One of the more vexing issues in the college application process is knowing whether to sign up with writing or without. It takes more prep time and costs more money to add the writing, so it is a significant question.
Unfortunately, the list of schools and their writing policies are ever-changing. The least I could do is provide links directly to the ACT and SAT sites. They have entry forms in which one can enter an institution’s name, then click in order to find out if the school requires the essay.
For the SAT, click here.
For the ACT, click here.
The two tests differ greatly in what they require in the essay, so make sure not to equate prepping for an ACT essay with prepping for an SAT essay.
Here’s more about the ACT essay and more about the SAT essay.
Yes and No to both questions!
On the day you take your GRE, you can use Score Select to choose your best test days. You can represent your best test-taking day, but unlike “superscoring” on the SAT and ACT, you can’t choose one Verbal from a test day and one Quant from another test day. More about Score-Select is described here.
In other news, the issue of whether law schools should accept the GRE has remained in the news since one Arizona law school changed its requirements to include GRE submissions. The administrator of the LSAT, the LSAC, is threatening to halt the certification of LSAT scores as a sort of bargaining chip to keep the law schools GRE-free. Many consider the LSAT a tougher test; opening the law school doors to GRE-takers would seriously hurt LSAC’s business. Read more about law schools and their plans here.
On a handful of ACT math tests, I’ve seen a unit circle question which requires outside knowledge of the coordinates around the circle. I had heard that there is a “hand trick” out there that students can use to recall those coordinates as you climb up and back down around the circle. Today I found a great blog post from “Mrs. B”. Check it out! http://highschoolmathadventures.blogspot.com/2013/08/Unit-Circle-Hand-Trick.html
Those of us who prep for the ACT are painfully aware that the exam has become more difficult over recent years. Dual passages in the reading, new essay prompts, tougher science sections, more alg 2/pre-calc topics in the math are just some examples. We’ve been looking forward to updated prep materials. I was excited to see that Wiley is newly publishing a Real ACT prep guide, but alas, it is the same book. The publisher doesn’t claim there is new material, but there isn’t any in case you were hoping for some. The customer service rep did say she was told an actual new guide would be published “in the Spring”.
The Washington Post provided a list back in July.
I have a problem with the PSAT Writing instructional page. There should be clear instructions for the “logical order” questions (look at # 5 above) that require the reader to order numbered sentences. There are already numbers that are in black squares on the page for the writing questions. And for the order questions, some students may just try to use those numbers (the black square ones) as if they are also the numbers for the sentences that you need to put in order. The numbers you need to move around for #5 are in brackets- but why not tell the students that?
Why don’t the instructions include two lines that describe a bracketed series of numbers, , , etc…, that are in the paragraph and are specifically meant as sentence numbers for these order questions? Many students don’t answer these correctly because they don’t know to look for the brackets.