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Devastating Test Results: Test Canceled and Scores Lost

Devastating Test Results: Test Canceled and Scores Lost
Plan ahead to avoid devastating  test  results . Whether your child is a super-smart, gifted test -taker, or struggling test -o-phobe, there is one thing that could ruin their test results completely. A total failure on the part of the scho...
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The CLT Test Alternative to SAT or ACT

The CLT Test Alternative to SAT or ACT
You're likely familiar with the SAT and ACT tests, but are you familiar with the CLT? I'm not always able to spend as much time as I would like discussing the CLT Test, but I want to be sure parents are aware of this new test. As more ...
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Cookies Improve Test Scores [Free Download]

Cookies Improve Test Scores [Free Download]
Let me explain how cookies improve test scores! To choose the best high school  test for your child in just 3 easy steps, begin with the time-honored cookie strategy. It's important that you do one step a day - do not double-up. These steps...
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Study Skills for Seriously Low SAT or ACT Scores

Study Skills for Seriously Low SAT or ACT Scores
First of all, look at some colleges near you with low scores. Do a quick google search for your state and your test (SAT or ACT), like this: "colleges that accept students with low SAT scores in Ohio." Here are the results for Ohio colleges that have...
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Eat Cookies to Get a Better SAT Score

Eat Cookies to Get a Better SAT Score
Get My Cookie Recipe Collection Eating cookies can help your child get a better SAT or ACT score. Stop laughing! I'm totally serious! Careful research in my own home suggests that 100% of students will laugh when assigned sweet confections for school...
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Homeschool Codes for Tests

Homeschool Codes for Tests

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When homeschool students take college admission tests, they usually need to provide homeschool codes. Here are homeschool codes for tests all in one place for you:

SAT Homeschool Code is 970000

ACT Homeschool Code is 969999

PSAT For the PSAT, homeschoolers are compared with other students within their state, not compared against the nation. There is no homeschool code for this test. When they are asked the question, "Are you taking this test at the school you regularly attend?" simply have your child fill in the bubble that says, "No, I am homeschooled." There is no longer a homeschool code that you will need to input. I spoke to the College Board about this, and they pointed me to the PSAT-NMSQT Coordinators Manual. See the section called "Completing Initial Answer Sheet Information".

SAT Subject Tests Homeschool Code is 970-000.

PLAN (the pre-ACT test) Homeschool Code is 999-999

AP Test Homeschool Codes are provided by the test coordinator: "Homeschooled students will use the state homeschool code provided by the Coordinator on the day of the exam." See AP Exams for Homeschool Students. You may want to call the test administrator in advance, and tell them your homeschooled student is coming in for testing so they have the code ready.

Here is the good news - the test proctors will know the homeschool code! Don't panic if you forget to write it down, because generally someone in charge can tell you what it is, or they will know how to find the information. Even so, it can put your mind at ease to have these homeschool codes handy!

It helps to use the homeschool code. Then the testing company will contact you directly with test results, instead of sending it to the high school and rely on them to give you the test results. For that reason, you may receive the scores weeks sooner when you use the homeschool code.

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New CLT is an SAT and ACT Alternative

New CLT is an SAT and ACT Alternative

New CLT is an SAT and ACT Alternative

I am so excited about the new CLT testing option. I have asked their Regional Director to fill us in on the details in the blog post, below.

We at the Classic Learning Test (CLT) believe that the ancient philosophers got it right: how someone learns to think, what they read, and how they live, are all intricately connected.

As fellow homeschooling parents, we’ve accepted an enormous responsibility to educate our children through high school. Thanks to people like Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, an important part of our load is lightened and we are free to enjoy the experience, expounding upon the virtues and instilling a joy of learning and understanding into the minds of those to whom we gave life.

When it comes time for college admission testing, however, our children have been sold short with “values-neutral” exams for decades. As we read in the now infamous Harvard Turning the Tide Report, “…college admissions offices have joined forces to collectively encourage high school students to focus on meaningful ethical and intellectual engagement.”

The CLT is turning the tide. College and career readiness requires more than just accumulating high school credits or regurgitating a handful of disconnected facts on a standardized test. To be college and career ready means to demonstrate a certain kind of interpersonal and intrapersonal maturity, a kind of maturity not assessed on the ACT, SAT, or PSAT. The best college students and employees are those who can read well, reason well, communicate well, and even see the moral implications of decisions, ideas, and discoveries. These are the furthest values from today’s standardized tests.

Students take this two-and-a-half hour online test on their own laptops. They’ll see their scores immediately upon submitting online. Students in grades 9 through 12 may take the CLT as often as they desire, paying only $49.00 each time. Only their best score need be forwarded to their college(s) of choice. No test prep is required or even offered, other than the free practice test.

We are pleased to announce that the CLT will award a full scholarship to any college or university in America, including tuition/room/board, to the very first high school student(s) to score a perfect 120! In the event that multiple test takers receive a perfect score on the same CLT, the scholarship will be divided among the winners based on the average net cost of college at a 4-year private university ($36,000). High school graduates already enrolled in college are not eligible. Students who win the scholarship must still complete the FAFSA and disclose their expected family contribution (EFC) to the head of Classic Learning Initiatives’ College Counseling Center.

Visit our website at for further details and to see the list of colleges and universities now accepting the CLT. Register your student(s) and request a test site be located in your area, if one isn’t listed. Better yet, ask your homeschool group or private school to host the CLT and recruit others to take it with you. Don’t see your college listed? Call and make a great noise for them to accept the CLT, now!

We still have the freedom to teach our own children. We still have the power to restore the course of American education and turn the tide!

Laura Loroña-Kays
Regional Director, West
Classic Learning Initiatives
[email protected]
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Recent Comments
Hi Thomas, I found this in a Google search for upcoming CLT dates: I hope that helps! Robin Assi... Read More
Monday, 11 March 2019 21:44
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Test Preparation without Getting Smarter

Test Preparation without Getting Smarter

Test Preparation without Getting Smarter

When the SAT or ACT is just a few days away, don't worry about getting smarter! Just prepare for the test. Sure, it would be great if every child was compliant, studied for the college admission tests with a willing and eager attitude, and scored above average, but we live in the real world. Sometimes the test is SOON and the child has ... potentially ... accidentally ... forgotten to study ... for good reason or no reason at all. When this happens, what can you do? Focus on the soft skills of test preparation, not the academic-based answers to the questions.

Here are my suggestions.

Focus on test preparation without getting smarter.

Become Familiar with the Test - give your child at least one full length test at home, timed, for practice, and then one section of a test each day for familiarity.

Adjust Sleep Cycles - make sure your child starts to get to bed earlier and gets up early, so they arrive to the real test more rested and ready.

Review the Homeschool Transcript Together - so the pre-test questions don't freak out your teen and make them feel like they have failed before they have even begun.

Find Your State Homeschool Code - so your child doesn't stress out about anything unrelated to their test score. Find homeschool codes here.

Eat a Breakfast with Protein - good nutrition will see your child through this stressful event.

Drink Water - research shows hydration improves brain function, so have your teen drink water in the morning and bring a water bottle to the test.

Bring a Healthy Snack - so when your child's energy fades, they have a healthy treat to re-energize before the next test section begins.

No Candy During Tests - the sugar high and crashing low are horrible for test scores, so no sugar of any kind during tests.

Bring 4 Sharpened Pencils - no matter how many pencils your child breaks, their test score won't be affected.

Bring a Familiar Calculator - be SURE to bring a calculator, the one they use every day and feel comfortable with, NOT the new one you just bought.

Identify Pick-up Location - not even one brain cell should be worrying about how they will get home, all brain cells should be available for the test.

Locate the Bathroom - one simple bathroom break can destroy a test score if your teen doesn't make it back to their seat before the timer starts

Pick an Answer - have your child choose one letter of the alphabet to always use when they shouldn't waste time on a question, and always use that answer when they don't have a clue.

Familiarity with the test will increase the test score even if they don't get smarter, because kids will get more comfortable with the format and how the questions are asked. Anything you can do to keep teens alert and rested will increase the test score without studying because it will allow their brain to fire on all cylinders. Nutrition and hydration improve brain function. Reducing stress levels will allow them to be as relaxed as possible in an already stressful situation.

Before or after the test, you may want to mention that the test is only an indication of certain academic abilities, it's not a reflection of what is truly important in this world. You may want to review this list of Character Qualities Not Measured by Tests. Good luck on the test!


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Schedule Test Preparation

Schedule Test Preparation

Affiliate disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy I may make a few pennies, but not enough for a latte.

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How to Prep for College Admission Tests

How to Prep for College Admission Tests

How to Prep for College Admission Tests

1. Choose the right test

The first step in test prep is figuring out whether the SAT or ACT is the best fit for your child. Because the SAT has changed as of 2016, if your child does best on the SAT, I suggest they take BOTH tests, the SAT and ACT.  If your child does best on the ACT, then only study for and have them take the ACT. Studies imply that boys do better on the SAT and girls do better on the ACT.  Science lovers may do better on the ACT. Students with poor handwriting might do better on the ACT without the essay (although, I don’t recommend that). According to the statistics, more people who live in the coastal states take the SAT. Most students who live in the center of the country take the ACT. But who cares? Statistics are not always right! What’s MOST important is to decide which test will be best for YOUR student. Taking a sample ACT and SAT is the single best way to decide which one your child will score highest on. While the sample test does take 3-4 hours (and it’s a real pain, I know), it can mean THOUSANDS of dollars in scholarship money, so it’s worth it. Here is a Sample ACT Here is a Sample SAT After your child takes the sample test in the comfort of their own home, score the test, and find out what percentile your child is in. Choose the test with the highest percentile score. This chart will help. Score Comparison Chart: SAT, ACT, CLT and Percentile 

Study at home.

Studying at home is the most effective IF the student will actually do that (and I know as a parent, that's not always a sure thing!) See if you can schedule test preparation at home first. Choose a test preparation book with real test questions. During each prep session, do one section of the test (each section is just 25-50 minutes). Read the instructions first. Set the kitchen timer. Have your child take the test. After the timer rings, have your child correct their own test packet. They can review the answers to any questions they missed.

3. Test Prep Class if Necessary

If studying at home doesn't work, consider taking a class outside the home, either online or in a physical location. Locate a test prep class specific for the SAT or ACT (again, the one that fits the best). The SAT has changed, but you have plenty of time to adapt to the changes. This article will tell you more: PSAT and SAT Change Fall 2015. The last time the SAT changed was the year my own sons were juniors in high school, so I know exactly how stressful it can be right now. Just hang in there!


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Please note: This post was originally published in April, 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Choosing Between the SAT and ACT

Choosing Between the SAT and ACT

Choosing Between the SAT and ACT

Like many choices in homeschooling, the choice of which college admissions test to take is, for the most part, up to you. You have the advantage in these tests, because you get to choose whichever test makes your child look like a genius.

Each high school testing location chooses whether to provide the SAT or the ACT to their students. In general, the states on the coasts tend to give the SAT, and the states in the center of the country tend to give the ACT. A third of students typically do better on the SAT, about a third will do better on the ACT, and for the remaining third, it doesn’t matter which one they take.

Studies claim that boys do better on the SAT and girls do better on the ACT, but statistics are not always right! I’ve also heard that science lovers might do better on the ACT, and poor writers might do better on the ACT without the essay (although I don’t recommend that). What’s MOST important is to decide which test will be best for YOUR student.

Taking a sample ACT and SAT is the single best way to decide which one your child will score the highest on. While the sample test does take 3-4 hours (and it’s a real pain, I know!), it can mean THOUSANDS of dollars in scholarship money, so it’s worth it.

The SAT measures reading, writing, and math. It includes an optional essay, which is 50 minutes, timed, and handwritten in pencil. The ACT is similar, because it also covers reading, writing, math, and an optional essay. However, the ACT also has a section on science reasoning. I recommend that your child take the optional essay for either test.

Here is a sample ACT
Here is a sample SAT

Keep in mind that some colleges may have a preference for one test over the other. Learn about both tests, as well as the requirements of the colleges you’re interested in, and then choose the one that is best for your child.

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Test Preparation in Middle School

Test Preparation in Middle School


Test Preparation in Middle School

What do you do to prepare for the SAT and ACT when your child is in middle school? Read these 7 ways to effectively prepare for the SAT and ACT before high school.

The best test prep in middle school is making sure you do a good job with reading, writing, penmanship, and math. Also, providing practice with fill in the bubble tests can ensure that they will be successful on standardized tests.  While things like critical thinking and logic are generally nice to have, they are not specific for test preparation.

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Will More Tests Increase Options?

Will More Tests Increase Options?

Will More Tests Increase Options?

Jasmine was doing some research on college counselors, and found my YouTube Tip of the Week "Do You Need a High Priced College Counselor?"
"My daughter took the SAT twice, receiving 2250 and 2280 (thanks to your excellent tips!) consecutively. Some people have advised her to take the ACT (some saying that her SAT score is still too low for highly selective colleges, others saying that a high ACT score may open doors to additional scholarships depending on where she applies). What do you think?" ~ Jasmine

What a great question! I always suggest that every student tries both the SAT and ACT at home first, before they even start test preparation. That way you can see which test makes your child look the smartest.

Have your child take a sample of each college admission tests.
Sample SAT:
Sample ACT:

Many girls do better on the ACT. If she takes the ACT and improves her percentile score, then she may get more college admission offers with scholarships.  If scores on the ACT are higher, then I would absolutely have your child take that test. If scores on the SAT are higher, have your child take that test instead. Colleges often do not have a preference, so as homeschool parents we can choose the test that makes our child look smarter. If you have already taken one of the college admission tests, like the SAT, you can try the other one, the ACT, to see if your child scores better. If you do score better on the ACT, it's a good idea to switch test preparation for that specific test right away. Taking the second test, IF if makes scores improve, will improve the overall academic package presented to the college, and can improve the chances of admission and scholarships.

It's best not to study for the SAT and ACT at the same time. The tests each have a different "voice" and ask questions in  a slightly different way.  So study for one test, then if you decide to take the other test, switch to studying for that particular test.

Jasmine's daughter has GREAT scores, that would make many homeschoolers celebrate! The best advice is to focus on finding a great college that will appreciate your child and be a great fit for her, where she will enjoy living for four years.

If you would like to talk more, consider the Gold Care Club so I can get to know you, your child, and your situation better before giving advice.

If you haven't looking into it before, a College Consultant can be very pricey, and average $150/hour or $4000 flat fee, but can be much more in some locations.  College consulting is an option for parents of sufficient means, but might be out of reach for many single-income homeschool families.  You can pay many thousands of dollars for these special services and it may pay off, or your student may not play their part.  There are much lower cost ways available, however, including The HomeScholar Gold Care Club.

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Test Scores Low but High Homeschool Grades

Test Scores Low but High Homeschool Grades

Test Scores Low but High Homeschool Grades

What do you do?

What do you do when your test scores don't match your homeschool grades? First rule of homeschooling - do not panic! Especially with the first time taking the SAT or ACT, the scores may not be accurate as the child is adjusting to the test.
Tammy asked this question on my Video Tip of the Week.

I have been working through my daughter’s transcripts, and her grades at home from tests, homework, and quizzes are good—-she is getting all A’s. Her first time taking the SAT, however, her scores were not as high as I had hoped—low in fact. 500′s and one score in the 400′s!

I was wondering if I need to go back through all of her home grades and lower her scores to match up with the sat scores. I don’t want the colleges to think mommy grades are bogus!  ~ Tammy

Test the waters!

All students should try to take the ACT and SAT at home, to see which one makes them look the smartest. If you feel  scores were lower than expected, it may not be your child's problem, it could just be the wrong test - a mismatch can lower scores.

Give a sample SAT and ACT at home, to see which test is best for your child.

Sample SAT
Sample ACT


Whichever test is best, work on test preparation during your school day. You can use some of the test preparation to replace some of your English class. Your child does NOT have to get smarter to get a better score, she just needs to get more familiar with the way they ask the questions.

This blog post will help you learn to Schedule Test Preparation

If both tests are equally discouraging, then begin to focus on other ways to get outside documentation for your grades - great course descriptions, letters of recommendation, detailed activity and awards lists, etc. Read article about outside documentation for ideas: Super-Size Scholarships with Outside Documentation

There are plenty of kids who don't do well at fill-in-the-bubble tests that get good grades. So try to get those scores up if you can, even if that means switching tests, but don't panic about the test scores - look for other outside documentation if you need to.

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Practicing for the SAT and ACT

Practicing for the SAT and ACT

Practicing for the SAT and ACT

Worried about how to prepare your child for the SAT or ACT? Lee can help! Click on Lee's video, below (or here) for some tips on practicing for these high school tests!

Is your child studying for the SAT or ACT? Please share!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel. You will be notified when I create new videos on homeschool high school topics!

Get general strategies and study tips for all the major high school tests, including the SAT and ACT in my High School Testing (Online Training) class, just $15!
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