Starting USAFA app- only one PSAT score...and it's low.

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by peppypea, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. peppypea

    peppypea Member

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    My child is wanting to start the application process for the USAFA- to complete it he has to have at least one score from a standardized test. The kid is as smart as a whip, but PSAT is not the test for him. From all the research we have done ACT will be a better match to his skills, and he is studying now- diligently. Unfortunately, his first ACT test won't be until early June. (PSAT score: 970 combined.) Should he still do the initial application with a score in that range? Does he have to worry about automatic disqualification because some test says he's not awesome enough?

    Scary time to be a mom.
    thanks,
    peppy
     
  2. dcollord98

    dcollord98 Appointee

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    Although the PCQ is to check for meeting the qualifications I would wait for the ACT scores. Regardless of when the PCQ is filled out, the candidate questionnaire will not open until sometime during July.
     
  3. peppypea

    peppypea Member

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    Sorry, super new to this- and a little thick: what does PCQ stand for (couldn't find it in the acronyms list)
     
  4. NAAF

    NAAF Member

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    pre-candidate questioner.
     
  5. Sulu

    Sulu Member

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    Pre candidate questionairre. I agree dcollard98--wait for June scores or until he gets a score he feels good about. There is plenty of time to apply. Sometimes people do better on the SAT than the PSAT too, so I'd take the SAT again too.
     
  6. 1meanteacher

    1meanteacher Member

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    I agree with the others that he should wait. My son didn't begin anything on his application process until last July, so he had his spring ACT scores to put on the application. Also, even if your son's first ACT score isn't as high as he'd like, please don't let that deter him. My son took it 4 times and ended up with a composite score of 28. He was worried he'd be excluded from the AFA because his score wasn't in the 30's, but he received an appointment! I understand how scary this is for you because I've been going through it for almost a year. Good luck!
     
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  7. peppypea

    peppypea Member

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    Thank you @meanteacher! Your words are incredibly encouraging to me. The kid is tops in everything- except big standardized testing. It's been one of the disadvantages of being from a very small rural area. Oh well, you figure out coaches in the city and move on-wards and upwards!
     
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  8. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    You can still register to take the ACT on April 8th, but there is a late registration fee of an extra $27.50. Registration is open until March 24th.
     
  9. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    I would take an Act or SAT prep class and register for the May or June test. Do not open your file with low scores. They may not make you a candidate. It is not automatic. The application process is a marathon not a sprint. You do not need to race in now if you are unprepared.
     
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  10. peppypea

    peppypea Member

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    Thank you for your advice!

    We live in a very rural small town- getting prep classes is not so easy. We have purchased books and practice tests. Our school counselor has been less than helpful- we would have started this journey much sooner in life had we even had a clue about SAs. Everything I am doing is with help here and our ALO- I just hate bothering him with every little single question.
     
  11. peppypea

    peppypea Member

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    I am not sure he will be ready for that one- we have started reading up for testing recently- he didn't realize he needed to get on testing so much, so soon. I have no college education and when my husband went he went to a trade school, so he didn't need standardized tests. We have had little to no guidance help from our school counselor, so I am muddling through this pretty much on my own.

    EDIT: I think I am going to have him do it for the April test- that way we can get a benchmark and figure out where he needs to be testing wise. That way if we have to figure out how to get to the city for a tutor, we can.

    Thank you, again, for the help.
     
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  12. USMA96

    USMA96 Member

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    I think that is a good plan. Since he hasn't taken the ACT before it would be good to get a starting point so he can focus his prep work. He may find that he is really strong in one or two sections and can double his efforts on the other areas. There are some decent online test prep options, but I would want to know a baseline for both the SAT and the ACT as early as possible.
     
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  13. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    The SAT has free online prep through Khan Academy. It was part of making training available to all. Visit the College Board website.
    Also there are a variety online classes a person could take.
    The test scores are essential and almost overweighted in the candidate evaluation. It is worth investing the time and perhaps a little money--the payback can be a large scholarship like ROTC or an acceptance to a service academy and the chance to live the dream.
     
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  14. 1meanteacher

    1meanteacher Member

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    Good idea getting a benchmark score. My son took some practice tests on the ACT website, and his guidance counselor recommended Kaplan ACT prep, but we didn't use them. We ended up finding a retired English teacher to tutor him. Also, one of my coworkers mentioned that his daughter downloaded an ACT practice app on her phone, so she was able to do practice questions anywhere, which sounded like a great idea to me!
     
  15. yellowjacket

    yellowjacket Member

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    I can personally attest to the results I got by using the Khan Academy prep. I brought my math scores up by over 100 points, from around a 580 to a 700. My reading went from a 650 to a 790 as well. Best of luck to OP!
     
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  16. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    Yellow Jacket, did you use the free on-line version offered by the College Board?
    My guy did a short course through is school--and did very well.
    The secret is to train for the test like you are training for an athletic event--so you do problems and like on Saturdays or Sundays take a mock test or do a mock section or two (one verbal, one math)--with the culmination of finishing just prior to the test...So that you are not training--and then go on vacation for three weeks or go to Philmont or anything like that.
    Those are great results YJ. You should be very proud--and I hope it helped bring you to the appointment or scholarship that you were seeking.
     
  17. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

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    DS is doing his Khan Academy mock SAT today, testing in May. He does 40 questions twice a week and 5 questions daily. We have seen huge improvement and he actually enjoys the prep!
     
  18. yellowjacket

    yellowjacket Member

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    Yes I did. What I liked about Khan academy was the fact that it offers full length timed tests and personalized math study programs. I was really bad at geometry-based questions going into my junior year, and I feel like it really helped me better understand those. And thank you very much!
     
  19. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB 10-Year Member

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    I can attest to the value of practice tests. I brought my math score from a 640 to a 760 by just doing SAT practice tests over and over until I was familiar with every type of question on the test and no longer had to think about how to do the problems, I could just dive in to each question.

    I also recommend taking both the SAT and ACT at least once even if you think one may be better than the other. I found it much easier to prep for the SAT than the ACT, which really surprised me since based on all the descriptions I had read, I should have been better at the ACT
     
  20. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

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    By all means use the Khan Academy test preps. However, don't just grind through the tests one after the other as if they will increase the test taker's knowledge base.

    There are strategies for taking standardized tests, specifically concerning elimination of possible answers, protocols for reading the reading selections and even how to guess. Going into the exam armed with these strategies and tactics will give the test taker a little more confidence and a slightly lower heart rate--both good things. The practice tests should be used to test those strategies and tactics are tested, not to learn the subject matter. There are other Khan courses for that.

    Best of luck.
     
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