In this article:
- Is taking the PSAT required for Delaware homeschoolers?
- When and where do I take the PSAT?
- Where does my kid register for the PSAT?
- Is taking the SAT/ACT required?
- When does my kid take the SAT or ACT?
- SAT or ACT?
- Does my kid need to take SAT Subject Tests?
- Where does my kid register for these tests?
- How does my kid register if they need accommodations?
- How does my kid prepare for taking any of these tests?
- How does my kid get their scores?
- What if I can’t afford this testing? Fee waiver programs.
Is taking the PSAT Required for delaware homeschoolers?
No. Homeschoolers in Delaware are not required to take the PSAT. The PSAT is also not required for college admissions. It isn’t a bad idea to take it anyway, though, if your child might have any current or future aspirations for further education. The PSAT is like a practice SAT that is less stressful, because it isn’t reported to any colleges and the score makes no difference to college applications, but gives a good starting estimate to how the student might score on the SAT. Also, if taken in the fall of the junior year, the PSAT can qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist or finalist status and possible scholarships, and that always looks good on an application or resumé to back up the homeschool diploma. We all know there is more to life and education than test-taking and test scores! And a lot of homeschool parents have some anxiety about how their kids might perform on tests. However, with a surprisingly little amount of practice, and a good mindset about the tests at home, most homeschoolers actually outperform their public and private school peers on standardized tests if they have been well-prepared scholastically. Buy a good prep book with some full-length practice tests and have at it. The PSAT is a rare win-win situation where it can only help you and cannot hurt you.
When and where does my kid take the PSAT?
The PSAT is given only in the fall, typically in October. In 2019, for example, the PSAT will be given on
- Wednesday, Oct 16 (the main test day when most students will take it),
- Saturday, Oct 19 (the Saturday administration), and
- Wednesday, Oct 30 (an alternate test date).
Questions about the dates can best be addressed by the testing site. Your teen will take the PSAT at a local public, private, charter, or homeschool umbrella school; you cannot self-administer the PSAT. NOTE: If you wish the PSAT to to count for the NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship) it must be taken in the fall of the junior year. In Delaware, homeschoolers have taken the PSAT successfully at all of the above locations; it’s a matter of both convenience and environmental preference– if being in a full-sized high school is overwhelming to your student, a private school or homeschool umbrella might be more suitable if they have space.
Where does my kid register for the psat?
Unlike the SAT, you register for the PSAT by calling a test center directly. This usually means calling a local school and asking for the advising and testing department. Note that some schools begin ordering PSAT materials as early as June 28, but no later than September 19. For everything you could ever want to know about the PSAT, simply head over the College Board website! It will tell you about dates, fees, scores, scholarships, and more. Anything on the College Board website obviously overrides anything written here if there is a conflict in the information.
IS taking the SAT or ACT required in delaware?
No. Delaware homeschoolers are not required to take these tests in order to graduate or earn a diploma. However, if your homeschooler wishes head off to a 4-year or some 2-year colleges, the SAT or ACT might be required for admission, even if testing is optional for public school students. When looking at colleges, be sure to search for “homeschool admissions.” Many colleges have begun to go test optional, but still require SAT or ACT scores from homeschool applicants. But if your student has no reason to take the test and is flat-out opposed to it, it is not required. NB: This section was updated on 1/19/21 when the College Board announced it was cancelling the administration of SAT subject tests (And the essay portion of the regular SAT).
when does my kid take the sat or act?
Any time you like, really. Some gifted students take them as early as the 7th grade. More typically, public school students take the SAT or ACT in the spring of the junior year and fall of the senior year (but no later than December of the senior year, because January is a common admissions deadline for materials). As homeschoolers, you decide your comfort zone depending upon your student’s readiness, any reasons your teen might have for taking the test (gifted programs, taking colleges classes early, just getting practice before it counts, etc) and what your budget allows. The nice thing is that your student owns their test scores. If they take an SAT exam in the sophomore year and bomb it, and take it again in the senior year and do much better, when sending score reports to colleges, only select the good test to send. Some colleges will superscore, or take the best score from each section of any score dates you send, and a few might require you to send all scores (this writer never ran into that).
SAT or ACT?
It is largely a matter of personal preference; some colleges prefer one over the other, but many will accept either score– only the admissions page of a college to which you are applying can tell you for certain. Some teens do substantially better on one test than the other. If your teen doesn’t mind taking an extra test and didn’t like the outcome of one test, it might be worth trying the other one. One big difference for some kids is that the ACT allows calculator use on all math questions; it also includes a science section, though that section tests logical reasoning rather than specific factual knowledge.
Does my teen need to take SAT subject tests?
On 1/19/21, the College Board announced it is discontinuing the SAT Subject test program, and refocusing its efforts further on the AP brand. Watch college admissions pages carefully to see how colleges adapt.
where does my kid register for the sat or act?
Unlike the PSAT, you register online to take the SAT or ACT.
Where does my kid register if they need accommodations?
For the SAT, read about getting accommodations here. Start early; once you apply for accommodations it can take 7 weeks to get approval.
For the ACT, read about getting accommodations here. (They have a special form for homeschoolers!)
how does my kid prepare for taking these tests?
Besides a solid homeschool education of your choosing, the next best things are test prep guides. Princeton makes excellent guides (available at local booksellers or on Amazon). The College Board prints excellent test prep books (available at the link above). The local libraries have access to free test prep materials as well– ask at the desk. Start with taking a timed version of a full-length practice test to get a baseline. Then look to see if there were any patterns in the kinds of problems that were missed. Then read the content portion of the guides, and focus on any special areas of weakness. Khan Academy offers free SAT prep modules that can be very helpful in targeting weak areas as well. Then take a timed full-length practice test again– a different version, preferably. Spend time on understanding the different question structures, not just content; it will speed up the test taking a lot to not have to stop and understand what the question is asking! Then, optimally, take a third practice test. At this point, your teen should be ready for the real thing. Remember to check the list on the websites above for what you must bring– including allowed calculators models, no mechanical pencils, ID card (you can get a notarized ID that you print from the College Board site for underaged kids who don’t have a license yet) and ticket– and what you must not bring. Get a good night’s sleep, and leave time to eat a normal breakfast and find the testing location on time.
how does my kid get their scores?
See the websites linked above for score reports. All questions can be addressed to those organizations as well. SAT scores take about six weeks. AP scores are released in July. SAT-II scores take about six weeks. PSAT scores are released in late December. Students under age 13 will have to wait to receive a paper score report in the mail! The College Board will not release electronic scores for students under 13.
What if I can’t afford this testing? Fee waiver programs
The College Board offers fee waiver programs to offset the costs of 2 SAT tests, 6 subject tests, score reports, and more, for those with demonstrated need.
The ACT program also offers some fee waivers. The student must be in at least 11th grade to take advantage of them, among other conditions.
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