The Edge Prep Blog
A procedural update pulls the ACT into the 21st century.
The ACT Goes Online
As you may have heard, after a brief delay the ACT is going to be converting to an internet-based test (iBT) format in the near future. This has created a lot of questions regarding which one people should take, what will the new test look like, and how best to prepare if your going to take the new version.
Let's take a quick look at what is changing and what is staying the same.
Staying the Same
The Question Structure
The ACT will maintain its current structure of English, Math, Reading, Science, and the Essay.
The Number of Questions and Time Allowances
Despite the initial announcement stating the new iBT would be an adaptive test, which could have made the total time required on the test variable based on performance, the ACT, at least initially, will be a standard non-adaptive test. This means that you will still have the same 60 questions in math, 40 questions in science, 40 questions in reading, and 75 questions in English as you do in the current format of the test.
In addition, the same time allowances will apply to each of these sections as students currently see.
As mentioned, the primary medium which the test is taken on is changing to iBT format from the current paper-based testpBT ) format. This is being done as a step towards removing the rampant cheating which has caused the last minute cancelation of tests over the years.
The first iteration of the iBT format of the ACT may be a straight port from paper to computer, but ACT.org has stated that they will be moving to an adaptive format similar to that which you see on the GMAT in the coming years. Not only will this be a more secure way to take the test, it will also be a game changer in how you approach the test.
Thankfully, there are test prep providers like The Edge Prep and The Edge Tutors who are not only able to prep for the current test, but also able to better prepare you for the future changes to the format.
For more on the upcoming changes taking place on the ACT you can look at the official ACT blog.
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We're introducing a new series at The Edge Prep. We're calling this series "Chats with Admissions Officers."
When I ask my students at the beginning of the application process what they think of admissions officers, they think of frightening people who are out to make their lives miserable. The admissions officer is cold and out to make your life miserable. His years of professionally rejecting thousands of qualified applicants have made it nearly impossible to excite him. You must impress him with your scholarly mind and incredible feats outside of the classroom, but mostly he yawns at your accomplishments and will eventually reject you.
This is funny, but understandable. Admissions officers have a well-earned reputation as rejection machines. And for good reason! If you flip through any college catalogue, you’ll notice that admissions rates are shockingly low. The admissions officers we’ve met with tend to be very warm people who like helping young people. If you speak with most of them, you hear stories about students they’ve pushed for and profiles that they found compelling. Rather than being heartless, a surprising number of them are caring, decent people who are trying to improve young people’s lives through education.
Students searching for scholarships will often find it difficult to find scholarships online. Schools may post scholarships, but it's difficult to determine whether you have a realistic shot. We'll try to push these admissions officers on exactly what they're looking for so you can determine whether you can realistically get a scholarship.
The other problem is that college websites and catalogues tend to look the same after awhile. There are usually shots of a green campus and vaguely diverse student body. You’ll see the words “learning” and “community” a lot. These interviews will try to cover ground that you can't find on the website or in the university catalogue.
We hope this series will allow you to get a closer look at colleges and universities from across the globe. There are a lot out there!
Is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) Accepted at Singapore Universities?
The short answer is yes, Singapore universities accept the International Baccalareate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP). For more detailed information about individual universities, see below for a summary and links.
- The National University of Singapore accepts the IB. Applicants (regardless of nationality) seeking admission to NUS should present the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. This includes full-time National Servicemen (NSF) with IB Diploma who have a course reserved in NUS, but wish to apply for a change of course.
Applicants will be considered for admission based on the strength of their academic achievements and additional interviews/tests if required.
For courses that require additional interviews/tests, applicants will also be assessed based on their performance during interviews and/or tests.
All applicants are strongly encouraged to authorise International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) to release their International Baccalaureate (IB) transcripts to NUS. Applicants can do so by informing their school’s IB coordinator.
- The Nanyang Technological University also accepts the IB.
We emailed Yale-NUS to ask about their IB requirements. This is the response from David Royster, the Senior Admissions Counsellor:
"No specifics on curriculum (IB or otherwise) – our students tend to score on the higher side, but we practice holistic admissions. If you’re asking about transfer credits: transfer credit is not awarded for any courses completed prior."
- For The Singapore University of Technology and Design, regardless of your nationality, if you are applying with a International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), St. Joseph’s Institution, School of the Arts (SOTA), and Singapore Sports School, you may refer to the admission requirements below and apply using this application form. If you are not from any of these schools, please apply through International Baccalaureate Diploma (International) listed under International Qualifications. https://sutd.edu.sg/Admissions/Undergraduate/Application/Admissions-Requirements/International-Baccalaureate-Diploma-(Singapore)
- The Singapore Managament University requires a good IB diploma. https://admissions.smu.edu.sg/admissions/ib-diploma
After you take your SAT, it takes about three weeks for the College Board to grade your exam and post your scores online. You should expect the results around October 27, give or take five days.
You can check your SAT scores on the College Board website.
Shortly after the test, the College Board will announce the exact date when the scores will be released.
Will I be able to find out what mistakes I made?
You will get a sub-score of your performance in each section, but no, you will not get a question by question breakdown. This is why it is important to take practice tests and to review all your mistakes and guesses. (Read more here about why reviewing your correct guesses is so important.)
There are a lot of features in The Edge Prep, but one of the most important features for us here is the Parent Account feature. This blog is going to go into the details related to this feature as well as some potential uses for parents. Let's start with the basics.
What is the Parent Account?
Simply put, the parent account is a separate account created at the time of signup for parents of in-house and partner school students. (While we are working on bringing this feature to our web-only customers(ie. those who book completely through the web), it is currently not ready for release to this group.)
The parent account has several features aimed at allowing parents to track their child's progress through the curriculum, including tracking such items as time spent, time remaining, predicted scores, types of problems missed, areas of least and most concern, and more. In short, it provides a hub to make sure your child is using the platform to its fullest so that they can increase their scores by the greatest amount.
What are the Features?
- Time Tracking - Check to see how much time your child has spent within the system, actually answering questions, not just idling.
- Areas of Concern - Areas which your child is struggling with, down to the question level, are highlighted and easy to see.
- Areas of Strength - See which areas your child is doing the best in, as well as areas which they have made the most improvement.
- Comparatives - See how your child ranks against not only the averages of society but also how they compare to the rest of the students on the platform.
- Multiple Product Tracking - Took the ACT and decided to change to the SAT? Our system allows you to review all subscribed products from the same menu for your child.
- Other Features - Contact administration directly, book live lessons(coming soon via The Edge Tutors), and much more.
How do I use it effectively as a Parent?
With all these features available, it might seem challenging to use them effectively. However, this is not the case. The Edge Prep staff is here to help explain exactly what you can do to help your child obtain the best results.
- Ensure that your child is spending the appropriate time in each section. If you see a section taking under 20 minutes, it is a sign that they were not reading through it appropriately. For reference, each lesson component is designed to take between 1.5 and 3 hours. The adaptive nature of the platform will shift the focus to the most required areas, meaning the time allotment shouldn't change that much.
- Focus your assessments(Drills) on the areas of concern. As a parent, you have the capacity to assign and communicate with your child through the platform. (or not if you prefer a more independent approach) If you see that your child is having trouble with a specific type of question, make sure that they focus on that type in the assessments section.
- Set a realistic target score before you start. That way you have a benchmark. To do this, it is suggested that your child starts with a mock test assessment. This will give them an idea of where they should put their focus, but also will give a good baseline for your current standing and set the tone for the remainder of the lessons.
- Don't be afraid to use live tutoring as a supplement. The Test Prep Tutors via The Edge Tutors are able to be given access to the teachers account and analytical data should you request it for your child. (It is only given upon explicit request and verification as we take confidentiality seriously)
How much does this cost me?
This is the best part, the teacher and parent accounts are 100% free with the purchase of any level of the product. At The Edge Prep, we strongly believe that parents have an important role in educating their children. As such, we want our parents to be given all the tools necessary to help their children achieve their greatest potential on these tests.