Category Archives: Test Prep Solutions


Preparation for the ACT or SAT

By: Janeen Scaringelli, FVHS Registrar

Dear Parents,

Getting ready for college is a stressful time in a teen’s life.  ACT and SAT prep can be especially intense.  Fortunately, there are ways that parents can ease test anxiety and give their teens the support they need for exam success.

Stay Calm and Keep Things in Perspective

Your child will be anxious about his or her test scores.  So will you.  You care about their future as much as they do, and you may know more than they do about their upcoming challenges.  But test anxiety is contagious.  Keep your worries in check.  If you can face test prep setbacks calmly, your teen will have the confidence to keep trying.

No Gossip or Bragging

When your child is making great progress in their test prep, it’s easy to run out and tell everyone.  But you know what’s hard?  Preparing for the ACT or SAT in front of an audience.  Mastering test skills is stressful enough with just you watching your teen.  Keep your child’s test prep between you and them.  That way, your teen will focus on their own performance, not on what other people think of their performance.

Start Early and Plan in Advance

Talk to your child about the importance of ACT and SAT scores early on, in their first or second year of high school.  Encourage them to get started with one of our test prep courses.

FVHS offers successful prep courses to help your child be more successful for their test.

  • Practice online anytime for any standardized test
  • Practice questions styled after actual test samples
  • Video lectures, presentation notes & learning tips
  • Integrated, LIVE tutoring support


Dates to Know:


SAT Dates

Where Do We Register?



Graduation Requirements

  • Remember, not only does your child need a good ACT/SAT score for university entrance, they need it to graduate from FVHS if they have not passed a state exit exam.

Graduation Minimum Scores:


  • Reading: 19
  • Math: 15


  • Critical Reading: 430
  • Math: 340

University Requirements

  • 3.0 in core classes (B)
  • ACT: 22
  • SAT: 1120

The above scores are based on most state universities, but can vary.  Please check admission requirements to any university your child is interested in attending.


Important Information for High School Parents

The earlier you reach out to your children in their high school years, the less stressed they will be to fulfill their dreams after graduation.

Talk to your child about how to pay for college.  Research scholarships early and apply for FAFSA at:


Online Test Taking Strategies

By: Bryan Maxwell, Franklin Social Studies Department Chair

Test taking can be really stressful for students. Whether you are taking a test in a classroom setting or an online setting, there are often feelings of stress and uneasiness. Fortunately, there are strategies for students to use to aid and even relieve the stress of test taking.

For the purpose of this article, I would like to focus on some test taking strategies for students who are new to the online platform.  Before getting too deep into this piece, on a positive note, many of the same strategies that can be used in a classroom test-taking setting can be used in an online platform as well. However, it is important to understand that there are some important differences, and students who are new to the online platform should be ready for them.

One of the most basic tips for test takers in the online platform is to read and understand the test guidelines. This will give students the basic knowledge of when the test will take place and how long a student has to complete the test. Another test taking strategy that applies for online test takers is to make sure to create a quiet area with no distractions. In many situations, students are able to take their tests at home. When doing this, it is possible to have those daily distractions that one would not normally have when taking a test in a classroom setting.

Finally, make sure to review answers for accuracy before clicking the submit button. This may seem like something that students would do during any type of examination, but sometimes there may be a rush to get the test submitted. To avoid this situation, always leave enough time for review.

For more information on online test taking strategies, please visit the following website:


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Standardized Testing

Is it better to take the SAT or the ACT?

It makes no difference; both tests are equally accepted at colleges.  The only exception is that some accelerated medical school programs only accept the SATs.

Do I have to report all my scores?

It varies by school what their policy is regarding score choice.  The most common options are below:

Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates. 

Colleges will consider the highest score for each section of SATs (and in some instances the ACTs) to create a superscore. However, most schools will not combine scores between the old and new SAT. (Some schools will even combine scores across tests, for example Georgia Tech will look at the highest scores between SATs and ACTs.) Students have the option to choose whichever scores they want to send, but must send the entire score for a single sitting.  Once the scores arrive at the college or university, they will only consider the highest score from each section.  Some schools that adhere to this policy are: Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Harvard, Princeton, and MIT.

Single Highest Test Date.

In this scenario, colleges will only consider the single highest test date for a given sitting.  Some schools that follow this policy are: UCLA, Berkeley, and Penn State.

All Scores Required.

For these colleges, students must send all their scores and the colleges will review them all. Some schools on this list include: Yale, Cornell, Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley, and Georgetown.*

Click here for the SAT Score Choice FAQs

Will I be penalized for taking ACT or SAT multiple times?

No, most schools only consider the top scores and do not penalize students for taking the test multiple times.

Do schools superscore the ACT?

Some schools will take the highest scores from each section to create a new composite ACT score, but many do not.

Click here for a full list of schools that superscore the ACT

Do schools consider non-required test results, such as SAT Subject Tests and AP Exams? 

If you include these test results as part of your application, some schools will consider them only in light of how they might benefit your review. However, some other schools, such as Vanderbilt, recommend not sending SAT subject tests that are not in the top 90th percentile because it will impact the application.  This also goes for AP scores that are lower than a 3 and for the most select schools lower than a 4 or a 5.  It is better not to report the scores than to report a low score.  Students do not need to send their official AP exam scores until they have matriculated at a given college.

What if I change my mind about which SAT subject tests to take after I register? 

That is fine.  You do not need to decide which tests to take until the day of the exam.  You can take up to three subject tests per sitting and can take as many or as few as you like the day of the exam.


*Please check with the College Board or the school website for the most up-to-date requirements.

Originally published HERE.



Strategies for Success Online – Using Academic Language

by Michelle Schilling, FVS Electives Department

You might be asking yourself, “How can I improve my scores?” or “How can I get better grades on online assignments?”

The use of academic language is the key to success in the online environment. Academic Language is the discipline-specific vocabulary you are learning to understand a specific subject. When answering your online questions, we want you to use the content language you have learned, and we want you to move away from basic, social language. Be sure to use key words found in the lesson when writing your answer.

Here is an example from a journal assignment in ELE Introduction to Art.

Lesson: Relief Prints

Prompt: Why do you think it took four different people to create a Japanese woodcut? Why didn’t one person do all the work like most artists of today?

Student Response: It took 4 people to make a Japanese woodcut because it was very specialized work.  If one person tried to do it like they do today it would either turn out bad, or take forever to get right.

Although this student’s answer was thoughtful and complete, it only received a 50% score because it did not include academic language from the lesson.

Keywords: (The academic language used in the lesson): specific role, trained, master

Sample Answer: Each person had a specific role in the process of making a woodcut. It would seem as though these individuals were trained at one skill, and to be trained in all of these areas would be difficult. Each role takes a certain amount of time and skill to master. I think the methods used were more complicated than they are today.

The sample answer would receive a grade of 100%.

Take care when composing your online responses to include key academic terms in complete sentences, and you will see your scores improve on your daily assignments.

What is a GED?

There are many reasons why a person may not be able to complete high school.  This can cause problems for individuals as they look for job opportunities and try to carve out their career paths. The GED®, General Equivalency Development, test was created with those individuals in mind.  Successfully passing the GED® test will certify that a person has attained high-school level academic skills. Originally, this test was created to help soldiers returning from World War II to join the civilian work force.  According to Wikipedia, “One in every seven Americans with high school credentials received the GED® test credential, as well as one in 20 college students.”  So if you were not able to complete high school and need your GED®, you are not alone!

One thing that can be surprising to some people is that you are not able to test for the GED® online.    The tests are administered by your state’s Department of Education and you must go to an Official GED® Testing Center.  Usually these testing centers are at community colleges, public schools, or adult education centers. If you are disabled in any way, you may be able to receive reasonable testing accommodations so don’t be afraid to ask. The cost of the test varies state to state. If you have any questions about the GED® please see this series of YouTube Videos from GED Testing Service® an official site of the American Council on Education (ACE).

The GED® test is comprised of five parts – Language Arts/Writing, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts/Reading, and Mathematics. There are great test preparation materials available online.   Franklin Virtual High School has an online GED® Test Preparation Program, (as well as an alternative to the GED®  that we call Online High School “Fast Track” that follows the same equivalency standards as the GED®), it first takes you through a diagnostic pretest so that you can skip the material you already know and focus on the areas that need improvement. It includes video lectures, online content, interactive vocabulary sections, journaling, practice homework and a final quiz. If you feel you have most of the skills and just want to take GED® practice tests, Franklin Virtual Schools has an online program available for that as well.   There is help available and you CAN successfully pass the GED®!


10 Study Tips To GED Success

The GED test is challenging, but not impossible. In fact, if you follow a few simple tips when taking the GED, you will greatly lower your stress level and make it much easier to concentrate on the questions. Millions of people have taken the GED, and the following list of suggestions is based on feedback from many of them. Don’t feel as though you have to follow each one to the letter, but do make an effort at using the ones that work for you.

1. Get stress under control. Whether that means doing deep breathing exercises or yoga for a few minutes every day, or just meditating briefly before or after each study session, research has proven that regular mini-relaxation sessions go a long way toward taking the edge off of test day.

2. Don’t hesitate to take the exam again. In fact, if you allow your brain to envision a second exam attempt, the first one will not be such a huge demand on your nervous system.

3. Build a couple recreation days into your study calendar, days when you do not look at the material at all. Go to a movie, to the beach, or take a long walk. The brain needs these short vacations to recover from the heavy demands it is facing.

4. Don’t be afraid to memorize certain pieces of information. No need to go overboard, but certain kinds of exam material lend themselves to memorization. And again, the human brain likes diversity. A bit of memorization here and there breaks up the study routine and allows your mind to breathe.

5. Create or join a study group. It’s free and is maybe the most important of all these suggestions. The power of people helping other people cannot be underestimated.

6. Get acquainted with the exam format. Even before taking a practice test, just sit down and spend some time looking at the way the whole thing is set up.

7. Take a few practice tests, not timing yourself at first. Later, do a couple timed dry runs. This will certainly remove a lot of stress from test day.

8. Find a GED prep class and sign up, such as the Test Preparation Program available online at These prep programs can be done at your convenience, from your own home, and can greatly increase your chances of passing the first time.

9. Get some books that are designed to help you prepare for the exam.

10. There are lots of online resources for GED prep, so be sure to check the Internet for all the free materials, advice, and tips as well as for several programs that cost little and greatly help you prepare.

Passing the GED Test With Ease

Almost a half million Americans got their GED last year. With the right preparation, anyone can pass the GED, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot either. The most common things people worry about with GED preparation are the time it will take to get ready, and the difficulty of the test.

As for study time, the GED does require you to prepare, but you can start out by spending as little as one or two hours per week in order to be on your way to a solid study plan. You will not have to quit your job or say goodbye to your social life to take the GED. Chances are, certain parts of the test will be harder for you than other parts. Experience has showed that everyone has a “tough” section and an “easy” section, or sections. That is because many test takers are adults who have worked for a few years and have background in various subjects even though they might not have taken formal classes.

Second, the GED is challenging and does indeed cover a lot of material. But the key to success is a proper study plan. Of course, a plan will be different for each person. Some have a natural ability with math, for example, while others don’t. Some people love to read, write, blog, do crossword puzzles, etc. Just about everyone has a few strong and a few weak points. Your study plan will focus on your weak areas, naturally, and merely beef up your stronger skills.

People who teach GED skills are experts at figuring out what is the best preparation method for you. Many find help in online programs, such as, which offers test prep, GED study materials, and even offers help in obtaining an alternative high school diploma with several options and courses that work with your schedule and not against it. With the right counseling and advice, and commitment on your part, you can be on your way to taking and passing the GED in a very short period of time. Good luck!