In Illinois and in Indiana there are two categories of tests: Content Exams (which align with the specific subject you are teaching) and the Basic Skills exam. While the Content Exam is required for all corps members you can be exempt from the Basic Skills exam. The first step you need to take when joining the corps is to determine if you are exempt from the Basic Skills exam. Once you are clear on if you need to take this test we will work with you to design a study plan and to register via a 1x1 call.
In order to meet the Basic Skills requirement you can choose to take one of 3 different exam types (depending on your State):
During your 1x1 call with Lauren you will determine which test option is right for you. Based on your choice you will design a study plan and timeline for testing and registration.
Provided you are on track with Onboarding and actively working towards summer training Teach For America will cover 100% of the costs for all Basic Skills test registration and provide a suite of study materials.
Once you have determined which exam you will take Lauren will send you an direct slack message outlining the registration process. This will require a 5-10 minute action on your part however, Teach For America will ultimately register you and cover the cost.
The benchmark passing score for Illinois and Indiana is different. Because the benchmark is lower in Illinois we work toward that first and foremost. We ask that all Basic Skills testers assume that they will be hired in Chicago only. However, if you are a basic skills tester, and feel passionately about teaching in Northwest Indiana, we can discuss that as an option. Remember, there is no correlation between your success as an educator and your results on this exam, we are aiming for the minimum passing score so you can put this test behind you and focus on next steps.
PASSING SCORE ACT: Composite 22 with a 6 in the Writing Section. Please view the score report calendar for the 2017-2018 ACT here.
PASSING SCORE SAT: 1100 Combined Reading & Math with a 26 in the Writing Section. Please view the score report calendar for the 2017-2018 SAT here.
SUPER SCORING: Beginning in October 2017 the Illinois State Board of Education now allows for Super Scores of ACT/SAT scores. If you do not have an overall passing composite score, we will add the highest subject scores from each test and divide by the total number of tests to for a composite score. Upon completion of your first ACT or SAT Lauren will connect with you individually.
PASSING SCORE ACT: Composite 24 no writing section required. Please view the score report calendar for the 2017-2018 ACT here.
PASSING SCORE SAT: 1100 Combined Reading & Math no writing section required. Please view the score report calendar for the 2017-2018 SAT here.
Indiana does not allow Super Scoring.
Virtual Tutoring | We will offer a series on virtual, small-group, tutoring sessions with our Prep Forward ACT tutor Mary Stephens. The groups will meet 2-3x a week for the month leading up to the February ACT attempt. Official dates will be released in December 2017. You will receive more information here and via our Slack Channel when those sessions become available.
Prep Book | If you would prefer non-virtual study materials you can request an ACT Prep Book. Once the request has been completed we will mail you one within 7-10 business days.
Free Online Resources
- The official ACT website - We recommend you use this site to understand (1) test format (2) what to bring the day of the exam (3) review their free sample questions (4) review their free study guide
- Chegg.com - This website has a free ACT prep course that you can work through at your own pace. It includes diagnostics, practice exams and organizational tools.
- Khan Academy - This is a great website to boost content knowledge (Math, English, Science).
- Khan Academy has a specific SAT prep section, it is certainly worth exploring if you choose to take the SAT.
- Powerscore.com - This website has a series of free ACT/SAT practice tests. Note: these are PDF's that you will need to print, we recommend using this website last (when you are ready to take a practice exam).
- PrepScholar - This website has some free-options and some fee-based options. We recommend you use it to learn about some of the systems/organizational based tips/trick surrounding the ACT. For example:
- The Best Way to Review Your Mistakes on ACT Questions
- The 31 ACT Critical Math Formulas You Must Know
- Time Management Tips and Section Strategy on ACT Science
- ACT Vocabulary: Words You Must Know
- Exactly How Long Should You Study for the ACT? 6 Step Guide
- Should You Guess on the ACT? 5 Guessing Strategies
Slack | We have a private channel in Slack Channel called #bst_community. Using that space we can connect, provide support, share resources and build community. The channel is yours, so feel free to run with it!
Open Call for Ideas | What other community building spaces would you like to have? Virtual meet ups? Calls with current corps members that took these exams? a Facebook group? Let me know via our Slack Channel (#bst_community) and I can set up those spaces!