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Facebook LIVE Recap and Bonus Questions: Standardized Tests

In Case You Missed It, Here's A Recap Of My Recent Facebook LIVE Q&A: Standardized Tests—Plus Bonus Questions I Didn't Get To Answer Live!

There are so many different types of standardized tests that questions are bound to come up. Why do colleges ask for AP exams and Subject Tests? Do colleges prefer the ACT or the SAT? Should a student retake a test if their essay score was low but everything else was really strong? Watch the video below to see me answer these important questions and more. And read on for a few bonus questions that I didn't get to answer during my live broadcast!

  • How do we use the testing ranges provided on a college's website to determine if our scores are competitive? If they fall within the middle 50% range is that enough?
  • Why do colleges ask for AP exams and Subject Tests? Is it redundant?
  • How many Subject Tests should you take? Which ones should you take? When? What are the appropriate target scores? 
  • If a student receives a 1550 the first time they take the SATs, do they need to re-take them? Does it look bad if the student only took them once?
  • Do colleges look at the subscores of the ACT or just the composite score?
  • What additional requirements does a student need to do if they're applying under a test optional policy?
  • How do you know if you should submit test scores or withhold them if the college has a test optional policy? What's the rule of thumb?
  • If a student uses Score Choice and only sends a college the scores they want them to see, can a college still find out what the student's other scores are? 
  • What type of SAT/ACT test prep program do you recommend? When should you start test prep?
  • With PSAT results not arriving until December of a student's junior year, how can a student take the SATs three times? Should they take the SAT for the first time before their PSAT results are back?
  • Do colleges prefer the ACT or the SAT?
  • Should a student retake the ACT or the SAT if their essay score was low but everything else was really strong?
  • Should I attend a boot camp that lasts a week in order to study for my first ACT?
  • What is a good range for a writing score?
  • Is there a program that helps a student with testing tools and time management as opposed to focusing on academics?
  • What is the process if you need additional time or consideration due to a medical condition or disability?
  • If a student takes a Subject Test, do they have the choice to send or not send the score to a college? If they choose not to send a score, can the college still get the score somehow? 
  • If my son is looking at colleges that only recommend two Subject Tests, but he will take five Subject Tests to satisfy UCAS requirements, will those extra tests be considered or advantageous?
  • If a student is on track to start taking AP exams in 8th grade, subject tests in 9th grade, ACTs and SATs in 10th grade, is it too early for colleges to consider? 
  • When can I take the SAT or the ACT test for the last time and still have those scores be considered for the admissions process? 



1. Why only take the SATs three times?

Three times is the unofficial rule. Students can take it more than three times, but it gets time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. Some colleges will ask for all scores too. So, they will know if the student took it more than three times. That being said, it's a personal decision. If the student believes a fourth time will make the difference, go for it!

2. Do you take the Subject Tests during the regular SAT? How do you sign up for them?

Subject Tests are offered the same day as the SAT, but the student has to choose one over the other: Either the SAT or up to three Subject Tests. Here's the link to sign up:

3. Should a student submit their Subject Tests if a score is low?

Students with scores above a 700 on the Subject Tests are going to be the most competitive from a testing-perspective. It doesn't mean that a student with lower scores can't get admitted, though. It just becomes harder because of the competition. However, depending on a student's background, lower test scores can be contextualized. For example, a first generation college student might have slightly lower standards than a student coming from an educated background.