College Admissions Essays: Getting Started Is the Hardest Part

Posted by Julia Wasson

Oct 3, 2015 11:00:00 AM

If your student is planning to attend a four-year college next year, there's a lot of work ahead.

One of the most dreaded parts of the college application process (aside from filling out the FAFSA) is the college admissions essay. If your scholar is charged up by the thought of sharing his or her personal take on life with anonymous readers, count your student — and yourself — among the lucky ones.

There's plenty of pressure on students to get great grades, be a leader in school and out, have a squeaky-clean online persona, and on top of that earn stellar test scores. The thing is, all prospective college students are striving for the same outstanding record. If your student wants a way to stand out among others with equal qualifications, the essay can be the vehicle to propel him or her to the top of the applicant list.

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Topics: college application

A Critical Key to Boosting PSAT/SAT or ACT Scores: More Sleep

Posted by Julia Wasson

Sep 23, 2014 8:11:00 AM

Did you know that teenagers should be getting at least nine hours of sleep a night in order to function at their mental and physical best?

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Topics: college entrance exams, test prep

PSAT/SAT Test Prep Tips for Critical Reading, Writing, and Math

Posted by Julia Wasson

Sep 16, 2014 10:43:00 AM

The SAT test is a college entrance exam that allows students to show schools what they know and how well they apply their knowledge in three main subject areas: critical reading, math, and writing. The PSAT test is also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The PSAT also assesses students’ skills in these same academic areas.

High school juniors must take the PSAT in the fall in order to qualify for the National Merit scholarships as well as to practice for the SAT. The PSAT lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes; it does not include an essay.

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Topics: SAT test, college entrance exams, test prep

Essential ACT Subject-Review Strategies for Each Section of the Test

Posted by Julia Wasson

Sep 9, 2014 7:32:00 AM

As your child begins preparing for the ACT test, it’s important that he or she is aware of the strategies necessary to conquer the subject of each subtest. That’s why ACT subtest review is necessary to help your child feel more at ease and in control on the big day.

The following is a subtest strategy breakdown to jumpstart your student’s ACT review:

ACT Subtest Review: English

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Topics: studying for the ACT, ACT test, college entrance exams

College Test Prep: How Nutrition Affects Studying for the SAT and ACT

Posted by Julia Wasson

Sep 2, 2014 9:05:00 AM

Any student looking for college test prep strategies to improve his or her scores on the ACT or SAT test should place importance on nutrition and diet.
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Topics: college entrance exams, test prep, preparing for college

5 Test Prep Tips for Building a Commanding College Vocabulary

Posted by Julia Wasson

Aug 26, 2014 6:00:00 AM

A top complaint of college professors is that students’ writing skills often lack the level of sophistication that common college vocabulary requires.

Improving writing skills is only one advantage of having an expansive college vocabulary. Studies show that a strong vocabulary is linked to better comprehension of the college curriculum as well as educational — and career — success. Having a robust college vocabulary has been shown to be important to future success.

“English vocabulary level has been shown to be strongly related to educational success. In addition, it is related to the level of occupation attained. It is highly correlated with measures of reading ability and intelligence.”

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Topics: college entrance exams, test prep

Top 3 Benefits of PSAT, SAT & ACT Test Prep

Posted by Julia Wasson

Aug 19, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Test prep for college entrance exams is fundamental to increasing your child’s chances of being accepted to the college or university of his or her choice. Getting familiar with the tests will help him score higher, and higher scores can unlock opportunities that he would otherwise miss out on. Yet, familiarity alone isn’t enough to help students earn a better score. Strategy plays a huge part in how well students do on the tests, and most need the guidance of an experienced test specialist to learn how to handle these unique exams.

Here are the top three reasons why test prep is an essential part of your child’s college application process:

1. The Competitive Edge: College Admissions

Competition for college acceptance is stiff, as more students than ever before are applying to college. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average number of applications per college increased by a startling 60 percent between 2002 and 2011. And of those who apply to top colleges like the Ivies and Stanford, the acceptance rate is sometimes as low as 5 percent.

Test prep can help your son or daughter develop the test-taking skills and strategies to earn his or her personal-best score and get an edge over the competition: every other high school junior who is applying to the same college(s). This is especially important if your child’s other qualities — grades, volunteer experiences, afterschool activities, references, etc. — are about equal to the majority of applicants’.

It’s also important to note that some colleges and universities have varying “cut” scores for different majors, particularly in math and science. Knowing what score your child’s program requires before beginning the college application process will help your student make wise choices about which colleges to apply to. If the cut score for a particular major is a bit of a stretch for your child, but not bordering on the impossible, the right kind of test prep could well make the difference. If your child is scoring lower than necessary in math, for example, taking an online class (often called a “webinar”) or signing up with a test specialist for tutoring might just be enough to boost her over the cut score hurdle.

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Topics: ACT test, SAT test, PSAT

Find the Right Test Prep for Your Child

Posted by Julia Wasson

Aug 12, 2014 6:00:00 AM

As school starts again in the fall, high school students will be gearing up to take college entrance exams. If your child is among them, he or she can choose from a multitude of test prep options. Which college test prep option will benefit your child the most?

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College Entrance Exams: The Top 5 Benefits Of Summer Test Prep

Posted by Julia Wasson

Aug 5, 2014 1:42:00 PM

Students should look upon summer as a time to take a break and have some uninterrupted fun. Although summer vacation is winding down in some parts of the country, there’s still time to take advantage of this break from school to get a head start on college test prep.

While your student may see the prospect of test prep as a major summer bummer, it’s going to help alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety when college entrance exams do approach.

The following five benefits of summer college test prep illustrate how and why getting a head start is incredibly helpful for your child:

1. Students have free time and fewer scheduled activities in the summer.

Would your child rather prepare for his college entrance exams when he has some free time, or when he is stressed out with his school-year workload? Summertime test prep ensures he is able to focus without the distraction of schoolwork.

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Topics: college entrance exams, test prep

The 4 ACT Subtests: An Overview of What Your Child Needs to Know

Posted by Julia Wasson

Jul 29, 2014 6:00:00 AM

The ACT test is one of two tests used by colleges and universities for the purpose of admissions, and is primarily intended to be a test of content.

Students who have done well in the recommended sequence of courses through their junior year are likely to have learned the content they need to know for each of the ACT subtests: English, math, reading, and science. The ACT test also includes an optional writing essay.

But even students who are comfortable with the subject matter of the ACT test usually find time management to be a serious challenge. Knowing the best way to approach each section depends a lot on your child’s skill level in that subject area. A “C” student in English will likely need a different strategy than a “B” student to earn the same score. And students who are not confident in math, science, or reading will benefit from time management strategies that might seem counterintuitive until they try them.

Knowing what’s on the four ACT subtests and preparing with the right test-taking strategies is vital to earning a personal-best score.

The following is a breakdown of the four ACT subtests (plus the optional essay), including insights into how to prepare for each section:

ACT English Test Section

45 minutes, 75 questions

The ACT English test section covers punctuation, grammar, usage, sentence structure, logic and strategy, organization, and style.

Attention to detail is critical for this portion of the ACT test. Your child likely learned most of the ACT English rules way back in junior high school, and may be a little rusty on grammar. One effective way to prepare for the English section is to get an ACT study guide that includes a grammar review. Although cramming won’t be of much help on the ACT test in general, reviewing grammar rules a day or so before the test can be very beneficial.

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Topics: ACT test, ACT Subtests

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