|Juniors in Haddonfield prepping with me for the December SAT. Group tutoring in Haddonfield and elsewhere averages nearly 1:1 student-teacher ratio. We keep prep small and personal.|
November 5, 2020
The regular registration deadline for the December 5th SAT is today. Go to CollegeBoard.com to register (or check that you are registered) now. The December 12th ACT registration deadline is November 20th – the ACT registration page can be found at ACT.org.
Timing advice, SAT v. ACT, for the above average to super-competitive kids
As I’ve been saying for a very long time, there is about 80% overlap in content between the SAT and ACT. Focusing prep on one test first is the way to go, and that prep will invariably help your score on the other test. So, the idea for many kids taking these tests is to go hard prepping for the one “early bird” test date, but plan to take the other test soon after to capitalize on the work up to that point. At this time of year, many people view the December tests as early bird tests, so they take the December 5th SAT followed by the December 12th ACT. If this strikes you as overly ambitious, simply make substitutions. For those sitting for the official SAT in December, you could substitute an official ACT in December with a mock test at Foley to compare performance, or, conversely, for those sitting for the official ACT, compare the PSAT result that arrives in mid-December as well as a mock SAT at Foley.
Then, over winter break, you have your official and unofficial results from the SAT, ACT, and the PSAT to either pop the cork and celebrate, or, more likely, figure out which test to target for the spring to build off of your gains. At bare minimum (if the score ain’t so great), taking official tests in December is a good ice breaker / wake up call that motivates kids to do better the next time. On the flipside, for those Juniors who surpass their target score in December, getting the SAT and ACT out of the way in December an excellent feeling and clears the stage to focus on APs in May.
This is just strategically the smart thing to do. You don’t have to double the amount of prep, you are just building off of the prep you do and are increasing your chances at success by taking both official tests. Many counselors and test prep companies will tell clients to wait until you are absolutely ready to take the test in spring of junior year. To me this is either 1) pandering to the fragile emotions of teenagers (yes they can be fragile, our job is to help make them anti-fragile) or worse, 2) creating artificial fear so that parents are suckered into spending more money on prep than necessary.
Disclaimer: Not every kid is the same, so please take this general advice accordingly. It’s much better to talk this through with one of us on the phone or in person as there are many important and unimportant differences among children, schools, budgets, parents, Republicans, Democrats, etc.
The daytime pod program we have is an affordable way to make sure you child is on track or ahead of the normal progression of schoolwork. We have ongoing pods in 5 (out of 7) locations. Please call us if you have 2nd-6th grader in Haddonfield or 6th-8th grader in other locations looking for academic support. Yesterday we had a 6th grade student join us so we can help him organize around his incredibly busy sports schedule.
We have 2 more locations slated to open in early 2021 in New Jersey plus one in Austin, Texas if I my secret plan to abscond to Italy falls through. If you know any bright, recent college graduates who want to join a fast growing company, we have full time and part time positions available as we expand our team from 24 full time employees to 30. Bright, engaging, hardworking people are my kind of people, so please don’t hesitate to get them in touch with me.
This week I’m on my normal rotation through 4 offices. Meeting college admissions clients as we complete essays for post-early decision applications and tutoring SAT and ACT everywhere I go. Reach out to me if you want to meet in person!
Thanks for your attention. Have a good rest of your week.
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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