Tips for Testing
Use Only One "Official" Name
It is essential to choose an "official" name to use for your school records, for test registration, and for future college applications. Do not use a nickname. Usually the name that appears on your driver's license or passport is best. Be sure to be consistent in the name you use as you register for tests. This is particularly important for international students. If you use different names such as an Asian name on one test and an English name on another, you will appear as two separate people. This will greatly complicate things when you try to send scores to schools. Your test name should match the name that appears on your school transcript. If you are not sure, check with the College Center or Registrar.
Registration & Sending Scores
Other than for the PSAT, students are responsible for their own test registration. The College Center is happy to assist students who seek help, and offers boarding students the option of charging test fees to their student accounts.
Stevenson does not send test scores.Students are responsible for ordering their scores to be sent to the colleges. It is best to choose the 'free' score reports for four schools (included as part of registration.) There is a charge to send any other report. Scores should be ordered in advance of the college application deadline, allowing at least a few weeks for the scores to be delivered to schools. Paying to rush scores can be costly.
The College Board (SAT) will include the scores of all SAT and SAT Subject Tests taken up to that point in time.
ACT allows students to choose which test sitting they wish to send; however since many schools now superscore ACT's it is wise to analyze performance on the various subsections of ACT when deciding which scores to send. (The College Center has a list of schools that superscore the ACT.)
Should I Take the SAT or ACT?
Every school will accept either the SAT or the ACT. These two tests are virtually interchangeable in the world of admissions.
The ACT is the sister test to the SAT. In brief, students who test much better in English than they do in Math are usually better served by the ACT. Students who do well with science concepts and tools (graphing, tables, etc.) tend to do better with the ACT. Females tend to score better on average with the ACT. Students who like to be neat, organized and are able to focus on one thing for a long time do better with the ACT. Students who like to game the system, to strategize, to make calculated guesses and who have a shorter attention span do better with the SAT. Over the past few years, Stevenson students who take both test generally end up doing slightly better on the ACT. (Students should register for the "ACT plus Writing" or the "SAT with Essay.")
The College Center recommends taking a "baseline" test of both the SAT and ACT sometime during the junior year. Compare scores using a concordance table. Pick which test is better, depending upon scores as well as preference for the type of test, and then try to improve scores by additional testing with either SAT or ACT. It is not necessary to spend a lot of time and money retaking both tests.
SAT Subject Tests
The SAT and the SAT Subject tests may not be taken on the same day. You must choose. You may take up to three subject tests on one day.
SAT Subject Tests are no longer required for University of California admissions, but seem to be increasing in importance for the small group of highly selective institutions. They tend to be a better predictor of college success and graduate potential.
SAT Subject Tests are content based tests and should therefore be taken in June or as close to the end of the course as possible. (Juniors who have taken US History during the summer would take the US History Subject Test in October.) You may take any subject test you wish. We recommend taking the test of the course in which you feel most comfortable, or if all else fails, the English Literature subject test. Some schools require math and science tests for engineering.
When to Take Tests
Follow the guidelines on the previous page.
Students may take tests up to and including December of their senior year and be fine for college admissions. (The only consistent exception is that those students who wish to apply Early Decision or Early Action need to be done by October.)
Repeating the Test
Most colleges do not care how many times you take the exams. They are looking for reasons to accept you. They usually take the best single scores for each of the sections; this is called superscoring. Only the University of California system and the military academies take the best combined score at one sitting.
Taking the test more than three times is expensive and usually does not produce significantly better results.
Students whose native language is not English should take the TOEFL. Because of Stevenson's distance from TOEFL test sites, we encourage students to take this test at home during the summer between junior and senior year.
Test Prep Courses
During the year two test preparation companies offer classes on the Stevenson campus. Information about classes will be posted here as available. Please note that Stevenson does not handle registration for any classes. Contact the companies -- Crosswalk or Revolution Prep -- directly.
Boot Camps:Get all the test strategies and content in a lively and fast-paced one-day session with an SAT or ACT Boot Camp. Both SAT and ACT Boot Camps are conducted by Brooke Higgins, a Stevenson alum and a faculty member at the Carmel Campus. He has taught standardized test prep since 1998 and he also written an e-book now available on Amazon titled 2400 SCORES: 24 Life Lessons to Demystify the SAT and Boost Your Score.
After the Boot Camp, students have a Game Plan to tackle any question and a Study Plan to continue to get ready for test day. All dates for Boot Camps are listed at www.crosswalkeducation.com. Boot Camps run from 9:00am and are finished by 3:00pm. Contact CROSSWALK to register or get more information.
- Private tutoring is ideal for those students with more time to prepare and more personalized needs. Tutors can be sent to Stevenson or to your home. CROSSWALK also offers academic tutoring in all subjects including but not limited to Foreign Languages, Math, Science, English.
REVOLUTION PREP often holds SAT Prep classes at Stevenson School, but only if there is sufficient enrollment. Please contact Revolution Prep via their website or our representative Andrew.Odano@revolutionprep.com.
The normal class costs $599 and runs for several weeks prior to an SAT exam date. There are 18 hours of instruction, 5 full-length exams. A typical schedule consists of
- Classes on Tuesdays from 6:00pm – 9:00pm
- Exams on Saturdays from 9:00am – 1:00pm
- 6 three-hour classes tailored to the SAT
- 5 full-length practice exams in a proctored environment
- Parent and student online access to test scores
- Personalized homework and feedback on essays
- PREPFEST: Unlimited test prep 2 weeks leading up to the SAT/ACT.
- Choose from 170+ live micro-courses and make your time count
Revolution Prep also has online ACT Prep for some ACT exams. The format is similar to that of the SAT classes explained above.
More options available including small group and personal tutoring.
To register or for more information please contact Revolution Prep directly at 877-REV-PREP or www.revolutionprep.com