Monday, March 3, 2014

SAT Day 2014

Baltimore County Public Schools is once again providing all juniors the opportunity to meet a college admissions requirement by giving the SAT in school on April 30.

Instead of leaving it up to students to arrange for transportation and potentially take such an important test in an unfamiliar location, our 11th grade students will take the SAT in their own school, on a regular school day.

This year, the juniors will be registered by the College Board, and test registration tickets will be mailed to the home addresses that we have on file. We just ask that the students bring their admission tickets to their advisory teachers. The admission tickets will be returned to the students on the morning of the test, April 30, because they will need important information that is printed on them.

In order to help students prepare, our English 11 teaching team has already evaluated trends that we saw in the juniors' PSAT scores and developed plans to address common areas of need. Additionally, juniors are advised to use their My College Quickstart codes that were printed on the PSAT score reports and that they accessed in December when PSAT scores were distributed.

The best way to prepare for the SAT, however, is to take full-length practice tests (like this one here). So when we have snow days, or on weekends, and especially during spring break, take a solid four-hour stretch of time to sit and take a practice SAT so that you can get a sense of how much time you should be spending on each question. Remember, on the SAT, you only gain points for correct answers so it makes more sense for your score to go for the answers that you can be sure to have at least a 33% chance of being correct, rather than risk losing 1/4 of a point for guessing.

Because we don't anticipate getting score reports back before the school year ends, it is that much more important for juniors to use Naviance to compare their SAT scores and GPA against the colleges on their prospective college list. Of course, the school counselors are available to discuss reasonable options given our school's historical admissions trends at a number of schools.

Just because the SAT is given in school, however, that does not mean that the SAT is the only test that students should be taking to prepare for college admissions. It is recommended that students who are intending to apply to four-year colleges should take both the SAT and the ACT during their junior year and then use the summer to prepare to re-take whichever test felt more comfortable to them or  on which they had a stronger performance.

Please be sure to use the Grade 11 page on the blog to get some input on what tasks would be helpful and developmentally appropriate at this critical time in your college planning and high school career.

On April 30, make sure you...
Eat dinner the night before
Eat breakfast that morning
Arrive on time for school, as we will start at 7:45 like any other day
Bring your #2 pencils and an approved calculator that you trust
Leave your cell phone in your locker, since cell phones are absolutely prohibited during testing

And in case anyone was wondering, April 30 will continue to be a regular school day for everyone else, even though the underclassmen may find that their classes are temporarily moved to a different classroom.

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