Transition from High School
The College Board: 8 Fast Facts
Ever heard of the SAT, PSAT or AP? The College Board administers and develops these important tests that help students earn college credits in high school and gain admission to universities. The College Board also provides a wealth of study materials, test prep and resources for financial aid and college planning.
1) A new SAT is coming in March 2016.
The current version of the SAT will be administered through January 2016. Seniors who register for fall 2015 test dates will take the current version of the test. Students who are sophomores and juniors in the fall of 2015 may want to hold off on taking the SAT until the new version is available in March 2016. According to Lewin Tamar’s New York Times article from 5 March, 2014, “The exam will revert to the 1600-point scale, the essay will be optional, and students will have three hours to take the exam plus 50 additional minutes to complete the essay.”
2) Test scores are available online.
Your student creates a user name and log in when registering for the SAT. After taking the test, your student may go to the College Board website to view scores as soon as they are available. This handy article walks parents through what their students’ PSAT (Preliminary SAT) scores mean and what actions they may need to take based on that number.
3) Take practice tests and study ahead of time.
There are many opportunities to take free practice tests. The College Board partners with Khan Academy to offer free review materials, practice tests, and personalized feedback. Here are some great test prep tips to share with your student.
4) The SAT and AP Exams aren’t free.
The SAT currently costs $54.50 and AP Exams begin at $91 each. Add in multiple subjects, extra test sections, and study materials and the price can be steep. Fortunately, families may qualify to have the fees waived by the high school counselor or an authorized community-based organization. The College Board offers a FAQ page for both the AP and SAT exams to help you find out if you qualify.
5) The College Board is more than just standardized tests.
In addition to creating and administering standardized tests, the College Board offers tools to help students research colleges that would be a good fit, navigate the complex world of Financial Aid, and explore possible majors/career paths.
6) Test scores can be sent to multiple universities and scholarship programs.
AP: On the answer sheet your student can designate schools for his or her scores to be sent to electronically. If there are more schools they want to send results to later, they can sign in to the College Board website and choose more schools for an additional fee.
SAT: Students may choose where results are sent both during and after test registration. They are given the opportunity to choose four schools each time they register for the test (free), and the scores may be sent electronically at any time after (at a cost).
7) Not all colleges and universities take the College Board tests into consideration for admissions.
Not all schools accept AP credit and some only give credit to students who score a 4 or 5. As your high school student considers colleges, it’s well worth looking at what credits they accept and which scores and tests matter most to them (most will accept either the ACT or SAT, but may require the ACT with writing or additional SAT subject tests; some schools are “test optional”). The College Board’s website offers a search bar to help you find colleges that accept AP credit.
8) Students can re-test if they don’t like their scores.
Many students take the SAT spring of junior year, and if they are dissatisfied with the initial results they can register for test dates in the fall of senior year. Most colleges “super score” — i.e., they look at the highest score in each testing category (math, reading, etc.). Re-testing is not offered for the AP Exams.
The College Board is a useful tool on the road to college admission. Now that you’ve got the scoop, you and your student are prepared. Take full advantage of what College Board has to offer.
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