College Prep Testing
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Standardized tests are an important part of the college admission process. That said, some colleges no longer require the SAT for admission consideration and many colleges have become SAT-optional, allowing candidates the flexibility to choose whether to submit or not to submit SAT results. Institutions that require standardized tests use them as a means to compare an applicant to other college-bound seniors in the country. Most colleges realize that different students and groups of students have different testing profiles and will take those into account. The schools that utilize test scores the most are large universities at which a score might make the difference between an accept or deny. Most other colleges, including some of the most selective colleges, accept students with a broad range of scores.
It is the student's responsibility to be aware of test registration deadlines and the testing requirements of the colleges to which he/she will apply and to request that CollegeBoard send your SAT results to colleges directly from the testing service.
Raleigh Charter’s CEEB code is 343-230 and will be needed for all test registration forms and college applications. Students should give this number when requested on forms so that scores will be sent to RCHS.
Bookstores and libraries generally carry more extensive books and software for independent preparation. Generally, the best preparation is to work hard in academic courses and to do extensive outside reading, including summer reading. Some students find test preparation courses helpful. Scores generally go up, tutored or not, twenty to thirty points with each repeat test. Studies have shown, however, that the average score increase after a preparation program generally does not exceed fifty points, and sometimes students show declines. Studies also reveal that the math score responds more readily to specific tutoring than the verbal score because the verbal score is more a measure of acquired language background and reading completed over a long period of time.
Remember, standardized tests don’t claim to assess motivation, creativity, artistic skills, athletic abilities, kindness, decency, integrity, sense of humor and other human qualities that colleges take into account when admitting students.
Students generally should take the SAT in March and/or May of their junior year and, if they wish, again in the fall of their senior year. Students who wish to take the SAT must register on their own. Students will choose which scores to report to colleges.
North Carolina requires students to participate in the ACT while in high school. RCHS administers the practice version of the ACT, called the PreACT (formerly the PLAN), to all tenth-grade students in the fall and the ACT to all eleventh-grade students in the spring. There is no cost for students to take either of these tests, and participation is required for all students in those grades by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. There is no need to register.
This testing program is used mostly by colleges in the South and Midwest but almost all schools will accept this test in place of the SAT. Students receive a score for each subject-related test (English, mathematics, social studies and science) as well as a composite score that ranges from 1 to 36. ACT scores are generally comparable to SAT scores, and the college counselors can make the correlation.
Students may wish to take the ACT again outside of Raleigh Charter. See the link below for information on additional ACT testing.
RCHS will administer the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) for all tenth and eleventh graders in October each year. Students do not register directly with the testing service to take the PSAT. Instead, each student will pay a nominal fee to RCHS and the school will register the student for testing. The test provides practice for the SAT, and students who take the PSAT/NMSQT are automatically screened for the National Merit® Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships.
In December students will receive a Score Report which includes personalized feedback on test questions and an “Improve Your Skills” section.
For more information, visit www.collegeboard.com or www.nationalmerit.org.
Advanced Placement (AP) Program
This program enables students to challenge themselves with college level work, demonstrate their expertise to admission committees, and possibly earn college credit or waivers from introductory courses. Scores range from a low of 1 to a high of 5. Each college has its own criteria for granting credit, normally a score of 3 or better. RCHS offers 20 Advanced Placement Courses. The examinations are given in May at the end of an Advanced Placement course or at teacher recommendation. Teachers and the college counselors can provide additional information.
The AP Exam Schedule on collegeboard.com
Non Standardized Testing
Non-standardized testing is helpful to those who have a diagnosed and properly documented learning disability or physical handicap. The ACT and the College Board offer extended time or untimed testing for those who qualify. Students who believe they qualify for such testing should meet with Ms. Cherveny for specific information about registration and testing plans.
Fee waivers are available to juniors and seniors for the ACT and SAT exams. Students who believe they may qualify because of demonstrable economic need should check with the College Counseling Office as soon as possible. An ACT or SAT fee waiver may qualify a student for an application fee reduction or waiver at various colleges.