There is currently a lot of discussion about the value of college entrance exams. These tests, judged acceptable in the past, are questioned as to the validity of their content relating to the real world. Regardless of a student’s feelings about these tests, the fact that prestigious schools such as Harvard University process as many as 35,000 student applicants in any given year reveals the significance of college entrance exam scores. Any student looking to enter college needs to prepare for the entrance exams.
What are the Accepted College Entrance Exams?
The two primary college entrance exams are the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Testing (ACT). The College Board of Education created the SAT in 1926 as a standard measuring tool for schools considering applicants for the limited amount of student positions available. The SAT is broken down into two sections—Math and Evidence-based reading and writing. Students should prepare for a three-hour test ordeal before entering the exam. Test answers are multiple choice. The ACT came into existence in 1959 as a competitor to the SAT. The ACT includes four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning. In 2011, the ACT took the lead from the SAT as the test most often chosen by aspiring college students. Most colleges and universities accept either or both tests as an essential criterion for college entrance acceptance.
The Importance of College Entrance Exams
Some decades ago, the college entrance exam was considered the dominant piece of criterion considered while sifting through student applicants. Today, according to pbs.org colleges and universities have moved away from SAT and ACT scores as the sole means of judging applicant fitness to enter college-level studies. Though the college entrance exams hold considerable weight, other items such as class placement, recommendations, extracurricular activities, and community involvement are equal in importance. Each school advises on their site what criterion is used in making applicant acceptance decisions. Checking the school’s website gives student’s insights into what to study and how to proceed with an application.
How to Prepare for a College Entrance Exam
Either the SAT or the ACT are not easy tests. Together with the time to complete the preliminary bubble name, address and other pertinent information ordeal, a three-hour test often becomes a four-hour test and if the student is taking the essay addition to the standard test, then the combined time element could be as much as five hours. Prepare for this intense time element by taking sample tests found online. For those students that opted to add the written essay, take the time to read successful college entrance essays. Though the subject is never the same year-to-year, the themes are always similar. Start your preparation early. Give yourself three months of prep time and intensify your efforts during those months. Students pick the month of their tests. Timing is critical as these tests include advanced math studies that students may not explore until late in their Junior year. Prepare to take the test more than once. A second go at the test may lead to higher scores since a student is familiar with the testing pattern and has reduced the stress level with experience. Relax the day before the test. Cramming at a late date only adds stress to an already stressful event.
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A student who has prepared for their college entrance exams are more likely to score higher on the tests. Having foreknowledge of the criterion their chosen college uses in accepting a student into its ranks and with proper preparation for a series of rigorous tests, lets students slough off the anxiety that accompanies these life-changing events. The stress level of college entrance exams may cause a mind to lock up—so RELAX.