(StatePoint) While a student’s long record of academic achievement is generally the most important measure that colleges take under consideration during the admissions process, getting as prepared for one’s college entrance exams as possible is a great idea.
Here are a few things to know going into the process:
• Almost all four-year institutions of higher learning require that candidates submit either SAT or ACT scores with some requiring strictly one or the other. Certain selective schools also require SAT Subject Tests and AP Tests. Check which tests you’ll need to take to apply to your schools of choice. You may also want to check the average scores of last year’s incoming freshmen.
• Find out whether the schools to which you are applying look at the score of every test you take or only your top score. If they look at every score, you may want to avoid taking the test until you’re feeling completely confident. If they look at only the top score, consider taking the test multiple times (if money and time allow) until you get the score with which you’re satisfied.
• Each institution weighs scores a bit differently. Some colleges use entrance exam scores in order to place incoming freshmen in classes. Some schools use the scores to award scholarships. Understanding what the scores are used to determine, can help you get motivated to succeed.
• When it comes to the mathematics portion of the exam, it’s important to know that graphing and scientific calculators are allowed. Calculators for College Boards available from Casio offer an affordable solution to aid in the preparation for college entrance exams. Whatever calculator students choose to use for their exams they should familiarize themselves with completely so that come exam day, they can easily manipulate its features and functions. To that end, students should use the calculator when taking practice tests and consider using it in the classroom and when doing homework.
• Testing rules and format have evolved over time. Be sure any preparation materials you use are current so that they deliver accurate information about what to expect and reflect the kind of questions you’ll actually face on test day.
• Your practice tests should resemble the real test day as much as possible, so have handy only tools which are allowed in the testing facility, putting away any other reference materials or distractions.
While the process of preparing for and taking college entrance exams can be nerve-wracking, sufficient preparation and the right tools can give you the confidence you need to be successful on test day.
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