ACT Testing

Are you a student trying to decide between ACT testing and SAT testing? If you are, here are the Top 10 Reasons To Take the ACT. We’ll be following this post up with a Top 10 Reasons to Take the SAT. And, remember, Ivy Coach offers fantastic tutoring for the ACT to students around the world.

ACT Tests, ACT Test, Testing for the ACT, Prep for the ACT, Prepping for ACT, ACT Prepping

We’ve got 10 reasons to take the ACT. We’ll be following this post up with 10 reasons to take the SAT. Which test is better for you based on these reasons? Let us know by posting below!

10. Take the ACT if you have a strong short-term memory.

9. Take the ACT if you like science.

8. Take the ACT is you don’t do well on sentence completions. The Reading section of the ACT is straightforward – there’s no sentence completion

7. Take the ACT if you cannot (or have no time to) memorize thousands of vocabulary words.

6. Take the ACT if you prefer 4 answer choices instead of 5 answer choices. On all subtests of the ACT, there are only 4 multiple choice answers.

5. Take the ACT if you don’t want to lose points for guessing and getting wrong answers.

4. Take the ACT if you want to avoid taking SAT Subject Tests. Many colleges will accept the ACT in lieu of SAT Subject Tests.

3. Take the ACT if you like easier questions. The easy questions are easier on the ACT than on the SAT.

2. Take the ACT if you do well on classroom exams but don’t do well on standardized tests.

1. Take the ACT if you have to study hard to get good grades.

SAT Cheater

Cheating on the SAT, SAT Cheaters, SAT Cheating Scandal

The Emory student who impersonated high schoolers to take the SAT and ACT for them has been punished by the courts. His punishment? Pro bono SAT and ACT tutoring. Oy vey.

Did you happen to check out the “60 Minutes” piece on Sam Eshaghoff, the Emory University student who made a business out of scamming the system by taking SATs and ACTs for high school students? If not, check out part of the segment on the SAT cheat here. It’s quite an interesting piece. At one point, Eshaghoff states that by taking the SAT and ACT for high school students, he was in effect saving their lives. How so? Well, he claims that their new scores gave them “a new lease on life,” could get them into better colleges, and ultimately help them secure better jobs.

Eshaghoff also insists that his business was a sound one in that he delivered each and every time for his students. He took great pride in securing them terrific scores well worth his $2,500 fee. His students came away happy regardless of the legality of taking exams for students. Does that mean that he doesn’t regret his unethical decisions that led him to impersonate high school students? He says he does. He says he regrets the shame it brought to his family. But in that same breath, he insists it was a good business!

So what do you think his punishment will be? Jail time? Nope. Garbage pickup on the side of the highway? Not quite. He’s going to be tutoring underprivileged students for free as they prepare for the SAT and ACT. How appropriate! Why not surround our students with a highly unethical individual? Maybe his values will rub off on them, too? Or did the judge not think of that? Let us know your thoughts by posting below!

June SAT Deadline

SAT Deadline, SAT June Deadline, ACT June Deadline

The registration deadlines for the June SAT and ACT are fast approaching.

For those students intending on taking the upcoming SAT, the June SAT deadline is fast approaching. And for those students planning on taking the June ACT, that deadline is also fast approaching as both the SAT and ACT registration cutoffs are on May 10th. The June SAT will take place on June 4th while the June ACT will take place on June 11th. If you still want to take the ACT but haven’t registered by May 10th, you have up until the 20th if you pay a late fee. The June SAT deadline with a late fee is on May 23rd.

Check out our SAT and ACT prep services so that you can boost your scores significantly with the help of our SAT and ACT tutors on these most important exams. And have a look at our blog post on SAT tutoring.

ACT and SAT Prep

SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT or ACT Prep

Learn about what companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review don’t tell you should you choose to go to them for ACT and SAT prep (bad idea).

There is an article in “Smart Money” today that discusses ten things SAT prep companies such as Kaplan and Princeton Review don’t tell you. While we at Ivy Coach agree with some points raised in the article and disagree with others, it is important to note that Kaplan and Princeton Review are not the only SAT and ACT test prep in town. In fact, they offer mediocre services that often don’t allow students to reach their SAT and ACT goals. But there are a number of private tutoring companies that offer personal instruction and tested, proven techniques that absolutely improve students’ SAT and ACT scores exponentially. We at Ivy Coach happen to offer such services.

Let’s dissect some of the complaints aimed at test prep companies such as Kaplan and Princeton Review in the “Smart Money” article:

1. “Big Improvements? We’re exaggerating.” Kaplan and Princeton Review advertise that they will boost scores exponentially and, as it turns out, many of the students who complete these courses only boost their scores a bit…or not at all. According to the “Smart Money” article, “A 2009 report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) found that while many test-prep providers advertise average score increases of 100 points or more on the SAT, average gains were closer to 30 points, out of a possible total score of 1,600 (the research predated the addition of the writing section of the SAT in 2005). For the ACT, the average gain was less than one point out of a possible 36.”

2. “The test may be over, but we’re sticking around.” Kaplan and Princeton Review are criticized for continuing to mail brochures and ads to its previous clients well after they’re done with the SAT or ACT. It’s often difficult to get off their mailing lists even if you directly ask them to remove you from the mailings.

3. “Well, we think this works.” According to the article, “There have also been relatively few studies on the effectiveness of test coaching services – and the ones that have been are not exactly conclusive. For example, most of the research conducted on SAT prep programs since the 1950s involved studies of small groups of students and not ‘necessarily representative of the national population,’ according to the 2009 report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Even less research has been done on prep courses for the ACT and other admissions tests. Kaplan, Princeton Review, PrepMe and other companies all say they conduct regular surveys and studies to monitor what’s working (and what’s not) when it comes to their classes and products.” We at Ivy Coach agree and disagree. Our students don’t use Princeton Review. They don’t use Kaplan. And they don’t use these services for a reason. But the SAT, ACT and Subject Test tutoring that we offer absolutely do improve scores. We see it firsthand every time our students tell us their score results on these exams.

4. “You can prep yourself.” Studying vocabulary and practicing math problems absolutely will help your SAT or ACT scores. No doubt about it. But studying alone without test prep is ill-advised. You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage when so many other high school students are working with tutors. Studying and tutoring should instead complement each other.

5. “What guaranteed refund?” Kaplan and Princeton Review often offer refunds but clients have been known to have trouble actually securing refunds when their scores don’t go up as advertised.

6. “This is going to be stressful.” No kidding! No matter how you prepare for the SAT or ACT, it’s going to be a stressful process. There is no getting around that. How is that a just criticism of any test prep service – even for an ineffectual one such as Kaplan or Princeton Review?

7. “Test scores aren’t really that important anyway.” Please! SAT or ACT scores are a major component of one’s chances for gaining admission to the colleges of one’s choice. Test scores are absolutely important!

Check out the “Smart Money” article here.

And check out our related posts on the SAT or ACT: SAT Prep and College Admissions Flaws.

College Admissions Flaws

College Admission Flaws, University Admissions Flaws, Ivy League Admissions Flaws

The highly selective college admissions process might be flawed but it is not similar to the lottery.

There is an opinion piece on “The Huffington Post” by John M. Eger in which Mr. Eger criticizes the college admissions process. In fact, Mr. Eger compares the college admissions rat race to the lottery when he writes, “Is who gets admitted to one of America’s coveted universities each year mostly a numbers process that is badly flawed? You are more likely to have success at LOTTO.” Mr. Eger couldn’t be more wrong and it’s this very kind of opinion piece that contributes to the college admissions craze that stresses out students, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors alike.

In his piece, Mr. Eger points out many of the imperfections of the current college admissions process. He takes aim at the SAT as “increasingly being discounted by colleges because, many critics have accused, [it] has a cultural bias toward the white and wealthy kids.” This is patently wrong, Mr. Eger. The SAT also favors wealthy Chinese and Indian students alike who can afford the high costs of great SAT prep for their children. Wealthy Chinese and Indian students can game the system just as “white kids” can!

And, Mr. Eger, it’s 2011…your argument is hardly new. Ever since the early days of the SAT, there have been complaints that the test is discriminatory. In fact, questions that test-takers of various ethnicities might construe differently were carefully examined and removed. For instance, an analogy like “club: waggle” would not appear on any recent version of the SAT. Why? Because depending on your background, one might associate the word “club” with a bar, a weapon, or golfing equipment. While the term “waggle” is a back-and-forth motion of the hands and wrist typically associated with golfing, this would give an unfair advantage to wealthy kids whose parents bought them golf lessons or took them out for nine holes on a sunny weekend day.

As for your argument that colleges are “increasingly discounting” the SAT (or ACT), you happen to be wrong again. Are there colleges that don’t require the SAT or ACT? Yes. Smith College, Bates College, and Union College don’t require it (they have test-optional policies…although, don’t be fooled, great SAT or ACT scores can surely increase your chances for admission even at these colleges). Middlebury College, Bryn Mawr College, and Hamilton College  don’t require the SAT or the ACT it if you submit SAT Subject Tests and AP / IB exam scores. But the aforementioned colleges are part of a very short list. Are there other schools that are test-optional? Yes. In fact, as of this date, there are 830 colleges and universities that have optional SAT / ACT policies. DeVry will accept you if you have a pulse (this may even be negotiable). But come on…the vast majority of competitive colleges and universities require the SAT / ACT and will require the SAT / ACT ten years from now barring the unlikely creation of a new test that can measure the aptitude of all college applicants more fairly than the exams currently in place.

If Mr. Eger hadn’t done enough damage by putting forth inaccurate information, he then takes aim at GPAs when he writes, “High schools don’t use the same GPA scale, ‘according to Peterson College Search,’ and even when they do, many use weighted systems (perhaps giving extra ‘points’ to grades from honors, accelerated, International Baccalaureate, or Advanced Placement classes), and employ varying methods of calculating a cumulative GPA. The trouble is that the GPA measure is incredibly imprecise and hard to compare. Thus Peterson says, ‘Your GPA is very much dependent upon your high school setting and grading policies and the classes you have taken.'” The truth is that colleges are adept at leveling the GPA playing field. They receive high school profiles. They know the courses offered at each school. They know if an applicant is taking the most challenging courses possible. They know the colleges to which many of the high school’s graduates matriculate. They can easily unweight GPAs if that is the practice of a particular admissions office (as it is at many universities). They can easily just look at the grades and coursework without making any calculations (as is the practice at still other universities).

So, Mr. Eger, thank you for adding to the stress of the college admissions process by pointing out various alleged flaws of the system. While there are indeed flaws in the college admissions system, your inaccurate, flawed opinion piece suggests no remedies and as such, it’s entirely useless.

Read the opinion piece in “The Huffington Post” here.

Check out our related blog posts on weighted vs. unweighted GPA, SAT prep, and score choice, and read our newsletter Colleges with Optional SAT Policies.

And be sure to check out our SAT Prep Services or sign up for a Free Consultation.