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2020 Advanced Placement tests – 8 tips to succeed



If you have teenagers who expected to take Advanced Placement tests this year, the College Board recently released detailed information about this year’s unusual roll out of AP exams.

How the College Board is dealing with AP tests during the COVID-19 pandemic was bound to be controversial and it is.

Some people wanted the College Board to cancel the AP tests for a year although most students didn’t. Others advocated postponing the traditional AP exams until the fall.

The College Board, however, took a different tact. It decided to move back the exams one week, slash 75% off the AP test format and create radically different exams.

With this rush to produce new AP tests, no one really knows how many colleges will give students college credits for high scores. Or how students will fare with tests that have never been, well, tested.

It’s a mess.

And so, you may be wondering, now what??

What you need to know about 2020 AP exams

To help you out, I’m sharing the most up-to-date information about the 2020 Advanced Placement exams thanks to my friends at Compass Education Group, a highly respected test-prep firm.

I turn to Compass when I want to learn the real story about the SAT, PSAT, SAT Subject Tests, ACT and AP tests.

Adam Ingersoll, Compass co-founder, allowed me to share the Compass blog post below that should answer a lot of your questions about the AP tests that will take place on various dates and times in May.

Here is an even more in-depth post from Compass that was written for high school counselors and college consultants:

2020 AP Tests and Updates

What we know about this year’s AP Exams:

  • They will be 45 minutes long, online and in-home.
  • They will consist of free response questions only, no multiple-choice.
  • Online AP classes are available on YouTube’s AP Channel.
  • They will test content covered through March.
  • Test dates and format for each subject are available here.
  • Exams will be open-book / open-note.
  • Questions will require more than simple recall; they will resist being answered with a simple Google search.
  • Testing accommodations will be provided. Any student who was approved for accommodations will get them.
  • Students must have registered before March 13 for the AP Exam. Generally, students cannot decide now that a 45-minute AP is appealing and sign up to take it. Students should be able to confirm their registration here.
  • Several schools, including the UCs, have said that they will award course credit for AP scores as with previous years.
  • The College Board will provide video tutorials and online simulations of the computer-based AP Exam. (Details TBA)
  • The College Board will also provide a guide in a few weeks with more details about how the test will be administered.

How students should apply this information to AP preparation

1. Students should plan to take their AP Exam(s) on the primary test date in May.

Makeup dates are provided in June for students who run into technical issues on the primary test date or have genuine conflicts with the primary date. Security measures will be put in place to prevent students from taking the test on both dates.

2. Students should practice time management.

For essay questions, 10-20% of the time allotted for a question should be spent brainstorming and outlining a response.

English and history exams will consist of one long essay question. Most of the other exams will consist of two free response questions: a 25-minute question and a 15-minute question.

3. Get organized!

With an open-book / open-note test, memorization takes a bit of a backseat. Well, the test is still only 45 minutes long, so memorization perhaps takes more of a passenger seat.

Students won’t have time to relearn, for instance, the events leading up to the Civil War. But for the student who can’t remember the specifics of a particular physics formula, an open-note test takes some pressure off of memorization.

Students just need to organize their materials so that information they will need can be found quickly. Use post-it tabs, sticky notes, etc. The College Board provides additional tips and advice here.

4. Check the College Board’s FAQs.

Among other things, find out what kinds of materials are permitted as “open-note.”

5. Read the information about the subject exam!

This information should guide students on things like the following:

For some tests (i.e. humanities), students should practice typing their responses in a blank word document (unless the student has an accommodation where they will not be typing).

For some tests (e.g. calculus, sciences), students might be more comfortable handwriting responses. College Board will provide a tip sheet “in advance of the exam” for typing mathematical expressions on a standard keyboard. Try both methods, typing and handwriting, to determine which is better for you.

6. Focus on analysis.

See above re: questions will require more than simple recall. Use recent free response questions as a guide. Each AP course exam page provides sample FRQs.

7. Be prepared to pivot.

Details about the “online simulations” are still unknown. We’re not even sure if there will be a simulation for every subject. Once these are released, a student may find that the format is easier (or harder) to use than expected.

Once details are released about how students will submit photographs of handwritten work, students may decide it’s something they don’t want to hassle with. We just don’t know. The best you can do is make sure that you are aware of all the resources available and then make the best choices for yourself.

8. Finally, focus on what you know.

You know which units need review. You know there will be no multiple-choice or simple fact-recall questions.

The number of unknowns around this year’s APs may feel unsettling. That’s OK.

Remember that everyone is in the same boat, and we are here to help! Don’t hesitate to send us any questions you have; we’ll do our best to figure it out together.

The post 2020 Advanced Placement tests – 8 tips to succeed appeared first on The College Solution.

By: Lynn O’Shaughnessy
Title: 2020 Advanced Placement tests – 8 tips to succeed
Sourced From:
Published Date: Sun, 05 Apr 2020 20:52:42 +0000

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Apply Online For Student Loans



Apply Online For Student Loans

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Webinar Recap: How COVID-19 is Affecting Financial Aid



Many families are facing new financial challenges in light of the coronavirus emergency, and College Confidential has fielded dozens of questions on this topic recently. To address those queries, we hosted a webinar on April 9 entitled “Paying for College Amid Changes Due to the Impact of COVID-19.”

During the event, moderated by Aaron Murphy, manager of learning and development with Inside Track, the following panelists offered their perspectives on the issue:

  • Denise Trusty, director of financial aid with Morehead State University
  • Laura Reisert Kalinkewicz, associate vice president of college partnerships with RaiseMe
  • Amy Nelson, director of sales at International Scholarship and Tuition Services
  • Charlie Javice, founder and CEO of Frank.

Check out the following topics that the panelists discussed, along with their views of how things may unfold amid the financial challenges brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

Family Finances Changed? Contact Your Schools

If you plan to start college in the fall as a freshman — or return to school as an existing student — and your financial situation has changed since you applied for financial aid, you should contact the colleges on your list immediately. Financial aid departments can consider appeals for more money, but must base these decisions on each individual student’s situation, Trusty said.

“I know with Morehead State, where I work, we will be doing professional judgement calls on all students who say they’ve been affected,” she noted. “We will reach out to those students to see what we can do to help them maybe obtain additional funding, additional grants, scholarships, whatever they would be eligible for. We do professional judgment all the time for our students, because things happen all the time. This year will be an especially large amount of those, I’m sure, but those are up to individual schools to make that call for their students.”

In addition, she added, the Department of Education has set aside over $6 billion for additional grants and scholarships that the universities will be able to use. “Currently, I don’t know how that’s all going to play into this,” Trusty said. “So that will be up to each individual university on how they lay those out. I know it will be beneficial, I just don’t know how available that will be to each student.”

Keep in mind that schools are accustomed to reviewing financial aid appeals, and they all have processes in place for to do so. “It is really, really important to know that schools typically leave a budget from 10 percent to 20 percent or so of their financial aid dollars for what would be called a professional judgment bucket,”Javice said. “Therefore, there is additional money to be had, and it’s up to you to request it. You should approach your school as soon as you know you might need more money, and be prepared to show supporting documentation demonstrating how your finances are different from when you filed your FAFSA initially. This might require proof of a job loss, medical bills, a cut in pay or another such issue, Javice said.

In addition, if another school gave you a better financial offer, you can petition the school that gave you the lower offer for more money, Javice noted. “This typically works better for private institutions versus public state schools, given the fact that they have a little bit more discrepancy and more dollars to put to work in terms of a tuition discount,” she added. “This is solely up to the school on a case by case basis.” In some cases, the money is distributed on a first come, first serve timeline, so don’t wait if you know you need more aid.

Although financial aid can be a stressful topic, try not to be emotional when you request more money, Javice added. You’ll get a lot further by having organized documentation to present than you would by getting angry or upset, she noted.

Consider Outside Scholarships

The coronavirus situation has changed plans not only for incoming freshmen, but also for current college students, Nelson said. “Organizations are stepping up and trying to find ways to provide additional scholarship opportunities this year,” she noted. Students should be proactive in seeking those options.

Raise Me is offering new micro-scholarships for students who are seeking additional funding sources, Kalinkewicz said. In addition, she encourages students to ask colleges for more time to make decisions, even if the school hasn’t extended its deposit process. You can always try and request additional time to get your financial aid package right, she noted.

Finding more money is not relegated to younger students, Javice added. “Adult learners comprise the biggest group of people actually going to college today,” she noted. It’s very common for people to be seeking new types of skills and going back to college to gain additional degrees. Financial aid is available to adult learners, and they may even get aid to pay such costs as rent, she added. In addition, they can seek outside scholarships or employer-matching funds to pay for their educations.

Not Necessarily Too Late to File FAFSA

Students who didn’t file a FAFSA already should do that as soon as possible so you can get access to financial aid funds, Javice said. Federal FAFSA deadlines are usually in June, but states make their own deadlines for state aid. Some states, such as New Jersey, have moved their deadlines back for this year, so check to make sure you stay on top of your deadlines.

And if you file for financial aid and you decide you don’t want it, you can always decline the financial offer or portions of that offer, Nelson said. Your best bet is to apply so you can take what you need and decline any amounts you don’t need. Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, you should apply anyway because you could be surprised at what you’re offered. “You really need to complete that [FAFSA] process every year,” Nelson said. “The process is very easy, and jobs can come and go. It’s your safety net and you want to make sure you’ve completed it. It makes it a whole lot easier when situations like this arise.”

Some colleges also have supplemental applications to fill out for particular types of aid, so always reach out to your financial aid office for information on which documentation you should be completing, Kalinkewicz said.

Could Families — Not Schools — Be in the Driver’s Seat?

Because many merit scholarships are based on test scores and GPAs, some high school juniors are concerned that they won’t have access to those in the coming year. With test dates being canceled and grades moving to pass/fail, they fear they won’t meet the criteria to earn such scholarships.

“It’s clear to me that colleges and universities know the extraordinary circumstances we’re under,” Nelson said. “All schools are leaning forward and considering all options as the situation develops. I would continue to encourage juniors to stay engaged and stay informed.” You should also watch to see what happens with test dates, she said. The ACT and SAT dates could change, and some schools may forego the need for a test score altogether, she added.

In addition, some merit scholarships that have traditionally been based on test scores may become test optional, Kalinkewicz noted.

Keep in mind that in many cases, families are in the driver’s seat rather than having the colleges be in charge, Javice said. Some schools have lost revenue and are very eager for students right now, “so if you are scared because you thought you could never get into a specific school from an admission criteria standpoint, this is your year to stretch, this is your year to think about the schools that are your reach category and go for it, because schools need the money and need the students. So the power that used to be in an admissions office is in you, the student or the family’s hands,” she said.

She also advises juniors to request application waivers from schools to save the $50 to $100 or so per application that they would normally pay. The schools may say no, but it won’t hurt to ask, she advised. “Persistence is key when dealing with schools,” Javice noted.

Federal Student Loans Payment Suspended

As many families are aware, payments on federal student loans are automatically suspended from March 13 through September 30, 2020 thanks to the government’s CARES Act. This is essential to keep in mind, particularly for families that have multiple children in various stages of the college process.

“You will stop paying your loans and you will have zero interest from now until September 30, and that’s important for parents to know,” Nelson said regarding existing federal student loans. “If you had an auto draft, the auto draft has been shut off and will not continue. You can, however, continue to make those payments if you’d like, and any interest you had before March 13, once that interest is paid up, all your payments will go directly toward your principal.” She advises families with federally-backed loans to check with their loan servicing agents, because they have a lot of information for both parent and student borrowers on how the CARES Act will impact payments for the next six months.

Student Job Gone? Colleges Might Help

For students who expect to earn money via part-time or full-time work to pay for college, but can’t do so due to the coronavirus, colleges may have resources to help. “There are many colleges and universities that have put together emergency grants for students to cover expenses that they were maybe not expecting because of COVID-19,” Nelson said. “They are making accommodations to try and make up for that lost income for students.”

Trusty said Morehead State is continuing to pay students who were on federal work-study. “If they had a job, we are still paying them right now as if they were working, although they are not. In the summer, those funds will be flipped over to emergency grant funds. So we will make sure that our students are covered and can live as if they were employed with the work-study position.”

Some colleges have even made remote work available to students, Kalinkewicz added. Therefore, contact your financial aid office to determine if any accommodations are available to make up for lost student income whenever possible.

Consider Other Options to Save

If you are seeking ways to save money on college, you should also consider other resources, whether that means less expensive colleges, in-state options or potentially transferring down the road, Janice said. You can also save money by taking classes at a community college to pay a lower cost for your credits that can be transferred to a four-year college later.

“If you have that target institution in mind — maybe you’ve already been admitted there but your family has determined a year of community college will really help stretch things further — work on articulation agreements or a plan so you are taking the right classes that actually have the ability to transfer toward the degree you want at your target institution, not necessarily just as credit,” Kalinkewicz said.

In addition, many colleges offer merit aid for transfer students, she added. So always look for every potential financial aid and scholarship resource to best maximize your package and allow your dollars to stretch as far as possible.

Resource: To review the entire hour-long webinar, you can watch the replay here.

Share Your Thoughts

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Check out our forum to contribute to the conversation!

By: Torrey Kim
Title: Webinar Recap: How COVID-19 is Affecting Financial Aid
Sourced From:
Published Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2020 15:22:20 +0000

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