School Counseling » Sophomores


Sophomore Year - college search advice

  • PSAT/NMSQT on October 13th.Taking the test this fall can help your child prepare for the SAT and get on track for college. Sophomores can also use their score reports to figure out which academic areas they need to work on. Learn more about the PSAT/NMSQT
  • Review PSAT/NMSQT results. Log in to the student score reporting portal to learn what you are doing well and which skills you should work on to get ready for college and career. It will also connect you to free, personalized SAT study tools; AP courses; and college and career planning resources.
  • Sophomore Individualized Graduation Plan (IGP, your 4-year high school plan) meeting: We'll talk about college and career options. We select appropriate courses for next year. Your school counselor keeps track of the credits you have earned toward graduation. If you want to attend a 4-year college, we make sure that you take the courses that are required.  
    • Discuss it with your parents. : 
      - ACT/SAT online prep
      - courses to complete a graduation pathway
      - courses to explore your career choice, academic electives, foreign language requirements
      - challenging course work - Make sure you will be challenging yourself and taking the courses college admission officers expect to see. 
  • Make a list of interests, talents and favorite activities and start matching them with occupations. Explore careers and job opportunities with Mr. Noel, the career specialist. He is located in the media center. 
  • Avoid discipline referrals and attend class.
  • Attendance issues show up on your record and can keep you from getting credit for courses.
  • Student attendance requires the following days present to receive credit, provided the student receives a passing grade in the course.  
  • In a 45-day course, a student must be present 42 days.  
  • In a 90-day course, a student must be present 85 days.  
  • In a 180-day course, a student must be present 170 days.
  • Set goals for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps you stay motivated and focused. 
  • Continue to be aware of your academic progress. If you are not on grade level to graduate on time, talk to your counselor about a plan to catch up. 
  • Study hard and do well in school. Remember, your grades will create your GPA and Class Rank. The transcript you have at the end of your 11th Grade year is used by colleges for your initial acceptance.
  • Start to explore and discuss college options. Make a college wish list together. Think about qualities you want in a college in terms of location, size, majors offered and so on. 
  • Get involved in extracurricular clubs, sports, and other groups. Choose meaningful activities for the summer months.  If possible, look for activities that provide exposure to a career field you are considering. At the end of the year, update your 'activities and awards' file or resume.
  • Start thinking about ways to pay for college. Most families get help paying for college costs. Maybe put money into a tech school/college savings account. Attend a free workshop/webinar

ACT or SAT: Which one should I take?

Neither one is "easier".
  • On the SAT there are two math sections (one with a calculator and one without). SAT focuses more on algebra, formulas, and geometry basics. The math sections make up 50% of your final SAT score. If you like math, SAT might be your preferred test.
  • ACT only has one math section (with a calculator),  and a science section. The math score only makes up 25% of the ACT score. ACT has a few questions about geometry and trigonometry. Some people that feel math isn’t their strong suit choose ACT over the SAT. 


Practice and prepare for the ACT or SAT:

  • Official ACT or SAT Prep Booklets (available online with College Board or
  • Free study guides online (either officially endorsed ones or through third party websites)
  • Attest in Lexington has private or group tutoring.
  • Practice tests offered through College Board (SAT) or ACT
  • Take the PSAT during school testing.


Difference between ACT and SAT tests
Total Time 2 hrs 55 mins without Writing
3 hrs 35 mins with Writing
3 hrs total
Order of Sections 1. English
2. Math
3. Reading
4. Science
5. Writing (optional)
1. Reading
2. Writing and Language
3. Math No Calculator
4. Math Calculator
Time Per Section English: 45 mins
Math: 60 mins
Reading: 35 mins
Science: 35 mins
Writing (optional): 40 mins
Reading: 65 mins
Writing and Language: 35 mins
Math No Calculator: 25 mins
Math Calculator: 55 mins
# of Questions English: 75 questions
Math: 60 questions
Reading: 40 questions
Science: 40 questions
Writing (optional): 1 essay
Reading: 52 questions
Writing and Language: 44 questions
Math No Calculator: 20 questions
Math Calculator: 38 questions
Scoring Total score range: 1-36
Each section uses a scale of 1-36. Your total score is the average of your four section scores.
The optional Writing section uses a scale of 2-12 and does not count toward your final score.
Total score range: 400-1600
The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math sections each use a scale of 200-800 and are combined for a total score.
Cost $60 without Writing
$70 with Writing
Who Accepts Scores? Accepted by all colleges and universities in the US Accepted by all colleges and universities in the US

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