With a few exceptions, all colleges require either an SAT 1 or ACT, and most also require two SAT subject tests. The ACT was traditionally administered in the Midwest, but it is now common on the East coast as well. Colleges accept either test, without exception.
Last year, approximately 15% of BHSEC students took the ACT, and we anticipate that this will increase. The mean SAT scores for the class of 2008 were 604 in critical reading and 575 in math. The national means were 502 in critical reading and 515 in math. Score Choice Update from the College Board.
Test Prep Options for Year 1 Students
The CTO recommends that BHSEC students take the SAT/ACT in March or May of Year 1 and two subject tests in June. Most students take the tests a second time in the fall of Year 2. In order to prepare for the SAT 1 or ACT, Year 1 students have the following two options.
A great opportunity for Y2 students to prepare for the November SAT. Financial aid is available to qualifying students. Students can register as late as the first day of the class.
Kaplan Test Prep
BHSEC students can take Kaplan SAT and ACT prep for half the standard fee. Students receive the same instruction and benefits as non-BHSEC students paying the full fee. Course benefits include:
- Twelve sessions to prepare for either the SAT or the ACT
- The Kaplan Higher Score Guarantee: If you feel unprepared for the exam or dissatisfied with your score, repeat the program for free. If for any reason you do not score higher, repeat the program for free or get your money back.
- Flexibility regarding schedules and location of courses. Classes are offered throughout the year at various sites throughout the five boroughs of NYC.
How and when to register for Kaplan:
1. Choose a class:
December is a great time to select and register for an SAT or ACT course to prepare for the March or May tests (June is also an option, although we typically recommend that students take the subject tests in June). Find a Kaplan course near you. (We encourage students to look at instructor-led courses only).
2. Register with Kaplan:
Once you have found a convenient course, call 800-KAPTEST and let them know you are a Bard student. If you have any difficulty, contact our Kaplan Representative, Katie Winter at 212.590.2808 or katherine.winter[@kaplan.com.
3. Financial Aid for Kaplan Courses:
A limited amount of financial aid is available through the CTO. If the course fee presents a financial burden for your family, please do not hesitate to apply for financial aid. Speak with Beth Cheikes a few weeks before the course starts.
Free SAT Prep Courses
The programs below are free, but do have an application and screening process. Space is limited. These programs are intended to serve students who do not have the means to pay for SAT preparation courses, such as those that are offered by Kaplan or Princeton Review. Most of these free programs also offer general college guidance services.
Edgies Teen Center; Free SAT classes and college prep
The Edgies Teen Center is an official Educational Alliance Boys and Girls Club with many programs for teens, including a very strong college preparatory program. Edgies is located in lower Manhattan at 197 East Broadway. The Edgies college prep program is highly recommended by the BHSEC CTO. BHSEC students have greatly benefited from, and enjoyed, this program. In addition to SAT prep, Edgies offers college tours and help with college applications and financial aid forms.
Sonia Bhuta, College Prep Director
212.780.2300 ext. 374
OPTIONS program at Goddard Riverside; Free SAT classes and college prep
SAT Prep is usually offered in the winter or spring. All classes and practice tests take place at OPTIONS at 593 Columbus Avenue at 88th Street in Manhattan.
Henry Street Settlement; Free SAT classes and college prep
The Henry Street Settlement offers free SAT prep and an extensive college counseling program, including college trips.
Expanded Horizons College Program
Henry Street Settlement, 301 Henry Street, New York, NY 10002
Ritu Sen, Program Coordinator
212-254-3100 ext 203
Standardized Test Requirements for Various Colleges and Universities
The testing requirements vary from school to school. Please be sure to carefully check the testing requirements of the schools to which you are applying.
Forwarding Standardized Test Scores to Colleges
Year 2 students are responsible for having their test scores forwarded to colleges. The CTO does not send SAT scores to colleges. Contact the College Board and/or ACT to forward your scores.
Overview of the PSAT and SAT
The PSAT or Preliminary Standardized Assessment Test is the same as the SAT but is offered for preparation and will not be sent to colleges. By taking the PSAT, students are eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program and other recognition programs which may refer students with high scores to four-year schools. 10th grade students are encouraged to take the PSAT and Year 1 students are required to do so.
• SAT I:
The SAT I includes three sections: Verbal, Math and Writing. Each section is scored from 200–800 points. The Writing component has a student-written essay that is scored from 1–6 points. The SAT I is offered seven times per academic year. As of March of 2009, students will be able to select the scores they want to send to colleges, including tests taken prior to March.
• SAT II Subject Tests:
These hour-long exams are offered in Literature, U.S. History, World History, Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and a variety of languages. SAT IIs are administered six times per academic year. Students can take up to three tests in one day. Free SAT II subject test prep booklets, which include sample tests, are available in the CTO. Most BHSEC students take the subject tests at the end of Year 1 and/or the fall of Year 2. The CTO recommends that students take two subject tests. Only a few colleges (Harvard and Princeton, for example) require three.
Registration for the SAT I and SAT II
Students can register online at CollegeBoard, or pick up a registration booklet in the CTO. Online registration provides immediate registration confirmation and also allows students to choose a test center. Fee waivers are available for eligible students.
The ACT is gaining popularity on the East coast. Unlike the SAT, which is designed to measure reasoning and critical thinking skills, the ACT is designed to measure academic achievement in English, math, reading, and science. The ACT has an optional writing component for which students must register. ACT practice test are available in the CTO or online at www.actstudent.org
Comparing the SAT and the ACT
• The ACT has a science component; the SAT I does not.
• The ACT is scored from 1–36; the SAT has three components: Math, Critical Reading and Writing, each of which is scored from 200–800.
Registration for the ACT
Students can register online at the ACT Web site or pick up a registration booklet in the CTO. ACT fee waivers are available for eligible students.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is recommended for students with five years or less of English language usage. For these students, colleges substitute the TOEFL for the Verbal and Critical Reading SAT I components.