College Preparation

The Big Tests
I can’t recall where this article was originally posted but I wanted to hold on to it for future reference on my blog. Hope you also find this article interesting or useful.

A homeschooled student should be prepared for high performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and on the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Tests. With excellent performance on these tests, acceptance by a prestigious college or university is assured. Moreover, high performance on the AP Tests can markedly reduce the time that the student must spend at a university. Both of the oldest students in our home-school, Zachary and Noah, scored so highly on the SAT and AP Exams that they are skipping the first two years at the university. Zachary completed his degree in Chemistry at Oregon State University in 2 years. He is now a graduate student in chemistry at Iowa State University. Noah Robinson scored 1480 on his SAT (1400 on the PSAT) and also received 2 years of advanced placement in college. He has now graduated in Chemistry from Southern Oregon University with a 3.98 grade point average.

During the year preceding the SAT exam, the student should take about 10 practice SAT exams at home in order to familiarize himself with the form arid timing of these exams. During the two months prior to the AP Exams, the student should take one practice exam in each subject. He should plan to take 12 or more of these exams in different subjects, so that he will have an opportunity for maximum advanced placement.

All of these exams are given at local high schools. Typically, only two or three AP exams are given, since public school students are so poorly prepared. Arrangements for a greater number can be made with school administrators for a modest fee. The examination cost for proctors and tests for Zachary and Noah was about $700 each-a very inexpensive substitute for two years at college. Practice SATs can be obtained at local book stores, while practice AP Exams are available from the College Board organization. Ask the local high school for the College Board’s address and phone number when you register several months early for the exams. AP exams are given only once per year. Check this time with the high school.

These exams are the formality, and taking practice exams can improve performance by making the student familiar with the testing method. But the essential college preparatory work must be carried out during the 11 years preceding these tests, preferably beginning when the student is five or six years old. The tests are just ways of demonstrating that the student has learned good study habits in an excellent study environment and has applied himself with diligence to the acquisition of superior academic knowledge during those 11 years.

Early Preparation

If the student is taught good study habits in a proper study environment at an early age, he is likely to be very well prepared for college. He needs to be provided with an ordered framework of high quality, very well-selected books: this is an endless road that stretches out in front of him down which he may travel at his own pace in accordance with his own abilities. The average student should be so well prepared that he can skip at least one college year, while above average students can skip two years.

Strong links with family are a great help, too, so I advocate the choice of a college as geographically near home as possible.
I believe in extended families; having two, three, and four generations living near each other and working together when possible during their entire lives. College is an opportunity to gain knowledge and credentials – especially in science, engineering, and other specialties.

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