The following questions are ones that I hear most frequently from teachers, students and parents. If your question isn’t answered here, please send me an e-mail.

If you would rather watch than read, there’s a short video on the home page. More detail is provided here.

Bob Alexander, The Wizard, has been a teacher and educator since 1968. In 1991, he joined Kaplan Educational Centers as a director. School administrators who knew him encouraged him to share his expertise with teachers by offering teacher-training programs focused on raising standardized test scores. In 1994, he resigned from Kaplan to do teacher training and develop test preparation courses. The first one was the SAT and the second was the ACT. Schools that have replaced the Kaplan program with Demystifying Standardized Tests have reported much better results for far less money.
In 1998, he published his first preparation book for the high school FCAT (Florida’s required graduation test). Since then he has developed books for the elementary and middle school FCAT tests. Schools have experienced greatly improved student scores and school ratings when they use his program.
The Wizard, sometimes just called “The Wiz” by his students, spends his time doing teacher training and helping schools raise their standardized test scores. He also sequesters himself in the castle tower working on his materials which help students raise their scores. He can commonly be found in his private classes teaching SAT/ACT prep and/or tutoring his students.
When you can’t find him working, he is likely spending time with his high school sweetheart who has been his wife since 1966. If he’s not there he is most likely engaged in a piscatorial expedition (“fishing trip” for those of you that need to read his tips on improving your vocabulary!).

Bob and Sharon Alexander established the charity in memory of Bob’s sister who died from leukemia when they were children. The Mary Alice Education Fund (MAEF), a tax-deductible, non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation, which enjoys its charitable status as a project of the United Charitable Programs. MAEF provides full and partial scholarships for students whose families cannot otherwise afford for them to attend test prep classes. In addition, through MAEF, Bob and Sharon provide training seminars for parents and teens regarding the college admissions process and the role of the SAT and ACT tests in that process. They also assist parents with understanding the role of “high-stakes” tests in improving the quality of education for their children. These evening programs for families are offered not only along the Treasure Coast of Florida but also throughout the nation.
Registration fees paid to use the www.maxthetest.com Online Video Course support the operation of the scholarship program. All fees paid for college coaching and test prep services are 100% contributions to the MAEF for its philanthropic activities. (No salaries are paid to the Alexanders or volunteers.) As such, fees can be partially tax-deductible according to IRS regulations and you should consult your tax advisers for details.
You may make a voluntary, tax-deductible contribution to the fund. Please mail a check payable to the Mary Alice Education Fund to 3120 N Highway A1A #903, Fort Pierce, FL 34949. Your check serves as your receipt. In the event your check exceeds $300, you will receive a receipt from the United Charitable Programs recognizing your contribution to our charity. Additionally, you may make a contribution using a credit card by clicking on the “Mary Alice Fund” button on the home page.

Demystifying Standardized Tests was established in 1995. It has an established, proven record of raising students’ standardized test scores when used by tutors, private teachers and in school classrooms. The web site was launched in June, 1999, as a way of providing the program to a wider range of students. The web site contains the materials that students get when they take the course with an instructor. In addition, students receive the training notes and teacher materials that are provided by The Wiz when he consults with a school district. In short, a student using the materials at MaxTheTest.com learns everything that The Wiz teaches teachers.

Yes. It combines the best information about test-taking skills with sound educational practices to raise scores. The program has been offered since 1995. It also has been available as a small-group course and as a private tutoring program. The results from those programs have shown consistently better results than the advertised results of the major test preparation companies. Schools report average SAT score gains that have ranged from 150 to 250 points. The overall average increase is about 180 for reading and math combined. Average gains for the ACT range from 3 to 6 points. You need to be realistic regarding what benefit you will personally get out of this program. The gains I’ve mentioned above are “averages.” Some students have experienced very little or no gain while others have experienced incredible score increases. A teacher reported one of his students went up 600 points after taking Demystifying Standardized Tests. Another teacher reported that “students had gone up 200 to over 300 points” at her high school. Your increase will depend on your personal efforts. If you go through the Demystifying Standardized Tests program and do the recommended practice activities, you will be as well prepared as you can be. You will see no surprises on test day and you will be ready to handle the questions you encounter in the most effective way.

The information and recommendations contained in these materials have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable and to represent the best current opinion and practices on the subject. No warranty, guarantee, or representation is made by MaxTheTest.com, Inc. or its associates and/or affiliates as to the absolute correctness or sufficiency of any representation contained in these materials, and MaxTheTest.com, Inc. and its associates and/or affiliates assume no responsibility in connection therewith, neither can it be assumed that all information needed to succeed with the SAT and/or ACT are contained in these materials, nor can it be assumed that other or additional instruction will not be required under particular or exceptional conditions or circumstances.

Demystifying Standardized Tests includes everything you need to know about the test you’ll be taking. The only additional materials you will need are copies of actual tests. Some are available free from high school counselors. More are available by buying The Official SAT Study Guide and/or The Real ACT Prep Guide. The program starts with diagnostic tests of math knowledge. That means you’ll know the math areas you need to target. The instructional program begins by helping you to learn how a test writer thinks. You’ll also learn some great general test-taking tips about controlling your time and attacking the test that will build your confidence. You’ll progress into the six Pillars of Test-Taking Wiz-dom, which are proven, effective approaches to test-taking that apply to almost any testing situation. The Pillars serve as the foundation of everything that is taught in all Demystifying Standardized Tests programs. You’ll then select those sections of your test that need attention. You can start with any topic or question format you want! It’s not like a test prep course in which the company decides where to begin. Once you’ve done the foundation work described above, you could choose to start with whatever makes sense. Of course, if you are having trouble with arithmetic and algebra, it only makes sense to start with arithmetic. However, if you want to start with Sentence Completion questions for the SAT or Science Reasoning for the ACT, you could certainly do that even though they are late in the Table of Contents. You are in the driver’s seat, determining your pace and your route. A planned and consistent course of study will be the most effective process for improving your score. You should begin by establishing a target score and a study schedule. If you want some suggestions about a reasonable target score, send me an e-mail.

Once you register, the work begins. You need to develop a schedule. The best thing is that you get to decide your own schedule. It isn’t like taking a class at school or a test prep course at a tutoring center. This is a self-study course. You decide how often, when, and how long you will be putting in time. If you aren’t motivated to do a self-study program, please do not register for Demystifying Standardized Tests. If you are motivated to do the work, this program can help you shine. Take the Math Diagnostic. It will tell you where you need to focus your attention. There are hyperlinks from the score report page to the pages in maxthetest.com that are related to each question. Start with the materials that introduce standardized tests in general. “Thinking Like the Test Writer” is a very important lesson. It will give you special insight regarding how the test writer thinks and how you use her mental set to compete against her. Pay special attention to “The Pillars of Test-Taking Wiz-dom.” They are the six test-taking skills that apply to almost all test-taking experiences. Learn how each Pillar applies to the different sections of the specific test you will be taking. All the strategies you will learn in the program will relate to the Pillars. Do the lessons related to each part of the test. Practice the skills that are taught by doing the “Sample Questions.” At the end of each section, there is a set of recommended questions from actual tests that are found in 10 Real SATs, Getting Into the ACT and tests that may be available at your school. Apply your newly developed skills to actual questions. When you are through with the program, take another actual test in its entirety and score it using the answer key. If you have any questions about any of the questions you missed, send me an e-mail and I’ll explain it to you. Get personal help with the questions that puzzle you. Send me an e-mail. Just because you aren’t sitting at a table with me personally doesn’t mean I can’t provide you with personal help. Don’t let any questions you have go unanswered!

My crystal ball can’t predict how long it will take you to complete the program but it can tell you what the average student has experienced. An average student takes about 40 hours to complete all the materials on the web site. Then you have to add time for practicing. You may be highly motivated and really want to spend lots of time working with actual tests. On the other hand, you may not have as much time and plan on working only on your weaknesses. This is a self-study program that allows you to develop your own schedule. You don’t have to go to class when it is convenient for someone else’s schedule. You won’t have to waste time listening to a teacher telling a class about things you already know. For example, if you’re good with triangles, skip the instruction related to triangles. Start by doing the Sample Questions. If you do well, go on to the next topic. If you try the triangle questions and have trouble, start at the beginning with them. The beauty of a self-study program is that you can spend as little or as much time as you want on each topic. You can study only problem areas or you can choose to cover every section, strengthening your skills in each. You’ll be monitoring your own progress. You’ll be able to get responses directly from me through e-mail and the bulletin board. If you dedicate five hours of on-line time each week and another 3 hours doing practice materials, you could do everything for one of the tests in 8 to 12 weeks. If you have less time, you can reduce the scope of topics. If you are puzzled, e-mail me and I’ll help you develop a personalized schedule. [/sws_toggle1][sws_toggle1 title=”What if I have a very short time to get ready?”] Then you have a lot of work to do. Don’t just randomly start doing the lessons in the program! Do you know your areas of weakness? If not, take the math diagnostic test and score it so you won’t be wasting any time. Decide how you are going to prepare. Use the materials that give an overview of standardized tests and the Pillars of Test-Taking Wiz-dom. Choose specific lessons that address your weaknesses. Do the practice exercises. If you have questions, contact me via e-mail. If possible, consider postponing your test date. Check to see when the next date is and determine if it will be a problem given admissions and financial aid deadlines. Talk with your counselor. Maybe, only maybe, you’ve got more time than you think. Begin right away making the time you have count. Get a calendar and schedule the time you are going to use Demystifying Standardized Tests and then follow through. Keep in mind, if you miss an “appointment with The Wiz,” it’s as easy to reschedule as sitting down at the computer! If you miss a class with a tutor or prep center, it may be difficult to reschedule.

The fee varies depending on how long you need to use the program. One month is $25.00. Two months is $45.00. Three months is $60. Compared to other web sites, these are very competitive fees and there is no comprehensive program that is a better value. Of course, compared to tutoring services and test prep companies, it is an extraordinary value. Also remember that your fees support the Mary Alice Scholarship Fund that helps finance college educations for students across America. Be sure to ask your parents’ permission before you use their credit card to register.

If you are a school or tutoring organization, contact me regarding training and site license fees. I will provide you a detailed, written proposal that is customized to your circumstances. My fees are the lowest and the results are the best in the business.

You get the same materials that students in schools, in private groups, or involved in one-on-one tutoring receive. Every test-taking strategy, technique, hint, trick, and analytical skill that I teach to teachers and private students is fully explained on the web site. The program includes instruction on:  How test writers think and develop test questions,  The “Six Pillars of Test-Taking Wiz-dom,”  What to do when you don’t have the knowledge the questions require,  Detailed information on how to tackle every part of the test,  Hundreds of sample questions with complete, detailed explanations, and  Strategies for different question types. In addition you receive:  Computerized scoring for the Math Diagnostic so that you can focus your efforts,  Access to The Wiz and his team of experts through e-mail, and  Detailed explanations to sample and actual questions on real tests. Demystifying Standardized Tests provides you a guided self-study experience for raising your score.

Click the Register icon below or on the home page. Once inside, follow the instructions regarding registration, indicate how long you plan to study and use your credit card or one that belongs to your parents AFTER you get their permission. You will quickly receive your password to get into the Towers of Wiz-dom. If I can be of help, feel free to contact me.

How hard do you plan to work?  Plan I: You think registering will automatically increase your score. You don’t plan to work. Please don’t waste your parents’ money.  Plan II: You plan to spend 15-20 hours working on specific areas. Then you can expect a gain in those areas.  Plan III: You plan to spend 35-50 hours working through the on-line materials. Then you can expect a very nice increase.  Plan IV: You plan to spend 60-90 hours doing both the on-line program and released tests. Then your score can really take off. Nobody should do Plan I! Maybe you only need a few points so you could be on Plan II. I helped a student raise his SAT Verbal score to qualify for a scholarship by spending only two hours on the phone working on reading skills. He went up 40 points with me after not going up at all with a major test preparation company. Other students have reported similar experiences. I can’t promise that will happen for you. Do Plan III if you need a 100-150 SAT points or a few ACT points. You need to practice the skills that I teach on-line. Plan IV is for the motivated student who wants a significant score increase. This approach has had dramatic impact on students’ scores. Score increases of over 200 are common for this group. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee an increase of this magnitude. I can only tell you what students have experienced using Demystifying Standardized Tests in the past. I wish I could tap you with my magic wand or mesmerize you with my crystal ball to raise your score. Unfortunately, I can’t. This is not a “too good to be true,” empty promises approach to test prep. I’m going to reveal everything there is to know so that you can raise your score. You’ve got to do the work. I don’t raise your score–you do!

If you’re going to take full advantage of the Demystifying Standardized Tests program, you need to get a copy of 10 Real SATs and/or Getting Into the ACT . These are the resources we’ll be using for practice exercises and full-length tests. If you’re an ACT student, you’ll also want to go to www.act.org and order the two released tests that are available. They are only two dollars each. Your counselor gets free practice SAT and ACT tests from the test publishers every August. When they become available, The Wiz incorporates them into Demystifying Standardized Tests. You don’t need to have these materials to get started but get them as soon as you can. You’re going to be learning how to think like a test writer during the first few lessons. Then we’ll begin using actual questions from the released tests. That’s when you’ll need the book.

First, start thinking about the test as soon as possible. Get a registration bulletin and free sample test from the school counselor. Even as a freshman or sophomore, looking over the questions in the sample test will acquaint your teen with the kinds of things that will be expected by the test writers. Second, make sure your teen is in the right courses at school. Be sure the right information is covered by the school curriculum. For example, there are specific grammar skills required by the ACT and PSAT, but many schools don’t provide targeted grammar instruction. Let the curriculum coordinator for your school know how important it is for the test. Third, plan your teen’s school course-work well in advance. It can be disappointing to find out when it’s too late that the college of choice has requirements that cannot be met by the student. For example, if a student’s college of choice requires two years of a foreign language and your teen hasn’t taken any by his or her senior year, there’s a big problem. Fourth, read the FAQ related to when a student should take the test. Develop a schedule for registering for and taking the test. Fifth, help make sure that your teens are getting prepared for the test. It should begin at home. Reading is the best way for them to develop the vocabulary and reading skills that are required by the tests. Encourage it. Make sure your teen’s course-work is appropriate. Talk to the counselor about college applications and what the school does to prepare its students for the tests. Ask specific questions: Do you offer a special prep course? What materials are used? Has the teacher received special training? What kind of results do students get? What do students say after taking the course? (Refer to the FAQ related to the biggest SAT/ACT myth.) Sixth, encourage them. Most teens already feel pressure regarding the test, so support and encouragement from parents are important. Keep in mind that the SAT and ACT are just part of the college application process. In addition to transcripts, many colleges consider recommendations, extracurricular activities, essays and interviews. Finally, keep the last 24 hours before the test stress free. If the testing center is at an unfamiliar location, make sure you’ve made a trip there in advance so there isn’t any undue stress trying to be on time or trying to find it. Keep your teen at home so he/she can get a good night’s sleep the night before the test. Get up with them and fix breakfast based on the recommendations made in Demystifying Standardized Tests. Tell them you love them!

The SAT has been around since the 1920’s! Of course, it became very popular after World War II and has stayed popular. The ACT showed up in the late 1950’s. The ACT organization is based in Iowa and writes the ACT Assessment and other tests. For many years, they dominated the mid-western colleges as the “test to take.” They had little presence in the east where ETS, the SAT developer, is located. Recently these lines have blurred and there are few colleges that will accept only one of these tests, although some have preferences. The College Board, a non-profit membership organization for four-year colleges and universities, is behind the SAT. They are involved with Education Testing Service (ETS) which is located in New Jersey. ETS is the developer, administrator, scorer, and score reporter for the test. ETS is the world’s largest test development company. “Long, long ago and far, far away,” I did consulting work for the College Board (related to the College Placement Test) and ETS (as a test writer). Like the ACT, they are both solid, professional organizations. I do not see them as the enemy. Rather, I view ETS and the ACT as the opponent. They, in effect, write the rules of the game. I spend my time figuring out what the explicit and hidden rules are. Then I let you know through Demystifying Standardized Tests. In fact, I’ve even attended their workshops and shown their staff that there are test writer tendencies that even they don’t recognize they have! It’s all a game to me. Just like a coach gets a team ready to exploit the weaknesses of the next opponent, I’m going to get you ready to play the college admissions test game.

They certainly measure something different than what is measured by grades! The best evidence of this fact is that young women get better grades in school than young men but young men outscore young women on these tests, especially on the SAT. Grades primarily reflect the successful development of a knowledge base that is taught in school. These tests measure a student’s ability to apply that knowledge the way a test writer thinks students should. These tests correlate as highly with grades received by first-year college students as do high school grades. That means that high school grades and test scores are equally good at predicting your grades as a college freshman. That’s why the focus of the Demystifying Standardized Tests program is on learning to think like the test writer. The course will help you with reasoning skills that are useful in college. The full name for the SAT is the “Scholastic Assessment Test I: Reasoning Test.” Had you ever noticed it is a “Reasoning Test?” An amazing thing about the SAT is that the vast majority of the math (probably as much as 90%) was covered before you got out of the ninth grade! In addition, all the math facts you will need are printed right in the test booklet! You even get to use a calculator! Yet, students still only average about 50% of the points in math. That’s because it’s a test of analytical skills. The test is all about using what you know the way the test writer thinks you should. That is why Demystifying Standardized Tests has worked so well. I’ll reveal the secrets of how the test writer thinks you need to think.

In these days of “grade inflation” and inconsistent standards for assigning grades, college admissions officers need a “common denominator.” They need a measuring stick that can be applied to all the applicants in an equitable way. The SAT and ACT serve this purpose. Another important reason for giving the test is to measure “whether an applicant thinks like a successful college freshman.” The tests are more about how student use knowledge than what their knowledge is. That’s why the issue of “thinking like the test writer” is so important. You’ve got to think like the test writer thinks you need to think! That’s why the focus of the Demystifying Standardized Tests program is on the critical thinking and analytical skills that are required by the test. The tests are designed to predict success as a college freshman, as indicated by grades. Studies show that the SAT and high school grades predict first year college success equally well.

For most universities, test scores are considered after an applicant’s transcript. The first issue for an admissions officer is what does an applicant know. The transcript tells the admissions officer what courses have been taken, what grades were earned in each course, grade point average, and usually class rank. Then the applicant’s test scores are reviewed. Oftentimes, the admissions officer uses a sliding scale that facilitates admitting students with lower test scores who have higher GPAs. Remember that your score will also play a part in receiving financial aid. Many students have more than paid for taking the Demystifying Standardized Tests program because their increased scores qualified them for scholarship money.

Some organizations study this question because it is such a major issue. The evidence is clear that males consistently outscore females, especially on the SAT. Asian-Americans score better than any other ethnic group, with Caucasians second. Hispanics, African-Americans, and Native-Americans score well below average. In addition, variables such as the education level of parents also are related to student performance on standardized tests. Many people consider these as signs of “unfairness.” The test writers work to eliminate sex and ethnic biases. However, other biases creep into the test. For example, a few years ago the analogy “brackish:water” appeared on the PSAT. The correct response was “rancid:butter.” The Wiz cites this as an example of cultural bias. In this analogy, “brackish” meant “spoiled, contaminated or smelly.” However, if you live near a coast, “brackish” is a term used to describe water where the freshwater streams enter the saltwater ocean. There’s nothing “spoiled, contaminated, or smelly” about this water. So, “brackish” has both a positive and negative meaning. The one that would come to mind would be determined by where you live. Therefore, culture and local geography can influence your perception of the meaning of words. Consequently, the test can have a cultural bias, although not necessarily an ethnic one. On the positive side, the tests are designed to predict your grades as a freshman in college and they do that pretty well. In fact, high school grades and test scores predict college grades equally well. So, they at least are measuring what they are intended to measure.

I think about “biggest” as meaning “has the largest gap between fact and reality” combined with “having a large impact on student preparedness.” By this definition, the biggest myth is that teachers, especially math and English teachers, are experts at getting students ready for the SAT or ACT. School administrators and teachers agree that the SAT and ACT are the things for which they are held most accountable and have received the least amount of training. I spend most of my professional time training teachers about the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests. I begin every workshop with two simple questions: “How many of you (the teachers at the workshop) spent as much as 10 minutes while you were studying to be a teacher learning how to help students raise their SAT or ACT scores? How many of you ever had a professor mention the issue in class? I’m still waiting to get a positive response from a teacher! The vast majority of college professors don’t know any more about the SAT or ACT than your banker. It’s not anyone’s fault. The system that prepares teachers to teach simply doesn’t include how to help students raise their college admissions test scores. Demystifying Standardized Tests is the product of a variety of professional experiences. I began by teaching, doing graduate work in writing instructional materials and using tests. I was a director for Kaplan for four years and have studied the tests since 1991. I have analyzed the content and skills that are required by the test writers. I have worked to identify the tendencies of the test writers and categorized their priorities. With this expertise, I have been able to provide effective training for teachers and develop test prep materials that raise students’ scores significantly.

After you get past the fact that both tests are developed in the cold north (ACT in Iowa and SAT in New Jersey), there are many differences. One big difference is that the ACT measures grammar and science reasoning skills. Neither of these abilities is measured by the SAT I. The ACT doesn’t test your abilities with individual words as the SAT does with its Analogy and Sentence Completion formats. The ACT math includes many concepts from Algebra II and trig while the SAT only deals with Algebra I. The SAT gives you the math facts you need to know while you need to memorize them for the ACT. While both test developers claim that analytical reasoning is very important on the test, the SAT test writers have perfected this philosophy while the ACT test writers are still trying to get there. Big differences exist in the way questions are asked. ACT math questions, for example, are based on what “math teachers expect their students to know.” SAT math questions are based on what the test writer thinks you should be able to do with the math. The reading questions on the SAT are primarily inference and logic related. The ACT asks many more detail questions.

Most colleges and universities are flexible and accept both the SAT and ACT. However, you need to check with the schools that are on your list because a few schools still express a preference. You also should check with possible scholarship sources to see if they have any preferences. If it doesn’t matter to your potential schools, then you are in the “driver’s seat.” In the Free Tour of the Castle of Wiz-dom, there are scoring spreadsheets for both SAT and ACT released tests. Take these tests and score them to see if you already do better on one than the other. If you have a significant head start on one, then that’s where you should focus your attention. How frequently high schools administer each test often causes students to decide which test to take. For example, some of my school district clients administer the ACT several times a year but administer the SAT only once or not at all. Others do just the opposite.

If your school offers an opportunity to take the PSAT (to prepare for the SAT) or PLAN (to prepare for the ACT) as a sophomore, you should definitely participate. Both of these programs offer you great feedback so that you know exactly where you stand at a detailed level. The item by item reports provided by PLAN and PSAT are very helpful. In the fall of your junior year, you should absolutely take the PSAT if you have even the slightest inclination that you might take the SAT. It is only given in October, so be sure to register as soon as you can after school starts. You’ll get a very helpful report in December which will guide you in preparing for the SAT. (My students can send me copies of their reports and I’ll help them figure out the best things to do in the coming months.) Some schools offer an opportunity for juniors to take the PLAN. If your school does, take it. If it doesn’t and it gives the tests to sophomores, see if you can take it, even if you have to pay for it. Maybe you can take it at a near-by school. In the spring of your junior year, take either or both tests but only take each test once. I recommend the April ACT and the May SAT. There are lots of good reasons why these are the preferred dates. The overwhelming reason is that you can get a copy of your test questions, an answer key and your answers to every question for these test dates! For an extra $10, both ACT and SAT will provide you with these services. Check your registration bulletins for how to take advantage of these reporting services. They are well worth the money. Hopefully, you fully prepared yourself for the test when you were a junior, got the score you needed, and can get on with your life. If you need to improve your score, take it again in the fall of your senior year as soon as feasible. Don’t take it again just for fun. Don’t take it again without some serious preparation. There’s ample evidence that indicates preparation will raise your score. (Check out what school districts are reporting for the Demystifying Standardized Tests program score increases under the FAQ: Does Demystifying Standardized Tests make a difference?)

This is an “it depends” answer. Many colleges don’t care how often you take the test and even use sub-test scores from different dates to compile your total score! For example, maybe you did better on the Verbal part of the SAT in May but better on the Math part in October. Some schools give you the benefit of using your May Verbal score and your October Math score to determine a total score. This policy leads some high school counselors to recommend taking the test as often as possible or at least as often as a student wants. However, some admissions directors admit “off the record” to discriminating when a student has taken the test more than twice. They are typically at the competitive colleges. The point they make is that if all other things are equal between two candidates, they pick the one who has taken the test only a couple times. I’ve been told by one admissions director that taking it more than twice is at least a sign of poor planning on the student’s part. That certainly is not the impression you want to make as an applicant. You need to find out how the colleges you are considering handle multiple test scores. If they don’t care, so be it. If they do care, then here’s a strategy you can use if you take the ACT. At the time you register and take the ACT, do not indicate any colleges that are to receive your scores. After you’ve taken it and you know your scores, decide what test date(s) you want submitted. Then tell ACT which scores to send. ACT will send only the scores for the date(s) you pick! That way the admissions officers don’t know how often you’ve taken the test. This technique costs more because you’ll have to pay extra for the score submission. So what? If it’s the price of improving your application, I say it’s a small price to pay. A final caveat regarding this strategy: If you are running out of time to meet application and financial aid deadlines, you can’t use this approach. This strategy cannot be used if you take the SAT. Whenever you ask ETS, the test publisher, to submit your scores to a college, they send your scores for every time you’ve taken the test up to the last six times! I recommend that you plan on only taking the test twice or once if you do well as a junior. There is no evidence that simply taking the test numerous times will raise your score. In fact, research shows that it won’t change in any statistically significant way (except between the spring of your junior year and the fall of your senior year if you’ve only taken it once as a junior). The evidence from many schools that use Demystifying Standardized Tests is that the best way to raise your score is through significant, serious preparation. Retaking the test is not going to change the average score for students. Using released tests that are available from ETS/SAT and ACT is the way to get your experience! Why put yourself through the turmoil of taking it on Saturday morning just for the sake of “practice”? So, The Wiz’s recommendation is to prepare for it very seriously as a junior with the thought of not taking it again as a senior. If you need to take it again, you still have the fall as a safety net. I ask students who plan on taking it a number of times, “When do you plan on taking it seriously?” Of course, if you still don’t have the score you need after taking it in the fall of your senior year, you’ll need to take it again. In addition, you should that many scholarships, especially ones provided by states, require a specific tst score and if you are close, it is definitely worth the time and effort to take the test again. It could be worth thousands of dollars!

Get prepared. Don’t go into the test thinking that you can always take it again if you “blow it.” That’s very bad thinking because you’ve set yourself up for not doing as well as you can. You are used to tests given by teachers. Now you need to get familiar with the SAT and/or ACT. Get a copy of a free test booklet from your counselor. Take it like the test would be administered, paying attention to the time limitations. Use the answer key at the back of the test to score it and to check to see what questions you missed. You’re now off to a good start. Get help with areas of weakness. Don’t leave anything to chance. There are books and CD’s in the bookstore. There are teachers at your school who might offer to help. There are private tutors and test prep courses that you can find in the Yellow Pages. Of course, there is MaxTheTest.com! You need to decide what will work best for you. Finally, practice, practice, and practice some more. This is a skill-based exercise. Like playing a sport or musical instrument, you need to work on what you are taught by a book, teacher, or web site. Don’t believe anyone who says it is all a matter of knowing the tricks. I wish it could be that simple. There are effective ways to get ready for these tests. Most importantly, you’ve got to practice and develop your skills.

1. Right-click your mouse anywhere on the page and choose Select All 2. Right-click your mouse again and select Copy 3. Either paste directly into a Word proccessor such as Word or Wordperfect or 4. On the toolbar, click File / Save as / Web page, HTML only

Yes, when you click on any of the hyperlinks in your saved quiz results page it will take you to Maxthetest.com. You will be required to login with your Username and Password in order to get to the related study material.