All Posts By

Amanda Patrick

College Acceptances: How to Choose!

By | College Bound

College Acceptances are rolling in, how do I decide which to attend?

Your hard work in high school has paid off. You took your SAT/ACT exams, got the best grades you could, and filled out as many applications as you needed to. Acceptance letters are starting to come in and you need to make a decision on where you will go in the fall. It’s hard to decide!! Here are some tips and things to consider to help you make your decision:

Ask the right questions

Call the schools and speak to an admissions advisor, current students at the college, or search the school’s website:

  • How many students return after freshman year? How many graduate?
  • Does the college offer a lot of majors I’m interested in?
  • What can I do for fun?
  • What kinds of students feel at home at this college?

Visit or re-visit the campus

Have you visited the schools you are considering? Need to check it out one more time? It’s important to see not only the school and its campus but also the surrounding town/city/area.

Compare Financial Aid rewards

Use this chart to help see where you will get the most money

Make a decision

Many colleges don’t expect your decision until May 1, but take all deadlines seriously.

Once you’ve decided which college you want to attend, inform all the colleges that accepted you about your decision.

Respond to the college you’ve decided to attend. Make sure to send in the following items by the deadline:

  • Your acceptance letter
  • A deposit
  • A separate acceptance letter for financial aid, if required
  • Any other required items

Respond to the colleges whose offers you’re declining. Send a brief note to the other colleges to thank them and turn down their offers. This frees up places for other students.

Still need help deciding?

Make an appointment with our college advisor. She can help you navigate the road to your best choice! Call 973-994-4664 and ask about our college advisory services.

Prepare for the PSAT and Beyond

By | College Bound, Estelle Finkel

Now that the PSATs are done it’s time to plan a testing schedule.

Each year, roughly 1.5 million students take the SAT and roughly the same number of students take the ACT each year as well. Most college bound students need to take one of these tests to showcase their academic abilities and gain admission to the college of their choosing. It’s important to prepare for the PSAT and beyond. (Curious about test optional colleges? Click here.)

Scheduling early and planning your test dates are important parts of the college planning process. We can help make this task easier by pointing out significant factors and important considerations in making a testing schedule that best fits your needs.

Consider the following:

1. When am I free to actually put in the time to study? Do I have extracurriculars like theater or sports that are taking up a lot of my time in certain months? See SAT and ACT upcoming test dates here.

2. Students who take the exams more than once have several advantages. Schedule yourself to take the test at LEAST 2-3 times. Choose these dates based on your schedule and when you have time to prep. You will see the greatest increase after test 1. (Testing schedules can look like this: For example, If SAT- March, June, August or December, March, May… If ACT- Feb, June, July, or Feb, April, June)

3. Choose your course of preparation. Keep in mind that in our area of the state/country our schools are major “sending” schools as we are very competitive and have a high rate of students going to college. The best preparation is the one that is most intensive and will give you the tools you need for the duration of your study time. Students often put in 40+ hours (including prep sessions, homework, practice tests) before their first test.

4. Start early. For high moderate to advanced students you should begin as early as possible. There is a myth going around that says to delay testing. If you have completed Algebra 2 you are ready to go. If you are currently taking Algebra 2, you may wish to start a bit later but keep in mind that the earlier you start, the better in most cases.  For average to below average students, waiting until Alg 2 is complete may be the best option.

5. Set goals: Once you take your first test, or after your PSAT, decide on how much you want to increase. Make smaller chunked goals for each testing date based on your overall goal. For example, if you want to improve on the SAT by 150 points, shoot for 50-75 point increase on each test. Break it down by section to make even smaller goals.

6. Finish testing early. Try to wrap up your testing by October Senior year AT THE LATEST. We advise trying to wrap it up even earlier for most of our students. Data shows that most selective colleges admit the greatest number of students during early decision and early action. If you are serious about a school, don’t wait until general application time, it may be too late.

7. Start looking at schools you may be interested in. Naviance and College Board both have search capabilities that are extremely user friendly and provide the info you need. Type in a few schools that you’ve always wondered about. Take a look at the “applying” section on College Board’s Big Future site. You will see the score ranges for SAT and ACT so you know what to aim for. Also look for what other requirements schools have listed. Do you need the SAT Subject tests? Do you need the SAT or ACT essay?

At Estelle Finkel Center for Learning, we offer the best in preparation for the ACT and SAT exams. Our experienced staff of educators take you from test prep to college admission with our concierge-like service.

Have additional questions or ready for test prep? Call us at 973-994-4665 or email our educational director at amanda@horizonsinlearning.org for more information.

Getting Admitted

By | College Bound

Standing Out in a Sea of Worthy College Applicants…

The college admissions process can take quite a toll on a student and even an entire family. Getting admitted starts by visiting schools and figuring out where to apply. Then a student tries to complete the various parts of an application to make it stand out. The process can amount to a tremendous source of stress.

Keys to Getting Admitted

So what can a senior in high school do to stand out in a sea of other worthy college applicants? Here are some useful tips:

  1. Correspond with an admissions counselor. Ask them specific questions about their academic programs and campus life in order to communicate your interest in their college. Make sure that your interactions demonstrate that you are a qualified candidate with a passion for this school. Do not, however, overuse this option.
  2. Reach out to a professor in your area of interest to learn more about their curricular offerings and opportunities. As in the case of your communications with an admissions officer, use this an opportunity to convey your sincere interest in their school. There’s a good chance that the professor will pass along your communications with the admissions department.
  3. Interviews are optional, but applicants should take advantage of the chance to sit down for an interview. This can be done on campus or even with a local alum in your community or via Skype. Interviews are great opportunities for candidates to make personal connections and also share information that may be difficult to capture on an application.
  4. Complete school-specific supplements with care! Don’t underestimate the importance of the answers you provide to questions that the college may ask of you to help them better determine how well you will fit into their programs of study and campus life. These usually come in the form of short answer responses. Do your homework on each school to personalize your answers.
  5. Write an essay that reveals something about you that the rest of your application cannot…your personality. It should give admissions officers a sense of who you are, as well as showcase your writing skills. When writing the essay, try to develop a creative angle to make your essay stand out among the thousands of others. An essay is a great way to show how you’ve grown as a person as a result of a meaningful life experience.

Yes, the college admissions process can be stressful from start to finish. It requires candidates to manage their applications and that takes time and effort. Remember, though, when it comes right down to it, colleges want to admit applicants who will actually choose to attend their school. That means that everything applicants can do to demonstrate a sincere interest will help them to stand out in a sea of worthy candidates!

For more information on the college admissions process, check out what Business Insider has to say in this article: http://www.businessinsider.com/ivy-league-admissions-officer-college-application-tips-2017-4

Getting Organized Successfully

By | Estelle Finkel

Organization is the Key to Success

Organization is truly a lost art. Getting organized successfully can translate into a healthy home life and better academic performance. It’s true, technological advancements have enhanced our lives over the last 20 years. The best organizational strategies, however, are tried and true old-fashioned methods.

Below is a list of five effective organizational strategies:

  1. Set up a Designated Study Space — Create an area of your house just for homework. Keep all the supplies your children need in bins and boxes. Provide plenty of space for books and set up baskets for papers so your child can find old homework and review for tests.
  2. Color Code Subjects — Buy school supplies for each subject in a different color. This way your children can see at a glance which folder, notebook, and binder has to do with which subject.
  3. Create a Cubby Hole at Home — Place a crate or sturdy box near someplace handy which allows your children to keep their backpacks and other school items in one spot. Teach your children to put everything they need for the next day in that place, as well. They’ll know where their belongings are without the need to search frantically, saving you time in the morning.
  4. Use a Calendar — Give your children a planner or an electronic calendar that they can bring to school. Teach them to write down assignments, tests, play dates, lessons, and other plans regularly. Additionally, have them write down their classmates’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses. This allows your child to find and contact their classmates easily.
  5. Set a Good Example — Keep things neat and organized in your own life. Your children will follow suit. If they have trouble making “to-do” lists, sit down and make one alongside them. Turning off the TV at a regular time to pay bills, or even just to read, demonstrates the importance of setting aside time to be productive and sticking to it.

Demonstrated Interest

By | College Bound

When it Comes to College Admissions Demonstrated Interest is Key!

Demonstrated Interest is a term colleges use to describe a student’s level of interest in attending their school. It encompasses every touch point that a student has with a specific college. Touch points can include visiting a school, emailing an admissions officer, sending a thank you note after an interview, completing an information request form on a college’s website, as well as Facebook “likes” and Tweets about the college. These touch points can improve a student’s chances of gaining acceptance to certain colleges. They can also help to move a wait-listed student to the front of the pack. There are specific software packages that some colleges employ to track these touch points. This software gauges a student’s level of interest in a school. Additionally, schools gain insight into how to better market their institution to students and parents given the competitive landscape of today’s search for the right college.

A college’s emphasis on Demonstrated Interest varies from being as important as a student’s GPA to not considered, whatsoever. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 50.2% of colleges rank Demonstrated Interest somewhere between “moderate importance” to “considerable importance.” Searching “Common Data Set” along with the name of the college of interest shows you how much that school values Demonstrated Interest.

Applicants should never underestimate how important it is to demonstrate interest in a college. Every interaction matters. Ultimately, it may mean the difference between an acceptance letter and a rejection letter!

Back to school tips that best prepare you for college!

By | College Bound, Estelle Finkel

College Admissions tips to get you ready for the new school year. This means you: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors!

Read our tips that will help you get ready, whether you are a Freshman just on your way to high school, or a Senior counting down the months til college.

Seniors.

Finalize your college application list and visit a few more colleges early this fall. If you visited over the summer, keep in mind you will get a better idea of student life when schools is back in session!

Get the most out of College Visits

Juniors.

If you haven’t already, start thinking seriously about your extracurricular activities and how they represent who you really are. If you are inclined to take leadership roles, start working to hone those skills. Junior year is one of the most important years for you. Begin an SAT or ACT prep class and take the exam at least twice. Get a realistic idea of what kinds of scores they schools you like are really looking for. College Board’s Big Future site has a great college search feature that shows you what schools are looking for.

What are the test scores colleges are looking for?

 

Sophomores.

Freshman year has passed and you have a better idea of what to expect in high school. You should be honing in on your study skills which are essential for success in high school and college.  Not feeling too confident? Sign up for a study skills workshop or follow a checklist to give you a head start this fall.

Study Skills Checklist?

 

Freshmen.

High School, here I come!! Get yourself prepared by purchasing school supplies, shop for back to school outfits so you look spiffy, and finish summer reading. Visit your high school before school starts to find your locker, practice your locker combination, and map out where your classes are located. Speaking of maps, now is a great time to begin thinking about how you are going to map out your classes for the rest of high school. Colleges really want to see that you are taking the highest level classes you can achieve in.  Not sure whether to take AP, honors, or standard classes? Read on for a guide that will help you plan ahead!

Which high school classes should you be taking

 

Happy to help.

We can help you on your way from test prep to college acceptance. Our new College Bound program offers you “bundles” which address SAT/ACT prep either in a class or individually, as well as college advisory that includes matching you to the right schools, and college essay and application help. Let us know what you are looking for and we will make it happen! Call us or contact us online or via email. 973-994-4665.

Nurturing the Abilities of the Gifted Child

By | Enrichment, Gifted & Talented

Has your child recently been identified as gifted? Have you noticed that your child is more developmentally advanced than his or her peers? Does your child have superior abilities in cognitive, artistic, physical, musical or other areas of higher sensitivity?

Parents can help to foster the gifted child’s insatiable appetite for exploration, learning, and experimentation by offering experiences, and not just focusing on skill and drill.

Offering children opportunities to explore the world around them keeps them engaged and taps into their natural sense of curiosity. Imagine delving into chemistry with your five year old by mixing a solution of water and cornstarch to create “goop”—is it a solid, is it a liquid? Try it together and find out! Try working with your eight year old to explore the systems of the human body—buy a 3-D set and take it apart and put it back together as a puzzle. Can you and your child begin to name the functions of the internal organs? Stronger foundations for learning are built with hands-on activities than by solely reading about facts in a book.

Don’t forget about the benefits that your family vacation may provide. Family trips to Florida or the Caribbean can address interest in marine biology. If your child is old enough, take advantage of children’s programs that may encourage discovery of coral and other marine life. A family adventure snorkeling can provide the same benefit. Exploring new cities whether at home in the US or abroad can satisfy a curiosity about people and cultures. A trip to the American Southwest can incorporate learning about the Apache, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni. Journeying to Italy and exploring the ancient ruins of Pompeii can be fun and engaging for the curious teenager (and the rest of the family as well!)

How do you provide ongoing enrichment to your gifted child? We’d love to hear about it!

College Entrance Exams Explained

By | College Bound, Estelle Finkel

For many students, college is right around the corner. With test scores being a necessary part of the application process, many students and their parents may be confused by the many tests that are required. Below is a brief overview of the tests that colleges often require. Keep in mind, not all colleges require all tests and a score does not necessarily make or break an acceptance.

SAT (also referred to as SAT I – Reasoning Test)

The SAT is a 3-hour-and-45-minute test that assesses a students’ ability to succeed in college. It tests a student’s basic knowledge of subjects they have learned in the classroom — such as reading, writing, and mathematics — in addition to evaluating how they think, solve problems, and communicate through writing. The test consists of three sections that are divided into nine separately timed subsections, including a 25-minute student-written essay.

SAT Subject Tests (also known as SAT II)

Subject tests measure your knowledge of a specific subject in areas of Math, English, Languages, the Sciences, History, and more. Some colleges will require that you take either one, two, or even three subject tests. There are 20 subject tests to choose from although some colleges will require you to take specific ones. It’s best to take a subject test right after a course has been completed so that the material is fresh in your mind. For languages, it’s best to take the subject test after several years of the language have been studied.

ACT

The ACT is an achievement test that measures what a student has actually learned in school. Subjects tested are English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, with an optional writing test. The ACT consists of 215 multiple-choice questions and takes roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break (or just over four hours if you are taking the ACT plus Writing).

So, what are the differences between the SAT and the ACT?

  • The ACT is an achievement test that measures what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test that assesses reasoning and verbal abilities.
  • The ACT has up to 5 parts: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and includes an optional Writing Test. The SAT has only 3 parts: Critical Reasoning (Reading), Mathematics, and a required Writing Test.
  • The SAT has a penalty for guessing which means they take points off for wrong answers. Conversely, the ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing.

PSAT/NMSQT

The PSAT (or Preliminary SAT) was designed to be a practice for the SAT. It is now also used as an assessment tool to gain acceptance into National Merit Scholarship programs and known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). The PSAT assesses the same areas as the SAT does but does not have an essay section. The “Writing” section assesses grammar by way of sentence completion and sentence editing.

De-Stressing the College Search

By | College Bound

Parents often ask, “When is the best time to begin the college planning process? Should we be talking about colleges with our children while they are still in middle school? Is it better to hold off until freshman year in high school? Or should we wait until the guidance counselor makes the first move?

What to do and when to do it are important questions, but fortunately the answers are less complicated than you may think. And the good news is that if you follow some simple guidelines, taking them step by step over time, what can be a very stressful experience becomes, instead, a period of exploration and intriguing options for everyone involved.

It helps to think of the college admission process in 4 parts: 1) financial planning; 2) building a strong academic and extracurricular record; 3) researching and compiling a list of colleges and universities to consider; and 4) completing the application process.

Let’s look briefly at each segment:

Step One: Think about finances

Some parents and grandparents begin saving for a child’s college education as soon as the child is born. Others decide that when the time comes, they will tap other savings and rely heavily on financial aid, choosing only among the most affordable colleges. This is a personal decision, but my recommendation is to read about your options sooner rather than later. You may want to consider a 529 Plan, specifically designed to save for college. Many people select this option, but you should understand it fully before committing, as there are important restrictions built into the plans. The Best Way to Save for College; A Complete Guide to 529 Plans, 2011-2012 by Joseph F. Hurley is a good place to start.

As time draws closer, your son or daughter should research college scholarship opportunities through the high school guidance department and the internet. Guidance counselors usually keep a file of local scholarship opportunities for which seniors and sometimes juniors can apply. These may include the Rotary Club, Women’s Club, and Parent/Teacher Association in your town, to name just a few. The website www.FinAid.org will answer many of your financial aid questions and help your child with other scholarship searches, including a link to www.fastweb.com.

Step Two: Build a strong academic and extra-curricular record

This begins officially in the freshman year of high school. Colleges do not review a child’s elementary or middle school report cards, nor do they ask for information on extracurricular activities prior to grade 9. However, it’s important to realize that much of what students accomplish in high school begins in childhood and the pre-teen years. Everything from an interest in reading, a
fascination with history, a love of numbers and science and technology, as well as enthusiasm for sports, the arts and service to others — all these and more may become evident and should be nurtured at an early age.

Remember, though, that colleges are no longer focused solely on the “well-rounded” applicant. (They now care more about a well-rounded class of applicants.) If your son or daughter genuinely enjoys a wide range of activities, that’s fine for a while. Inevitably, though, you’ll see that the pressures of doing well in an appropriately challenging high school curriculum require giving up some activities. Thus, the girl who has been taking dance lessons since she was 6, along with gymnastics, art classes, and horseback riding, will probably want to play sports in high school, perhaps star in the spring musical, and make the honor roll every marking period. Some things will have to go! Happily, you will learn that colleges are much more interested in students who pursue a single “passion” or two, in depth, rather than those who spread themselves so thin that they cannot delve deeply into any of their talents.

With regard to academics, students should tackle the most challenging course load they can handle throughout all 4 years of high school. If a regular college preparatory (CP) curriculum is appropriate based on previous grades, standardized test scores, and motivation, then that is what your child should take. If he or she is particularly strong in English, for instance, perhaps that is the subject to consider for honors and advanced placement (AP) courses as time goes on. You will hear over and over again that the colleges are seeking honors and AP courses, and you will feel the pressure to have your child sign up for those. AP Chemistry or AP European History may be a good decision, but be sure that choice is made for the right reasons. There are fine colleges for
average, above-average, and outstanding students. The most important consideration is always whether a particular college and a particular student are a “good match.”

Step Three: Research and compile a college list

Gathering this information is something that parents may want to begin on their own before their child is ready to talk about it. That’s fine. Just do it in private! You may find it enlightening to search the web for information about colleges and visit their individual websites. But in my experience as a high school counselor, working closely with families throughout this process, too much
information too soon can be very stressful for students. I’ve had sophomores and juniors burst into tears in my office because they “can’t stand to hear another word about college” from their parents. When the time is right, though, your son or daughter will be likely to welcome and appreciate your input and understanding.

To learn about colleges, the large college guides published by Barron’s and Princeton Review are well worth perusing. Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges is probably the most widely used college directory. It gives college-bound students information and guidance to help them match their academic plans and aptitudes with the admission requirements and academic programs
of every accredited four-year college in the country. Be sure you use the most recent edition (2012). The Princeton Review guide is smaller, targeting what its title states are The Best 376 Colleges. As a counselor who focuses on the college search, I am never without the Fiske Guide to the Colleges, not as comprehensive as Barron’s, but my personal favorite for its readable format,
honest and professional approach. (No gimmicks here!)

Another useful book is Admissions Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College, by Sally Springer, Jon Reider, and Marion Franck. This resource helps guide students and their parents as they sift through their choices and work their way through the entire college admissions process.

Most high schools begin the college search with juniors in the beginning of their second semester. Some guidance counselors will meet with parents, as well, but all should be helping students create a realistic list of “reach,” “good match,” and “safety schools to which they will apply. Your son or daughter may need to speak with the counselor beyond regularly scheduled appointments from time to time. Although they are busy, guidance counselors understand the college admissions process thoroughly and students should look to them for advice.

Step Four: Complete the application process

As a final step, it encompasses many tasks over time. In order to apply to most colleges, students should take the PSAT, the SAT &/or ACT, and possibly SAT II subject tests and AP exams. The guidance counselor is again the person to advise your child on which tests to take and when to take them, but an essential website for students and parents, as well, is www.collegeboard.com, where a wealth of information can be found. The College Board creates all of the above tests except for the ACT, so testing dates, test prep, the college search and more can be found at this site. Even freshmen and sophomores can benefit by becoming familiar with what this site has to offer.

For the student, completing the application process involves:

Making sure to take all required tests on schedule. This includes taking the AP exam after successfully completing an AP course in whatever year it is taken. If a student takes an AP Biology class as a sophomore and earns a high score on the exam that spring, he should send it with his college applications two years later.

Becoming very familiar with the colleges on your list. Frequent visits to the school’s website, selective emails and phone contacts with the admissions officer in charge of
your application, at least one in-person visit to the campus, which includes the official admissions office tour, and if possible, an overnight stay on campus arranged through the admissions office — all of these will help to set you apart as a candidate who may well say “yes” if accepted. (And that’s what the colleges want!)

Decide with the help of your parents and guidance counselor whether you should be applying Early Decision or Early Action to any of your schools. For many colleges, you have a somewhat better chance of acceptance if you take this route — assuming you are qualified, of course. If you have an absolute favorite, your credentials are a very good match with the school, and the financial aid situation is workable, you might earn admission before the second semester of senior year. What a great way to finish your high school experience!

Scheduling an interview with the admissions office, if one is offered. (This would be done ideally in conjunction with your college visit.) Preparing for the interview in advance is always a good idea. Even outgoing students who are generally at ease with others will benefit from a practice session with the guidance counselor or someone else who is familiar with the process. Although the interview may not be “evaluative” — that is, part of the decision-making process as to who is accepted — taking the time to appear in person lets the college know that you are truly
a serious, interested candidate.

Preparing a resume of extracurricular school and community activities. This should include all sports, clubs, activities and honors from grades 9 – 12, with an indication of the approximate amount of time spent on each. Examples of community activities are involvement in your church, temple, or mosque; volunteer work at a hospital, animal shelter, or town clean-up; summer sports and clinics, part-time jobs (paid or not), but there are many more possibilities. You should always be specific as to the nature of your involvement and point out any leadership roles you took on.

Taking time to write the best college essays you can possibly create. Yes, you will probably have to write more than one, so begin if you can in the summer before senior year. There are many helpful books and online resources which provide samples of successful essays, but the important thing to remember is to BE YOURSELF. Write in a voice that sounds comfortable to you — forget the thesaurus! —- and imagine that you are talking to the admissions counselor who is reading your essay. This is a very special part of your application, your chance to open a window to yourself as a person, revealing what the admissions committee could not learn from your transcript, resume, or letters of recommendation.

By the way, if you have a good sense of humor and your essay lends itself to that, use it! The counselors in the admissions offices read hundreds and hundreds of student essays, sometimes late into the night. Yours can be special in many ways, but never be afraid to lighten their load with a smile or two.

Carefully choosing the teachers and mentors who will write your letters of recommendation. Abide by the directions from each separate college. If you are supposed to send just one letter from an academic teacher, that’s what you do. If you are not sure what is meant by “academic teacher” — does AP Art count? — call or email your admissions counselor at the college to check. Ask your guidance counselor for advice about which teachers to ask for recommendations and how many other letters, if any, you should include. And by all means, ask early in the process. It’s unfair to request a letter from someone two weeks before the application is due.

Finally, taking advantage of the Common Application online at www.commonapp.org. Notice, that’s org, not com! This is a wonderful timesaver, allowing you to apply to a number of member colleges all with one online application. I have found that even some colleges not listed on the site will still accept it, but if not, you need to use the individual college’s application on its own website.

After you have completed your application, proofread, proofread, and proofread again. You can’t trust Spell Check to catch every error. Go through the application slowly and carefully to be sure it’s perfect before you send it on its way.

Keep track of the deadlines for all applications and send yours in with enough time to spare so that you and your parents can get a good night’s sleep as often as possible during your senior year. You all deserve it!

My hope is that this article is reassuring to those of you who have been anxious about college admissions. It is true that the college search involves many steps and a good deal of time, but remember that getting a head start, making sure you’re organized and informed, and staying grounded will go a long way toward making the journey a successful one.

– Ellen Coburn
Guidance Counselor & Writing Coach

What Are the SAT Subject Tests?

By | College Bound

What are the SAT Subject Tests?

SAT Subject Tests are one-hour multiple choice tests that assess students’ knowledge in specific areas. Colleges use Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to help advise students about course selection. Even colleges that do not require the Subject Test will often review scores you submit and can get a better picture of you as an overall student.

Which colleges require the SAT Subject Tests?

Contact the colleges and universities to which you are applying or visit their websites. You may also consult the College Search section of the College Board website at www.collegeboard.org for more information.

When should I take the SAT Subject Tests?

Ideally, you will take the SAT Subject Test immediately after completing the course in that area—typically toward the end of junior year or at the beginning of senior year. It’s important for the content to be fresh in your mind, especially for Subject tests in US History, World History, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Language tests should be taken after completing the highest level course you plan to take in that area, ideally after you have studied for several years.

SAT Subject Tests are given during the same dates as the SAT but not all Subject Tests are given on all SAT dates. No SAT Subject Tests are given in March. You may take up to three Subject Tests in one sitting but you may not take the SAT and Subject Tests on the same day. Click here to visit the College Board website for Subject Test dates.

Which Subject Tests are available?

English Literature, US History, World History, Math Level 1, Math Level 2, Biology E/M, Chemistry, Physics, French- Reading only or Reading and Listening, German, Reading only or Reading and Listening, Modern Hebrew- Reading only, Italian- Reading only, Latin- Reading only, Spanish- Reading only or Reading and Listening, Chinese Reading and Listening, Japanese Reading and Listening, Korean Reading and Listening.

Language tests with Listening have a listening section that takes about 20 minutes and a reading section that takes 40 minutes. The Listening Tests are only offered in November at certain test sites. Tests with Listening require you to bring a CD player (be sure it has fresh batteries).

You are required to use a calculator for the Mathematics Subject Tests only—these tests have been created with the expectation that students will use a graphing calculator.

The Biology E/M Test lets you choose either an Ecological emphasis or a Molecular emphasis in the same tests. For this test, you only answer questions for which you are best prepared. Of the 80 questions on this test, 60 are for everyone to take and the additional 20 will be with emphasis in either ecology or molecular biology.

Which Subject Test should I take?

If you feel you are particularly strong in a subject, you may want to consider taking a Subject Test in that area, if it is offered. Remember that even those colleges that don’t require Subject Tests may get a better picture of you as a student if they see your scores in a subject area that you know very well.

How can I prepare for the SAT Subject Tests?

Familiarize yourself with how the test is set up. Remember that all Subject Tests are one-hour multiple choice tests. Many students take SAT Preparation courses as well as SAT Subject Test preparation in advance of their tests. You may also wish to purchase practice books or take practice tests questions on-line. When taking a practice test, be sure to time yourself so that you can pace yourself to the one-hour time constraint.

For more information on SAT and Subject Tests, consult www.collegeboard.org for more information.