The major decisions by institutions like CBSE and ICSE to cancel/postpone the board exams in light of the surge in COVID-19 cases has created a wave of major confusion of school academics being an unreliable factor in their college applications. Students are facing the issue of missing out on an important academic parameter of their application.
Let us discuss the disadvantages of the boards being cancelled/postponed.
- Students are worried about how they will be graded. The parameters of score calculation might get unfair in some cases.
- Students planning to enroll for pre-university college for the 2021-2022 academic year are worried about the fact that their pre-board scores may not be adequate to make it to the merit list.
- Students who could score good in pre-boards have lost the chance to improve their academic graph which puts them at disadvantage.
- Postponing or cancelling the CBSE/ICSE Board Exams 2021 is unfair to students who worked hard the whole year, and lost a fair chance!
- The boards are meant to be a standardized exam that tests all the students on an equal platform. However, the cancellations, new scoring schemes and postponements have left many students at a major disadvantage, negating the entire point of the exam considering how important they are for college admissions.
With so much going around, students need to find a way to demonstrate their academic rigor by taking standardized tests like ACT/SAT and APs.
What are the benefits of these standardized tests?
- The testing is standard: These tests are carefully constructed tests that have uniformity of procedure in scoring, administering, and interpreting the test results. All the students are provided with the same tests and scored consistently, in a standard manner, to make it possible to compare the results of individual tests as a performance standard.
- Useful assessment tool: These tests are used as an effective way to determine whether or not a student is prepared to go to school or college based on an intellectual level.
- Not biased: These tests have no influence of a teacher or any other factor. Students get what they have written in the test-no other things are taken into consideration.
- Pinpoints area of improvement: The test data reflects the students’ performance and also reflects weak points and suggests where to invest more time and resources.
- Quick process: Advanced forms of standardized testing such the ACT, are administered on a single day. These tests are mostly completed within a few days and test results are out even quicker. Within a short amount of time parents and teachers get to know about students’ progress and easily identify the students who need remediation or advancement.
- Positive impact on students: According to a study, it is found that over 90% of students have found that standardized tests have a positive effect on their achievement. Students can identify their proficiency levels and based on which they can work on the weak spots and work on them. Even if a perfect score isn’t achieved, knowing where a student stands helps them be able to address learning deficits.
- Most Four-Year colleges use test scores in their admission decisions: SAT/ACT scores help colleges compare students from different high schools. Scores show the strengths and readiness for college work.
- Admission tests let colleges find students: When you sign up for the SAT/ACT, students get the chance to hear from colleges that have an interest in them based on a combination of their test scores, grades, academic interests, and other characteristics. The PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and PSAT offer opportunities to students to indicate their desire to have their name shared with interested colleges.
- Scores determine placement in college classes: ACT/SAT evaluates the reading, writing, and math skills that students will need in college. So some colleges use scores to place students in classes that are at the right level for them. Scores can also be used to identify students who may benefit from specific advisors or academic support in college.
- Merit scholarship: Students seeking scholarships are strongly advised to take tests like ACT/SAT and even AP for certain courses. With school grades not holding enough credibility given the current situation, the scores from these tests will make a huge difference in acceptance or rejection of a scholarship application.
If you are confused between ACT and SAT, we have got you covered with Tutela’s ACT vs. SAT Diagnostic Test.
Why AP courses?
- College credits: What draws most of the student’s attention for taking the APs are college credits. College credit policies vary from college to college. APs definitely provide you an edge over other regular course students. APs give you early exposure in terms of knowledge, experience, and college-level courses. It also provides capability to handle a good amount of workload that can ease your college life. So, it is advisable to check the policies of that particular college in which you’re interested to get a better idea. Some colleges might use your college credits allowing you to graduate early whereas others may use it to put you in advanced courses in freshman year. Either way it’s a win-win.
- Boosts college application: Taking an AP class (or several!) is a great way to challenge yourself academically and show colleges that you’re serious about your education. An AP class on your transcript signals stronger academic training, especially with high passing scores of 4 and 5 on the test.
In particular, getting a 5 on an AP test shows that you are more advanced in a subject than 80%-90% of advanced students—which looks very impressive to colleges!
- Shows passion: Taking AP exams is also a way to demonstrate real academic interest in a certain subject. For example, if you’re an aspiring engineer, taking the AP Calculus and AP Physics courses and passing their respective exams will prove to college admissions committees that you’re serious about engineering and have the skills necessary to pursue it.
What should be the next step?
- If you are in Grade 10, you should take your ACT/SAT attempts between the months of October to December
- If you are in Grade 11, you should take your ACT/SAT attempts between the months of July to October.
- If you are in Grade 12, you should anyhow take your ACT/SAT attempts before the month of October.
- Take the ACTvsSAT diagnostic Test NOW to kickstart your test prep journey.
- Choose your AP subjects at the earliest. You can fill in this form for any assistance with the same.
We strongly recommend all the students to add standardized tests to their academic to-do list. Be it ACT, SAT or AP, with grades of boards getting so uncertain, these test scores will surely give an upper edge to the students in academic parameters. In case you need help with preparations or even have a few doubts, you can sign up for a free counseling session with experts.
Source: College Board