|Celebrating Lauren’s birthday today. Lauren is a professor at Rowan University and has been a tutor in Haddonfield for 11 months along with Ron, Ashley, and Liam.|
December 7, 2020
I’m writing with two bits of fun to close out the night: 1) my guidance on next steps if you got PSAT scores today, and 2) breaking news involving a well-known local test prep company in Monmouth County that got its hands on the actual test for the Freehold RHSD magnet program.
First of all, keep the PSAT in perspective. While the College Board dangles National Merit recognition as a carrot to the top 0-2% of scorers, the PSAT in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade is simply a way for the College Board to gather leads and resell them to colleges. Colleges who cannot go out and recruit and are are increasingly reliant on 3rd-party lead gathering for applicants to summer programs as well as full enchilada undergrad degrees. So the base reason for the existence of the PSAT is to make money for colleges and the College Board.
That stated, I’m not entirely cynical about the PSAT, because the test itself serves as an appetizer to the SAT. Taking full-length mock exams under timed conditions is an integral part of the Foley Prep method, so anytime kids can get this experience will help them sharpen their testing skills. So that’s the silver lining.
Here are 2 smart actions for parents of sophomores and juniors to consider at this point:
- Call us as soon as possible to begin making plans. It won’t be a sales pitch! While we will invite you in to review your PSAT with a tutor for an hour of tutoring (a la carte tutoring is $140hr), we are always happy to dole out as much guidance as we can over the phone. Planning ahead is essential, and we will help you do that.
- For juniors and sophomores who are in Algebra 2, PreCalculus, or Calculus, it would be wise to try a full-length ACT at Foley Prep before winter break. The apples-to-oranges comparison of the PSAT to the ACT taken within a couple of months of each other is useful in a few ways. One, there may be a clear choice between one or the other to begin prepping for. Two, you will have a baseline for each test to look back on to motivate your prep. Three, you will at least have experienced what each test feels like and thus are making an informed choice between prepping first for SAT or ACT.
Nota bene: choosing to first prep for SAT or ACT does not mean the path is set in stone for one or the other. Always remember that about 80% of the content in these tests overlaps, so you may prep for one first and end up doing better on the other test as you build on the prep you’ve done for the other. The strategically smart thing to do is to not stress on which test is best to start with, because the content is so similar and you should expect to sit for both exams at some point in the future (because colleges won’t see or care what you did on exams you don’t submit).
To take advantage of free advice around the PSAT, please call 732-412-1416. To sign up for a mock ACT, press FoleyPrep.com/free-practice-tests.
BREAKING NEWS SCANDAL: Freehold Test Prep Company caught cheating?
Have you heard of the mini scandal around the December 5th Freehold Regional High School District Magnet school exam that was compromised by a local test prep firm? While Foley Prep receives sketchy tips from time to time about upcoming standardized exams, we always try to keep them in perspective and seek to educate and train our students to do their very best in legitimate, informed ways. We understand the temptation to take shortcuts, but we condemn anyone looking to make a quick buck off students through cheating.
Here is the full text of the email from the Freehold Regional High School District:
From: Freehold Regional High School District <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 12/7/20 4:48 PM (GMT-05:00)To: (A Foley Prep Parent) Subject: Follow up: FRHSD Magnet Program Entrance Exam Freehold Regional High School District
Follow up: FRHSD Magnet Program Entrance Exam
As a follow-up to our earlier communication: FRHSD was informed that a local test preparation company had provided the actual test that was administered as a study guide/preparatory test to the students who signed up for their private services. In looking into the allegations further, the District received additional information confirming that the exam had been compromised.
We have reached out to the exam publisher and owner of the copyright to alert them to this security breach. This is obviously a very serious matter, and one that neither the District nor the test’s publisher is taking lightly.
In light of this discovery, which created an impermissible and unfair advantage for certain students at the expense of others, the District has determined that the entrance exam that was administered on Saturday, December 5, 2020 will be voided.
Due to this situation, application components and acceptance criteria for programs that require the entrance exam are being closely reviewed. Additional information will be provided in the near future. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
How does the test prep company think it could get away with this? It’s a very big breech in trust and appalling error in judgement. It breaks the trust of students who fear that there isn’t a level playing field. It is not good for hurting school districts for many obvious reasons, starting with the administrative nightmare of having to retest so many students, adding costs and covid-risk to test-takers.
I hate to generalize, but this is the latest example of so many of our institutions being undermined. I have been told the name of the test prep firm in question and hope that they own up to any misdeeds because they give legitimate tutoring companies a bad name. Foley Prep believes in our teaching methods and ability of our students to test their best without unsavory, inside information of this kind.
Holiday Hours Reminder
Foley Prep offices will be closed December 25th, 26th, 31st, and January 1st. Okay, it’s almost 8:30pm. I have been talking and meeting with kids and parents all day and night, as usual. It’s time for a margarita as I edit an essay of a Princeton hopeful. Have a good night!
Ron Foley, M.S.
Doctoral Candidate, Rutgers University
Tenured Professor of Mathematics, Middlesex College
Member HECA, NJACAC, NACAC, NCTM, MAA, NAS, AMATCYNJ
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