Test Prep in the News: December 2015

We are committed to providing you with the most up-to-date resources and announcements from the college admissions testing landscape. Here are some of the top headlines from this past month:

The Up Next Program Preps Kids for College by Texting Them

By Liz Stinson, Wired

Summary: The government, in a joint effort with the digital creative agency Huge, Civic Nation, and the White House's Office of Public Engagement, has created a program called Up Next, which will notify students via text message about upcoming college application deadlines and important updates. For example, students who sign up will receive timely messages about preparing the SAT/ACT as well as financial aid deadlines.

What this means: While it's still in the early stages of development, Up Next already looks promising. All elements of the application process will be stored in one place, so students needn't worry about missing any deadlines. Plus, it condenses all of that cumbersome information into a simple, actionable text which students are more likely to read (than, say, an email) since they're often on their phone.

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Is the New SAT Test a Hurdle for Asian Students?

By Abby Schultz, Barron's

Summary: Asian students may find themselves at a disadvantage when taking the redesigned SAT due to their lack of US history knowledge. According to Barron's, Asian students will have a "lot harder time wrapping their heads around" the types of questions that will be asked after reading the Global Conversation passage. Additionally, vocabulary isn't just memorization anymore—it's now passage-based.

What this means: This is just another reason to study for the ACT. Since the ACT is a well-established exam (not to mention more students than ever are taking it), preparation is also much more straightforward and there won't be any surprises. Avoid being a guinea pig for the redesigned SAT!

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ACT Score Reports Delayed by Excessive Humidity

By Nancy Griesemer, Examiner

Summary: Yes, you read the headline correctly. ACT was unable to deliver score reports on time due to "relatively wet and humid weather" which caused issues with their scanning. The article was unclear when the scores were scheduled to be delivered—the hope was students would receive their scores before Christmas.

What this means: While weather and standardized tests don't normally have a strong correlation, this is a game where anything can happen. The biggest takeaway from this situation is never to wait until the last minute to take the test. With many college application deadlines in early January, it's always a good idea to have everything organized and prepared for submission well before the holiday break so you can avoid the stress.

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The SAT, Now the No. 2 College Test, Pushes to Reclaim Supremacy

By Nick Anderson, The Washington Post

Summary: The ACT has pushed ahead of the SAT as the dominant college admission exam in recent years. The College Board president, David Coleman, has recognized this drop in SAT registrations and promises that "the new test will overcome 'whatever jitters' students may feel—'because everything we've done to change the SAT makes it much better for kids.'" States such as Colorado are now awarding major contracts for SAT testing to the College Board, with Illinois on the cusp of deciding between the SAT and ACT. Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York have also partnered with the College Board to provide testing in public schools.

What this means: It's interesting to see the president of the College Board publicly acknowledging that there will be a considerable drop in the number of students taking the SAT this year because of the redesigned test, and even more interesting that the College Board already has a plan of action to make a comeback. But, in the end, they're just trying to make college admission exams more accessible for students across the nation.

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Megan Stubbendeck

About Megan Stubbendeck

Dr. Megan Stubbendeck is an eight-year veteran of the test prep industry with ten years of teaching experience. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Virginia where she taught for three years in the History Department. She brings many years of experience as both an Elite Instructor and the Coordinator of Instructor Development at Revolution Prep. As the Senior Director of Instruction at ArborBridge, Megan oversees the curriculum team and their developments.

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