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Five Week Countdown to the March 9th SAT Exam


Whether or not the Groundhog sees his shadow tomorrow, the SAT will administer a national exam on March 9th — just five weeks from now. The registration deadline is February 8th. Late registration closes February 27th.


WHO SHOULD TAKE THE MARCH 9th NATIONAL EXAM? Every college bound junior.


WHY? Because students get their results back within two weeks.


NEED A SECOND REASON? For an additional $18, you can order your teen’s QUESTION AND ANSWER SUMMARY REPORT. This report is a valuable resource that includes his or her authentic test — and right and wrong answer choices. THE ONLY SAT TESTS THAT OFFER THIS SERVICE ARE MARCH, MAY, AND OCTOBER.


MEANING: Connecticut Students WILL NOT be offered this service on their in-school SAT exams, which will be taken on either March 27th or April 9th this year; the SAT people do NOT provide this detailed report. Plus, you’ll wait an additional 4 to 6 weeks for test results, and lose valuable review time.


WHY DO I BRING UP THE IN-SCHOOL EXAM: Here’s why. Ever since the SAT was introduced as a state exam in replacement for the Smarter Balanced test for juniors in Connecticut, too many counselors have offered it up as the starting point for test prep. Unfortunately, this test is too little too late. No junior should take the in-school exam as his or her first and only exam. By the time you get this test back (assuming no snowstorm like last year’s students had to deal with) you are looking at a mid-May result (and with no booklet and Q&A summary.)


NEED A THIRD REASON: The Question and Answer Summary exams (March, May, and October) have historically been more stable over the last three testing years. The in-school exams and other non-Q&A Summary reports have not.


SHOULD STUDENTS TAKE THE TEST MORE THAN ONCE?  Yes! If students could reach their target score the very first time, great! The reality is that most students must take the test more than once in order to attain the score they want. Improvement comes naturally through repetition. Plus, students benefit from the repeated exposure to test day conditions. No matter how many practice tests a student takes, it’s necessary to experience — and get comfortable with the rigors of the test-taking room.


I recommend parents and students plan a timeline together, based on a commitment to take the SAT multiple times between March of Junior year and October of Senior year. It’s good to allow students the flexibility to slip up on one exam, with fallback options already in place on your timeline.


WHICH TEST SHOULD I TAKE AFTER THE MARCH EXAM? The MAY SAT given on May 4, 2019. (Regular Registration deadline: April 5th.)


WHY? The May exam is the second National Test offered in 2019, and similar to the March exam, the SAT will provide the test and answer booklet for an extra $18. Even if you are dealing with AP Exams at the same time, it is worth the effort. For students taking Algebra II as Juniors, this test could give you your best SAT math score.


BOTTOM LINE: Take the March, May, and June exams (June, if needed based on how satisfied you are with your scores). It’s ideal to do all test prep and test taking before the end of Junior year. It lands your family in a stronger position to determine your student’s target college list. And it creates time and energy to focus on writing a stellar college essay and deal with the rigors of the application process during summer and fall!

WHO SHOULD TAKE THE ACT EXAM? The ACT has been a more traditionally stable exam. It is straightforward, but fast. One smart strategy might be to take the SAT on March 9th and try the ACT test on April 14th for practice, and then compare results. The ACT might be a good Plan B. Note that regular registration for the April 14th ACT closes on March 9th.


IS THERE GUIDANCE FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS? If your family needs help navigating a course for your college bound junior, please give me a call. My company, Performance Prep and College Admissions Counseling, also conducts small classroom training sessions and one-one-one counseling for both the SAT and the ACT exams throughout the year.


Please visit my website for more info


—-Eileen Sullivan Studdert, M.A.
Certified Teacher, IECA-accredited Tutor and Founder,
Performance Prep & College Admissions Counseling
Southbury, Conn.

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