Exam season is over for the year which is just as well, for nerves are stretched knowing that so much rides on doing well in these final exams. For our family, June saw the end of our homeschooling journey. We have taken the American SAT route with our youngest daughter and at the beginning of June was the last opportunity to sit the SAT Subject exams in the UK for the 2018/2019 academic year.
It seems strange that after 13 years of homeschooling, the end has finally come. It’s been bittersweet from my point of view as I have loved this season of life but my daughter is more than ready to move onto the next life adventure and I am excited to see her fly.
If you are considering taking the American SAT route in your homeschool rather than the traditional British A-Levels, you may want to get a basic idea on what this is all about. For an overview, you can read my post, “The American SAT:: An Alternative to A-Levels for British Home Educators”. As I mentioned in this post, the SAT and the SAT Subject exams are all multiple-choice with an essay option. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s a doddle because of that, take a few practice tests yourself to see what I mean.
With this being a bit of a different system, I thought I would share a few things we have learned along the way to make preparing for, booking and the actual exam day a little easier to navigate.
Booking the SAT Test
In order to book the test, your student will need to register a CollegeBoard account, which is free. It is on this site that you can register for your SAT exams; find an exam centre; see all the test dates available for the academic year and it is where your test results will be returned to you. You cannot register for the exams without a College Board account.
You will want to have a good look at what exam centres closest to you are open for each SAT date. My daughter took the SAT in December, March and May. We had an exam centre in Shrewsbury that hosted the exam in December and May but not the March sitting. For that, we found an exam centre in Manchester.
Practical Tip: At the beginning of the academic year, I recorded all the available SAT test dates; their deadline registration dates and the exam centre location in my homeschool planner so I had all that information available at a glance.
The Week Before the Exam
Your student has been diligently studying for their exam using Kahn Academy’s free practice tests and Varsity Tutor’s free SAT Subject tests. They have done everything they can to prepare now it’s over to you. There are a few things you will want to make sure you have a handle on before exam day arrives.
- Print off your student’s admission ticket if you have not done so already. They will not be allowed to write the exam without this.
- Make sure that your student has an acceptable ID such as a passport.
- Hop onto google maps and plug-in directions from your home to the exam centre. Make a note of how long the trip is (adding a little extra for delays, we had to wait for a herd of cows to cross the road from one field to another on one trip) and what time you will need to set the alarm for on test day.
- Check College Board for any exam centre closings, this is really important as it is quite conceivable that your test centre could be closed for whatever reason. By checking College Board for closures you will ensure that you have the revised test centre address and contact details.
You will almost certainly be up bright and early. Getting a teenager up at 04h30 or 05h00 in the morning is a big ask so try to make it as pleasant as possible by marking it a bit of road-trip adventure. I got up a little earlier than the rest of the family, switched on my favourite praise and worship music and prepared some bacon and cheese butties. Who can resist waking to the smell brewing coffee of frying bacon in the pan? It’s sure to get your day off to a good start.
Enjoy your drive! Your exam centre will more than likely be a little drive away so be excited about seeing a new part of the countryside you have not yet seen. Enjoy watching the sun gently light up the land, revealing our beautiful landscape bathed in that special early morning light.
We have wonderful memories of exam day travels and I feel blessed to have had those times with my teen, for all too soon she will be off to university and those times will become less frequent, so treasure getting up early and beetling across the countryside.
Your student will get their exam results in 2 weeks…2 weeks! I think that is fabulous! No waiting all summer to find out if you have attained the grades you need. When you get your results you can download the report from your College Board account, save it to your computer and then email them to the admissions team at your son/daughter’s university. As simple as that.
We chose to write the SAT 3 times, 1st time to gauge where our daughter was at and what areas needed work. The 2nd and 3rd were all about improving her score, which she did with each sitting. We sent only the highest score to the university.
I hope that you have found this post helpful. If you have any questions please do leave a comment. If you are a British home educator please do join the HE Success without UK Exams Facebook page. There are quite a few of us who have successfully. It’s a wonderful source of support, knowledge, and experience for others who have travelled this path.