The College Bound : Top 10 Testing Checklist for Sophomores
Smart sophomores prepare early for standardized testing (SAT and ACT) for college admission, scholarships and other opportunities. How many of our Top 10 can you check off your list?
- Grades count. Sure, straight As are your goal, but if you aren’t making As in all of them, consider getting a tutor, a test prep course, or even a classmate with whom you exchange tutoring for some other service you can deliver.
- Study smart. You’ll have to do it on your own in college, so you might as well build the habit now. Schedule a time each day and stick with it. Set goals for each study time and track your progress. The occasional study group to expand your perspective can help too.
- Pursue Academic Excellence. If you have Advanced Placement (AP) classes, work to shine in them. If you are not in AP courses, take classes that will stretch your intellect and save boring, required classes for the summer break when they’re offered in short intensives. Get Advisor Perspectives. Your academic advisor knows what careers are hot and what studies are needed for those careers.
- Ask for Adult Perspectives. Interview adults you know and respect in careers of interest to you. Ask how they got into those careers and what degrees, technical skills and character traits are in demand.
- Know the Family Game Plan. Ask your parents about their goals for your college education. Is paying for college in in their budget or do you need to work or apply for assistance? When everyone is on the same page, you can team up to accomplish your college goals, working, saving, applying for financial aid, and more.
- Check Careers. Take a part-time job in your field. Look for companies that offer Job Shadow programs where you can follow someone around for a period of time to see what the job entails. Ask some of the adults you interviewed if you can observe the jobs for careers that interest you. Become an entrepreneur and start your own business.
- Give Back. Volunteer in your community, church/mosque/temple, or start a project of your own devising… Your local library will have lists of organizations that need your help.
- Practice Test Skills. Enroll in a prep course [link to contact us] or at very least: 1) READ — newspapers, books and essays about society and current events that will broaden your perspective and help define your views; 2) WRITE – practice essays, and study books like They Say I Say by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein and Russel Durst , 3) BUILD YOUR VOCABULARY (with books, games like the New York Times crossword, and tools like “The 500 Essential SAT Vocabulary Flashcards” from The Princeton Review.
- Take the PSAT (in June if you’re taking the ACT and/or SAT in the Fall. You’ll get a baseline score and may qualify as a National Merit Scholar.Make the most of 10th grade! Doing as many of these activities as you can in your sophomore year will have you moving into your junior and senior years to confidently face the SAT and ACT!