Are SAT Subject Tests Really That Important Anymore?

[fa icon="calendar'] 12/5/20 8:30 AM / by Julia de Raadt

Standardized testing has been a hot topic on our blog this year as well as generally in the world of college admissions. We've discussed with readers what to do in the case test centers aren't available, highlighted the move by colleges to test-optional policies and the debated the recent decision of some colleges to drop test requirements altogether.  COVID-19 has brought the question of its usefulness to the forefront and we've fielded many questions from students on whether to test or not. Our students have also asked about SAT 2 subject tests, particularly students aiming to apply to the more competitive colleges or majors.

  • Should I make the effort to take subject tests?
  • How many should I take?
  • What's a good score, and if I don't score so well should I still submit?

All valid questions which I am going to answer below! 

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Breaking: Secret Ingredient for College Acceptance Benchmarking Decoded

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/6/20 11:00 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

While the elimination of the SAT and ACT in college admissions opens up accessibility for many, others now struggle to quantify their potential. Empowerly understands that students are more than just a number. Here is their solution.

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College Admissions Boards Consider Dropping Standardized Test Scores Permanently

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/30/20 2:54 PM / by Madeleine Karydes

College admissions boards across the nation are dropping standardized test scores as a requirement. Some notable campuses plan to drop them for good. Where does this leave the next class of applicants?

 

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Back-to-School Advice: How Many AP Classes Are Enough?

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/6/20 8:08 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

One of the most common topics students ask about is their AP course load. For many students, AP classes are a badge of honor. “How many AP’s are you taking? Which ones? What scores did you get?” Questions like these abound before every school year, and after it ends for summer. Similar pressure to achieve surrounds IB and Honors courses. This leaves students and parents to wonder, how many AP classes are enough to be accepted to a good college? For some, the question is: will it ever be enough? 

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What You Need to Know about Weighted GPA

[fa icon="calendar'] 8/28/20 8:15 AM / by Natalie Thompson

What is the difference between a weighted GPA and an unweighted GPA? And how do you use a weighted GPA improve your college application?

Grades are not the only thing a college considers when they look at your application. But they are part of the equation. We'll break it down for you. 

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Creating Your College List Using Data

[fa icon="calendar'] 8/26/20 1:10 PM / by Madeleine Karydes

Developing your college list is a challenging task. Many students who approach us at Empowerly aim to apply to 6 or 7 (or more) well-selected schools, and spread those across safety, target, and reach colleges. So how do most people create these lists today?

Some students create complicated spreadsheets. Some simply apply to colleges that are easily accessible—schools that are geographically close, or that they've heard about from friends. Other students just guess, based on a vague impression.

But there's a better strategy: one that will help you reduce your stress, find your best-fit campus, and put you on the road to success. Do those benefits sound good to you? Read on.

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Counselor Chat with Christine W.

[fa icon="calendar'] 7/13/20 8:45 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

Are you wondering whether you should consider college counseling? Ready to start, but lost when it comes to actually get going? We asked your top questions to our talented counselor Christine W., to get her perspective on this pivotal moment in young people's lives. Read her advice below about:

  • why finding the right counselor is so important,
  • when the best (and worst) times to start counseling sessions is,
  • and what she wishes all parents knew.
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Weighted vs Unweighted GPA and How Colleges View Them

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/6/20 8:30 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

COVID has brought grading schemes under the microscope, once again. You may well know that schools evaluate academic performance in two ways:

1) in the classroom through letter grades, and 2) through Grade Point Average, or GPA.

You’re likely familiar the grading from A-F, but colleges are interested in overall performance—with a quick glance of your unweighted GPA which will fall between 0.0 and 4.0. Colleges could also be interested in a weighted GPA which applies more proportional weight to more difficult classes.

However, more and more classes are also offering P and NP. Wondering what that means? Read on for a breakdown of how this plays out today.

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What an Admissions Expert Has to Say About AP Tests

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/17/20 8:00 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

It’s AP season, so we talked to one of our wonderful counselors, Jennifer Liepin, about her own advice on AP tests. Read her thoughts below about:

  • why you should take AP classes,
  • how they help with college applications,
  • how to prepare for the test,
  • and what you should do if you don’t do well.
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My SAT Was Cancelled. What Do I Do Now?

[fa icon="calendar'] 4/27/20 4:05 PM / by Julia de Raadt

With the June SAT test date recently canceled and June ACT test date looking unlikely to go ahead, you may be wondering whether you should still take either. This is especially the case for juniors who have not already taken the test, or considered taking it again. Now you find yourself faced with the question: to take or not to take? Is it even worth my time and effort if some colleges no longer require it? Can I juggle the work that I need to put in to prepare as well as the added pressure of studying online?

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Colleges Move to Test-Optional Policy Amid COVID-19

[fa icon="calendar'] 4/9/20 1:55 PM / by Julia de Raadt

Coronavirus is certainly creating havoc and it seems no sector is immune to its effects, college admissions included. With the interruptions it has created for standardized testing resulting in the cancellation of SAT and ACT test dates, some colleges have decided to make the upcoming admission cycle test-optional. 

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You didn't do well on the SAT or ACT. Now what?

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/3/19 1:03 PM / by Martha Collins

Taking the SAT or the ACT can be one of the most stressful parts of the college application process. Receiving the test scores themselves can be just as nerve-racking. 

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SAT/ACT Timeline - Planning the Tests

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/19/19 11:05 AM / by Cameron Devall

The SAT/ACT is a daunting eventuality for any university bound student. While some students have begun their college preparation even before getting to high school, other than keeping good grades, a standardized test is the first big step towards college admittance.

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3 Small, Surefire Ways to Practice for the SAT

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/16/19 6:37 AM / by Melanie Falconer

I hated the SAT. I still hate it. It doesn't really measure your intelligence, which is made up of so many different qualities. Intelligence isn't just a number--it's about how curious you are, how you progress, your ability to shift perspectives and take on problems. 

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How to Manage AP Exam Stress

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/8/19 10:21 AM / by Julia de Raadt

Exam period can be an extremely stressful time for students and AP exams are no exception. When stress gets the better of us, it can really affect performance. But how do you conquer test nerves? Below are some strategies to remain calm and put your best foot forward during the AP exam period.

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