From Quora: "Does the UC's decision to not use SAT and ACT encourage parents to send their kids to easy high schools?"
No; of course not. As one person who corrected my answer about MIT admissions put it, MIT keeps detailed records of how students from various secondary schools do at MIT.
There’s no reason to believe any other elite college or university (including any UC school) doesn’t do the same thing. Certainly, some elite prep schools are well-known “feeders” for such schools, and those from undistinguished public or private schools probably have to have better grades than their counterparts at the “feeder” schools. I’m sure all the best colleges have ways of rating students from practically every secondary school in the US (e.g., “Okay, a 99% out of 100% average from Mediocre City Tech is about the same as a 3.0 GPA from Elite Preppy Boarding School…”)
Since SATs aren’t necessarily there to fill out the kid who’s from an non-feeder school (probably a very good reason TO take the SAT if you’re coming from an average public high school), the kids from “easy” high schools will be at a huge disadvantage against “feeder” school kids. So there’s absolutely NO incentive to send your kid to an “easy” school.
Also, you have to figure in that “easy” schools are probably pretty lax on discipline, so your kid may be bullied by kids who just aren’t at the elite prep schools (or even good public schools), and that the “halo effect” automatically make kids from elite prep schools look better. Maybe I’ve been reading too many Jonathan Kellerman novels, but how do we know the kid from an elite school didn’t cheat his or her way through school, and is actually a lot dumber and less motivated than the kid with a solid A or B average from a mediocre public school? We don’t, but people will assume the kid from the better school is a better student. Again, that’s a HUGE reason not to send your kid to an “easy” school.
You have to ask yourself “What motivates my child?” You then have to answer it honestly. A discussion of economics may help - if you haven’t discussed what it costs to run your home, what your child will have to earn when he/she is grown up if he/she wants to live in a manner similar to the way you live, is key. It’s important to let your kid know he or she is NOT living with you forever, and a middle-class lifestyle is hard to achieve without a good college education. It’s not impossible- people who work in the skilled trades (auto repair, plumbing, construction), especially those who run their own businesses, can make as much as professionals with college degrees, but people like that work like crazy to get to that position. If your child chooses the skilled trades, more power to him or her, but they have to be realistic about the physical and mental demands of those jobs.
But I digress. If college is the way for your child, a discussion of what funds you can provide for college is also in order- you should get the message across that your child will need either a scholarship, admissions to an elite college (e.g. Ivy Leagues such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or similar colleges) where admissions are “need blind,” or admission to a “public Ivy” such as UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, etc.) if he/she wants to have the best shot at his or her dream job/career, a good transcript from a prestigious college is the best “way in” to elite corporations (if your kid wants to be a Wall Street type with tons of money, a hot car, nice place to live, and a hot wife/husband), prestigious nonprofits (if your kid is more of a green “save the world” type who doesn’t care so much about money), and elite government jobs (if your kid wants to be in public service as a future world leader).
These schools all require high SAT/ACT scores to have a real chance at admission. There are some exceptions, but unless your kid is an amazing artist, athlete, or you have massively important connections in politics or industry, your kid isn’t getting in without at least a really good, if not amazing, SAT score. Even the service academies (West Point, Annapolis, etc.), where your kid should go if he wants to be a military officer, aren’t likely to take anyone with a low SAT or ACT score (they’d probably suggest your child enlist and try for Officer Candidate School).
Again, a high SAT score is one of the best ways to obtain an opportunity to get the education a person needs to be taken seriously in our society. A degree from Harvard opens many more doors than a degree from your local community college. SAT scores are a huge part of the process that decides who ends up at Local Community College, and who ends up at Prestigious Ivy University.
You can sympathize with your child if he/she complains “But the SAT and ACT are biased and flawed!” by agreeing those tests are far from perfect, but they ARE a necessary part of college admissions. I’m sure you’ve let your child know he/she has to be nice to teachers, even if the teachers are jerks, until he or she is out of school. There’s no good reason to antagonize anyone who grades your work, or whose recommendation you’ll need for college applications. Basically, the same logic applies to standardized testing. Yes, the SAT sucks and doesn’t measure college readiness particularly well.
While some colleges have done away with the SAT requirement, most haven’t, and there’s nothing you or your child can do about it. Since you can’t change the SAT requirement, you have to comply with it. And the SAT deserves some credit- it does measure basic high-school level math, grammar, reading, and writing ability, so studying for the SAT isn’t a complete waste of time. It’s better to arrive at college knowing your math and grammar, as well as how to write effectively, than to have to learn those things at college. Your child won’t want to have to catch up from behind.
The sooner your child accepts he or she needs to do well on the SAT to get ahead in life, the better. You may want to present those ideas to your child in a different way, but you have to let the kid know that’s the way college admissions are at this time, and often the way life is in general. We often have to meet stupid requirements to get things we want. We can work to change those requirements, but we often won’t be able to change them before the rules apply to US. So your child will have just “suck it up and deal,” as kids said when I was in college.
I can’t promise any specific increase in your SAT score, especially not a 400-point increase into the 1500s. A 1500 SAT score is between the 97th and 98th percentile, meaning it’s better than the scores more than 97% of students who take it get. An 1100 is a bit above the 53rd percentile. So you’re looking at going from a very average (okay, very slightly above average) score to an elite “killer” score.
You certainly can increase your score significantly by using resources available to you. First of all, use the Khan Academy SAT prep materials - they’re free, and they’re the official SAT prep materials of the College Board (who makes the SAT). You can find them here: Khan Academy
I’d also recommend a good SAT prep book. I do not believe the College Board’s Official SAT Guide (the book with the blue cover) is a good SAT prep book, although it is the official SAT prep book. The reason is, the SAT people aren’t going to teach you the tricks you can use when you don’t understand, or don’t have time to solve, a problem. I normally use the Barron’s SAT books, since they explain things well, and their problems are slightly harder than the real SAT problems (it’s better to practice for a harder test and find the real test easy than to practice for an easier test and find the real test very hard). Any commercial book (Barron’s, Kaplan, Princeton Review, Gruber) aimed at the post-2016 SAT (aka “the NEW SAT!”) should work just fine for SAT review- if money’s tight, you can probably get a book from 2016, 2017, 2018, or 2019 for free or very cheap (as in $5.00 online, including shipping, or literally a dime at a public library sale), or you can just use your public library’s copy for free (don’t write in it, please!).
If you do everything the Khan Academy and the Barron’s (or whatever) book tells you to do, and practice the things you don’t understand, you will do very well on the SAT. Easy places to make gains include the passage editing/grammar section, basic math, trigonometry, imaginary numbers, and the like.
You can improve your reading comprehension by learning word roots, suffixes, and prefixes (there are MANY sites online that will teach you that), and looking up words you don’t know when you read for school or for pleasure. I know you can figure out words from the context, but the actual meanings of words may surprise you. You can also learn to do the SAT essay well by reading opinion pieces in newspapers (online is fine), listening to YouTube videos and podcasts, and reading any online argument.
You can also learn some things by watching my YouTube channel: John Linneball Tutoring
Hope this helps,
Anyone can take the SAT, and it is offered in many (but not all) countries outside the USA.
From Quora: "How do we prepare for the university entrance exams in this lockdown if we have not purchased books?"
Search for materials online. Many nice people have posted free test review materials, or general educational material in many subjects (see PurpleMath.com, for example). SAT and ACT books are easily available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble (.com) for the Kindle and Nook readers (which are free to download to your PC). You can also get paper books from these and other sellers. Also try Half.com, Craigslist, etc. for cheap used books, or even FreeCycle, Rooster, Nextdoor (post and ask if someone has review materials they don’t need).
You could also hire a private tutor like me [ Tutoring by John Linneball ], and benefit from that tutor’s experience, and probably get materials from that person.
You can get the official College Board practice SATs here: SAT Practice Tests . They’re downloadable for free. You can get SAT practice books to download at Amazon.com or www.bn.com. You’ll need to download the Kindle or Nook app, but I believe both those apps are free.
You can poke around the Web using a search engine to look for free .pdf versions of SAT guide books, but there’s no guarantee they’re available since most, if not all, of those will be illegal copies that could get you in trouble (these publishing companies take their copyrights seriously!). You can also just go on to eBay, Half.com, or most book sales sites to see if you can get an SAT practice book at a reduced price. Basically, any SAT guide published in 2016 (2016 books should say they’re “for the New SAT”) or later should work fine. An edition that’s a year or two old will work just as well as the latest edition of that book. You can also just ask on Craigslist, Nextdoor, etc. if anyone has an SAT book he or she doesn’t need.
Yes it does. Khan Academy videos are very good; in fact, they’re the official SAT review videos of the College Board.
From Quora: "How can I get into an Ivy League/top university? What can I do to help me and make me stand out as an applicant?"
The same thing everyone [else has already] said. Work hard to get a high GPA and class rank. Hopefully, you also attend a school that’s recognized as a feeder for Ivy League schools, but if you don’t, a top class ranking will do. Study hard for the SAT and/or ACT, as well as the SAT subject tests relevant to your intended college major and career choice.
Do something with your spare time that shows leadership and initiative. Be a leader in a school club, or better yet, START a school club. Play a sport or at least do something athletic (even bike riding, walking, or jogging counts). If you can get an internship at a college, nonprofit organization, government agency, or an actual business, do that, especially one related to something you might want to do for a career (e.g., if you want to be pre-med, see if you can volunteer at a hospital). You may find out you don’t want to work in the field you wanted to, and that is perfectly acceptable. It’s fine to explain to a school that you tried something and it didn’t work out - it’s not fine to never have tried at all.
Finally,what are you doing right now? I assume you are in “shelter in place” and can’t go to school, etc. (If you are still in school, just go to school and do normal extracurricular activities). I guarantee you that ANY good college will want to know how you spent your time off from school. So make sure you studied something, tried to learn about something that really interests you, volunteered with a charity if possible, did something (NO illegal activities, please) to earn money, got yourself in better physical shape, etc. Basically anything other than “I watched tons of Netflix, and basically laid around doing nothing (or getting high, or drinking, etc.)…” Colleges already have tons of those people, aren’t going to recruit more.
Basically, when you go to college, you’re not just a student; you’re a teacher. Schools want interesting, intelligent leaders, not boring, dumb followers. Be a leader! Hope this helps.
Author: John Linneball Who did you think? ;-)
I'm the proprietor and only tutor for this business; that's why I named it after me.