Blog

07 Nov 2019

Hold on: check your CommonApp for these 5 common mistakes before hitting “Submit Application”

Dr. Monica Lewin, Learning Specialist

 

1. Proofread. Seriously. 

Students should proofread their applications as “print preview” PDFs, and they should ask an adult — teacher, parent, or guidance counselor — to proofread them as well. Nothing will put a bad taste in an admissions officer’s mouth faster than seeing you misspelled “recommendation” as “reccomendation”. Plan out your submission timeline to include ample time to get feedback from one or more proofreaders. In truth, you should plan to submit your applications early! Colleges prefer to see you are a responsible, organized student who gets work done on time.

2. Don’t slack on the “Why X School” Essay.

Students should be careful to use very specific, insightful reasons when composing each school-specific essay section.  Generic reasons like small class size or prestige won’t suffice. Colleges have started to weigh “demonstrated interest” as a major factor in the admissions process.  Be sure to identify and convey all the unique details that intrigue you about the school or a specific major, without simply regurgitating information from their website. Instead, research the classes, programs, activities, and faculty. Is there a particular professor that impresses you?  What charmed you at your last campus visit? Be sure to mention how specific faculty, staff, or alumni you spoke with contributed to your interest in the school. 

3. Fully flesh out your list of extracurricular activities.

Although the activity section of the Common Application is limited to a certain number of characters, students should make sure all of their activities are well explained. If needed, put these extra details in the “additional information” section. This is especially true for any obscure abbreviations or uncommon activities that an admissions officer may not be familiar with. And, even if you think the admissions committee might not care about a hobby you’re serious about, talk about it! It’s also better you include the details of your activities in this section rather than attaching a Resume document, which has a chance of being forgotten. 

4. Don’t over-share.

You may have heard people say that colleges are looking for applicants who have overcome some type of hardship, but you should avoid using the ‘App as your personal pity party. Balance your challenges by also discussing what you’ve learned and your positive features as an applicant. Give examples of how you made the best out of the situation, or describe what you learned from the experience. Colleges want to admit students who they think are mature, who can take responsibility for their own success– not those who see themselves as helpless victims of circumstance. 

5. Lying won’t fly. 

If an admissions officer notices inconsistencies in your application, it’s likely to end up being tossed straight in the “rejected” pile. Reviewers can add up the hours in your activities section to know if you’ve embellished your extracurriculars to a superhuman degree; they will notice if the way you describe your accomplishments doesn’t line up with your letter writers’ accounts. Furthermore, some universities may evaluate all the applications from a given high school at the same time, so if they see two applicants list themselves as President of the English Honors Society, for example, they will call a guidance counselor from your school to check this out. 

After you submit…

Congratulate yourself! The college application process is stressful. However, keep in mind that your hard work does not stop here. Keep up with your academics– schools may check back in on your second semester grades. This will be especially critical if you are waitlisted or deferred… We’ll elaborate on this more in a future post! 

24 Oct 2019

Meticulous methods: ace tests like a scientist

Dr. Monica Lewin, Neuroscientist, Learning Specialist

When I first started working in research labs, I noticed something rather interesting. Despite being surrounded by cutting edge technology, every scientist I worked with would diligently inscribe notes into simple, black and white, college ruled composition books. They logged the details of every daily task in these notebooks: from tracking each step completed in an experiment, to the quantities of each chemical used in the day’s solutions. Every process and its result were recorded.

Personally, I thought this was excessive. We were scientists; clearly we were smart enough to know what we were doing around the lab. Was it really necessary to be this meticulous?

It didn’t take me long to find out it was. When things went wrong—when experiments failed for unknown reasons, or when I simply got distracted and forgot which step in my protocol was up next—my paper trail was there, in my black and white lab notebook. When I was exhausted, and running the same experiment on autopilot for the thirteenth time, seeing my own careless errors written plainly on paper allowed me to identify the problem and correct my mistakes.

I started to find this practice was useful even outside the lab. I took extra scratch paper with me to my exams, showing all my work and recording my thought process for each question. Mental math became the enemy—I didn’t trust it! I marked up my test booklets, underlining the key words in each question, eliminating answers and jotting down why to systematically track my answering strategy. To study, I took practice tests and made copious notes on the types of questions I got wrong. What did I miss while reading the question? Did I calculate using the wrong unit? Did I forget to carry the 1? Later, I could review those notes and focus my energy on eliminating my most common sticking points.

When preparing for a standardized exam such as the SAT or ACT, it is of course important to focus on building the academic skills it assesses. Thus, it’s unsurprising that most prep programs market their ability to cover the most content in the least amount of time. There is, however, another very important aspect to scoring well that students tend to gloss over: minimizing careless mistakes. Here at Sentia, we have found that up to a third of a student’s lost points are due to careless errors, not because of poor understanding. Students tend to brush these kinds of errors off during review because they feel their tutor has prepared them well on the content. They are, and rightfully so, confident that they know what they are doing. However, at Sentia, we consistently reinforce the fact that all incorrect answers cost you the same number of points. Students should view careless errors with the same seriousness as they view content gaps. Sentia’s tutors emphasize these “meticulous methods” to teach students how to hold on to those valuable points.

07 Feb 2018

Senioritis… The good, the bad and the ugly

You have accomplished the most amazing challenge you have ever undertaken in your life – you have been accepted to college! All your efforts have been rewarded with those magic words, “we are pleased to inform you of your acceptance”. Congratulations!

So what do you do now?  Or maybe the question is, what DON’T you do?

To avoid succumbing to Senioritis, keep these in mind:

Good Grades Matter

Think of your entire high school career as an audition for college. You can’t give up before the final curtain.  Keep those grades up and GPA in good shape.  You may be a second semester senior but don’t lose your focus.  You’re still a student!

 

Acceptance is not a guarantee

It can be very tempting to sit back and relax and not expend too much energy on anything. But don’t be fooled into thinking that once you’ve been accepted, you’re in no matter what. Your entire senior year is important. Once you complete your senior year and receive your diploma, college are still going to look at your grades – including the ones from your senior spring semester. If your GPA drops significantly it can tell colleges that you don’t care about academics. And they can rescind your acceptance. That’s right–you essentially get “un”accepted!

 

A good GPA leads to good scholarships and grants

Many scholarship and grant opportunities–as well as other forms of financial aid–often have requirements that include a certain minimum GPA level. The higher your GPA is, the more scholarships and grants you could qualify for.

Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself.

Having clear goals is the simplest way to stay motivated. Write down your goals for this semester, and be specific about how you’re going to achieve them. For example: What grades do you want in each of your classes? Do you need a specific GPA to maintain a scholarship or financial aid? What skills do you want to improve on before heading off to college?

 

Focus on earning college credit.

If you’re taking Advanced Placement or other college-level classes, you may need a certain grade or test score to get college credit. Doing well in these classes can help you place into more advanced courses, graduate early, and spend less on tuition—all very good things. Studying hard now can make a big impact on your college career.

 

Stay active and challenged

A lot of time is spent on completing applications, writing essays, going on college visits, researching majors and campus life.  Now that you’ve been accepted you’ll have more free time. While you continue to focus on academics, there is also time now to do fun (and enriching) things.

By senior year you have most likely taken most required courses and there should be room in your schedule for elective classes. Elective classes are those that you take not to fulfill a requirement, but because they interest you. So much of our motivation to learn lies in intellectual curiosity, and it can thus behoove seniors to indulge this instinct.

Taking courses because they are easy is a tactic that many students use, but this is not an effective way to avoid senioritis – your lack of effort in your easy classes may bleed into your challenging classes and threaten your grades. Signing up for courses that make you want to work hard may just increase your motivation in all of your studies.

You can also use your extra time to pursue your passions or hobbies, join a club or organization that you are interested in, cultivate your relationships with friends and family (you’ll miss them when you leave for college), read a good book, and plan your summer. Second semester is a great time for all of these things.

Get prepared for college life

You’re about to be on your own and you’re going to have be fully independent.  Second semester senior year is the time to figure out and practice things like how to have a balanced and healthy diet to sustain you through hours of tougher homework, how to deal with the extra free time that results from the less-structured college life, how to manage your money, how to do your laundry, and how to clean you room!

06 Feb 2018

Second Semester Junior Year

Second semester junior year is a critical time to prepare for the college application process that will begin senior year. From test prep to summer plans, every detail matters.

Key factors that should be on every Junior’s mind:

1. Academic Excellence

Every year of high school academic are important. Junior year is no exception but it is the last opportunity students have to prove consistently high marks OR a clear trajectory of growth.

If you had a weaker start in high school but you have shown consistent growth through second semester junior year, college admissions committees will look at your grades favorably. Remember, any progress you make senior year won’t be on your application transcript.

2. Leadership Positions

Colleges want to see a commitment to 2-3 extracurricular activities that you’re really passionate about. Being able to show a leadership positions that has made a difference in your school or community is the best way to prove you will an asset to the college of your choice and will be able to contribute to the school community.

Begin thinking about possible leadership position in your senior year while you are still a junior. Put your name in for captain, start planning your student council campaign, talk to your coach or teacher about how you can contribute more to the team.

3. Summer Plans

A productive and fulfilling summer is just as important as the school year for your college application. Options can include work, volunteering, travel, or study.  To have the best opportunities available, start planning for them before spring break of your junior year.  Most summer programs have application processes that will need to be completed before March.

4. Test Prep

Summer is a time when most students do not have the structure of a daily schedule. Summer before junior year is the best time to prepare for standardized college, or, if you have completed your junior year, it is the best time to conclude test prep so you can take official tests in the early fall.

Meeting with a tutor more frequently during the summer months and adding more practice will help you reach your score goals.

And don’t forget to check exam dates and make sure you register for the right ones.

5. Identify your Recommenders

Start thinking about who will write your letters of recommendation. Before you leave for the summer, ask your teachers if they will write your recommendation.

Remember:

a) It is more courteous to ask for the recommendation (unless she has already agreed to write it, then begin your letter by confirming her offer).

b) Include a list of your accomplishments from freshman year to present. Don’t forget to highlight any leadership positions and include non-school related activities.  (This is an excellent motivation to write a resume).

c) Be direct and ask for a strong, stellar, outstanding… whatever word you choose… recommendation.

d) Provide a time line for a response and a date for the completed recommendation.

e) Close your request with a thank you and.

6. Narrow your College List

By the end of second semester junior year, you’ll want to have a preliminary list of colleges you want to apply to. Start the research. Know your “competitive tiers” – the schools that would be your target, reach, and safety schools.

7. College Visits

Use spring break to visit colleges while they’re in session. While it is nice to visit schools on your list, also take the schools with a variety of factors – urban vs. rural, big vs. small, public vs. private, etc. Information that includes a wide range of factors regarding schools and campuses will be helpful to inform your final choice.

8. Get Organized 

There’s a lot to keep track of in the college admissions process. Standardized test registration dates, early decision and regular decision application deadlines, dates to get your transcripts and your letters of recommendation – start adding these to your calendar NOW and review dates regularly during your senior year.

05 Feb 2018

Debunking the most popular Myths about the SAT and ACT

 

How do you know what’s true and what’s just a rumor about your standardized test scores will affect your college applications? Don’t Fall for These Five Misconceptions About the SAT and ACT

  1. Students should take both the SAT and the ACT.

Not true. While the tests are more similar due to the recent changes to the SAT, it’s still important for students to focus studying specifically for one test. By dedicating effort toward one exam, students can become completely comfortable with that exam and the test–taking skills it requires. Plus, who wants to sit through hours and hours of test by taking each one multiple times.

  1. Everyone at my school takes the SAT so I should take the SAT.

Student have a choice and they should choose the test that best reflects their academic strengths.

  1. Colleges prefer the SAT (or ACT).

Not true! At our last check, all US colleges don’t care which test gets submitted, so students should take the test that suits them best and submit that test.

  1. Everything is riding on my scores.

Standardized test scores are one factor that is considered when colleges are reviewing an applicant – but they are not the most important.  According to the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, college admissions officers consistently rank grades and course rigor as the most important admissions factors. So a student can have great test scores, but if his or her grades and courses aren’t up to standard, he or she may have a considerably lower chance of getting in. In fact, it can be a red flag to admissions officers if a student’s grades and test scores are wildly unmatched. That’s not to say that standardized test scores aren’t important. A score that’s too low could be the deciding factor of admission to reject that student’s application. It’s important to do well on standardized test scores, but it’s not the only thing to focus on.

  1. I have great grades so I’ll do well on the SAT or ACT without studying.

Ideally, by the time students are sitting for the SAT or ACT, they will have adequately covered the content and concepts being tested. However, curricula vary from school to school, and every student has different abilities. The truth is, for some students, there may be little overlap in what’s being taught in class and what’s on the test. For other students, some concepts may have been covered previously, but so much time has passed that they’ve forgotten some of the key elements. Much of the content students are tested on in the SAT or ACT is also presented in a different format, so even though they’ve covered the concepts before it may seem unfamiliar. There’s also the issue of time constraints, test-taking strategies, and other factors that don’t mimic traditional learning or the classroom experience. Just because a student performs well in class doesn’t mean he or she will do well on the ACT or SAT the first time around. A student wouldn’t go into any other test unprepared, and standardized college entrance exams are no different.

  1. The ACT is “easier” than the SAT.

This common myth – pitting one test against the other and even asserting that colleges value one over the other – never holds true. All colleges and universities equally consider both tests. No test is “easier” than the other. The factor that students must consider when choosing which test to take and prepare for is which one is a better fit for his or her abilities. At Sentia Education, we recommend students take a diagnostic test doe the SAT and the ACT under timed conditions to get an idea of which test they perform better on, which test they prefer and what aspects they need to prepare for.

  1. I don’t need to take the SAT or ACT until the spring of my junior year.

While this is the most popular time for high school students to take college entrance exams, it leaves students with little time for improvement should they not perform as they expected. Also, with finals, AP exams, extracurricular activities and challenging courses, spring of junior year can leave students stretched thin – which can hurt test prep and performance.

The truth is, many students will have covered the most frequently tested concepts on the SAT and ACT by sophomore year of high school, so for some students it can be better to take the test a little earlier if they’re ready. Through test prep sophomore year and earlier in junior year, students can get a refresher on the content they’ve already covered – allowing them to take the test earlier and have more time for adjustments. Also, they can learn test-taking strategies and tips that don’t necessarily require prior knowledge of the content.

  1. You can’t really improve your Reading score.

You CAN improve your Reading score by expanding your vocabulary, honing your critical reading skills, understanding the author’s point of view, and mastering your test-taking skills. So read – books, newspapers and anything else you can get your hands on.  Sentia Education offers expertise on additional skill-building tools.

  1. Students should take the ACT only if they’re strong in science

The science section of the ACT measures a student’s ability to read charts and graphs and interpret data. There is little need for actual science knowledge to do well on science section of the ACT. Being strong in science may not translate to the ACT science section.

  1. You should take the SAT or ACT as often as you can.

At Sentia Education, we recommend students take the SAT only a couple of times. In place of official tests, we offer a numerous practice tests that help students and tutors identify continued challenges as well as gauge test readiness. Don’t treat the official SAT or ACT as practice. Practice tests are for practice. The real thing is the real thing.

  1. Since the essay is optional, you don’t need to take it.

We encourage students to take the ACT with Writing and include the SAT essay in their registration. Before making your decision, you should check the requirements of the colleges you are applying to. Many colleges either require or recommend that applicants include the essay and, if that’s the case, you definitely want to take essay portion of the test.

Even if you are not quite sure which colleges you may be applying to, it’s best to include the essay in case it is required or recommended by any of the schools you do end up applying to, especially since you cannot take the Writing section test by itself.

  1. I don’t have to take the subject tests
  • 26 colleges recommend SAT subject tests
  • 37 colleges accept SAT subject tests.
  • 44 colleges require SAT subject tests.

     The ACT is NOT a substitute for the SAT & SAT subject tests

  • 26 colleges recommend SAT subject tests. Of these, 23 do not let the ACT replace subject tests.
  • 37 colleges accept SAT subject tests. Of these, 36 do not let the ACT replace subject tests.
  • 44 colleges require SAT subject tests. Of these, 25 do not let the ACT replace subject tests. (e.g. Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown, and all UC schools)
  1. Test prep doesn’t work.

Studies collected by FairTest show that good test prep programs can raise a student’s scores by 100 points, and in many cased, even more. Sentia Education works with each student individually to identify strengths and weaknesses in both concepts and skills as well as in strategies.  A targeted approach to test preparation utilizes a student’s existing skills and helps them translate them to the standardized test format. Most of what students encounter on the ACT and SAT reflects specific math, reading, and writing skills they have already learned in school. General academic performance will, in many cases, predict performance on standardized tests. Students who have worked hard and earned A’s are in great shape to do well on the ACT or SAT.

The key to success on standardized tests is to work hard in school, and then do enough focused test prep to become completely comfortable and confident with the content and question types encountered on the ACT or SAT. There are a variety of test-taking strategies which can boost your student’s score.

The misconception comes from the fact that — in addition to explicitly testing math, reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, and writing skills — both the ACT and SAT take basic or foundational concepts and ask test-takers to apply them in ways that can seem tricky. The tests also try to measure critical thinking and problem solving ability, abstract skills that are built into all high school subjects rather than taught in a particular class.

 

02 Feb 2018

The PQRST Method of Studying

The PQRST Method of Studying

 This is a method of reading a textbook so that the information you read really does enter your long term memory. It is based on work by Thomas and H. A. Robinson, Spache and Berg and R. P .Robinson. Its sometimes cryptically known as SQ3R.

So what can it do?

The method has been shown to improve a readers understanding, and his/her ability to recall information. In other words, the reader is more likely to learn, and to learn more, of the material he/she is reading. If you use this method, reading won’t be a waste of your time.

How does it work?

In this method you follow five steps – Preview, Question, Read, Self-recite and Test (PQRST). The middle three steps apply to every section within a chapter whilst the first and last steps apply to the chapter itself. You may find that many textbooks are compiled in a way which makes this method easy to apply, using an introductory passage, and questions at the end.

The diagram below illustrates the method:

  1. PREVIEW an assignment by scanning it.  Read the chapter outline at the beginning of the chapter.  Pay attention to the headings of the sections and subsections.  Read the summary.  The point is to get an idea of the main topics and sections of the chapter.
  2. QUESTION As you read through each section, start by asking yourself “what am I supposed to learn in this section”. This helps to get your brain in to sync with the topic being discussed.
  3. READ. Next, actually read that section. Do it carefully, think about the meaning and relate this to other things you know about this and similar topics. Do some underlining or highlighting of key words. Don’t overdo it! If you want to take notes, read the whole section first, and then summarize it later.
  4. SELF-RECITATION requires that you try to remember the main points of each section and that you say them out loud (if possible) to yourself. Check back against the text, and note the things you missed out. Ensure that you didn’t miss them because you haven’t learnt them. Only then go on to the next section and Question again.
  5. TEST yourself after you have finished the entire chapter.  How many of the main ideas from the chapter can you remember? Think about the relevance of what you learnt and how it all fits together. Reread any chapter summaries. Even though you have only just read the chapter, now is the best time to test yourself.

 

01 Feb 2018

How to study more effectively

  • Hate to study?
  • Can’t concentrate for more than 15-20 minutes?
  • Manage to make average grades from what you retain in class and with the little studying you manage to do?
  • Tired of being average.

Studying is not the same as learning.  Here are some strategies to help you study effectively:

  1. Know your purpose. Scan the content to identify the most important concepts you need to know to achieve the top grade. Make a list of items to memorize. Quantify – only by being objective will you increase your productivity.

All goals should be “SMART”

  • S pecific (not something vague)
  • M easurable
  • A chievable
  • R ecorded (written down)
  • T imed (have a time limit)
  1. Limit studying time. Study for specific periods of time or to learn and master a specific concepts or problem set. Either way, be sure you study for 100% of the time you commit to – no smartphones, no internet, no TV, no distractions.
  2. Multiple Sources. Sometimes its not enough to know ‘just enough’. You might not completely understand a topic/concept or you may understand some of it but not enough.

To solve this dilemma, read/view/talk to multiple sources. Remember: one author may explain something better than another. Its vital to refer to different sources to strengthen your understanding.

Select the best sources. If there are high-yield versions of textbooks, pre-made notes optimized for retention, mnemonics collections, essential problem sets (and solutions), use them.

  1. Feynman technique. This Mental Model, named after Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize Winning Physicist, designed as a technique assist with learning new concepts as if you were explaining them to a complete beginner. His technique includes drawing diagrams, schematics and notes on a blank sheet of paper.
  2. Cultivate daily habits. The best approach to successful studying is to train daily for a relatively short amount of time. 30 min of difficult math problems every day is much more effective than 3 weekly sessions of 2 hours each.
  3. If you’re going to take notes, do it right. Note taking is associated with better retention rates than just reading or reviewing pre-existing notes.
  4. Don’t cram for tests. If you are going to do well in a test then you need to be relaxed. In the days before a test you should do nothing more stressful than a couple of hours gently reviewing your notes to assure yourself you know your stuff.
  5. Make a study guide. As the student puts together a study guide, he also is putting small chunks of information systematically into his brain.  An auditory or kinesthetic learner can talk out loud as he creates his study guide.
  6. Put together a study groupFor older students, it is a good idea to study the information with others.  It gives students the opportunity to make sure each student understands the material and has studied in a comprehensive manner.  Students can quiz each other on information and create outlines for possible essay questions.
  7. Use flashcards. If you need to memorize things, you need tools. Create your own or use one of the apps available
  8. Practice and test yourself. The best way to learn is to use the knowledge you are trying to acquire. You’ll figure out your weak spots in your understanding of complex concepts. There are resources online to test any kind of subject.
  9. Planning can reduce stress and anxiety. Set your goals, plan your studying techniques and stick to the plan.
  10. Cultivate the right mindset. Essential qualities of all productive students include: Diligence, Discipline, Direction and Durability.

Do exactly what you have to do daily, no matter what.

Think positively!  Try to imagine yourself getting an A+ on the exam.  Imagine getting questions you know the answers to, expressing yourself clearly and concisely, and feeling good about yourself and your performance.  Think about how good you will feel inside when the test is over and all your preparation has paid off.

 

 

 

 

29 Jan 2018

Everything you should know about SAT II Subject Tests

SAT Subject Tests—AKA SAT IIs—are slightly cuter versions of the SAT. Each Subject Test (there are over 20!) is one hour long and corresponds to material taught in high school-level academic courses. If you’re thinking about taking an SAT Subject Test, read on to find out everything you need to know!

1.) Who should take SAT Subject Tests?

You should take SAT Subject Tests if the schools you’re applying to require, recommend, or officially consider them. If you’re not sure where your top choice colleges stand, here is a comprehensive list of all schools that use SAT Subject Tests for admissions decisions.

Keep in mind that colleges vary in the amount of emphasis they place on SAT Subject Tests. Schools that “require” SAT Subject Tests, for example, will not even review an application that comes without them. Other schools, like Stanford and the University of Virginia, do not officially require Subject Tests, but applicants who don’t submit them will be at a sharp disadvantage. If you are applying to any school that “recommends” SAT IIs, you should absolutely take them unless your scores will mar your application.

Still more schools neither require nor recommend SAT IIs, but will consider them if submitted. Such schools treat Subject Tests as supplementary information and use them to form a more complete image of a student. Some schools, like the University of Notre Dame, only consider Subject Tests that enhance an application. Contact admissions representatives at your top-choice schools to find out where they stand.

2.) What Subject Tests can I take?

SAT Subject Tests come in a plethora of shapes and sizes! The College Board offers the following SAT Subject Tests:

— English Literature
U.S. History
— World History
— Math Level 1
— Math Level 2
— Biology – Ecological
— Biology – Molecular
— Chemistry
— Physics
— French (with or without Listening)
— German (with or without Listening)
— Spanish (with or without Listening)
— Modern Hebrew
— Italian
— Latin
— Chinese with Listening
— Japanese with Listening
— Korean with Listening

3.) Are Subject Tests harder than the SAT? What about AP exams?

The SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests assess entirely different things. Neither is harder than the other. SAT Subject Tests are designed to measure how much a student knows about a subject. By contrast, the SAT presents basic content in new ways in order to evaluate students’ reasoning skills. In other words, the SAT tests your ability to figure out the best approach to a puzzling question about an elementary topic.

AP exams are much harder than SAT Subject Tests because they test college-level knowledge, whereas SAT IIs measure principles taught in high school-level classes.

4.) When should students take SAT Subject Tests?

In general, students should take Subject Tests immediately after completing coursework in the subject they wish to test in. For many students, this means testing at the end of freshman or sophomore year! Language and Literature Subject Tests should be taken either during the spring of junior year or fall of senior year, as multiple years of coursework in these subjects will benefit exam performance. If you are taking and doing well in an AP course, you should take the same subject’s SAT II as close as possible to the actual AP exam.

Keep in mind that not all Subject Tests are offered for every test date! Language Subject Tests with Listening, for example, are only offered during the November administration. Make sure to review the Subject Test calendar so you don’t miss your opportunity to test!

5.) Which Subject Tests should I take?

Students should take Subject Tests that reflect their academic strengths and interests. It is also a good idea to test in subjects related to one’s prospective major. An applicant to a prestigious nursing school who submits Biology and Chemistry scores would certainly look better than one who submits SAT IIs in Literature and French! Also, keep in mind that some programs and university departments require specific Subject Tests.

6.) How can I get out of taking SAT Subject Tests?

Believe it or not, several schools will waive their Subject Test requirement if a student has taken the ACT with Writing. This is because such schools see the ACT Science and Writing sections as comparable to SAT Subject Tests.

Beware, however, of this foggy path! Most students accepted to the institutions mentioned above do submit SAT Subject Tests. Furthermore, many colleges (including Harvard, Princeton and Columbia) require Subject Tests in addition to the ACT. Also, most colleges that “recommend” or “consider” subject tests want to see them—even if an applicant has taken the ACT.

7.) How should I prepare for SAT Subject Tests?

Sentia Education offers top of the line tutoring for all Subject Tests, but if you’d rather self-study, the following resources will help you get started.

24 Jan 2018

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Taking SAT Subject Tests

The SAT and ACT are the main college admission tests and students often forget about SAT Subject Tests. Many students don’t realize the benefits of taking a Subject Test because a number of colleges and universities in the U.S. only require students to submit an ACT or SAT score. However, there are several surprising reasons why you should consider preparing for a Subject Test.

Some schools actually require (or recommend) students take Subject Tests

The list is longer than you might think.

Each school has its own policy surrounding Subject Tests. For the schools on your list, visit each school’s website or contact the school directly to see if they require, recommend, or consider Subject Tests for a student’s application. Be sure to check specific majors or programs at your target schools – the entire college may not require a Subject Test, but the engineering program or science programs might.

What does it mean if a school recommends a Subject Test score?

For selective schools with low acceptance rates, at least two Subject Tests are “strongly recommended.” Your application will still be considered without submitting Subject Test scores, but you will be much more competitive with Subject Test scores to submit. Arre you willing to take that extra step to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Do you know your academic strengths and have enough confidence to submit an objective number measuring those strengths?

Get college credit before you even step foot on campus

Some schools allow students to bypass introductory courses if their Subject Test scores are impressive. This means you can fulfill required credits more quickly.

 

Subject Tests are different from the other elements of your application: they serve as bonus points and give admissions officers a clearer sense of what type of student you are, therefore making it easier to determine if you’re a good fit for the school.

If you know you’re proficient in chemistry, a solid Subject Test score in addition to a strong academic transcript could be indispensable information on your application. This also adds a substantial amount of credibility to your claim that chemistry is your strongest subject.

 

23 Jan 2018

Spring Semester – To Do’s

Hello, and welcome back from winter break! With your short reprieve from reality now over, we thought now would be the perfect time to remind you of your future realities: college!

Your school year is now about halfway over (yes, the technical midpoint of your school year is a month or so away, but winter break certainly seems like a midpoint), and that means you still have a lot of work to do. In addition to the mandatory schoolwork, you also have the odious tasks of college admissions to think about. So, with that in mind, here are our suggestions for what you should be working on for those frigid and gelid winter evenings!

Seniors
For the most part, your hard work should already be done. You’ve already applied to most of your colleges, right? If you have any applications left, complete them now. Literally. Right. Now. Do not delay anymore, as deadlines are final!

After your applications are in, wait patiently. Plan a reward for yourself for when those acceptance letters start to roll in. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get into your first-choice schools. That’s why you didn’t just apply to one school. In general, relax!

That being said, don’t slack in school. Keep up your hard work for a few more months, and make sure colleges don’t reconsider their decisions to admit you.

Juniors
You have the most on your plates this spring. Make sure you registered for winter or spring SAT and ACT administrations. Find out how many SAT Subject Tests you need to take for the schools you’ve been looking at, and register for those.

Next, study, study, study for the tests. Consult this blog for SAT and ACT practice questions, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from one of our talented and charismatic tutors.

Additionally, you should plan on visiting colleges in the spring and summer. Find out what schools are the best fits for you, and ask counselors at the schools what they need from you for your application. Try to narrow your list of schools down to a top 20 or 25. Sentia also provides college-consulting services, and our talented admissions experts would be more than happy to help you in your search.

Finally, keep up those grades! Your junior year is far and away the most important of your academic career, at least in terms of college admissions. Set a goal for yourself to get the best grades you’ve ever had in your life. A new year is a great (albeit arbitrary) time to turn a new leaf and become the best student in the history of the world. If you need help with your grades, don’t hesitate to ask Sentia for help there too. (See a trend, here? Ask for help in any areas of school. Better to be over prepared than underprepared, right?)

Sophomores
You should begin thinking of registering for standardized tests. You’ll need to take them at some point over the next two years, so you may as well get them out of the way earlier than the rest of your peers do. Take a practice ACT and SAT, and see which test is a better fit for you.

Regardless of which test you take, start improving your vocabulary now. Vocabulary is a major part of the SAT, but it can’t hurt you on the ACT to have an extensive vocabulary either. There really is no such thing as knowing too many words. And it is easier (and better) to learn vocabulary words slowly over several years, rather than cramming them into your brain a month before you sit for any tests. Read books and magazines at your difficulty level or even above your difficulty level, and improve your critical reading skills alongside your vocabulary.

You should also start looking at colleges and considering your options. Do you want to go to a big school or a small school? Close to home or far from home? In a city or in the middle of nowhere? Get at least a general idea of what kind of school you want to attend. Trust us. It’ll save you hours of time in the future.

Finally, keep your grades up. Having consistently high grades will make you a more attractive applicant to colleges, and now is also a great time to instill important study skills for your future academic career. If you need help with your grades, don’t hesitate to ask Sentia for help there too.