Acing the Tests Could Mean a College Financial Aid Bonanza

SAT initially stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test. It was first developed in the mid 1920’s from the “Army Alpha Test” which was used to assign duties to recruits during World War I. After the Second World War, the Scholastic Aptitude Test became widely used by colleges as a device to gauge would-be students.

Almost a century later, this exam is still being used by most important American Universities for admissions purposes.

There are some very confrontational viewpoints about the SAT. Rebecca Zwick, Professor of Education at the University of California, said that “On one hand, [standardized tests] are portrayed as an evil that should be purged from our society; on the other, they’re viewed as a trustworthy measure of the academic standing of students, schools, and communities-perhaps even the quality of American Education.”

Also, the SAT our parents took is not the same SAT students are taking now. In 2005, the test was completely overhauled. There are no longer two 800 point sections, but three. 2400 is the new perfect score.

By definition, the Scholastic Aptitude Test was designed to test a students innate (uncoachable) reasoning capabilities. This was put to the test in the mid 20th century when a man named Stanley Kaplan began coaching students to get the best possible SAT score. Then, in 1987, New York State passed a law that gave the public access to old test questions and answers. Thus, we find ourselves with a multi-million dollar industry dedicated to raising SAT scores.

In fact, there are many reasons it may be prudent for a student to receive some extra coaching in this department. These tests are very important to college admissions offices and confidence is a factor in how high you score. It can’t hurt to prepare your child with some extra counseling and practice.

It’s a good idea to take the SAT for the first time as early as you’re comfortable. The SAT is offered to students once a month from October to June, so that’s seven opportunities. And if you’re not satisfied with your first score, practice some more and come back for seconds. Generally speaking, colleges are prone to considering your highest scores (or sometimes your combined score).

The ACT is the other standardized exam colleges look at for admissions purposes. It is more commonly used in the South and Midwest and is required of all high school students in Illinois and Colorado. BONANZAJP The American College Testing program began in 1959 by a University of Iowa statistician who had work on statewide testing programs for Iowa’s high schools.

The ACT claims its questions are more relevant to what a student may have learned in grades 7 through 12 than the SAT. The ACT focuses on Math, English, Reading and science reasoning and takes about three and a half hours to complete.

Some people think the ACT is easier than the SAT but this is not necessarily true. The ACT is designed to be more difficult to finish in the allotted time but it also does not penalize wrong answers.

 

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