Tag Archives: nightmares

Into each life, a little rain–or snow or natural disaster or pandemic–must fall. Isn’t that how the line goes? No matter what calamity comes your way, don’t make it worse by showing up for a test that’s been cancelled. Both College Board and ACT maintain pages with critical information about test center closings and reschedules. SAT Test center closings for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests are listed on the SAT Test Center Closings page a few days before each test date. Information about makeup testing is posted to this page as it becomes available. If a makeup date has been confirmed, that information is included. Note that students affected by test center closings will be notified by email, possibly before the official page is updated. It’s also worth sharing that the College Board page doesn’t always update quickly, so consider checking in with the school hosting your test if…

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Sometimes, even doing everything right can’t protect you from the wrong outcomes. Imagine being a teen who takes all the right steps to ensure that he nails down his best test scores by the end of junior year, knowing how productive and relaxing the following summer and fall will be with that critical aspect of the college application taking care of. Our model student plans for late winter test date, knowing how stressful spring can be. He ideally prepares with experts and takes plenty of perfect practice tests. He arrives on test day rested, ready, and confident and then proceeds to maintain focus, energy, and enthusiasm to the very last question. Our hypothetical hero would probably leave the exam feeling really good about both the steps taken to ensure a strong test and his performance in the moment. Imagine, then, how crushed he and his fellow testers would feel months…

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If the path to your best test scores involves a chain of critical events from lessons to practice tests to the real thing, then proctors may well be the weakest link in that chain. Exams like the SAT and ACT practically define the word “standardized” in nearly every dimension. Yet, the actual administration of these influential instruments is handed over to lightly trained, lightly managed part-timers. Far too many test day nightmares can be attributed to the particular nincompoop in charge of the proceedings. Some proctors don’t know how to get a test started. Others lack understanding of the admission policies. Still others bungle timing, mismanage crises, or just distract test takers: I’ll never forget hearing a student describe how her proctor worked on elaborate floral arrangements during the test! You can and should protect yourself from proctor problems by studying your rights as a test taker until know more…

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The day of a big standardized exam can test the nerves of anyone, no matter how well prepared. Not only do test takers need to contend with the gauntlet of academic and strategic challenges posed by the exam itself and the test anxiety these ordeals trigger, but they may also encounter external threats to their precious peace of mind. You need to be prepared for anything on test day, from clueless proctors to meteorological mayhem to animal attacks. But who expects a naked gunman? A high school student said he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. A naked man, allegedly armed with a gun, in a bizarre situation with police in Las Vegas. “The guard told us don’t go out there,” Chris Merhi told KSNV-TV. There’s a man outside. He’s naked with a gun.” Mehri was taking a pre-SAT test with nine other students at Life Springs Christian Church when…

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Have you noticed that getting into a testing center for an SAT or ACT can be tougher than getting onto an airplane? Longstanding but increasing fear of cheating domestically and abroad has ushered in a focus on security only the TSA could be proud of. For most test takers, the extra level of scrutiny before testing is little more than an annoyance. In rare instances, however, even teens who brought all of their required documentation may be turned away. Students scheduled for the November 2016 SAT at Garinger High School learned this the hard way when many of them were denied access to their tests because of their hair. No, their hairdos weren’t so wild or extravagant that they’d be distractions to others, nor were they hiding special cheating devices. These students were turned away for a more prosaic and preposterous reason: their hairstyles were different than those in the…

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Sir Topham Hatt, the magisterial Fat Controller in the Thomas & Friends series, is notorious for his commitment to making the trains run on time. Nothing chafes him more that the twin terrors of confusion and delay. Nothing should irk you more either on test day, especially when the confusion and delay come from clueless proctors. Such was the sorry situation during the April 2016 administration of the ACT in a school district that shall remain nameless. One of our students was on the waitlist, so she arrived at the exam over an hour early. The proctors placed her on a line with other students who were skipping the ACT Writing Test, but allowed students taking Writing to enter. She remained on that line for more than two hours. Consequently, she and other students began their exam somewhere between one and two hours late. No timing strategies can compensate for…

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