Chariot Learning Blog

Back in the early days of college admissions testing, students generally tested at the same time. However, we’ve come a long way from the days of exclusively testing at the end of junior year and the beginning of senior year. The big tests now grace nearly every month of the calendar year. In fact, no matter what week or month you read this, lots of high schoolers are preparing to take their SAT or ACT. So, before you decide when you or your teen should sit for these very influential exams, consider the options… MONTH BY MONTH What is the case for the February ACT? What is the case for the March SAT? What is the case for the April ACT? What is the case for the May SAT? What is the case for the June SAT & ACT? What is the case for the July ACT? What is the…

Read more

Standardized admissions tests ranging from high school tests like the SSAT and ISEE to college exams like the SAT and ACT to even graduate school tests like the GRE, GMAT, and LSAT all share the same notorious reputation for lots of traps. This seems unfair somehow to those who find the depth and breadth of the reading, writing, and math content challenging enough. However, in the wild world of norm-referenced assessments, difficulty begins with content and weaves through a veritable obstacle course of constraints and pitfalls. Traps on tests are a feature, not a bug. WHY EXACTLY DO TEST ITEMS INCLUDE TRAPS? Standardized admissions exams are designed to rank large groups of testers–millions per year in the cases of the SAT and ACT–along the standard distribution. Most test takers should fall within the big part of the bell curve, huddled one standard deviation or so from the mean. For these…

Read more

Considering all the lives, livelihoods, and opportunities that COVID-19 has taken from us so far, finding something good that arose out of the pandemic seems too much to ask. However, the global shutdown hurt some industries more than others, which meant 2020 may have been one of the worst years ever for America’s thousands of colleges and universities. The College Stress Test predicted that a surprising number of institutions of higher education were in financial peril this year, and those models didn’t even take the threat of a massive shutdown into account. COVID has been absolutely horrible for most colleges. Many college students–or at least the ones willing and able to enroll in a school that was partially or entirely remote–found an unexpected benefit from the crisis: historically low increases in average published tuition prices. College Board’s annual Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid report usually tells a story…

Read more

Love them or hate them, the ACT and SAT serve a number of valuable purposes. Currently, both tests are primarily (but not entirely) college admissions exams. And despite the controversy and anxiety that inevitably accompany the ACT and SAT, most colleges continue to rely on them to inform admissions decisions. Granted, a human being is so much more than a number, but quantitative data matters a lot when evaluating applicants in a pool that exponentially exceeds the number of available seats. Furthermore, standardized test scores aren’t even the most important numbers. All things being equal, a student’s grade point average is the first and foremost metric that matters. Why, then, are tests needed at all? Can’t grades tell the full story of a student’s academic ability? Unfortunately, grades are not enough in most instances. One reason they cannot always be trusted is the dramatic variability in academic excellence from school…

Read more

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of basketball will recognize the name of Michael Jordan, widely considered one of the best–if not the very best–players of all time. Jordan combined ferocious physical and mental strength with incomparable skill and an indefatigable will to win. However, he attributes his legendary success to one train above all others: My best skill was that I was coachable. I was a sponge and aggressive to learn. What does “coachable” mean? Have you ever met someone who seems sure he or she knows it all, someone who has no interest or perhaps even ability to learn from others? How about someone who crumbles under even constructive criticism, externalizing failure or blame? Those are definitely NOT examples of coachability. Instead, consider the traits someone who is coachable shows consistently: Interested in becoming better, even if that requires hard work Willing to listen and learn Eager to…

Read more

Happy Halloween! As we’ve learned so dearly in 2020, some years are scarier than others. But we must not let fear be the reason we fail. So how do you handle the terror of a big test, an important task, or the first step on a journey that will change your life? 1. Don’t let stress make you N.U.T.S. 2. Take a deep breath. 3. Just begin!

6/662