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During the global pandemic, navigating college admissions has been particularly challenging. Should students take college admissions tests if they are listed as optional? Are they penalized if they don’t test? What is a good score? In this blog, we hope to demystify some of these nagging questions and provide you and your student with more clarity and information.

Do I have to take a college admissions exam?

Many schools will say that they are “test optional,” meaning that it is up to the student’s discretion as to whether or not they take either the SAT or ACT and submit their scores during the admissions process. Although these tests are optional, most schools highly recommend taking them. We see taking these tests as an opportunity to show colleges that your student will take initiative and go beyond what is required of them. However, it is also important to consider how much time and resources your student will need to do well on these exams, which leads us to our next question…

What is a good score?

Good scores vary based on student goals as well as the time and resources available to help students achieve their goal score. According to our college admissions experts, a competitive score for the SAT is at least a 1400 while a competitive score for the ACT is a 32.

Is one test preferred over the other?

No. We recommend taking whichever test your student feels most comfortable with; in particular, taking a practice SAT and ACT will help determine which test better suits your student. We offer free practice tests and can help you craft a study plan.

Other advice?

We recommend that you register for these tests early, as sites and appointments will fill up quickly. Additionally, make sure that your student is preparing effectively for their AP exams as well as their school courses, as strong academic performance remains key.

Strategize which schools you apply to. You can use data from previous years’ cycles, and we can also help you assemble a college list based on your student’s data: grades, test scores, extracurriculars, etc.

If your student struggles with test anxiety, we have a few tips! You can read more here: Tips For Test Anxiety BLOG 3 EASY STRATEGIES

We also have a few To-Do lists to help you stay organized and strategize as you navigate the college process during the pandemic.

Want to learn more? Need some guidance? Contact us!

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