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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

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

The Redesign of the SAT Test: What It Means for You and Your Child

Posted by Julia Wasson

Jul 22, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Recently, the College Board announced that the SAT test is receiving a major overhaul for spring of 2016. The College Board claims that the SAT format redesign is aimed at leveling the playing field for students and aligning the testing material more closely with what students actually learn in high school.

The important theme to note, one that’s threaded throughout these changes to the SAT test, is that while there is a continued emphasis on reasoning, the new format focuses on the knowledge, skills and understanding most important for college and career readiness. This shift will ultimately affect how you and your child handle SAT prep.

Here are the eight key ways the SAT test is changing in 2016:

1. Relevant Words in Context

The redesign of the SAT test will focus on students’ understanding of high-utility words. Students will be tested on interpreting the meaning of words “in the context of extended prose passages.” What this means is that your child should build SAT vocabulary skills for words that they’re likely to encounter in college and the workforce and pay attention to alternate meanings of familiar words. After all, the SAT may use high utility words, but it will still be a challenging test.

This also means that all those “highly obscure” SAT vocab words that most adults don’t even know are gone.

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Topics: SAT test

Studying for the SAT/PSAT & ACT Tests

Posted by Julia Wasson

Jul 3, 2014 6:00:00 AM

As the parent of a student who is preparing for college, you'll find many challenges ahead for you and your child, including college entrance exams. These college admissions tests — the SAT and ACT tests — each have unique questions and scoring systems that allow colleges to assess your student’s readiness for rigorous academic work and qualification for scholarship awards. The PSAT is used in determining eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It's also often used as a practice for the SAT test.

Why PSAT, SAT & ACT Scores Matter

  • Most four-year schools require either ACT or SAT college entrance exam scores. Your child’s score will be a prominent consideration for colleges in determining admission.
  • PSAT, SAT, and ACT scores also help determine scholarship awards. Even a small increase in your student’s college entrance exam scores can make a difference in thousands of scholarship dollars.

Because these standardized test scores are so significant to your child’s college future, it's important to help your student develop a plan for studying for the PSAT, SAT and ACT tests.

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Topics: standardized testing, ACT test, SAT test

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