blue tomato

STANDARDIZED TEST INFO

proctored test dates at blue tomato

Dear Parents

Below is the Fall 2013 schedule for proctored testing at blue tomato (all proctored tests are currently administered at our NOHO office). All test dates are Saturdays and start time for all dates is 11:00 a.m. There is a limit of eight students per test date so please reserve a space only if you are certain that your child will be able to attend. Parents are asked to confirm that their child will be attending no later than the Monday preceding the test. A minimum of five students must confirm in order for a proctored test to be offered.

As always, we offer these proctored tests free of charge. If, however, your child will be unable to attend one or all of the test dates and you wish to set up a separate time for your child to take a proctored test, please let us know and we will coordinate a time for you for a fee of $175.

Students, please arrive 5-10 minutes beforehand. Calculators are required and snacks and drink are encouraged.

SHSAT / ISEE PROCTORED TEST DATES


Saturday, Sept. 28 at 11AM
Monday, Oct. 14 (time to be determined)
Saturday, Nov. 2 at 11AM
Saturday, Nov. 23 at 11AM

Approximate test length
ISEE: 3.5 hours (includes set up and breaks)

Extra time students should allow an extra 1 - 2 hours as per their needs. Please feel free to call if you have any questions.

SAT / ACT PROCTORED TEST DATES


Saturday, November 2 at 11AM
Saturday, November 23 at 11AM

Approximate test length
SAT I: 4 - 4.5 hrs.
SAT II: 75 minutes per test
ACT: 3.5 - 4 hrs.

for our juniors + seniors

Find all information about SAT test dates and registration deadlines, canceling scores, fees and much more on the College Board website.
SAT Information from the College Board

You can also call the following phone numbers for assistance:
General Information: 866.756.7346
For Students with Disabilities: 609.771.7137

Find all information about ACT test dates and registration deadlines, canceling scores, fees and much more on the ACT website.
ACT Information

You can also call the following phone numbers for assistance:
Registration: 319-337-1270

If you can't find what you need (after you've tried REALLY hard) call Molly at 212.387.0447 and she'll help you figure it out.


Re: SAT I's

blue tomato recommends that juniors take the SAT I a minimum of two times (three if necessary). We strongly recommend that you take the March and May tests and use the June test date as a back up for your SAT I's or for your SAT II's if the schools you're applying to require them. Unless you're taking SAT II's in subjects specific to your junior year (i.e. American History, Chemistry, Physics, etc.) we recommend that you plan to focus on SAT I's in your junior year and take the SAT II's in your senior year. SAT II's do not take nearly as much work as the SAT I's do so they will consequently cause you a lot less stress. Since the fall of your senior year is inherently stressful with college applications, visits etc., we strongly encourage you to get your SAT I's over with in the spring of junior year. Besides, let's be honest: in the spring you're working assiduously (SAT word # 1) - coming here twice a week - you're in the groove. Once the summer comes, YOU ARE OUT OF HERE (at least most of you are) - in both mind and body. The last thing you want to do is start all over again in the fall, having lost some of the momentum you've gained. So plan to focus and get your SAT I's over with in the spring of your junior year.*We realize that some schools recommend a different approach to SAT I and SAT II planning. In those instances, we will always defer to and work with your college advisor's recommended approach, so don't stress out if you're getting different advice from what we've stated above.


Re: SAT II's

We know that it's difficult for you guys to do college visits in the spring; it's difficult for you to even think about college in the spring with SATs, school pressure, etc. But TRY to get a sense from meetings with your college advisor and initial review of college material, to assess whether or not many, if any, of the college's you anticipate applying to require the SAT II's. Many colleges do not and if none of the schools you're applying to require them, that's one less thing you have to worry about. By the same token, don't walk around all sure that you don't have to factor in SAT IIs until you're certain that you have no interest in a school that requires them. You do not want to go visit Brown in early October, fall in love with it and then say "oh ^#*^! I can't apply early because I haven't taken the SAT II's and now I have three weeks to figure out what I can take and prepare for them." THAT WOULD SUCK!!!


Re: ACTís (and how it differs from the SAT)

More and more of you are choosing to take the ACT either in addition to or in lieu of the SAT. We believe that it is an excellent idea for you to get a solid understanding of both tests, take a practice test of both types and then decide which one to pursue; some of you will decide to take both. Much of the material on the two tests is similar and preparing for both of them is not the massive undertaking one might think. We find that besides the formatting and some technical differences, the thing many of you find distinctive is the phrasing of questions, or the "voice" of the test. Some of you have a decided preference for either the SAT or the ACT voice, irrespective of your thoughts on content differences.

The ACT is comprised of five sections:
English (Usage/Mechanics, Rhetorical Skills),
Math (Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Coordinate Geometry, Plane Geometry, Trigonometry)
Reading (Social Studies, Natural Sciences, Prose Fiction, Humanities)*
Science (Data Representation, Research Summary, Conflicting Viewpoint)
Writing (writing in response to a question about your position on an issue)

Unlike the SAT, which, after the essay section, alternates between writing, reading comprehension, and math sections, the ACT has one of each of the five sections mentioned above. The order of the sections never changes and the total number of questions in each section remains constant. *Additionally, the type and order of the passages on the reading comprehension section of the ACT remains constant and the passage type, i.e. "Natural Science," is noted at the beginning of each passage. This means that you know that there is one of each passage type and you can anticipate the exact order of passage types. Many of you find this extremely beneficial. A second difference between the ACT and the SAT is that unlike the SAT, on which the questions on each section become more difficult as the test progresses, the difficulty level of questions on the ACT remains constant. The third difference between the two tests is that the ACT has a Science Reasoning section that tests your ability to read scientific charts, graphs and tables as well as your ability to reason through scientific research and vantage points. It is basically a "scientific reading comprehension" section; it does not require prior scientific knowledge. For you humanities people: do not freak out: this is not a science test!! The final difference, which is huge for some of you, is that YOU CAN GUESS!! You are not penalized for wrong answers on the ACT, so you donít need to hone your guess/omit skills. Knowing when to guess or omit is a skill and some of you are more comfortable with it than others. For those of you who become seriously anxious about standardized tests and find that the whole guess/omit aspect is a big part of that, this might play into your decision in a big way.

Many of you ask us if the fact that the ACT offers "score choice" (schools only see the scores that you want them to see) is a huge benefit. Our answer is, "NO." While we understand you might not want to disclose your less than perfect scores, the truth of the matter is, College Admissions counselors just donít care. On your actual application you will write your best SAT scores and this is what the Admissions people will look at. Not to make you think that youíre not important, but they really donít have time to scrutinize your application to uncover the deep secrets of your test taking past. Ultimately, the advantage gained by combining your best math, reading comp and writing sections on the SAT (often referred to as "super scoring"), which most colleges allow you to do, far outweighs the benefits of score choice. The ACT does not let you combine scores from different days. Colleges will look at your highest ACT composite score, but they will not allow you to create a "super score" like they will on the SAT. So, no, we donít think score choice is so epic.

Lastly, cause this is getting really long, some schools do allow you to submit ACT scores in lieu of submitting both SAT I and SAT II scores. This can be a great benefit for those of you applying to schools that require SAT IIís, but many schools do not require them. Refer to this link: http://collegelists.pbworks.com/w/page/28478992/Schools-That-Require-or-Recommend-SAT-Subject-Tests (or go to specific college websites) to learn about each schoolís specific requirements).

To find ACT/SAT conversion information, please visit:
http://www.act.org/aap/concordance/

For our ISEE students and parents

First off, letís talk about what the ISEE stands for, what the ERB is, what the CTP is, and ECEE is Ė these acronyms go flying around and because so many of you call me in complete and understandable frustration, Iím putting this explanation here for your reference.

ERB stands for Educational Records Bureau, a company originated in 1928 that provides standardized progress testing for its member schools during the school year (the CTP is the most common, though there are others) as well as Private School Entrance exams for kids Pre-K Ė 5th Grade (the ECEE) and for kids in 5th Ė 10th Grade (the ISEE).

CTP stands for Comprehensive Testing Program.† The CTP is the test given by your school each year; it is comprised of a reading, math, and writing section and is given each year in 1st through 11th grade.† This test is often referred to as the ERB, but in fact it is only one of the many tests offered by the ERB.

ISEE stands for independent school entrance exam.† This test is offered at various testing centers, all of which offer the test with standard time and some of which offer extended (1.5) time. The ISEE is not offered with full time extension.† Please check the website for available test sites and dates.† While most students choose to take one of the Saturday exams, there are also smaller group tests offered throughout the week.† If you think your child may benefit from taking the test in a smaller group, you may want to look into this option.

The ISEE is offered at three levels:
ē The Lower Level ISEE is given to students currently in 4th and 5th grade who are applying into 5th and 6th grade.
ē The Middle Level ISEE is given to student in 6th and 7th grade who are applying into 7th and 8th grade.
ē The Upper Level ISEE is given to students in 8th, 9th and 10th grade who are applying into 9th, 10th, and 11th grade.

Students are allowed to take the ISEE once every six months! The test is offered three times in early-mid December (see ERB site for specific dates).† Think carefully about which date makes the most sense for you as a family, factoring in the holidays and the fact that blue tomato hopes to see our students two times the week preceding the test for a) a thorough review of all the material covered and b) to help each student memorize his/her personal strategies regarding approach and time management Ė and to give them all their lucky pencils!

ECEE stands for early childhood entrance exam. †The Early Childhood Entrance Exam is offered to children applying to Pre-K through 5th grade.† All testing is done on an individual basis.† Please see ERB website for detailed information.

Here is the link for the Educational Records Bureau From there go to the "For Parents & Students" heading and then choose either the Admissions (ECEE or ISEE) or Achievement (CTP or another test) drop down menu.† You can also go to the "Select a Test" heading on the far left which will give you a drop down menu of all tests offered.

Visit the ISEE page on the ERB site for more information:
ISEE page on ERB

Many blue tomato students taking the ISEE apply to a similar group of New York City Private Schools.† Below is a list of the most common schools that blue tomato students attend and apply to and links to those schoolsí websites:

For our SSAT students and parents

Since more and more of you are applying to boarding schools, we thought we should provide you with some helpful links for those of you taking the SSAT.
Here is the link to the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) Home Page

From here you can find all your information about the SSAT test dates and registration deadlines, canceling scores, fees, etc.

Here is the link to a great website that provides profiles and reviews of boarding schools as well as a state by state directory of boarding schools located in the US.
www.boardingschoolreview.com


Below are links to the school you most frequently apply to and ask about:

For our specialized high school applicants

Here is the link to NYC Department of Education High School Admissions Home Page (Itís a mouthful. We know.)

From here you can find all the information about the Specialized High School Admissions process and the schools that require the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT).

The SHSAT will be administered on October 23rd for 8th graders applying into 9th grade and October 30th for 9th graders applying into 10th grade. Unlike other standardized tests, the SHSAT is offered only once for each grade level, so be sure to mark your calendars and work with your tutor accordingly. Make sure to speak with your School Advisor and have him/her give you an Admissions Ticket for the SHSAT, which will also give you the date, location, and time of the test. REMEMBER TO BRING THIS TICKET WITH YOU TO THE TEST SITE.

Below are links to the 9 specialized high schools in New York City for your convenience:

For our magnet public high school applicants

This page is for those of you applying to Magnet Public High Schools that do not use the SHSAT. The schools that many of you apply to that fall into this category are:


With the exception of Bard and Hunter, the above schools are applied to by listing them as your "top choice" on your NYC Dept. of Ed. form. For detailed information about the school matching process, please visit the link listed below. Admission is based on your 7th (not 8th) grade ELA and Math scores and your academic record. Because admission is based on your 7th grade standardized scores, we encourage our students to put extra work into preparing for both the ELA and Math tests in 7th grade.
*Bard requires that you fill out both the DOE application form and the BHSEC application formóvisit their website for detailed information.
**Hunter College High School accepts students in the 7th grade ONLY. Students who score in the 90th percentile or above on their 5th grade standardized tests are invited, via their school principals, to sit for the Hunter test in the winter of 6th grade. A student can only apply to Hunter if they are invited to take the test.


Some helpful links:
The NYC Department of Education High School Admissions Home Page
From here you can find all of your information about the NYC Public High School Application Process

The New York Citywide and Statewide Assessment Calendar for the 2010-2011 Academic Year
Need to find this website. This calendar provides all the English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, PSAT, and Regents test dates for New York City students grades 3 through 12.

Practice ELAs for grades 3 through 8 from the from the New York City Education Department
Feel free to peruse the materials at your leisure. Itís hours of entertainment!