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D. Enlist the assistance of the state comptroller
Answer: A
Explanation:
While the administrator may issue a cease and desist order, because the administrator is not
a court officer, he or she can't enforce compliance with that order. The administrator’s next
step is to bring action in a court that has jurisdiction over Titanic and to request a permanent
or temporary injunction or restraining order.
Question: 245
BigTop Brokerage wants to register in the state of Ohio. Under the Uniform Securities Act,
which of the following requirements must BigTop satisfy?
A. Verify the marital status of all partners in the business
B. Maintain at least a minimum amount of net capital
C. Maintain a minimum liquid net worth of $500,000
D. Assure the administrator that it intends to open a minimum of 40 new accounts in the
state within the first year
Answer: B
Explanation:
A state administrator may require a broker-dealer registrant to maintain a minimum amount
of net capital; the amount will be specified by the administrator
Question: 246
Which of the following securities are considered exempt securities under the Uniform
Securities Act?
I. Microsoft Corporation
II. The Knights of Columbus
III. U.S. Treasuries
IV. Corporate debt securities trading over the counter vs Securities issued by
Spokane, Washington
VI. Securities issued by London, Ontario
VII. Debt securities issued by Northwestern Mutual Insurance
VIII. A bond issued by Illinois Light & Power
124
A. I, III, V and VIII
B. I, II, III, V, VI, VII, VIII
C. II, III and IV
D. II only
Answer: B
Explanation:
Microsoft is listed on the NYSE and would receive the blue-chip exemption. The Knights
of Columbus is a non-profit fraternal organization and is also exempt. All securities
guaranteed by the U.S. government are exempt. Securities issued by a U.S. or Canadian
municipality are exempt. Debt securities issued by an insurance company are considered
exempt. A bond issued by a public utility is exempt since it is specifically and otherwise
regulated. Corporate debt securities trading over the counter would NOT qualify for the
blue-chip exemption because they do not trade on a national exchange
Question: 247
Under the Uniform Securities Act, which of the following is NOT considered a security?
A. Treasury stock
B. Stock options
C. Variable annuity
D. Life insurance
Answer: D
Explanation:
Under the Uniform Securities Act, all options define a security, with the exception of life
insurance
Question: 248
Under the Uniform Securities Act, a state administrator may allow an investment advisor
the authority to trade in a client account, but the advisor may not be allowed to remove
client funds and securities from the account. This is known as:
A. Absolute option
B. Consent to process
C. Consent to authority
125
D. Limited discretion
Answer: D
Explanation:
Investment advisors often have their clients open accounts at a broker-dealer so that the
advisor does not have to go through the process of obtaining state approval in order to take
custody of client funds and securities. The advisor will then receive discretionary authority
from the client in order to trade in the account on their behalf. The discretionary authority
received is typically "limited discretion" whereby the advisor may transact in the account
but is not allowed to remove funds or securities from the account
Question: 249
The maximum penalty for the criminal violation of a state securities law is:
A. $10,000 fine, five years in prison, or both
B. $5,000 fine, three years in prison, or both
C. $10,000 fine
D. $5,000 fine
Answer: B
Explanation:
Under the Uniform Securities Act, a criminal violation exists if the person willfully violates
a provision of the Act. The maximum penalty for each violation is a $5,000 fine, three years
in prison, or both. If the person proves that he or she had no prior knowledge of the
provision violated, there will be no prison sentence imposed. The state administrator does
not have the authority to impose criminal penalties - the courts in each state take these
actions
Question: 250
Which of the following is true regarding the Investment Advisor''s Act of 1940 as it pertains
to anti-fraud provisions:
A. A company that meets the definition of an investment advisor but does not have to
register due to an exemption is subject to the anti-fraud provisions of the Act
B. The state Administrator is responsible for registering all fraudulent investment advisors
who fall under the federal definition
126
C. A company that is accused of committing fraud and is exonerated of all charges is then
required to register with the SEC
D. A company that meets the defintion of an investment advisor and is registered at the
federal level is not subject to the anti-fraud provisions of the Act
Answer: B
Explanation:
If a company is exempt from federal registration, it still is subject to the anti-fraud
provisions - no matter what the exemption - anti-fraud rules apply to all investment advisor
at either the state or federal level
Question: 251
Heatprod Investment Advisors is opening a new account for Mrs Mathers, but the firm does
not want to be responsible for custody of her securities. To keep her as a customer, they try
an alternate solution. Mrs Mathers will open an account at a local broker-dealer and then
give written discretionary authority to Heatprod. This will allow Heatprod to execute
transactions in her broker account. Is this legal?
A. Possibly, unless Mrs Mathers offers the broker reciprocal advantages
B. No, it is strictly prohibited for a broker-dealer and investment advisor to cross transact
C. Mrs Mathers could face charges if caught
D. Yes, investment advisors often do this
Answer: D
Explanation:
This is a perfectly legal and common solution to the challenge. Under the Uniform
Securities Act, investment advisors may keep custody of client funds and securities.
However, in order to do so, the advisory firm must obtain approval from the state
administrator first. In order to avoid going through the administrator, the advisor may
obtain written discretionary authority to trade in the client's account at the broker-dealer.
The client funds or securities are held at the broker-dealer for a fee, and everyone is
satisfied
127
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Employers use basic tests to screen new applicants and assess current employees who are seeking promotion. Tests measure cognitive ability, physical dexterity, personality and other traits and characteristics necessary to make an informed hiring decision or promotion. Each test has features that can help predict workplace behaviors, such as dependability, leadership and the ability to effectively complete tasks.

Aptitude

  1. Employee aptitude tests measure basic skills and cognitive ability. Basic skills tests measure employee proficiency in certain areas. Employers administer computer and math aptitude tests, as well as tests that measure proficiency in communication, such as spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Some tests measure fluency in English or other languages. These tests are designed to identify reasoning ability, memory, accuracy and speed. Aptitude tests help employers identify candidates who possess the skills required to be productive in a particular position.

Personality

  1. Personality tests are evaluations that determine the likelihood that an employee will engage certain types of behavior. These tests also determine the chances an employee will succeed in a given role based on personality types required for that role. These tests also l indicate whether an employee will engage in unfavorable behaviors, such as absenteeism. Personality tests evaluate factors such as emotional control, tolerance, confidence and competitiveness by asking strategically designed questions. Other tests ask participants to choose a word or phrase that best describes their normal behavior. The test creates a personality profile based on the individual's answers.

Performance

  1. Performance tests evaluate a candidate's ability to perform job tasks. These tests are often administered in simulation form. They assess the employee's skills and knowledge of a particular function or job. Performance tests help determine if a worker is qualified for a specific job, and they predict the likelihood a candidate will be able to complete job responsibilities.

Physical Ability

  1. Many occupations require considerable physical ability. Firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel must be physically fit and possess considerable strength to perform job duties optimally. Physical tests measure strength and stamina. These tests often require candidates to carry objects a certain distance or for a certain amount of time. The tests also require candidates to lift objects of varying weights. Some tests analyze stamina through jogging or sprinting assessments. Other tests measure upper-body strength through pullups, pushups or other exercises.

Fri, 20 Jul 2018 13:40:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://smallbusiness.chron.com/basic-employee-tests-11662.html
What Is an Employment Proficiency Test?

Casey Anderson is a part-time writer and full-time marketer who has been published on websites such as Opposing Views and Salon. She has also contributed articles to local Detroit Magazines, Strut and Orbit. A Wayne State University Master of Business Administration graduate, Nation began her writing career in 2001 and has extensive experience in business and research writing.

Mon, 17 Aug 2020 00:36:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://smallbusiness.chron.com/employment-proficiency-test-45803.html
Software test automation for the survival of business

In this two part series, we explore the two sides of testing: automated and manual. In this article, we examine why automated testing should be done. To read the other side of the argument, go here. 

In today’s business environment, stakeholders rely on their enterprise applications to work quickly and efficiently, with absolutely no downtime. Anything short of that could result in a slew of business performance issues and ultimately lost revenue. Take the exact incident in which CDN provider Fastly failed to detect a software bug which resulted in massive global outages for government agencies, news outlets and other vital institutions. 

Effective and thorough testing is mission-critical for software development across categories including business software, consumer applications and IoT solutions. But as continuous deployment demands ramp up and companies face an ongoing tech talent shortage, inefficient software testing has become a serious pain point for enterprise developers, and they’ve needed to rely on new technologies to Improve the process.

The Benefits of Test Automation

As with many other disciplines, the key to quickly implementing continuous software development and deployment is robust automation. Converting manual tests to automated tests not only reduces the amount of time it takes to test, but it can also reduce the chance of human error and allows minimal defects to escape into production. Just by converting manual testing to automated testing, companies can reduce three to four days of manual testing time to one, eight-hour overnight session. Therefore, testing does not even have to be completed during peak usage hours.

Automation solutions also allow organizations to test more per cycle in less time by running tests across distributed functional testing infrastructures and in parallel with cross-browser and cross-device mobile testing. Furthermore, if a team lacks mobile devices to test on, it can leverage solutions to enable devices and emulators to be controlled through an enterprise-wide mobile lab manager.

Challenges in Test Automation

Despite all the benefits of automated software testing, many companies are still facing challenges that prevent them from reaping the full benefits of automation. One of those key challenges is managing the complexities of today’s software testing environment, with an increasing pace of releases and proliferation of platforms on which applications need to run (native Android, native iOS, mobile browsers, desktop browsers, etc.). With so many conflicting specifications and platform-specific features, there are many more requirements for automated testing – meaning there are just as many potential pitfalls.

Software releases and application upgrades are also happening at a much quicker pace in exact years. The faster rollout of software releases, while necessary, can break test automation scripts due to fragile, properties-based object identification, or even worse, bitmap-based identification. Due to the varying properties across platforms, tests must be properly replicated and administered on each platform – which can take immense time and effort.

Therefore, robust, and effective test automation also requires an elevated skill set, especially in today’s complex, multi-ecosystem application environment. Record-and-playback testing, a tool which records a tester’s interactions and executes them many times over, is no longer sufficient.

With all of these challenges to navigate, including how difficult it can be to find the right talent, how can companies increase release frequency without sacrificing quality and security?

Ensuring Robust Automation with Artificial Intelligence

To meet the high demands of software testing, automation must be coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Truly robust automation must be resilient, and not rely on product code completion to be created. It must be well-integrated into an organization’s product pipelines, adequately data-driven and in full alignment with the business logic.

Organizations can allow quality assurance teams to begin testing earlier – even in the mock-up phase – through the use of AI-enabled capabilities for the creation of single script that will automatically execute on multiple platforms, devices and browsers. With AI alone, companies can experience major increases in test design speed as well as significant decreases in maintenance costs.

Furthermore, with the proliferation of low-code/no-code solutions, AI-infused test automation is even more critical for ensuring product quality. Solutions that infuse AI object recognition can enable test automation to be created from mockups, facilitating test automation in the pipeline even before product code has been generated or configured. These systems can provide immediate feedback once products are initially released into their first environments, providing for more resilient, successful software releases.

To remain competitive, all businesses need to be as productive and efficient as possible, and the key to that lies in properly tested, functioning, performant enterprise applications. Cumbersome, manual testing is no longer sufficient, and enterprises that continue to rely on it will be caught flat-footed and getting outperformed and out-innovated. Investing in automation and AI-powered development tools will give enterprises the edge they need to stay ahead of the competition.

Mon, 05 Jul 2021 12:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://sdtimes.com/test/software-test-automation-for-the-survival-of-business/
5 benefits of small business credit cards

The Capital One Spark Cash for Business is no longer available to new applicants; however, Capital One has launched 3 new business cards for small business owners. Click here to learn more.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Small business owners manage a lot of responsibility, and when first starting out, you're just as likely manage the trash pick up as the payroll. Of course, finances are a huge consideration and small business credit cards can be a major asset, when used responsibly. Opening a small business credit card is a great way to streamline day-to-day business expenses while enjoying added perks, such as rewards and purchase protection.

Below, Select reviews the benefits of small business credit cards that can add up to increased savings and easier expense management.

1. Finance purchases and simplify cash flow

2. Streamline employee expenses

3. Earn rewards

Many business cards offer rewards programs that can earn you cash back, points or miles. All the purchases made on your business card account earn rewards — which includes any purchases employees make. Rewards can be redeemed in a variety of ways, such as statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and travel.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers rewards geared toward business that spend a lot on travel: Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com, plus a 35% Airline Bonus: use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year when you book on AmexTravel.com. Terms apply.

There are also cards with simpler rewards programs. The Capital One Spark Classic for Business* offers 1% cash back on every purchase.

4. Receive travel and purchase protections

5. Access account management tools

Most business cards offer quarterly and year-end summaries, plus the ability to download purchase records to accounting programs like Excel and Quickbooks. This allows you to easily track spending and simplify financials come tax season.

Amex business cards allow you to review a year-end summary and send transactions to Quickbooks on a daily basis, after enrollment. Capital One business cards provide an easy view of recurring transactions, a year-end summary and the ability to download purchase records into Quicken, QuickBooks and Excel. Chase business cards offer quarterly reports and integration with bookkeeping software to simplify accounting.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.

*Information about the Capital One Spark Cash for Business and Capital One Spark Classic for Business has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

Wed, 13 Dec 2023 21:20:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.cnbc.com/select/benefits-of-small-business-credit-cards/
Put your own probate to the test

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In an episode of the US television comedy series Frasier, the main character, Dr Frasier Crane, is misreported in the press as having died. It means he gets to read his own obituaries. Disappointed, he suddenly wants to write a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and climb mountains.

Encouraging readers to start the year by imagining their own deaths might seem rather depressing, but I think it can be a positive exercise. It helps you to think about your legacy. And there are several parts to that.

Often the person picking up the pieces is a close family member or friend. Sometimes it is a professional, such as an accountant or lawyer, charging by the hour. The first question you might ask is: are your executors still right for the role?

I have seen instances where the executor was fine in their prime — when the will was written. But 30 years later they are too frail and ill. I have also seen cases where the executor has already died.

An executor’s job is a miserable one, so make it easier. By running through what would be involved in doing your own probate (or confirmation in Scotland), you will discover what it would be like for someone else.

Is all the necessary documentation in one place — either on your computer or at your home? Do your executors have access to it? Do they have contact details for your advisers as well as your beneficiaries? Is the information up to date? An advantage of having an adviser or private banker at the hub of your financial world is that much of this information is already held in a professional data system. Regardless, you can still make things easier for your executors.

Picture them going through your filing cabinet. If you never throw paperwork out, what will they think when they find a savings plan that started with one company 30 years ago and several confusing rebrands and takeovers later is now looked after by a completely different business? Do you need all that documented history? 

IHT legacy

Consider, too, inheritance tax (IHT). HM Revenue & Customs may drill down into your gift register to see if any large gifts have been made in the seven years before your death on which IHT might now be owed.

If you have been making regular gifts out of income — an IHT-efficient form of giving — HMRC may want to see records to show this was truly out of income rather than capital. If you have not logged this information, it could take you — and therefore your executors — hours to do so. This will encourage you to be more conscientious about logging gifts in future.

Liquidity

How will executors pay the IHT bill? Ordinarily it must be settled within six months of death but, for some non-liquid assets such as property, HMRC allows you to pay by instalments across 10 years. It does charge interest, though, and you must settle the full bill on disposal. All this makes winding up your estate even more complex. Most people just want the job done and that may mean taking a price cut on a property to sell quickly. Experience suggests that in today’s market this could mean knocking another 20 per cent off the reasonable asking price. 

Recognising this may encourage you to move into more liquid assets now or — as many of our clients do — to take out whole-of-life insurance that pays enough on death to cover at least this part of the IHT bill. This simplifies things for your executors and gives your beneficiaries more time to dispose of assets if and when ready.

Beneficiaries

Of course, you also need to review who your beneficiaries are. Since you last wrote a will and completed pension beneficiary forms, your children may have divorced their partners. There may be more grandchildren. You may have become disillusioned with the charity that once mattered so much to you. You may have new concerns and passions.

This brings us to another important point — the amounts you are leaving to your beneficiaries and how these will be met. Around 20 years ago, a couple writing their will left £500,000 in cash and investments for family. They left a house in Muswell Hill, north London, worth a similar amount, to charity.

When they died recently, a friend who was trustee of the estate found their cash pot for family members had fallen to nearer £250,000. Meanwhile, the house sold for £2mn, all of which went to charity. Was that their intention? Probably not. Many charities rely on legacies and enforce gifts to the letter, so think carefully about how you frame your will. Fixed-figure legacies and bequests of assets with growth potential to a charity require regular review.

Living legacy

When all this is done, you might want to think about the larger, more philosophical legacy question. What difference will your gifts make? Could you be making that difference now?

One of the biggest factors holding people back from giving before death is concern about their own needs. Here lies uncertainty. How long will we live? What might our needs be? Do our children need help? And grandchildren — might more be on the way?

A good financial plan can reassure you that your needs — and those of your family — are covered. From here you can address further questions. For example, are there other people you want to support through education beyond your immediate family? 

Imagining your death every five years can encourage you to revisit the issue of your larger legacy. As each half decade passes, it may become clearer how much you can give. Your own expenditure might have dropped as foreign travel becomes more exhausting than fun. There may be greater clarity on your children’s and grandchildren’s needs.

Giving before you die enables you to see the changes your wealth can make. Family members may need it more when they are younger — you can enjoy helping them and reduce your IHT bill at the same time.

Giving to charity while still alive also means you have more control over the projects you fund. You can give gradually, measure the benefits and recalibrate. This is not possible when you die!

Many of my clients get enormous pleasure from unleashing their legacy early. In this season of resolutions, consider setting some time aside to consider the impact of your death. It may change the way you live.

Nathan Valbonesi is a chartered financial planner and leads the investment and wealth advice team at Weatherbys Private Bank

Tue, 02 Jan 2024 15:00:00 -0600 en-GB text/html https://www.ft.com/content/eb85b153-d560-4e1b-ba88-ddceab09502a
Which State Has The Best Test Scores? Analyzing Standardized Testing Trends

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

As online college and other alternative higher ed options have grown in popularity, standardized testing has become less important at the college level, with many colleges going test-optional. But high school students across the U.S. still take the SAT and ACT® to prep for college admissions.

At the K-12 level, standardized testing remains a vital metric for measuring students’ comprehension and competency in core subject areas like math, reading, writing and science. Standardized test scores provide primary and secondary school teachers and administrators with data-driven insights that inform curriculum development and shape educational policies and practices. These scores can also impact a school’s funding and resource allocation.

In this article, we rank the states with the highest standardized test scores and discuss the evolving role of standardized testing, including K-12 assessments and college entrance exams.

Why Does Standardized Testing Matter in the U.S.?

Standardized testing assesses the academic performance of students, teachers and schools. Test scores offer a quantitative metric to determine whether schools meet established standards and help educators and policymakers identify areas for improvement.

K-12 Standardized Assessments

At the K-12 level, standardized testing evaluates students’ proficiency in core subject areas at their respective grade levels. Test scores offer insights into the factors affecting a student’s, school’s or state’s performance. They can also inform instructional strategies and shape curriculum development.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a comprehensive assessment encompassing print and digital assessments across multiple subject areas, including math, practicing and science. NAEP is usually administered at the state and district levels among fourth and eighth grades. On this page, we use fourth- and eighth-grade math and practicing assessments to determine our rankings.

K-12 standardized testing often faces criticism for its testing practices. Teachers, administrators and parents argue that standardized testing doesn’t account for each student’s unique learning style and strengths, instead testing students using a one-size-fits-all approach. Some say the education system’s focus on standardized testing has narrowed the scope and focus of curriculums to accommodate test results.

This criticism drives an ongoing dialogue about the need for more holistic and inclusive testing and assessment practices. Teachers, administrators and curriculum developers continue to propose alternative assessment methods—such as performance tasks, project-based work and portfolios—to better capture the multifaceted nature of student learning.

College Entrance Exams

During their third and fourth years of high school, students often take college entrance exams ahead of submitting their applications for admission. These test scores measure learners’ academic readiness for higher education. Colleges and universities use standardized tests to inform their admissions decisions.

Colleges and universities also consider several other factors during the admissions process, such as academic performance, extracurricular activities, personal statements and letters of recommendation. Also, many colleges have adopted test-optional admissions policies, which lift entrance test requirements for first-year applicants.

Though test-optional colleges do not require the ACT or SAT for college admission, most still consider entrance test scores when applicants choose to submit them.

Our ranking looks at metrics from the following standardized tests.

  • SAT: The SAT is a multiple-choice test that covers math, evidence-based practicing and writing. Each section of the SAT is scored on a 200- to 800-point scale, making 1600 the highest possible score.
  • ACT: The ACT evaluates students’ knowledge in four areas: English, reading, mathematics and science. There’s also an optional writing section, which does not affect the composite ACT score. Your composite score comprises the average of the four subject scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. Possible ACT scores range from one to 36.
  • MCAT: All medical school programs in the U.S. use the MCAT for medical school admissions. This computer-based, multiple-choice test evaluates critical thinking, problem-solving, and knowledge of behavioral, natural and social science concepts and principles.

States With the Best Test Scores

Below we rank each U.S. state based on its standardized testing performances. Our methodology uses data from K-12 assessments, focusing on fourth- and eighth-grade math and practicing assessments and college entrance test performances.

Top Five States

The top five states in our standardized testing performance ranking are:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Utah
  3. New Jersey
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Connecticut

Common factors contributing to these states’ strong performances include rigorous academic standards, adequate funding, student-to-teacher ratios, professional development and successful education policies and reforms.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts consistently ranks among the states with the highest standardized test scores in the U.S. and secured the top spot on our list. At the fourth grade level, 42.9% of students demonstrated proficiency or higher in math; 42.61% achieved the same in reading.

In the eighth grade, Massachusetts students maintained their position as top performers among students nationwide, with 35.06% demonstrating proficiency or higher in math and 39.8% achieving the same in reading. While Massachusetts students received slightly lower average SAT scores than students in some other states, they earned the nation’s highest average ACT and MCAT scores.

Utah

Utah ranked second on our list, with 42.9% of NAEP test takers demonstrating proficiency or higher in math and 36.83% achieving the same in reading. Utah students received the highest average SAT score in the nation, with average ACT and MCAT scores trailing just below Massachusetts.

New Jersey

New Jersey placed third in our ranking, with 39.42% of fourth graders performing at or above proficiency in math and 38.02% at or above proficient in reading. New Jersey scored higher average ACT scores than Utah, and its average SAT and MCAT scores ranked just below Massachusetts and Utah.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s standardized testing performance ranked fourth, with 39.96% of fourth graders demonstrating proficiency or higher in math and 37.02% achieving the same in reading. These rates dropped slightly through the eighth grade. New Hampshire had the highest average MCAT scores of any U.S. state.

Connecticut

Connecticut claimed the fifth spot in our ranking, where 37.01% of fourth graders demonstrated proficiency or higher in math, and 34.62% showcased the same in reading. Connecticut students maintained their overall performances through eighth grade, though math levels dropped by 7.06%. Connecticut’s average ACT and MCAT scores were on par with those of Massachusetts.

Bottom Five States

Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, New Mexico and Oklahoma ranked in the bottom five states for standardized test scores.

Various educational, economic and social factors influence these scores. For example, states with lower socioeconomic status may face challenges such as resource allocation to education or limited resources.

Mississippi

Mississippi ranked fifth-lowest in our ranking, with 32.07% of fourth graders demonstrating proficiency or above in math and 30.64% performing the same in reading. This trend continues through the eighth grade, with the percentages of students performing at this level declining to 17.75% in math and 21.98% in reading.

Alabama

Alabama ranked fourth-lowest on our list, with 27.17% of fourth graders demonstrating proficiency or above in math and 28.26% demonstrating the same in reading. These performance levels persisted through the eighth grade, dropping by 8.48% in math and 6.23% in reading. Notably, Alabama students earned higher average ACT and MCAT scores compared to Mississippi; however, their average SAT scores were lower.

West Virginia

West Virginia placed third from the bottom, with 22.84% of fourth graders demonstrating proficiency or above in math and 22.28% achieving the same in reading. The percentage of students performing at this level dropped slightly through the eighth grade to 15.09% in math and 21.66% in reading.

West Virginia students saw lower average SAT scores than learners in Mississippi and Alabama; however, their average ACT and MCAT scores kept up.

New Mexico

New Mexico ranked second-to-last in terms of standardized testing performance, with just 19.12% of fourth graders demonstrating proficiency or higher in practicing and 20.97% achieving the same in reading. Performance rates through the eighth grade dropped by 6.43% in math and 2.54% in reading. Students in New Mexico received the lowest average SAT scores of any state. However, their average ACT and MCAT scores were comparable to students in Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma placed at the bottom of our ranking, with 26.83% of fourth graders demonstrating proficiency or higher in math, and 24.02% performing the same in reading. NAEP performances declined through the eighth grade, falling by 5.55% and 2.74% in math and reading, respectively.

The Bottom Line

Massachusetts, Utah, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Connecticut lead the nation in standardized testing performance. Overall, students in these states maintained strong NAEP performance levels through the eighth grade, with only minimal changes in practicing and math performances.

Comparatively, the bottom five states—Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, New Mexico and Oklahoma—experience a sharper decline in proficiency levels from fourth to eighth grade.

These contrasting performances highlight how various factors may impact standardized testing outcomes at various grade levels, emphasizing the importance of addressing educational disparities.

Methodology

To determine the states with the best test scores, Forbes Advisor Education obtained data on test performance at the elementary, middle, high school and college levels.

At the elementary level, we analyzed the percentage of fourth-grade students who scored at or above grade-appropriate proficiency in the math and practicing sections of NAEP, according to government data from The Nation’s Report Card. We conducted an identical analysis of eighth-grade student scores.

To measure high school standardized test performance, we looked at the average ACT and SAT scores among test takers who graduated from high school in 2023. This data came from ACT and the College Board, respectively.

Finally, to measure how a state’s college-educated test takers compare, we used the average MCAT scores of medical students expected to earn their MD in 2023–24, separated according to students’ states of legal residence. This data came from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Standardized Testing

What is meant by a standardized test?

A standardized test is an assessment that’s administered and scored in a consistent and uniform manner across a broad population. Standardized tests are designed to measure students’ comprehension and competency in specific subject areas, evaluate overall academic performance and inform educational policies.

What are the problems with standardized testing?

Standardized testing often faces criticism from teachers, administrators and parents. Some argue that the one-size-fits-all approach overlooks students’ diverse learning styles and strengths. Moreover, some say standardized testing includes biases that can influence schools’ curriculums and funding allocations.

What are the pros and cons of standardized testing?

In primary schools, standardized testing offers a quantitative assessment of academic performance, theoretically removing subjective biases that come from individual instructors and district-specific assessments. Some say standardized testing favors certain learning styles and socioeconomic backgrounds and stifles creativity.

Is the SAT a standardized test?

The SAT is a standardized college entrance test usually taken during the junior or senior year of high school. Many colleges and universities use SAT scores during admissions; however, schools commonly adopt test-optional admissions processes that do not require applicants to submit standardized test scores.

Thu, 04 Jan 2024 04:33:00 -0600 Mariah St John en-US text/html https://www.forbes.com/advisor/education/which-states-have-the-highest-standardized-test-scores/
American Express Business Platinum Benefits

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers an impressive array of benefits, making it an ideal option for frequent business travelers. This ultra-premium card comes with a generous welcome bonus, airport lounge access, a high earnings rate for certain travel bookings through American Express Travel and a slew of other benefits that could make it a valuable addition to your wallet.

While the Amex Business Platinum has numerous benefits, it also comes with a hefty annual fee of $695 (terms apply, see rates & fees), a cost that could be too high for certain small business owners. Still, it’s possible to offset this cost fairly easily if you access many of this card’s benefits—just be realistic when assessing which benefits you’ll use.

If you’re in the market for a new business card, here’s an in-depth look at the Business Platinum Card’s benefits to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Amex Business Platinum Card Points and Travel Perks

Welcome Bonus

New Amex Business Platinum cardholders can earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases with the card within the first 3 months of card membership. While the minimum spend to earn the bonus might seem high, if you’re using the card to cover all your business expenses, it may be easier to meet that threshold than you think.

As long as you can hit the spending target and earn the welcome bonus, you can easily beat the cost of the Business Platinum Card’s annual fee the first year. The value of Membership Rewards points depends on how you redeem them. If you book a flight through Amex Travel, points are worth 1 cent each. So, for example, 120,000 points would be worth $1,200.

You can also transfer points to a wide variety of airline and hotel partners (more on that later) and redeem them for bookings through those loyalty programs at potentially outsized value.

Earning Rates

Besides the welcome bonus, cardmembers earn 5 Membership Rewards® points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels through American Express Travel, 1.5 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software and cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

If you often book travel through the Amex portal, you could earn a significant number of points on flights and prepaid hotels. And if you opt to use points to book flights through the Amex portal, you’ll get 35% of your points back—up to 1 million points back per calendar year.

Lounge Access

Business Platinum cardholders also get free access to over 1,400 lounges through The American Express Global Lounge Collection, including the following:

  • The Centurion Lounge
  • The International American Express Lounges
  • Priority Pass (enrollment required)
  • Delta Sky Club (when flying Delta)
  • Plaza Premium
  • Escape Lounges

To offer some context on the value of these benefits, if you were to purchase a Priority Pass membership on your own, you’d pay from $99 to $469 depending on the membership tier you chose. And you’d pay $695 annually, as an individual member, for Delta Sky Club access.

Travel and Business Credits

As an Amex Business Platinum cardholder, you’ll get several travel credits that can help you save time and money, including an up to $200 annual statement credit for airline incidentals (when you select one qualifying airline), an up to $189 CLEAR® Plus statement credit per year, and a fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Beyond travel credits, you’ll also get several annual credits that can offset the cost of certain business expenses, including an up to $400 Dell statement credit ($200 between January and June and $200 between July and December), an up to $360 Indeed statement credit, an up to $150 Adobe statement credit and an up to $120 wireless in statement credits per year for wireless telephone service purchases made directly with a wireless provider in the U.S.
Enrollment is required to access certain benefits.

Elite Status

Some premium travel cards provide elite status with certain hotel programs—and the American Express Business Platinum delivers that. With this card and enrollment, you’ll get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite and Hilton Honors Gold status, and access to benefits like late checkout, room upgrades, bonus points in the respective hotel company’s loyalty program and more (exact benefits will vary depending on whether you’re staying at a Marriott or Hilton property).

Fine Hotels & Resorts

You’ll get additional value when you book with a Fine Hotels & Resorts property through Amex Travel using your Business Platinum Card. Benefits include complimentary breakfast for two, late checkout, early check-in and an up to $100 credit that can be used for food, drinks, or spa visits. There are over 2,000 hotels and resorts to choose from, which means you’ll probably be able to upgrade your travel experience no matter your destination.

Rental Car Upgrades

In addition to elite status in certain hotel programs, you’ll also get premium status in popular rental car programs (when you enroll), including Hertz, Avis, and National Car Rental with this card. As a premium member, you’ll enjoy free upgrades when available and perks such as priority access.

Travel Insurance

If you’ve booked a trip using your Amex Business Platinum, you have some extra peace of mind thanks to the card’s travel protections—including trip cancellation and interruption insurance¹, trip delay insurance¹ and coverage for lost or damaged baggage². These benefits can compensate you if your trip is canceled, cut short or delayed for a covered reason, or if you need to replace checked or carry-on luggage lost or damaged due to a covered reason.

Other Protections

The Business Platinum from American Express also offers other protections beyond travel insurance. Its cellphone protection will reimburse you up to $800 for a covered incident (subject to a $50 deductible), while its purchase protection coverage provides up to $10,000 worth of protection for covered purchases from 90 days of your purchase date³ . You’ll also get extended warranty protection².

Can I Transfer My Amex Membership Rewards Points?

Apart from its array of benefits, the Amex Business Platinum offers the flexibility to transfer your Membership Rewards points to several different partners, including 16 airlines and three hotel programs. Your points will typically transfer at a 1:1 ratio, though you could net a few extra points by transferring to certain partners, such as AeroMexico or Hilton Honors.

Amex travel partners and transfer ratios include:

Is the Amex Business Platinum Card Worth the Annual Fee?

The Amex Business Platinum may be worth the $695 annual fee if you travel often and you’re able to tap into the many benefits the card offers. While earning the welcome bonus alone can offset the annual fee the first year, to recoup the cost on an ongoing basis, you’ll need to turn to the high earnings rate for Amex travel purchases, the complimentary lounge access and the generous credits for travel and various business services.

But, for small businesses that don’t require frequent travel, a cheaper card alternative may be better. For instance, less frequent travelers might consider the American Express® Business Gold Card. This card comes with a lower annual fee than the Business Platinum—$295 ($375 if application is received on or after 2/1/24) (terms apply, see rates & fees)—but still offers a generous welcome bonus, a high earnings rate on certain spending and benefits such as a baggage insurance plan² and trip delay coverage¹.

With the Amex Business Gold, new cardholders can earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of opening an account.

And, for ongoing rewards, you’ll earn 4 Membership Rewards® points per dollar on the 2 select categories where a business spends the most each month (up to $150,000 combined purchases per calendar year), 3 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel and 1 point per dollar is earned for other purchases.

How To Maximize Amex Business Platinum Benefits

The first step to maximize the value you can get with the Amex Business Platinum is to make sure you can realistically meet the spend requirement to earn the welcome bonus: 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases with the card within the first 3 months of card membership.

If you’re concerned about your ability to meet the high minimum spend required to earn the bonus, a different business credit card might be a better option.

On an ongoing basis, those who travel often for business will likely get the most value from this card, as it offers an array of travel credits, premium statuses in hotel and rental car programs and multiple travel insurance protections. For instance, consider the annual up to $200 airline incidentals statement credit, the annual up to $189 CLEAR® Plus statement credit and the fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (available every four years for the former or every four-and-a-half for the latter).

When paying for travel bookings (as opposed to redeeming points for award travel), you’ll want to use Amex Travel whenever possible to take advantage of the Business Platinum’s rate of 5 points per dollar spent: 5 Membership Rewards® points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels through American Express Travel, 1.5 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software and cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

If you want to book travel with points, the Membership Rewards program has a wealth of airline and hotel partners. With most partners, points transfer at a 1:1 rate—and it’s possible to get exceptional value for your points if you’re sharp about looking out for good award travel deals.

Bottom Line

Overall, the American Express Business Platinum is a valuable tool for business owners seeking premium travel benefits and protections and willing to shell out $695 per year for the annual fee. But make sure you will actually use the benefits before hitting that apply button.

To view rates and fees for the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page.
To view rates and fees for the American Express® Business Gold Card please visit this page.

¹Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

²Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

³Coverage for a Stolen or damaged Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone is subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limits of liability of this benefit. The maximum liability is $800, per claim, per Eligible Card Account. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. Coverage is limited to two (2) claims per Eligible Card Account per 12 month period.Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Wed, 13 Dec 2023 20:13:00 -0600 Jess Ullrich en-US text/html https://www.forbes.com/advisor/credit-cards/amex-business-platinum-benefits/
Wall Street Breakfast Podcast: QuantumScape Soars On Volkswagen Battery Test Success
QuantumScape headquarters in San Jose, California, USA

JHVEPhoto/iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Listen below or on the go on Apple Podcasts and Spotify

QuantumScape (QS) skyrockets after dazzling with Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAF) battery test. (00:23) Costco (COST) benefits from additional shopping day in December, net sales up 9.9%. (01:32) McDonald's (MCD) faces backlash in Middle East impacting business. (02:10)

This is an abridged transcript of the podcast.

QuantumScape Corporation (NYSE:QS) soared in afternoon trading Thursday after the company reached an important milestone in a test of its battery technology by Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAF).

In a test confirmed by PowerCo, the battery company of Volkswagen, QuantumScape's (QS) solid-state cell significantly exceeded the requirements in the A-sample test and successfully completed more than 1,000 charging cycles.

PowerCo noted that for an electric car with a WLTP range of 500-600 kilometres (311-373 miles) , this corresponds to a total mileage of more than half a million kilometres (~310,000 miles).

Notably, the cell barely aged and still had 95% of its capacity or discharge energy retention at the end of the test.

Looking ahead, the next step on the way to series production is for QuantumScape (QS) to perfect and scale the manufacturing processes.

QuantumScape (QS) ended the day Thursday up 43%.

The company is expected to report Q4 earnings sometime during the middle part of February.

Costco (NASDAQ:COST) reported on Thursday net sales of $26.15 billion for the retail month of December, a rise of 9.9% year-over-year.

Total company comparable sales for December rose 8.5%. Excluding the impact of gasoline prices and foreign exchange, total company comparable sales gained 8.1%.

U.S. comparable sales for December rose 7.3%.

According to the retailer, December benefited from one additional shopping day due to the timing of New Year’s Day, boosting total and comparable sales by about three percent.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) finds that it is not immune to the lingering conflict in the Middle East.

In his New Year's message to employees, CEO Chris Kempczinski said that several markets in the Middle East and some outside the region have experienced a "meaningful business impact" due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, along with associated misinformation about the brand.

Tensions between the hamburger chain and Arab countries were ignited when McDonald's (MCD) franchisees in Israel began offering discounts to soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces.

The action triggered an immediate backlash against the company across the region leading McDonald's Oman to respond with a $100K donation towards relief efforts in Gaza.

On our catalyst watch for the day,

On our earnings watch for the day, Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) is scheduled to announce Q3 earnings results today, before the market opens. The consensus EPS Estimate is $3.00 (-0.3% Y/Y) and the consensus Revenue Estimate is $2.54B (+4.1% Y/Y). Over the last 2 years, Constellation Brands has beaten EPS estimates 100% of the time and has beaten revenue estimates 88% of the time.

Other articles to look out for on Seeking Alpha:

Pepsico products pulled from Carrefour as retailer loses appetite for price hikes

Masking returns to some U.S. hospitals amid rising COVID, flu cases

Microsoft may soon supplant Apple as world's most valuable company

Major market averages ended Thursday’s trading session with another downward move after Wall Street received some additional jobs data.

The Nasdaq (COMP.IND) was the worst performer as it closed lower by 0.56%. The S&P 500 (SP500) concluded lower by 0.34%, and the Dow (DJI) finished slightly higher, near even.

Three of the eleven S&P sectors were able to pull together gains as the market was led by Health Care and Financials. On the other side, Energy was the worst performer as oil (CL1:COM) dipped by 0.8%.

U.S. Treasury yields pushed upwards. The 10-year yield (US10Y) rose 8 basis points to 4.00%. At the same time the 2-year yield (US2Y) rose 5 basis points to 4.38%.

Now let’s take a look at the markets as of 6 am. Ahead of the opening bell today, Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures are in the red. The Dow is down 0.2%, the S & P 500 is down 0.2% and the Nasdaq is down 0.3%. Crude oil is up 0.5% at more than $72 per barrel. Bitcoin is up 1.4% and above $43,000.

In the world markets, the FTSE 100 is down 0.8% and the DAX is down 0.8%.

The biggest movers for the day premarket: Building on Thursday's gain of 14%, Peloton (NASDAQ:PTON) is up another 2.6% premarket after the fitness platform announced an exclusive partnership with ByteDance-owned video hosting service TikTok.

On today’s economic calendar:

  • 8:30 a.m. The U.S. jobs report for December will be released. Economists forecast 170K job additions for the month and expect the unemployment rate at 3.8%.

  • 1:30 p.m. Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Barkin to speak before the Maryland Bankers Association.

Editor's Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major U.S. exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

Thu, 04 Jan 2024 20:48:00 -0600 en text/html https://seekingalpha.com/article/4661315-wall-street-breakfast-podcast-quantumscape-soars-on-volkswagen-battery-test-success
Long-term test review: BMW 5 Series

Running the new BMW 5 Series on our fleet hasn’t just reaffirmed its place at the top of the executive saloon class; it’s also proved itself as one of the best all-round cars on sale today. It’s a car you can buy without compromise, because it mixes practicality, tech, first class refinement and a brilliant drive. But if we were buying a 520d, we’d pick the cheaper and more frugal rear-wheel-drive version.

Mileage: 11,637Economy: 40.0mpg

We’ve covered more than 11,500 miles in our 5 Series, but now it’s time to say auf wiedersehen. During its time on our fleet the 520d has ferried members of the Auto Express team up and down the country and across Europe, all in supreme comfort.

There’s another side to our 520d xDrive, though, as illustrated above. The brand’s marketing messages suggest the idea of ‘the ultimate driving machine’, and despite the new level of luxury and refinement the latest 5 Series has adopted, the model is still a true driver’s car at its core.

• Best executive cars on sale right now

Even with a modest 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel and fitted with the added security of four-wheel drive, the 5 Series can be driven in a way more befitting of a sports car. It’s not likely that anybody will drive a 5 Series as hard as they would a genuine sports car, because that’s not what a plush executive saloon is primarily designed to do. Yet it’s testament to BMW and its team of engineers that the 520d is this capable.

We had the car over the majority of the spring and summer months so its xDrive all-wheel-drive system never really got a chance to prove its worth in adverse conditions, but it’s clear that the system doesn’t negatively affect the car’s dynamics.

More reviews

Car group tests
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Used car tests

I’ve never had to hurl the 5 Series around to be able to enjoy it behind the wheel; at all speeds the steering is beautifully weighted and allows you to place the car with real accuracy on the road. The 520d rides with real composure at speed and around the rutted roads of London, soaking up bumps and other imperfections without a fuss.

Given how long I’ve spent with the 5 Series, I’d also have no hesitation in recommending the £985 adaptive dampers; they’re worth the outlay. The adaptive function is particularly good, because it automatically tailors the car’s suspension set-up to suit the road ahead, but the ability to switch to a stiffer setting on a great road means you can access more of its ability.

However, one bit of technology on the 5 Series that I’m not so sure about is the gesture control system. It’s fiddly to use, not always responsive and doesn’t do anything better than a simple button on the dash.

BMW 5 Series: second report

Second report: we love our BMW 5 Series saloon, but the hybrid i8 shows up its thirst

Mileage: 10,752Economy: 39.4mpg

You wouldn’t expect a 2.0-litre diesel saloon and a 357bhp hybrid sports car to share much in common, but appearances can be deceptive. We’ve now covered more than 10,000 miles in our BMW 520d xDrive and during that time it has thrown up a few surprises – some good, some bad.

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One of the biggest gripes with our 5 Series – of very few – is its fuel economy. BMW claims more than 60mpg is possible from the 520d xDrive, but during our time at the wheel we’ve not got close to that figure. Currently we’re averaging just over 39mpg, which is a pretty poor performance for a 2.0-litre diesel saloon.

Even on the long journey back to my home town of Newcastle it’ll only return around 46mpg. Better, but still not great.

What did come as a surprise is what happened when I had the keys to a BMW i8 over a long weekend. On the return journey from central London to Lincoln to visit family, the i8 managed more than 44mpg – a figure I don’t see too often in the 5 Series. You’d be right to say that number is even further from the hybrid’s claimed 134mpg, but when you take into account the i8’s dazzling performance and star quality, it’s quite an achievement.

Another thing both models share is BMW’s display key. It comes as part of the £1,495 Technology package, but after five months the novelty of having such an impressive piece of tech in your bag quickly wears off. It’s too bulky to fit comfortably in your pocket and there seems to be little need for it, because all of its functions and more can be carried out on BMW’s brilliant Connected app, which is free.

Putting those niggles aside, our time with the 520d has been otherwise faultless. The fact that the 5 Series was crowned Best Executive Car at the Auto Express New Car Awards 2017 goes some way to telling you what we think of the BMW; it’s fantastic.

What I’ve found most impressive about it is how there seems to be absolutely no compromise when you get behind the wheel. Whether you’ve got a six-hour journey or 20 miles of snaking B-road ahead of you, there is no other executive saloon on sale that will carry you as comfortably. The excellent driving position plays a big role in what makes it so good to drive. The seats are wide and supportive, and come with a huge amount of adjustment, so that drivers of any height can get comfortable.

The £985 adaptive dampers fitted to our car also really make a difference. In Comfort mode the 5 Series glides over the surface, absorbing our battered British roads. Put the car into its sportiest setting and you can feel it tighten up and cope much better with fast changes in direction. Even out of its comfort zone, the 520d feels utterly composed; it makes a Mercedes E-Class feel lethargic and even the Jaguar XF a generation behind.

Certainly, the gesture control tech on board goes some way towards putting the 5 Series ahead of its rivals in terms of tech, but while it’s pretty slick on the surface, there are a few teething problems. The system can be configured so that a two-fingered jab at the screen tells it to switch to the next radio station, although on several occasions simply reaching for a drink from the cup-holder has fooled it into thinking we’re trying to change to another frequency.

BMW 5 Series: first report

Exec BMW 5 Series saloon joins fleet and instantly proves why it stands tall over its rivals

Mileage: 5,685Economy: 39.5mpg

This new king of the corporate car park is the latest model to join the Auto Express fleet. The BMW 5 Series’ unique blend of luxury, performance and ability has made it a hit with business types and families across the country – and we’ll be living with the firm’s big-selling saloon for the next six months to find out exactly why.

Our car is a 520d M Sport with BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive. The only other trim on offer in the slimmed-down range is SE, which comes with a £3,000 saving over our sportier car, but gets less standard kit.

This top-spec version has a 187bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel. It’s linked to an eight-speed auto that drives all four wheels via the £2,000 xDrive set-up. This brings the total cost up to £41,185 without any extras.

Add in the Black Sapphire metallic paint finish (£675), visibility package (£1,295), technology pack (£1,495), comfort package (£1,995), variable damper control (£985), electric sunroof (£995), plus a few other goodies, and our 5 Series comes in at nearly £50,000. That’s a lot of money to spend.

Without the options you can get your hands on a 520d xDrive in M Sport spec for £389 per month with a deposit of £6,939. That’s about comparable with an equivalent Mercedes E-Class, give or take a few quid.

As ever, though, you can see and feel where your hard-earned cash has gone inside. The layout is a copy-and-paste job from the larger 7 Series – but that car starts from £65,000, so the 5 Series immediately feels a top-quality product. It’s just a little disappointing that you have to pay extra for features such as split-folding rear seats (£335) and Apple CarPlay (£235) on a car as upmarket as this.

However, that initial sense of luxury continues when you hit the road. The 5 Series is based on a version of the 7 Series’ platform, but to keep costs down it doesn’t get that car’s fancy Carbon Core. Nevertheless, the 5 feels every bit as refined and accomplished as its big brother.

• Best executive cars on sale right now

One piece of tech that helps is its GPS-synced auto box. It comes as part of the variable damper control option, but it’s well worth adding. Leave the car in Adaptive mode and it uses data from the navigation (it works even better if you set a destination) to tailor the car’s responses as you drive along. It selects the right gear and sets the suspension for each individual corner to keep you as comfortable as possible.

But at the press of a button the car is transformed into a real sports saloon; the added sense of refinement hasn’t come at the expense of agility, for which the 5 Series has long been famous. The steering is beautifully weighted, body control is tight and the engine is eager and smooth. It might feel like a 7 Series on the motorway, but on tight and technical roads the 5 Series is a much more nimble car. And while I’ve yet to feel the benefits of the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, given Britain’s unpredictable weather there’s no doubt it will come in useful at some stage during our test.

This doesn’t detract from the BMW’s incredible breadth of talents, though – and it’s not just me who has noticed how capable the 5 Series is, either. The list of colleagues waiting patiently in line to get their hands on the keys for a weekend is growing.

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

Tue, 26 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/bmw/5-series/99792/long-term-test-review-bmw-5-series
Lemon juice: All the health benefits you need to know about No result found, try new keyword!There are several myths when it comes to adding lemon water to our diets, with many crediting it to weight loss and even fighting cancer. However, not all of these benefits have been backed up by ... Tue, 02 Jan 2024 05:21:58 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/




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