Test Prep Students-2: “We don’t know what we don’t know” About Selecting Test Dates
I struck up a conversation with a home-schooling mom the other day. Parent of a middle-school student, she told me I should talk to middle school parents about this topic because, as she put it, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”
In my blog post “Test Prep Students 1: Before Our First Session, Please,” I mentioned planning ahead to give yourself more time to prepare. Since then, I’ve come to believe that you can’t have too much time to prepare, regardless of what you are testing for
* High school graduation (Minnesota GRAD)
* College National Merit Scholarships (PSAT/NMSQ)
* Advance college credit (AP, CLEP)
* College admission (ACT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS)
* Professional licensure (such as the Minnesota Teacher Licensing Exam—MTLE)
* Graduate school admission (GRE, GMAT, and again TOEFL or IELTS).
Students as young as 12 or 13 can successfully answer many of the ACT Questions of the Day (QOTD) http://www.act.org/qotd/ and SAT QOTD http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day. Students and their supporters may receive the SAT QOTD by email or by downloading an iTunes cell phone app.) Making these QOTDs a daily part of your online activities is a great, low-impact way (for even the busiest students) to prepare for those specific tests and many others. If you are reading this, it is time to start doing this. To add a competitive edge to the activity, dare your parents, siblings, or friends to compete against you for a prize.
The next element to consider when selecting a test date for the budget conscious—or the schedule conscious—student or parent, I stand by my advice that less-frequent lessons and independent test prep work spread out over a longer period of time are more effective than fewer weeks of more frequent test prep work. For example, see me weekly for one two-hour session for three months (12 weeks) rather than two 2-hour sessions for 6 weeks. Students need time to absorb what they are learning on a proverbial back burner while their conscious minds are doing other things—or sleeping. (The science is in that teens need almost as much sleep as infants do. Do any of them?)
Students cannot cram for these tests—and it breaks my heart when I first hear from a test prep parent less than a month before their student’s test date. The same goes for you college students pursuing a professional license or admission to graduate school. I have a nice heart. Don’t break it.
So, what are my test date options, you ask? As of today:
ACT (United States, US Territories, and Canada)
Remainder of the 2012–2013 school year
2013–2014 school year
SAT (United States, Saturdays during the 2012–2013 school year)
For registration, late registration, deadlines for changes, and subject test dates, go here: http://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-dates#subjectTestList3
PSAT/NMSQ (United States, 2012–2013 school year)
October 17 (Wednesday)
October 20 (Saturday)
The PSAT/NMSQ is offered on just two days in October each year. Each high school offering the test chooses just one of these two test dates. No test centers offer the test. [The College Board advises home-schooling parents to reach out in June (or as soon as possible thereafter) for permission to test at a nearby high school in October. On test day, the Minnesota home school code for this test—to put down as the school code on the answer sheet—is 992499.]
TOEFL (iBT, Minnesota through XXXXX, 2013)
Minnesota test centers: Edina, St. Paul, and Woodbury (Also: Rochester and Winona. No test dates in St. Cloud or Faribault.)
Register to take the TOEFL here: http://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/register/
GMAT (Administered on demand all year long)
The counsel at the Official GMAT® Web Site is to identify your intended school(s)’s application deadline(s) prior to scheduling an appointment to take the test. Students find out what dates and times the test is offered at their chosen test center when they initiate the registration process. In Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, Pearson Professional Centers in Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, and Eagan administer the test. (Pearson has out-state sites in Duluth, Hermantown, and Rochester as well. St. Cloud State also administers the test.)
GRE (Administered all year long)*
Test centers in Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area include: Edina (0064 and 0065) and Woodbury (9056). Out-state test centers are Duluth (0087), Rochester (5404) and St. Cloud (7517).
* Students find out what dates and times the test is offered at their chosen test center when they initiate the registration process.
MTLE (Testing windows all year long)
The MTLE test centers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area are located in Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, and Eagen. (Out-state centers are located in Grand Rapids, Hermantown, Mankato, Marshall, Morris, Rochester, and St. Cloud.) Students may make appointments to take the test at any MTLE Test Center during the following Monday-Saturday testing windows (holidays excluded):
2013 Coming Soon!
IELTS (St. Paul, MN) 2013
Please, write me if you find any inaccuracies or to suggest other tests to include on my next update.