Ivy Bound Test Prep Blog

Don’t use a First ACT for “Practice”

Parents hear varying advice from fellow parents and even from counselors.
More and more we hear this not-so-helpful advice:

“Take the ACT first for practice, to see where you stand.”

 
frazzledStudentPlease don’t heed this!   The ACT makes many past tests available with which students can practice.  Furthermore, prep firms offer practice sessions, using real ACTs, timing them, and giving pinpoint 0 – 36 scores on each section.    Ivy Bound in particular gives group Practice Tests every month, allowing students to self-score and see what they would score on a real test.  Ivy Bound evaluates students on the Essay section too, giving an approximation of the 0 – 12 score a student would receive on a 2 – 4 page essay.

So the real test offers almost nothing that can’t be had off-line (self-testing outside of ACT’s auspices).  Using the real ACT just for practice wastes time (5 hours), wastes money ($50), and wastes opportunity (priceless).

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SAT Vocabulary Drill: P Words (pt 2)

At Ivy Bound Test Prep we understand the importance of practice and hard work. We wanted to do more for students and offer further assistance, outside of our Test Prep and Tutoring programs, by creating our Vocabulary Builder video series. In today’s article we will be going over our second series of “P” words.

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Tainted Success – What happens with my June SAT Score?

This article is a follow up piece to Mark’s original post on the SAT Snafu.
By Mark Greenstein and the Ivy Bound / Rising Stars team.

 
Though the SAT administrators did the best thing possible with the mis-directions in some of its June test booklets, many students are anxious.  “My score will be tainted” is a reasonable suspicion.

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On “Gaming the System”

Parents and educators routinely post comments that SAT prep is “gaming the system”. I happen to agree. But no student should feel guilty about gaming. “Gaming” is simply making use of coaching to improve skills that are improvable.

Students who take advantage of SAT or ACT coaching improve their testing skills as wholesomely as students who improve their athletic skills by listening to their team coaches. The “blockhead belief”, that a mid-range student could not change his SAT scores and was thus “stuck” with that mid-range score, was disproven long ago (by Stanley Kaplan and other test prep pioneers). Meekly following the belief of thinking that your scores won’t improve much, relegates you to second-tier choices.

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SAT Vocabulary Drill: P Words (pt 1)

At Ivy Bound Test Prep we understand the importance of practice and hard work. We wanted to do more for students and offer further assistance, outside of our Test Prep and Tutoring programs, by creating our Vocabulary Builder video series. In today’s article we will be starting “P” words.

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Do NOT wait for the revised SAT!

blog-successThe Revised SAT will be harder to study for. No college is now demanding the revised SAT for its 2016 applicants (2017 grads). Study now, WELL, for the current SAT or perhaps the ACT. Test this fall 2 or 3 times, and you will likely be DONE, sitting on a good score, while others labor through a harder test in 2016.

Studying “Well” means you plan to make the first test your last test. “One-and-Done” on the October ACT, or “One-and-Done” on the October SAT is a beautiful thing. It gives you time to do other things well, relieved of pressure. Nothing in the high school’s curriculum directly helps for SAT or ACT. Do NOT wait.

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The SAT Snafu – Printing Mistakes & Consequences

SAT Takers on June 2nd faced a printing mistake that could have had major consequences. Whether a student has 20 or 25 minutes for a section that is supposed to be 20 minutes can make a 60 point difference in an SAT score. Even modest differences (670 vs 700) can be make-or-break at highly competitive colleges.

testingThe College Board did the best thing by removing Section 8 from scoring. That section comprises 28% of a student’s Math or Reading score, but is not skewed to a certain skill. Thus the wipe-out is unlikely to change a student’s score more than 10 points on a 200 – 800 scale.

This is better than a complete test wipe-out, which some predicted. Then, The College Board would have had to wipe out the test and do the whole thing over two or three weekends later. No student wants that in late June.

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