College Prep Q & A

College Prep Q&A

Q: How are the ACT and SAT Scored?

A:  The ACT has 4 main sections which are scored separately - Reading, Math, Science, and English. The ACT composite score is made up of the average of the four scores. The maximum composite score is 36 points. The optional Writing section is worth 2-12 points.

The SAT was redesigned in 2016, and the "new" test is based on what you've learned in school and what you'll need to be successful in college.  It is made up of a Math section and a Reading/Writing section - each is worth between 200-800 points for a maximum score of 1600.  An optional Essay, which is scored separately, is rated with a score between 2 and 8.   

Q: What is the IB Program?

A:   The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, or IB Program, is an academically challenging education program designed to prepare students between the ages of 16 and 19 for the university environment and a global society.

The core of the IB Program is the Extended Essay, the Theory of Knowledge, and CAS (Creativity, Action, Service).  The curriculum is very specific and focuses on languages, social sciences, experimental sciences, and mathematics. Students take final written assessments at the end of the program to determine successful completion. 

Q: What is the FAFSA?

A:  The FAFSA is the Free Application For Federal Student Aid.  Federal Student Aid provides billions of dollars to students in the form of grants, loans, and work-study funds.

The FAFSA is available on the October 1st preceding the academic year that you are requesting aid for.  For example, if you are applying for the 2018-2019 academic year,  it begins July 1, 2018 and ends on June 30, 2019 - so you can complete your application as early as October 1, 2017(and as "late" as June 30, 2019).  

Students can begin applying for federal financial aid by completing the FAFSA online at

Q: Why are writing skills so important?

A:  Many students overlook the importance of practicing their writing skills while they are still in high school. Why is this such a big deal? Most college applications require students to include an essay or a personal statement, so a student's writing skills may determine whether their application is accepted or rejected. 

As more and more students "perfect" their ACT and SAT scores and earn sky-high GPAs, the application essay becomes more important to admissions officers because it gives them a glimpse of the student's personality.  So, during your college planning, make sure to dedicate some time to improving your writing skills as part of your college prep planning. 

Q: Has the SAT changed?

A:  Yes!  Beginning in the spring of 2016, the "redesigned" SAT replaced the "old" test.

The new SAT is designed to "reflect the best of classwork" - this means that the material on the test will be linked to the type of work found in classrooms today.  In order to prepare for the new SAT, make sure to take the most rigorous classes that your school offers.     

In addition to the changes related to the question content, the scoring method  will also be changed so that students are not penalized for wrong answers.  

Visit to find out more about the details and specific changes in the new SAT.