College and Career Center offering practice standardized tests

Rebecca Smalbach

The College and Career Center is offering practice standardized tests this March to help students establish which standardized tests are right for them as well as understand the new 2016 SAT, which has changed its format so that it aligns more closely with the ACT. The center will also offer a practice ACT, a combination SAT/ACT, an essay writing workshop and practice SAT Subject Tests.

“I’ve developed different relationships with the different companies,” College and Career Specialist Paula Vantrease said. “I’ve used Revolution, I use Compass, I use C2, I use Kaplan, I use Princeton Review, I use anybody and everybody who is willing to do it for free.”

Students sit and listen while a proctor explains the instructions for the test.

Students sit and listen while a proctor explains the instructions for the test.

This year, Vantrease is using a combination of C2, Kaplan Prep, and Compass.

It costs $10 to take the tests, and Vantrease also sends reminders out to students the day before they are scheduled to take the tests, which are offered after school or on the weekend.

“The number students pay [for tests] goes to fund a scholarship here at school, so seniors will potentially benefit from getting that scholarship when it’s time for them to go to college,” Vantrease said.  

Vantrease said that she has been organizing the practice tests for the last 10 years.

“If students have to put in a little bit [of effort to sign up] then they’re going to show up, because there have been times when 30 kids have signed up and only 10 have shown up,” Vantrease said. “I do it on a Saturday, so that’s my Saturday time that I’ve had to come down here and get the room ready to go, help with the proctoring and be here for.”

Junior Stephanie Oh took a practice combination SAT/ACT on Feb. 3, and said that one benefit was that it allowed her to familiarize herself with the testing format.

“I wasn’t totally aware of what the test structure was, and I knew beforehand that I wanted to take the ACT, but I wanted the practice anyways,” Oh said.

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Oh found the most beneficial part of the experience to be the feedback she received from the test prep companies regarding her performance.

“The most helpful part of it was that you get your essay scored as if it had been part of the actual test returned to you,”  Oh said.

Because Oh is planning on completing most of her standardized test preparation by herself, she finds it valuable to gain practice with the essay because the scoring is so subjective that she can’t score it on her own.

Vantrease believes that the main benefit of the practice is to familiarize students with all aspects of testing.

“I think the more exposure kids can have [to the tests], the better it’s going to be when it comes time for them to do the real thing,” Vantrease said. “Some students will register for a test and they don’t even realize they need to print out an admit ticket and they don’t know what time they have to be there. That’s what I tell students―bring your pencils, bring your calculators, because when you go to a real test they’re not gonna have them there for you.”

The next practice test offered by the College and Career Center is a March 26 practice ACT. Students can sign up in the College and Career Center.