College Prep Testing
Standardized tests are an increasingly controversial part of the college admission process. Some colleges no longer require the SAT for admission consideration and many colleges have become SAT-optional, allowing candidates the flexibility to choose whether to submit or not to submit SAT results. Institutions that require standardized tests use them as a means to compare an applicant to other college-bound seniors in the country. Most colleges realize that different students and groups of students have different testing profiles and will take those into account. The schools that utilize test scores the most are large universities at which a score might make the difference between an accept or deny. Most other colleges, including some of the most selective colleges, accept students with a broad range of scores.
It is the student's responsibility to be aware of test registration deadlines and the testing requirements of the colleges to which he/she will apply and to request that College Board send your SAT results to colleges directly from the testing service.
Raleigh Charter’s CEEB code is 343-230 and will be needed for all test registration forms and college applications. Students should give this number when requested on forms so that scores will be sent to RCHS.
RCHS’ rigorous academic program develops the verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities measured by the SAT I exam and provides the curricular knowledge assessed by the SAT II exams. The College Board provides very good practice materials at no cost in its booklets, Taking the SAT I Reasoning Test and Taking the SAT II Subject Tests. The ACT’s Preparing for the ACT Assessment furnishes similar preparation. The ACT and College Board web sites also have useful information.
Bookstores and libraries generally carry more extensive books and software for independent preparation. Generally, the best preparation is to work hard in academic courses and to do extensive outside reading, including summer reading. Some students find test preparation courses helpful. Scores generally go up, tutored or not, twenty to thirty points with each repeat test. Studies have shown, however, that the average score increase after a preparation program generally does not exceed fifty points, and sometimes students show declines. Studies also reveal that the math score responds more readily to specific tutoring than the verbal score because the verbal score is more a measure of acquired language background and reading completed over a long period of time.
Remember, standardized tests don’t claim to assess motivation, creativity, artistic skills, athletic abilities, kindness, decency, integrity, sense of humor and other human qualities that colleges take into account when admitting students. In life, these qualities should be more important than another 50 points on the SAT.
The SAT test date and fee schedule can be found here.
Students generally should take the SAT I in March and/or May of the junior year and, if necessary, again in the fall of the senior year. Regardless of how many times a student takes the SAT I, the colleges will receive all of the scores; the student will not be allowed to choose which scores to send. Most institutions will focus on a student’s best verbal score, best math score, and best writing score even if they are achieved on different testing days.
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SAT II Subject Tests
As a general rule students planning to apply to selective colleges should take three SAT II Subject Tests by the end of the junior year. Each curriculum-based test is one hour long; as many as three tests may be taken in one sitting. Teachers and counselors can provide guidance as to appropriate subject tests.
Students may take as many SAT II Subject Tests as they please during their high school years and place their scores on hold. This option, known as score choice, allows a student to take a Subject Test without concern about its impact on college admissions. Unlike the SAT I, the college does not automatically receive all SAT II scores. Most students will release their three highest scores; especially strong testers may choose to send more than three scores. It is imperative, however, that a student release Subject Test scores in a timely fashion—it generally requires 6 weeks for an institution to receive the scores from the College Board once a student makes the request. This consideration is particularly important for Early Action and Early Decision applicants.
For more information about the SAT I and II programs and to register online, visit www.collegeboard.com.
This testing program is used mostly by colleges in the South and Midwest but almost all schools will accept this test in place of the SAT I. Students receive a score for each subject-related test (English, mathematics, social studies and science) as well as a composite score that ranges from 1 to 36. ACT scores are generally comparable to SAT scores, and the college counselors can make the correlation.
RCHS will administer the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) for all ninth, tenth, and eleventh graders in October each year. Students do not register directly with the testing service to take the PSAT. Instead, each student will pay a nominal fee to RCHS and the school will in turn register the student for testing. This nearly 3 hour practice SAT measures the verbal, math, and writing skills that students have developed and allows them to take part in the Student Search Service, thereby receiving mail from participating colleges and universities. Colleges do not receive score results.
The PSAT/NMSQT represents the first step in the National Merit Scholarship process. The National Merit Selection Index (twice the verbal score plus the math score) is determined annually for juniors. The minimum score necessary to receive national recognition varies from year to year and from state to state.
In December students will receive a Score Report which includes personalized feedback on test questions and an “Improve Your Skills” section. Because the test is normed for the academic preparation of juniors, 9th and 10th-graders should not be alarmed if their scores are lower than anticipated.
Non Standardized Testing
Non-standardized testing is helpful to those who have a diagnosed and properly documented learning disability or physical handicap. The ACT and the College Board offer extended time or untimed testing for those who qualify. Students who believe they qualify for such testing should meet with Ms. Cherveny for specific information about registration and testing plans.
Fee waivers are available to juniors and seniors for the ACT, the SAT I, and SAT II exams. Students who believe they may qualify because of demonstrable economic need should check with the College Counseling Office as soon as possible. An ACT or SAT fee waiver may qualify a student for an application fee reduction or waiver at various colleges. Such a waiver also makes a student-athlete eligible for a waiver of the NCAA clearinghouse fee.
Advanced Placement (AP) Program
This program enables students to challenge themselves with college level work, demonstrate their expertise to admission committees, and possibly earn college credit or waivers from introductory courses. Scores range from a low of 1 to a high of 5. Each college has its own criteria for granting credit, normally a score of 3 or better. RCHS offers 20 Advanced Placement Courses. The examinations are given in May at the end of an Advanced Placement course or at teacher recommendation. Teachers and the college counselors can provide additional information.
The AP Exam Schedule on collegeboard.com
Link to AP preparation material provided by CollegeBoard.com
Dear AP Students and Parents:
Can you believe it? Advanced Placement (AP) Exams will be given during the first two weeks of May! Please be sure to pay careful attention to exam times and locations, items to bring and, as a result of missing classes on the day of AP Exams, making up any missed work with your teachers prior to the exams. This last step is perhaps even more critical than the AP Exams themselves.
Students should dress comfortably, plan to walk, carpool or be dropped off and picked up and arrive 30 minutes early to exams to allow for parking and finding the correct room for your scheduled exam. Procedures dictate that students arriving late to an exam (after it has begun) will not be admitted and will not be able to make up the test. All exams require about 3 hours to complete, and some may require 4 hours. All morning exams begin at 8:30am and afternoon exams begin at 1:00pm. There will be no early dismissal from the test site for students who finish early as students can be dismissed only after the allotted testing time of three hours has elapsed.
While students generally conduct themselves well during testing, it is important to note AP policy which states that disruptive behavior such as talking during the exam will be dismissed from the exam after one warning. If the disruptive behavior persists, s/he will be dismissed from the exam and a report will be sent to Educational Testing Services (ETS).
What to Bring to the Exam
What NOT to Bring to the Exam
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