Monthly Archives

April 2014

I like to learn in America

By | American university advice, Coaching in Education

In a lakefront campus in Greensboro, North Carolina, the American Hebrew Academy welcomes applications from UK pupils. The international Jewish boarding school has an 88,000 sq ft aquatics centre and sports complex, extensive residential facilities and security designed by Israeli experts. The academy’s mission is “to educate future leaders and enrich Jewish identity”. Shabbat and Yomtovim are celebrated, including Friday-night family-style meals complete with zemirot, bensching and Israeli dancing and students often lead the daily morning and evening prayer services. Teaching is in small classes and every pupil is given a tablet computer. The school will hold particular appeal for those hoping to progress to a top American university, as a high proportion of its pupils obtain places at Ivy League colleges.

Students considering applying to American universities are sometimes put off by the tests required. But there is no need to worry, explains Natalie Lancer, of and “Thousands of UK students are accepted to study in the USA every year,” she says “and students capable of getting good grades at A-level will have no problem, provided they do enough practice.” Two tests are available, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Test (ACT).


  1. Find out if you need to take the tests at all. Although required by top US universities and colleges, the tests are optional for many.less-competitive schools. Also find out if you need to take additional SAT subject tests, or the extended “ACT with writing”.
  2. Take the free online practice tests. The SAT and ACT are of similar difficulty but the structure and content are different, so see which you prefer.
  3. Register and book a test date (allow four to six months to practise).
  4. The SAT is offered six times a year, but some subjects are not available on every date. The ACT is five times a year. Most tests are on Saturdays, but Sunday ACTs are available at Immanuel College, Bushey, Herts.
  5. Buy a book of practice tests and practise two to three hours each weekend. Consult an expert adviser to formalise your revision strategy.
  6. Find out from the college websites the percentage of admitted students who achieved particular scores. Aim to score in the top 50 per cent for the best chance.
  7. If possible, take tests in the spring or summer of year 12, as the standard is roughly equivalent to AS level.
  8. Re-take in the autumn of year 13 if your scores from the previous try were not as good as you had hoped.
  9. Work hard to get good AS and A2 grades. Reserve time in the summer between years 12 and 13 to work on application essays.
  10. Find an adviser or mentor who can help you improve performance and review your application essays.