The Musings of Your English Tutor

Parents of High School Students: Take Heed

If your student has entered the latter years of high school, you may have heard words such as “SAT,” “ACT,” “AP Exams,” and “SAT Subject Tests” casually thrown around. What is this and why hasn’t my son/daughter talked to me about it, you wonder, as panic slowly rises in your throat. Fear not- let me give you a quick run down on the what and why and when of these ultra-important exams:

The SAT is a test that students take before applying to college. I encourage prep in the 9th grade. Students usually start taking it their junior year. High scores mean better colleges, better scholarships, and ample opportunities. You want your student to ace this test.  Dates the test is administered varies; you can see upcoming schedules HERE.

The ACT can be taken in lieu of the SAT or in addition to it. Some students score higher on the ACT. The difference between the two is that the SAT contains 3 main subject areas and an optional essay (reading, math, and writing) and the ACT contains 4 and an optional essay (reading, English, science, and math). Have them practice both- see how the student feels. Again, higher scores equal more opportunity.

AP Exams are taken at the end of junior and senior years. No, students are NOT required to have completed AP courses before attempting an AP Exam. They can study for one using the designated College Board AP Exam book. If the student scores high enough, they will receive college credit. Students save not only money, but an entire semester as well.

SAT Subject Tests vary from English to Biology to Chemistry and more; generally, these tests are specifically requested as a part of the application process at some universities, especially the really competitive ones. ALL Ivy League schools will request that students submit SAT Subject Test scores. The College Board (the creators of the AP Exams, Courses, SAT and SAT Subject Tests) have study guides for each SAT Subject Test.

Still kind of confused? I consult frazzled parents during the college admissions process; contact me for further information. I’d love to help you!

Posted 61 weeks ago