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Insights

What are the SAT Question and Answer Service and ACT Test Information Release ?

From time to time students will be confused by their performance on their SAT or ACT.  They will say: “I don’t understand why my English score dropped”, or “I thought I aced the math, what happened”?

To better understand test performance, both College Board and ACT provide a service that allows you to purchase a copy of the test you took.  This service is not available for all test dates, but in 2020-21, SAT is releasing the tests for October, March and May, and ACT is releasing the tests for December, April, and June.

Both services provide you a clean copy of the test, your answers, and the correct answers.  I highly recommend you order the test if you wish to do further test preparation.  This can be done when you register for your test or after you get your scores.  You have up to five months after your test date to order the SAT; you have six months to order the ACT.

The name of College Board’s service is the Question and Answer Service.  (Do not confuse this with the Answer Verification Service available for all test dates and described on the same page).  Click here to find out more.

The equivalent product from ACT is called the Test Information Release.  To order your ACT test, click this link for further instructions.

For insight on why scores can fluctuate, read this article that discusses variability in the ACT Science scores.

 

For questions, write Kate Dalby at kvs@katedalby.com

 

2021-01-13T18:01:00-05:00

Why Do My ACT Scores Fluctuate So Much?

Recently I received an inquiry about test preparation from a parent who said her daughter (not a student of mine) had scored a 32 composite the previous fall on the ACT. She was frustrated because the science sub score was only a 29, yet she had been scoring as high as a 36 in practice. Part of her problem on the real test was timing.
(more…)

2021-01-13T18:03:13-05:00

SAT vs. ACT – Which test is right for you?

Now that it’s prime time to start studying for the SAT and ACT, we’ve had a lot of students ask us which test they should take.

Nowadays, most colleges accept the SAT and ACT and weigh scores from both tests equally, so that’s no longer a reason to take one test over the other.

The College Board recently redesigned the SAT and it is now quite similar to the ACT. Both tests now have optional essays and no guessing penalty. The SAT also no longer has a “random vocabulary” section, which used to be a deal breaker for a lot of our students. Instead, the SAT has a vocabulary in-context section. The SAT also has less geometry than the ACT.  We’ve covered the all differences in a handy graphic below. (more…)

2020-12-09T16:45:56-05:00

New! Virtual Fireside Chat with Dr. Sybil Gohari, Founder of Admissions Company

Join Dr. Sybil Gohari, founder of Admissions Company, for a virtual Fireside Chat on College Admissions on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 at 7 pm. This event is sponsored by Kate Dalby, owner of Inspiring Test Preparation. Contact Dr. Gohari directly to sign up at info@admissions.company. Seating is limited.

Dr. Gohari brings over a decade of experience as an educator and entrepreneur; she spends her time at the intersection of academia and technology. She has taught at the University of Maryland, College Park; American University; George Washington University; and Georgetown University.

She founded Admissions Company to harness the proprietary method rooted in data and analytics, to not only help students significantly increase their chances of gaining admission to competitive schools but to determine the optimal schools for their individual needs and interests. Admissions Company complements its use of big data with a deep reservoir of expertise to guide students from an early point in the admissions process.

Dr. Gohari graduated from the American University Magna Cum Laude, with a degree in Art History, where she was also a division I lacrosse player. She went on to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

2020-12-08T18:58:58-05:00

May You Live in Interesting Times: TJ’s Merit Lottery

“May you live in interesting times”: a blessing to some and a curse to others.  But there is no doubt, we are living in interesting times.  We are fortunate to live in a country with so many opportunities for people who take the initiative to prosper.  And while our country is reeling under the challenges of Covid-19, quarantine, protests, riots, and economic turmoil, some in our own community have the following response to these challenges.

Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent, Scott Brabrand, with the goal of increasing enrollment of underrepresented minorities at the elite Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology (TJ), proposes that admissions become a merit lottery.  A merit lottery would eliminate the three-hour long TJ admissions test, teacher recommendations, the $100 application fee, and would use a minimum student GPA of 3.5 as the sole measure of merit.  The lottery would allot seats by region and necessarily admit more students from areas of the county that have not be represented at TJ historically.  Some groups are delighted by this proposed change; others are outraged.  This proposal is likely to pass if for no other reason than it gets the county off the hook for testing 3000+ students during a pandemic.  It’s a great time for another experiment in education.

There will be a town hall regarding the proposed admissions policy changes on Wednesday, September 23, beginning at 7 p.m.  Families and community members can watch onlinesubmit comments and questions or call into the town hall live at 1-800-231-6359

Additional details about the plan are available here.

Here are some links to other news stories and opinion pieces.

AP News: PTA clashes…

Washingtonian: Thomas Jefferson High School Could Switch to a “Merit Lottery”…

WTOP: [TJ] student speaks out against… 

fcps.edu: Superintendent Presents Recommendations…

Advocacy Group in Favor of Lottery

Advocacy Group Opposed to Lottery

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2020-09-20T11:42:06-04:00