Preparing for Standardized Tests

Our high schoolers will be taking their ACT tests in a couple of weeks.  Amber has taken the SAT and the ACT, and she prefers the ACT.  So this year she chose to register only for the ACT. She says she prefers it because it's not tricky.  She doesn't have to try to figure out if the answer seems simple because it's a trick question, especially in the math portion.  She struggles somewhat in math, and to worry about whether it's a trick question or not, in addition to worrying about whether she's doing the problem correctly is too stressful for her.  She's always been my straightforward child.  Just tell her how it's done, and she'll do it. Don't overwhelm her, or she'll shut down. She says although the questions can seem a bit longer in the ACT, they are more straightforward and easier to decipher.

This year will by the first time Noah takes either test. I registered him for the ACT test so he can go with his sister, but then he said he'd like to take the SAT, so I suppose he'll be taking both tests this year.  His math course has been preparing him for the math portion of the SAT.  So he probably feels he's better prepared for that test. They've both been practicing their math vocabulary, just as part of their studying and review, and doing some of the math prep questions from the college board website.  I am curious to know, though, which of the two tests Noah will prefer. Because Noah likes a challenge and he has excellent logic and reasoning skills, I'm thinking he will prefer the SAT over the ACT.  But the real determining factor will be the scores.  You do not lose points for incorrect answers with the ACT test, while the SAT does count wrong answers. Either way, all 4-year colleges accept both test scores.  I've heard there will be some changes soon with these tests. In my opinion, the test scores are not a true representation of the knowledge of a student. Multiple choice tests are not a true measure of a student's abilities and achievements.

As a child I studied in South America for a year when I was 14. I remember that the difference between my schooling there and my schooling in the states was like night and day.  The homework assignments, the projects, preparing for tests was all very thorough. The tests we had were true question and answer tests. The answers were paragraph answers.  It's one of the reasons that up until 7th grade, I have my kids evaluated rather than tested at the end of each school year. I think it's a better way to determine how much progress my children are making, but also a more accurate way to determine their strengths and their weaknesses. Once they start 8th or 9th grade, we begin testing because they also need to be prepared for timed tests and and multiple choice tests.  Regardless of whether we test or do evaluations, though, we need to keep it all in perspective.  There is so much more to my child than what this test score or evaluation tells me.



  1. I hate standardized tests, but I do know that sometimes I need to let that go, for my kids' sakes. Like's not so much about getting a score, or gaging their "grade level" or anything. But, it is good to see if there's an area where we are struggling. Good luck to your kiddos! :)

  2. Thanks, Katie. Yes, I've always hated standardized tests, too....but good way to gauge their weaknesses so we know what we need to work on. :(

  3. Hi Janet,

    It's Jackie stopping by from Let's Homeschool High School's April Blog Hop.

    I am definitely not a believer in putting too much stock in standardized testing. Not all kids are test takers, my daughter being one of them. I can also remember when I was in the classroom, I actually had kids who were good guessers, but didn't really know the material.

    I know my daughter's strengths and weaknesses from working with her. I don't really need a test to tell me that.

    Thanks for linking up with us!

    Let's Homeschool High School Admin Team