Nov 20, 2015

FREE downloadable guide to college admissions testing

A remarkable aspect of the college admissions industry that often gets unnoticed is the degree to which experts in the field are willing to freely share information and resources in an effort to level the playing field a little bit for applicants and their families.  This includes columnists, bloggers and admissions professionals who spend considerable time researching and writing about different aspects of the admissions process and make this information available in publications—print and online—free of charge or without requiring a subscription.

Among this group are recent offers from Mark Kantrowitz and Steven Munger, on behalf of the  National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), both of whom have made books publicly available to counselors, applicants and others interested in learning more about financial aid or admissions. These valuable publications are accessible on line and are offered as downloads—free of charge to anyone with a computer and a need to know.  And by virtue of being online, the books may be updated and corrected as changes occur in policies and processes.

The most recent addition to the library of downloadable guidebooks is The Compass Guide to College Admission Testing, co-authored by members of the Compass Education Group, California-based providers of test prep services.

This guide contains more than 80 pages of “unbiased information” on the SAT, PSAT, Subject Tests, ACT, and ASPIRE. Having already reached over 100,000 families via the print edition, The Compass Guide is an invaluable resource in the rapidly-changing field of college entrance exams. 

“I have referred to my hard copy version so often that the pages are starting to fall out!”  said Jennifer Tabbush, a California-based independent educational consultant. “I have found the new online version to be a useful guide to send to my families (regardless of how they intend to prepare) as they start to think about testing.”

And here are a few of the questions the 2015-16 guide addresses:
  • How important are my test scores?
  • What does ‘test optional’ really mean? Should I skip taking tests?
  • How do the Old SAT, the New SAT, and the ACT compare?
  • How can I get ready for the new SAT and ACT essays?
  • How do effective timing strategies vary by test and subject?
  • How strong are my PSAT scores? Will I make National Merit?
  • Am I eligible for an extended-time accommodation?
  • What are colleges’ policies on SAT Subject Tests?
  • Is the SAT or ACT better for me?
For those new to colleges and admissions, the guide’s thoughtful and intelligent approach to college admissions testing is easy to read and understand. 

There’s no jargon and no effort to try to bias the reader for or against specific tests or testing in general. And there are lots of really interesting graphs and charts including a list of well-known college grads and where they went to school, thumbnail admissions statistics for a variety of institutions, timelines for test prep, and a chart outlining known SAT Subject Test policies at colleges using these tests in admissions decisions.
There’s also a detailed analysis of the differences among ACT, new SAT and old SAT as well as advice for both the Class of 2017 and the Class of 2018, about what test to take and when.

A brief review of the table of contents will give you an idea of what’s covered.  To obtain a copy of The Compass Guide to College Admission Testing, simply click on the link provided on the Compass Education Group website.

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