If you’re the parent of a high school Sophomore or Junior, take note: for the first time ever, on April 5th, every high school Junior in the state of Illinois will be taking the SAT. Yes, this is the same SAT that is used for college admissions, and the scores count! Furthermore, every high school sophomore will be taking the PSAT10, which is a preparatory test for the SAT.
At Testive, over 100,000 students have used our software to prepare for both the SAT and ACT. Based on that experience, here is a 3-step guide to the Illinois SAT.
Why the change and what does it mean for my child?
High school juniors in Illinois used to take the ACT as a requirement each year. The ACT’s state contract was up, so the Illinois State Board of Ed considered competitive bids and said it “weighed the attributes of both exams and decided the SAT was better aligned with standards for what students should know in Illinois.”
In an effort to pick up market share, Collegeboard has been offering large discounts at the state level, so another driver in the change was the lower cost of administering the SAT.
What does this mean for your child? If your child has been preparing for the ACT already, don’t worry; you can still use the ACT to apply to college, and you’ll be at no disadvantage. If your child hasn’t done any prep yet, you should consider throwing all your weight behind the SAT since he or she will be required to take that test anyway.
The SAT vs. ACT
The ACT is comprised of Math, Science, English, and Reading tests (sections) with an optional essay. Each section is scored on a 36-point scale, and students receive a composite score that is the average of all four tests.
The SAT consists of three sections: Evidence-based Reading and Writing (EBRW), Math, and an optional essay. The EBRW and Math sections are each scored on a 200-800 scale, for a total combined score of 400-1600. Here is a detailed infographic comparing both tests in more depth.
If you haven’t done any prep yet, you should probably go with the SAT. Here’s why: The SAT and ACT are very similar and it’s difficult to predict which test students will be better at in advance. The concepts tested are almost identical on both tests. The main differences are in format. For that reason, we have found that most students perform better when they pick one test and stick with it since it takes the time to develop proficiency in either format.
Make it count
To help your child reach their target SAT score, you’ll want to get started with test prep a few months before the test (three months is optimal). You’ll want to match the prep tool with your child, so consider books, classes, online tools, virtual tutors, and in-person tutors.
To help IL students get ready, Testive, is currently offering its online SAT prep course available completely free for one year to Illinois residents who sign up before February 28th, 2017. Stay informed! If you would like to read further into this topic you can download Testive’s eBook: “The Illinois SAT: Parent’s Survival Guide”