Preparing for standardized tests can be an arduous task, particularly for students who come to EF Academy without significant prior knowledge of the exams. In the United States, standardized tests are a part of the university admissions process. Most of the selective universities in the US require the exams, and therefore it is our philosophy to prepare students to perform to their highest capability on these exams.
There are four major tests available to students wishing to study in the United States. They fall into two categories – English proficiency and college entrance exams. The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are the major exams that measure English proficiency through speaking, reading, writing and listening. The SAT and ACT are the two college entrance exams which measure students abilities in a variety of ways – in the subjects of math, critical reading, writing, and science. Students in the United States know these tests are a reality for college admissions – but students coming from other countries often need extra preparation to ensure their skills are properly exhibited in the college admissions process.
The normal testing schedule begins in the junior year. Some juniors will take their first tests during the fall semester, and most will begin no later than March of their second semester. The exams are offered at several locations within a short distance of EF Academy New York. Free transportation is available for students taking the SAT to a nearby testing location. The exams are only offered 4-5 times per semester, so it is important to make use of the opportunities available. It is common for students to take the exams up to three times to improve their score and become more competitive for college admission.
EF Academy has developed a comprehensive test preparation program to ensure students are well-prepared before they begin these exams. The process begins in October of the 10th and 11thgrade with the administration of the PSAT – a preliminary SAT which can give students an indication of their potential for success on the exam. Test preparation for both English proficiency and college entrance exams is offered throughout the curriculum – in the English and math classes as well as during the Theory of Knowledge courses for students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. Free tutoring is available after school in the math department for students to improve their SAT and ACT skills. This preparation includes practice exams and skill-building to help students in areas of weakness.
EF has also partnered with two companies which are experts in the field of standardized testing to offer additional services for students who may require additional preparation. Method Test Prep offers an online self-guided 18 week class for all EF Academy students. This is a self-paced course which offers specific test practice questions and video explanations of each answer. It also analyzes students’ strengths and weaknesses in the exam – giving them a better idea of which skills to focus on. This service is free to EF Academy students. We also partner with Revolution Prep – which offers online tutoring to students in small group or individual settings. Revolution Prep administers a practice SAT with real-world conditions on campus and then offers analysis and targeted tutoring for students who would like in-depth tutoring.
Beginning this summer, EF students will have the opportunity to take intensive two-week courses with EF experts teaching the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, and IELTS. These courses are designed for those students wishing to learn the material on the SAT, ACT, TOEFL or IELTS exams, and immerse themselves in the summer life of New York State. The courses are offered at the end of the current school year or at the beginning of the fall semester (August 14th).
For the SAT and ACT, subjects include math and verbal skills, and science for ACT exam-takers. Students practice with mock exams each day, and they further improve scores with study of content, form, and strategies. Students join a multi-disciplinary class at the end of each class day. This provides practice in integrative and critical thinking.
Students taking the TOEFL and IELTS will engage in the 4 areas of the tests: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. They practice with mock exams each day, and do evaluations to determine which exam will likely produce the better result for them. Study focuses on the 4 areas of knowledge, along with format and strategy, in order to improve scores. Students join a multi-disciplinary class at the end of each day to practice integrative and critical thinking in English, and international, immersion.
The IB Preparation Course will take place August 14 – September 1.
For those students planning to enter an IB program, this course focuses on main IB topics in Science, Math, Humanities, TOK, and English. Students develop a broad view of IB subjects and gain a deeper understanding of IB enquiry and values. They also study specific topics in each course, and become familiar with IB learning and assessment. Students join a multi-disciplinary class at the end of each day to provide practice in integrative and critical thinking.
Standardized test preparation is an important part of the college selection process. We prepare students to maximize their potential in this area and provide many resources for to successfully master the exam!