Frequently Asked Questions

Class of 2017, Seniors:
Some seniors may be planning to take or retake the “old” SAT or ACT this fall. We offer Pre-Season SAT and ACT courses in August, as well as four-session Blasts in the fall for the September ACT and the October SAT.

Class of 2018, Juniors:
Many rising juniors are opting to take the “old” SAT twice (fall/winter SAT courses here), followed by the ACT in the spring if necessary. Other rising juniors are planning to take the ACT in the winter or spring (ACT courses here). Our course offerings will fit both testing plans, and we also offer courses for the “new” SAT this spring.

Class of 2019, Sophomores:
Our PSAT course provides rising sophomores with a strong head start for the “new” SAT and the ACT (see below).

What should I do first?

Check your school’s vacation and exam schedule against the ACT and SAT dates now. Both the February and the April ACTs fall during some school vacations. The January SAT may be during your midterm exam period.

By comparing your vacation and exam schedules with test dates, you can come up with a workable testing plan.

Join the Carnegie Pollak mailing list to be the first to find out about new course offerings.

What’s the difference between the “old” SAT, the ACT, and the “new” SAT?

Read our SAT vs. ACT chart to find out about the specific differences between the tests.

Students may take a full, timed practice SAT or ACT before signing up for classes or tutoring.

What are the benefits of taking the ACT after the SAT?

Concepts, rules, and strategies applicable to the “old” SAT is relevant on the ACT.

By preparing initially for the “old” SAT, students simultaneously hone the skills necessary for ACT success. If and when a student decides to transition to the ACT in the winter or spring, all of the work he or she will have put in on the “old” SAT will transfer seamlessly.

At that point, the student can shift his or her focus to supplementary ACT-specific skills: comma and apostrophe rules, advanced math including trigonometry, and the time management on the Science section.

What about the new SAT?

The new SAT is offered for the first time in March 2016, and scores will be released after the May 2016 SAT administration. Public schools in the state of Connecticut will administer a “new” SAT to all juniors on Wednesday, March 2nd. This administration will not include the optional Essay.

If students decide to take the new SAT in the spring, the skills they’ve sharpened on the “old” SAT and the ACT will provide a great foundation for the new SAT, which will test many of those same skills.

Why should I prepare for the PSAT?

The redesigned PSAT will be offered for the first time in October 2015 with the new curriculum. Since colleges don’t see PSAT scores, this is the best way to get a positive first experience with standardized testing, with no downside.

As a junior (Class of 2018):

Preparing for the PSAT acquaints juniors with the “new” SAT curriculum and strategies while also giving them the opportunity to learn testing strategies applicable to all standardized tests. For juniors who score at the top of their state, their test scores qualify eligibility to National Merit Scholarships.

As a sophomore (Class of 2019):

The PSAT gives us more information about how students will do on the College Board’s redesigned curriculum. PSAT scores from sophomore year will help decide, next fall, whether a student should pursue the redesigned SAT versus the ACT.

How do I become a National Merit Scholar with my PSAT scores?

To qualify for Commended Scholar and National Merit Semi-Finalists, juniors need to take the “new” PSAT this October and score in the top 3-4%iles in the state.

In order to qualify as a National Merit Scholar Finalist, students must also submit SAT scores. In the past, students could submit prior SAT scores, as long as they were taken within two years. The Scholarship Corporation has not yet decided whether it will keep this requirement (in which case students could submit scores from either the current SAT or the “new” SAT), or if they will require students to take the new SAT to qualify. More information will be released during the summer months. Visit the NMSC website for more details.

Who is Lynn Carnegie?

Parents who work with Lynn Carnegie quickly understand the difference between Carnegie Pollak and other test prep companies. When you choose Carnegie Pollak, you are entering into a relationship with an educator, a parent who went through the process with four children, a conduit to multiple schools in the Fairchester community, and an expert at navigating the specific requirements for each child. Her personalized touch and commitment to each family shines through. Lynn will work tirelessly to help your child find success.

If you have any questions as you prepare for the changes in standardized testing, contact Lynn to create a plan that will work best for your child.

We look forward to guiding you through this challenging (but rewarding) process.

What should I do now?