How do you choose between the ACT, PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and COMPASS when deciding to go to college? Do you have to take any of these tests? These are common questions that homeschoolers ask. The answer is as varied as there are college-bound students. See my article, Homeschool through high school: SAT, ACT and COMPASS overview.
Location plays a part in deciding on which test to take. East coast schools usually prefer the SAT, schools in the Midwest and west usually prefer the ACT and some colleges do not care which test you take. However, where you live may play a big part in finding a testing site. It may be difficult to find a local ACT test site in New Hampshire.
Another thing to consider is whether your child will attend a four-year college or start out in a community college or junior college. Two year colleges and community colleges may allow for students to take a COMPASS exam instead of the ACT or SAT.
Cost can be a factor. The SAT and ACT are much more expensive than the $12 COMPASS test. Furthermore, COMPASS can be taken at any time, whereas, the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and ACT are held at specific testing times throughout the year.
If you have a child who has test anxiety, learning disabilities or trouble focusing, COMPASS may be a better test for them. COMPASS is not timed and it is completed on a computer. Some students do better without time constraints.
The PSAT/NMSQT is a practice test for the SAT. Your score on this test will reflect what you can expect on the SAT. It is also a competition. Students who perform well on this test are eligible for scholarships.
Start planning for these tests in the freshman year. The more familiar you are with the test format, the better you will score. Sample tests and practice tests will show you the areas you need to improve. Make a list of colleges that you would like to attend. Find out which test the colleges prefer and what scores are required.
Lynda Altman has homeschooled her 4 children over the last 15 years and has 2 children in homeschool. She believes that homeschooling is a parent’s G-d given right. She writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.