No caption could really live up to how awesome this photo is by itself! (Photo Credit: Flickr via Eastern Washington University)
The military needs more skilled officers, so the ROTC program has been steadily increasing its enrollments...and the scholarships it offers! The Silicon Valley Mercury News
Purdue admissions office starts Facebook group for incoming freshman. New Purdue students will now have more options to get integrated and meet their new classmates. The Purdue Exponent
College can be a scary time for an 18 year old: first time being away from family and in a new envirnment. Now imagine going through that when you're 13. The Washington Post
Several states, such as California, are having to cut High School counseling budgets. As a result of the lessened counseling time, students are now turning towards the internet for info on college. The San Fransisco Chronicle
Florida is increasing admissions requirements for all of it's state universities. Straight C's are no longer acceptable. The Palm Beach Post
Yale recently had one of its greatest tragedies in the last 10 years when a Yale grad student was murdered. Fortunately for Yale, the incident does not appear to be affecting admission rates at all. The Hartford Courant
Michigan state legislators are attempting to cut scholarship funding for Michigan universities. In response to this, dozens of local students marched on the state capital in protest. The Lansing State Journal
The plays of Eupides have been called masterpieces for over 2500 years. Unfortunately, they are 'inappropriate' for BYU students. USA News & World Report
Is this your professor, or your classmate? (Photo Credit: Flickr via Zaid Al Balushi.)
As older and older people start becoming students, it's becoming clear that college is no longer just for teenagers. The Wall Street Journal
As we all know, dorm rooms are typically drab and boring places. But one interior designer is armed with several tips for students who'd like to add a little style to their rooms. Black Voices
The companies that make the ACT and SAT will each tell you lots of things, most of them untrue. Here are 10 things that neither test maker would want anyone to know. Smart Money
Yale and other Ivy League schools are drastically cutting their travelling budget, meaning that they'll be visiting fewer high schools than in recent years. The Yale Daily News
High schools seek corporate sponsorship for their sports teams. Next year, corporate logos will be tattooed to each player's forehead as part of their uniforms. True / Slant
Which is better, to use savings to pay for college, or stick that away for retirement and take out loans? The Wall Street Journal
Texas will change it's 10% law to a new 8% law in 2011. It's great that schools are getting a little more control over whom they're able to admit. San Antonio Express
Stanford admissions dean reflects on his own college admissions experience, giving a unique view of the process from both sides of the coin. The Stanford Daily
Students are now using Facebook to speak with college admissions officials. Be careful though, this can hurt just as easily as it can help. USA Today
Over the years, the ACT tutors here at Omniac Education in Albuquerque have done a lot of work to keep our finger on the pulse of the ACT. Technically, the test isn't supposed to change without ACT notifying test takers, but we all know that small changes creep into the test over time.
While ACT releases a good deal of material every year to students for us to study, we don't rest until we feel like we've experienced the test exactly the way our students do on test day. That means...we have to take the test too.
Today, I'm introducing a new feature here to our blog. We want to share the information we get from taking the test with our readers, especially those students who are trying to figure out what to study and where to work on their test taking skills. We're hoping that it helps all of you make better choices about what to study!
To be clear: we will not be posting questions, answers, or other direct material from the test. Instead, we want to highlight the big trends that are shaping up and draw your attention to specific topics that we think are important. In addition, we want you to know how hard we thought the exam was relative to past exams.
WHAT WE SAW (September 12, 2009 ACT)
Section 1: English
The English section was an extremely typical exam for the September 2009 ACT. We saw the usual split between Grammar and Rhetoric and plenty of questions that asked students to remember how punctuation marks, verbs, and pronouns work.
This year, we did see a slight decrease in punctuation questions and a slight increase in verb questions. Also, a good number of the verb questions provided answer choices that weren't even real words: ranned, wented, threwed, etc. Students should use these "verbs" to their advantage by getting rid of answer choices that can't be correct.
Section 2: Math
The Math section for the September 2009 ACT was a tough section filled with tricky questions. We saw the typical six math subjects (Pre-algebra, Algebra I + II, Shape Geometry, Coordinate Geometry, and Trig), but the focus shifted from the usual Pre-algebra and Algebra I to Shape Geometry and Algebra II.
There were several questions that appeared to be trying to slow students down. Upper-level math problems for this test seemed to be specifically guilty of this, introducing concepts like the Law of Sines and the absolute value of complex numbers. Students would have been served well by skipping such questions.
Overall, students should not see huge drops in scores on the Math section. While it was hard and students probably felt like they were drowning in numbers, the test is scaled for a reason. All the students will labor under the same burden for the September 2009 ACT and the scale for the scores will reflect that.
Section 3: Reading
We are always hesitant to say that a section is easy on the ACT. However, it's been a while since we've seen such a manageable Reading section. Containing the usual four sections (Prose Fiction, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Science), the September 2009 ACT featured clear writing and compelling topics that made the Reading section a relative breeze.
The Prose Fiction section, as usual, proved to be one of the most difficult sections for students to understand. While most of the questions were easy to solve, the remaining problems were vague and unhelpful. Once again, the Science section was a pleasant alternative for students seeking to find easier questions.
Section 4: Science
The September 2009 ACT ended as it began: the Science section was a straightforward version of the test we've seen a million times before. Just like the English subtest, the Science section had the usual breakdown of questions with the usual levels of difficulties. Any student who invested time into learning how to break down and solve basic Science questions was well-rewarded on test day.
However, we did see a few questions that struck us as odd. It's commonly accepted that the ACT Science contains very little actual science, but this year featured a few questions that required students to know the basics of Chemistry and Biology! It's difficult to prep for questions of these type because we have no idea what the ACT thinks is important (Acids/Bases, Cell Mitosis, Photosynthesis, ets?) We urge students to continue to focus on the big picture, eliminating answers they know are wrong and focusing on questions they can score points on first.
September 2009 ACT Overall
Overall Difficulty: Medium
As you can tell from the notes above, this was a pretty typical September ACT. We fully expect students to show strong improvements if they've worked hard to learn new skills since their last test. Students probably felt frustrated by the Math section, but as long as they didn't let that struggle get them down, they should have bounced back well on the other sections.
Also, it's worth noting that the ACT instructions about snacks aren't accurate. Your ACT ticket says that snacks are "Not allowed," but it's perfectly fine to eat them on the break if they fit in your pocket. You just aren't allowed to bring them into the test room.
Got any notes for us about your test? Need academic tutoring, ACT tutoring, SAT tutoring or college consulting services? Our team of highly-qualified tutors in Albuquerque can help. Contact us today by calling (505) 750 4813 or emailing email@example.com.
Are these girls learning anything? (Photo Credit: Flickr via alarzy)
Colleges are offering unusual classes, such as ones covering Twitter or Guitar Hero, more each year. But is that really the best way for students to learn. Switched
Credit card companies will no longer be able to target college freshman for easy and early debt. But there are still plenty of ways for responsible students to build their credit ratings. USA Today
President Obama's recent speech has caused an uproar around the nation. And schools are reacting radically different from one another on how to handle it. The Washington Post
Nine university proffessors from around the country, with over 400 combined years of teaching, give advice to incoming freshman, not only on how to succeed at college, but also how to make the overall college experience more enjoyable and more memorable. The New York Times
Tuition continues to rise with each new year, and high paying jobs for recent college graduates become harder and harder to find. Is college really worth the cost? The Choice
The University of Illinois has just finished appointing new Trustees to
replaces those who resigned following an admissions scandal. One
former Trustee, however, believes that Trustees should return to being
elected officials. The Springfield (IL) State Journal - Register
As students stay in school longer (and do more post-grad work), as tuition skyrockets, and as the economy sours, students and recent grads are going into debt like never before. The Wall Street Journal
Graduation rates have been steadily dropping for over ten years, including at several high profile universities. What are the reasons for this, and how does UNM fare? The New York Times
Beware the Freshman 15! College Humor