Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dear Mr. Bottomly - ACT/SAT Question

Got this e-mail this morning from a sophomore parent about ACT/SAT.

I have a question for you regarding the SAT/ACT for my son. We were thinking that our son should go ahead and take both tests on the June 2009 test date since school is out and he would’t have many other distractions.

Do you have any advice or comments regarding my son and the June testing dates? Should we go ahead and have our son take the tests in June?

No harm in your son taking both tests in June. I agree that this will be the most “distraction” free period all year. Plus it will be the time of year that your son is chalk-full of knowledge. All that cramming for the final exams... His "mental jar" will be as full as it can get!

As far as the test itself, I’d encourage your son not to send scores to any colleges. "Student choice" means your son can wait and see first his scores before colleges see them. The only drawback of this option is that students will not be able to take advantage of the 5 colleges that ACT/SAT will send scores to for free. 

As far as test prep – he might want to do a few practice sessions either online or in a book. But not much. Don’t want to overwhelm. Just enough for your son to gain a sense of how the test and questions are structured. Then a good night sleep. A healthy breakfast. And go for it!

Once we see where your son scores strong and not so strong, we can address how we might shore those sections up. There are ample options there. As an English teacher, I must insert one caveat: reading for reading sake is a good thing, but reading can also help you augment your test scores. So read this summer. One suggested reading - From Ashes to Africa. Heard the co-authors are being considered for a Pulitzer. JK. Read, though. Read the Twilight series (or not). Read magazines. Newspapers. Online articles. Read. Read. Read. One thing we did on the Junior newsletter is provide a list of recommended books from English and History faculty. There are some awesome suggestions from our esteemed colleagues. Encourage your son to peruse that list.

Speaking of Junior Newsletter – have you perused the Spring edition?

The Junior edition newsletter is linked on the right side. Upper corner. See it? Good.