Myth 1: Homeschoolers score better than public school students
Fact 1: Homeschoolers may score a bit higher on the SAT, but this can be easily overstated.
Some of the research that really played up the idea that homeschoolers score higher was poorly constructed research. Homeschoolers who are not bound for college may not take the SAT or ACT. In some states all public school students are required to test. Comparing a selected group of homeschoolers to a broader group of public schoolers is an apples and oranges comparison. However, there is enough research on homeschoolers taking the SAT and ACT to suggest that they are not at a disadvantage as a group. But, what matters to most of us is more how our own individual kids will score. Just because your teen is homeschooled doesn’t mean they will score high or low on these tests.
Myth 2: Never guess on the SAT.
Fact 2 : As long as you can eliminate one answer you should guess.
While there is a guessing penalty on the SAT it is very small – just ¼ of a point. You receive one full point for a correct answer. So, statistically if you are able to eliminate just one answer it makes sense to guess.
Myth 3: SAT math is easier than ACT math.
Fact 3: ACT math goes a bit more in-depth, but it is less tricky than SAT math.
The ACT math goes a bit further, requiring a bit of trigonometry. However, many students find the SAT math to be trickier and the ACT math to be more straightforward.
Myth 4: The PSAT will tell you what your SAT score will be.
Fact 4: These predictions are often inaccurate.
While the PSAT is designed to give an early prediction of the SAT score it doesn’t necessarily do a very good job. The PSAT is a different test than the SAT because it is shorter, doesn’t go as far in math, and doesn’t include an essay. If your student scores really well on the PSAT you may take that as a sign that they are a strong tester. If they score very poorly it is a sign that they have more work to do before they take the SAT or ACT. Still it is important not to read too much into the scores because the PSAT is a pretty short test. I’ve seen some PSAT scores that were wildly different than what students ultimately got on the SAT.