does, and the taking those tests and scores really well. Like naturally, they would most likely choose that student. Like it just show something extra to go by where they can score, um, that you like, you know, are really like doing well academically.

And so that was always the case even before like the, um, before the pandemic, like if you’re able to get an extra teacher recommendation and like, I know some of [00:31:00] those are optionals or non-teacher recommendations, some of those are optional. Um, if you’re in a similar spot as somebody else and you have a really great extra recommendation that could like really tip the balance.

Um, and so I think the sat and the act are, again, another example of that, that being said, If you don’t take it like that doesn’t mean that like you’re not getting in, they’re going to count this against you. Like before COVID, if you didn’t take something that was required, that would definitely count against you here.

Again, the understanding is there’s a lot of people who can’t take it, maybe someone’s close by, but you know, a relative just passed away from, from COVID. That can be something that really keeps a student from being able to study for it. So all of those things are taken into consideration, but there is a system where like, they do reward students who are Abe, who like do well, who are able to take it and who take it because they just want an extra thing to show in their application.

Um, so I think that’s the best way that I can explain it.[00:32:00]

Okay. Our next question is which test is better for stint them for Stan? I definitely think the act was better for stem, but it’s so there’s different types of stem. So before I took the act, like when we say stem, it’s such a broad, like overview of like, you know, Yeah, like science classes that are, or empirical classes that include like math and science and chemistry and physics.

And so I had taken a lot of like courses on like molecular, like they science on like anatomy and physiology, a lot of things that were very specific to, um, like a field of stem. And then I realized like, okay, there’s some experiments that like, you know, a lot of the questions on the act are about like science, like understanding, like graphics in science and data and science.

And I realized like, I hadn’t really done that much. Like research-based like classes where we have to analyze graphs. And so even though I would’ve considered myself like a stem person having [00:33:00] taken like sense of like chemistry and biology classes, like I hadn’t really studied for the type of science that’s tested on the act.

And so the STG doesn’t really have any science. Like it doesn’t have any science at all. And so if you’re doing. Like Stan and you see that as like math then like either tasks could be good for you. Um, specifically like the act of you, like RK with calculator and non calculator. Um, if you want something that’s related to science, just make sure, you know, the type of questions that you’ll be asked.

And don’t just assume that because you’ve taken science classes that you do well.

Okay. Our next question is how do I find sat and act testing site? So if you go on their website, so if, if you look at like college board, um, and college board for sat and the act actually has its own website, um, you could definitely look at what’s available. Um, I, I knew for a while, um, there was opportunities for like graduate school, like [00:34:00] testing and like the Jerry and stuff like that was available online.

I think for a period of time, I’m not sure if that’s still a happening, um, it was available online, but, um, To, to like, have a sit down test as well, you would have to look on their websites and schedule them, um, and make sure that like, you’re checking before you actually go to see if it’s been canceled or not.

Our next question is, is, uh, is it mandatory to take the T O E F L if I’m an international student? Yeah. So the TOEFL is, um, I think a lot of schools require it to prove that, like, to just show your English competency. Um, I would say that that’s like a very school specific question that you would have to like, just make sure that before applying, you know, if it’s required, um, I, again, like not all schools require it.

I don’t know if, because of COVID everything’s [00:35:00] just made optional, including the TOEFL, but, um, you should definitely check in with the schools that you’re interested.

Our next question is which standardized test prep would, would you recommend? I’ve heard of Khan academy and Caplin, et cetera. Yeah. So, um, like I mentioned before, I didn’t have, um, any prep before taking, taking my tests. And that was just because like, I, I was first gen and like, there was a lot of things I just didn’t know about preparing.

Like, I think now that I’m, I’m working with college admissions, I’m realizing there’s a lot of resources out there that you can use. And I think, um, a good one was, uh, now that I like seen some of them, like Caplin seems to be pretty good. Um, there’s some that actually come from college board. That also seems pretty good.

But again, all of these are really good resources that you could use at your disposal. Um, again, like my favorite resource was just finding like sections on online and like, if you just [00:36:00] get one book, so I had like an online. Like an online prep book that my school gave us that it was not like it didn’t include tutors or anybody was just online to give you like sections of questions.

And then it explained why a question worked or didn’t like, it would explain the answers. Um, it didn’t really have like, um, you know, a curriculum for like what you needed to learn. It just gives you questions and then explanations questions and explanations. And I found that to be my favorite way, just because if, if you’re focusing on just getting the answer, right, you’re not going to learn as much.

Whereas if you figure out, like, if you’re able to learn why each question didn’t make sense and like what strategy you should be using, that’s what helped me a lot. And that just came with taking a lot of practice tests. And so if you find yourself in a place. You know, you’re not financially able to afford a lot of these like courses.

Like I wasn’t either. And like I did well because I just took a ton of practice tests. Um, but if you’re are able to afford them, I would say [00:37:00] Kaplan’s really good college board has sub Hasson. Um, yeah, apart from that, I’m not really sure can academy would help if you, so I did use con uh, can academy, like free videos.

Um, when I realized that there was a strategy, I didn’t understand. So let’s say like, I got a question and like the answer, you know, involved like a topic that I didn’t understand, then I would like plug that topic into like Khan academy and look at the videos that they had on that.

Okay. Our next question is, can you take a standardized tests, sat or act twice as in once in your junior year and the second in your senior? Yeah. Yeah. So you totally can take them, um, as spaced out as you want. Um, I’m not sure if there’s actually like a cap on how many total you could take, like ever. Um, but I know that after a while, like if you’re reporting all of these to like your school, like I think they’re, depending on what school you’re applying to, there might be a cap on like how many scores are willing to consider.

[00:38:00] And there might be a consideration about like, you know, if you took this many tests, does that actually look good? Does it look bad, especially if you’re not scoring well in like all of them, like if that’s something that like schools will not look at, uh, I mean, schools won’t look favorably favorably on.

Um, and I think that’s definitely a possibility. And so you definitely have to check with the schools and see what their policies are. Um, I would say in general, like my, my own, um, kind of standard was like, I didn’t want to take a task more than three times. Um, like in total. Um, so I, I took the sat twice.

I, if I hadn’t done one, like I might’ve taken it like a third time, but I think after that, I would’ve maybe switched over into the act. Um, so yeah, I think those are my thoughts on like the number of times you should take. And you can definitely to answer the very specific question. Um, you can definitely take it your junior and senior year.

Okay. Our next question is, are these tests required for HBC [00:39:00] use? Uh, sorry, what our HBC use? Um, historically black colleges and universities. Okay. Um, so I don’t to tell you the truth. Like I, I didn’t, um, that was in my experience applying to like a lot of HBCU. Um, and I’m not super sure if that, if it would make a difference.

The way that they look at standardized tests. Like a lot of these schools are very prestigious as well. Like I know, like I had a couple friends who applied to like Howard and like they had the same experience that I did. And so I don’t know if it would really change the way that they looked. I, um, at standardized tests, I think maybe they would even like, if you I’m pretty sure most of them just like all other schools, like other, like very prestigious schools were be very flexible in terms of realizing like, Hey, if someone didn’t have access to the test, like that’s like something that just happens.

And like, we’re not going to penalize them for them. [00:40:00] So for that. And so I would say that it’s probably the same process and the same standards as what I’ve been seeing.

Okay. Our next question is how would you report your sat act? AP score. I sat slash act slash AP scores, universities and colleges. Yeah. So I think you can go on the college board for the sat and AP scores, and then you go on the act website and you can put, uh, each school, each school has like, um, like a school ID that you can find on the common app.

And you can also probably find on the school’s website. And then you would ask, you would request, um, for the college board or end the act to send those over.

Okay, we’re going to take a very quick break. Um, and I wanted to let you know about some services that CollegeAdvisor offers. So, um, if you want to work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over [00:41:00] 155 advisors and admissions officers, then you can sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and the live team member will get back to you to coordinate your free consultation with.

Okay. Back to the Q and a, our next question is, is it true that the HCTs are easier than the SATs and how did they differentiate one from another? What is the difference when you’re preparing for the tests?

Sorry. Um, I wouldn’t necessarily say that one is harder, easier than the other. Um, like my experience was that both of them were slightly stressful in that like test taking can sometimes just be a little stressful and that just makes it seem hard. Like sometimes falls into the category of like it’s hard.

Um, but I would say that they’re both equal in terms of like the rigor of, you know, [00:42:00] having to answer questions in like a time crunch. Um, I know that like they have different, um, like different number of questions per section. So maybe something you want to look at is like, in terms of like, if hard falls into.

If some, if defining hard also means like how many questions you have to do in like a certain amount of time, what you could look at is like how many, um, questions per section and like the time that it takes and you can make a proportion and figure out like, okay, like maybe I like something that’s hard for me to just like having to answer questions like really, really quickly.

And maybe the ECT or the sat for a particular section has a higher ratio of like time for time per question. Um, and maybe that’s something that you want to look at and like figure out like, okay, you know, I know, I know the data, I know the content, but I want to take a test that doesn’t give me as much of a time crunch in math or in reading or in writing.

And maybe that’s a strategy that will help you figure out which one is harder. Um, I [00:43:00] would say also look at like the actual content that’s being tested. I know in the chart that I put in one of the slides, it tells you. Like the, the different things that is being tested in terms of like, um, you know, one of them, I think less like all the math that goes on and some are like not overlapping.

And so I would check with differences are, and if you find that one of the math sections that’s like tested on the sat is a lot harder for you then maybe that’s signals that may be the S act is a better choice. Um, but I wouldn’t say that I could like objectively, like objectively one is harder than the other.

I’ve talked to people who say like, SAT’s so much harder. People who say the act is so much harder. I thought they were pretty equal. Um, so yeah, I do remember that. One of the things about the act is there’s a, there is like, there is more of a time crunch, particularly with science that it’s like, there’s a lot more [00:44:00] questions in a shorter period of time.

Yeah. Okay. Our next question is how much does the sat test.

Um, I’m not really sure. I mean, I can quickly Google that to, um, just to find the answer. Um, I know that the difference was very minimal, um, between the sat and the act. So, yeah, so the sat by itself cost $52 and the sat with the essay cost $68. Um, and then the VCT, uh, the full VCT with no writing. It’s $60 and the full act with writing is 80.

So again, like it’s a minimal, like diff very little difference between the two.

Our next question is, does canceling AP scores damage, uh, the overall result in the application process? Yeah. So this is a question [00:45:00] that a lot of students ask and I think. Canceling is potentially a good idea. If you scored very, very low, like say like you scored a zero or you scored like one, uh, potentially even a two maybe.

But I think that the perspective that a lot of students don’t have is that if you’re an admissions officer and you see that a student canceled the score, and let’s say you canceled it because you got us to greet and you really wanted a five, or you really wanted a four, um, or you canceled it because you got a four and you really wanted a five.

They’re not going to know what your actual score is. So they could technically even assume that you got a zero and you’re canceling it because you got a zero. So I think you have to realize like, are you willing? Are you like comfortable with letting them kind of guess what you got? Like, if you actually got a zero, maybe it’s okay for you to like cancel it so that, you know, maybe they think that you maybe could’ve gotten a one or two.

Um, so again, it’s more of like a guessing game of like, do you want to risk them thinking that you’ve got a lower score? So I think that, that’s the main question. When you’re [00:46:00] thinking about canceling, do you want the admissions officers, do you want to risk that the admissions officer thinks that you got a lower score than you actually did?

And maybe if you got a one you’re like, you know, if they think I got a zero, maybe it’s not that big of a difference. I think it could be. Um, but if you think it’s not the big of a difference than like, you know, cancel it same, but I would say like, if you get up to like a three-year four, definitely don’t, don’t take the risk of them thinking you’ve got a one or a zero.

Um, so I think that’s the best way I can answer that question.

Okay. Our next question is which test is better to take with getting into criminology or physiology? Um, this other truth. I don’t think that there’s much of a difference. I mean, If you’re talking about like physiology, like maybe if you want to like say you took like the science on the act, that could be something, but like, you’ll see this, even in grad school, [00:47:00] like some schools take multiple exams, like, you know, you could take your GRE and your Jima.

Again, this is something like later. Maybe it’s not the best analogy considering it’s going to be later on, but you’ll recognize that like schools will sometimes see two standardized tests with equal value. And what really matters is like your coursework. Um, so I would say like, don’t stress too much about which tests you’re going to take.

Maybe think more about like, which classes are you going to take and what extracurricular experience you’re going to have to show that, you know, you’re well-prepared and that you actually care about, um, or that you have experienced a backup, why you want to go into one of these fields. But I wouldn’t say that the standardized test is the best way to show that that’s definitely when the definitely your extracurriculars and your core.

Okay, our next question is, do you even need to take an act or sat T if you plan on taking several AP exams, um, again, the best way I can answer this [00:48:00] question, is there plenty of students that do, and, um, again, you are like the college application process is a competitive process, right? You’re being compared to your peers.

And that doesn’t mean like, you know, go crazy and try to do as much as you can, because you want to be like somebody else, like, that’s not the case. I’m just trying to provide some context of, there are several students who were taking lots of APS and who still take the sat and the act or one or the other.

Um, and again, if you were measured against them, If there’s a potential for those things to be an extra points in their favor, if they score well. Right? Like they’re, I’m not like a full disclosure. I, I’m not an admissions officer. Like this is not coming. Like I did work in like the financial aid office at Harvard for bet, and like have experienced advising.

But unless you’re taught, like even an admissions officer will tell you, like, they, they look at students case by case. And so it’s not like you take, if you take the, the tasks, [00:49:00] um, the like sat and act and you don’t take any APS, like you’re not getting in, or you are getting in like it’s super arbitrary.

And it’s really based on like looking at a student holistically. Um, all I can say is like, when I was applying, I wanted to make sure I could do as much as I feasibly could. Like I didn’t go and like take every single class AP because I knew that wasn’t gonna be good. My experience in extracurriculars for my classes, for my mental health.

But I did as much as I thought was challenging. And as much as I knew that, like after applying, I would have said, you know, I did my best, even if I got in, if I got in or if I didn’t get in. So I think that’s maybe the perspective that students should have. Like, it’s not like, you know, which one is what I should take and what I shouldn’t, it’s more like given what was available to me.

If I don’t get into a school, will I regret not have taken this? Um, if I could have. So I think that’s, if you get anything from like this webinar, I would say, please just like, make sure that you don’t regret not taking one of these exams. If you are able to, if you’re not able to, [00:50:00] there’s nothing to regret, like you weren’t able to.

Um, but if you are, I know you’re stressed out. I know you realistically and practically have to figure out, like, what should I do with what, what should I spend my time on? Which I spend my money on. Um, but if you’re able to take it again, like, just make sure you don’t regret not taking.

Okay, our next question is, do you know what the purpose of the essay on the sat is? How to schools use it? Yeah. So now it’s a little bit different because now you don’t even get a score. Even if you take it when, since it’s optional, you don’t even get a score on it. Whereas before you would get like, you know, your sat score and you’d get an essay, um, essay score.

Um, so I think now it’s seen as an extra consideration by the admissions officers. Um, but it’s definitely not seen as a score. Um, so I think that’s as much as I can, like confidently like respond.[00:51:00]

Our next question is some schools allow for super scoring how, exactly what you sent your best scores. And also, are you able to send your sat scores that you’ve previously taken months later to schools? Yeah. I think that there is a. There might be a limit, like a timeline time limit on how much on, um, like when you can send your scores and like which ones would count into the super score for the STT.

Um, again, with the act, just to clarify, like for super scoring, what it, what it means is like on the sat, like I mentioned, you get a separate score for each of the three sections. And so what you can do is, um, you submit your tests and schools themselves will super score. They will choose once you’ve submitted all your scores, they will like choose which ones were the highest.

And that will be the score that they look at. It’s not something that you do. Like you don’t go into the website and you check like, you know, I want to send my score for math from three months ago, but I want to send my like only my language from [00:52:00] like last month. It’s more like you send everything in and you trust that schools are telling the truth and saying that they will look at your scores, but really only consider your top scores.

And that sometimes makes students like want to take him, like on the opposite extreme, like take the sat a lot more so they can try to get the high score in each direction. But at some point it actually doesn’t work to your favor. Like, don’t take it like that, that many times. Um, but for the act, because it’s a composite score, you get into an average of, from one to 36 that you get in every, in every section.

Um, if there is no super scoring there, you know, you just take the test and like, they will look at like, which, which composite stories like composite score is the highest and they’ll consider that. Um, but it doesn’t work the way that the sat super scoring is. Um, yeah. Our next question is, is sat and act testing allowed online.[00:53:00]

Yeah. So that’s actually something that I’m, might’ve mentioned like offhandedly during this webinar that I’m not a hundred percent sure on, like I know other standardized tests were, I thought I had heard that either the sat or the east of your boat at some point were administered online. I know for sure.

The GRE, the El sets them with these other, the grudges Reggie school tests are, um, Hannah, do you know, do you want to just fact check me or I can also just check on Google really quick. I’m not sure. I sort of had the assumption that they were not, you aren’t able to take them online. Um, but I actually don’t know in the past few months, if that has changed, I can.

Uh, how about. Um, I’ll ask the next question and all search for that online. Okay. Sounds good. Yeah. Sorry about that. I’m not, I’m not sure. I’m not sure either. Um, okay. Our next question is what, what made you stand out and [00:54:00] get admitted into Harvard thinks? Um, so I mentioned this in the essay, so I also did a webinar on like essay writing and, um, so I originally had thought like, you know, it was my academic standing that like made me stand out.

Like I had done, um, like several APS, all of which I got scored really well. The sat is screwed. Well act had scored. Well, like I had like a good GPA. Like I thought my academics was just like really, really strong. And then I got to like, again, I got to Harvard and like realized some of these students were like, Just somehow we’re able to do just as well, but on like so many other things.

And then there students who like didn’t, and like, it was just like really hard to figure out, like, why did I get in? Um, and I generally think it’s like a mix of a lot of things, but when I actually looked at my, um, my admissions file, like what actually helped me get in with my, my personal experience, it was what I had written about in my essays.

Um, that’s literally what they pointed out in my [00:55:00] file as like, you know, um, like this person has, uh, like a lot of like, like we would appreciate like the diversity that she brings into the school of like, experience and of like, she, like would foster like conversation. Like they, as a per they looked at me, I’m sure that my academics again helped me get on that bubble.

But the reason I got in was like, as a person, they were somebody that they thought I was somebody who would like add to the community on campus. Um, so. You know, to this day, I don’t really know fully. I also know, like, definitely if you have an opportunity to meet, I had an interview with an alumni and she, like, I also read like her review and I read like the admissions con the admissions officer’s comments on like the interview, um, you know, like feedback.

And it also like was another plus that helped me to get in. So I feel like there’s a lot of different things. And for me, apparently it wasn’t what I had thought. It was actually not my academics that like ultimately [00:56:00] tipped me from the bubble into the pool.

Okay. Have answers about testing online. Um, so, so if, when you say online, if what you’re talking about is, um, being able to take a test online in your own home, in your house, on your computer. The answer to that for both is no, but, uh, International students taking the act might be taking the act online on like a school computer or something in a designated test site.

So it won’t be a paper copy of the test. Um, so in that sense, it is online in that it’s on the internet on a computer, but no one can take anything online, um, like in your house, on your own computer for either the sat or the AC T. Okay. Awesome. [00:57:00] Thank you, Hannah. Yeah. Um, which is generally sort of what, what I assumed, um, and why so many schools are still test optional because it’s still quite difficult to take the test and testing centers.

Okay. Um, Our next question is if I cancel my AP score, but take the same one again to colleges, get to know how many times I took it. So you went in and out a little bit there if you’re into repeating the question. Sure. Yes. Um, if I cancel my AP score, but take the same one again. Do colleges get to know how many times I took it?

Um, I actually am not sure. I know that they will get notified of the score that you sent in. So like I know college board, like once you send in your score, like I knew that you could cancel your score. And I think the fact, I think that the fact that you can cancel your [00:58:00] score means that they will be able to see if you didn’t do well.

Like, or if you took it again, right. Cause if someone canceled it, like I’m assuming like the. Like you don’t have the option to just not send it in. I think you do have to cancel it. And so they would have seen that you canceled the score and then kept a different score. I’m not even sure if you can retake.

I don’t think that you can even retake a test twice. Um, sorry. These are like very specific answer. I mean, questions that like, I want to make sure I, I actually answer correctly. And so I’ll be super transparency. I’m not a hundred percent sure on this question. Um, I can cool it now, but I am assuming, um, that, so AP exams are only given once a year, but may you may repeat an exam in a subsequent year, if you do both, both scores will be reported unless you request that one be withheld or canceled.

Yeah. So yeah. So the basic answer is like, yes, you can retake the, the test, but the fact that you have to like [00:59:00] cancel a score means that they will obviously know that you took it before you.

Okay. I think this is going to be our last question. So even if you go in test optional or put your IC, sorry, sat score on your application. Can you still put another score for another test elsewhere in your applications, such as the Alex score a L E K S I don’t actually know that test. Yeah. I don’t really know that test either.

Um, I think something that I recommend when students have specific questions about what tests are available is you can make a practice account on common app and where you will have to report, like on the common app section, it gives you like a dropdown list of the different school, of the different tests that you’re going to be submitting, uh, and like a score for.

And if you see an Alex one, I haven’t. So maybe that’s also like a question that you could ask the [01:00:00] specific school that you’re interested in. Um, I think again, a lot of these questions are really great, like school specific questions that you would really benefit from if you like emailed it, the admissions office.

Um, but I’m sure that like, um, there’ll be able to give you a more specific answer on the Alex score.

Okay. Thank you everyone so much for coming out tonight and thank you so much, Maria, for presenting share. Thank you so much for coming everyone have a great night. Okay. This is the end of the webinar. We had a great time telling you, uh, helping you find the best standardized test for you. And here is the rest of our June series.

So next Tuesday, we have a session with a method test prep on. Should I retake a standardized test? Awesome. Have a great night, everyone.