Doorway to College Blog

Take Note of These Important Dates

Posted by Kristen Steinbeck

Aug 6, 2017 11:02:01 PM

Is this the year you plan take the PSAT/SAT, ACT, or both? Make sure you make the registration deadlines, especially if you're a senior hoping to get the test in before sending off applications. Good luck!

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Topics: ACT test, SAT test, FAFSA, act prep, ACT, sat prep, deadlines

Use the Time You Have: College Planning During High School Summers

Posted by Kristen Steinbeck

Jun 13, 2017 2:21:59 PM

There are 168 hours in a week – 112ish waking hours. Why not use two of those hours per week this summer to work on college planning? Your older self will thank you for handling part of the load, and, come college application season, you'll be glad you did the bulk of your research when you didn't have homework and extracurriculars coming out your ears.

To make it easier to plan, we devised a to-do list for every high-school summer. Read on for tips!

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Topics: SAT test, financial aid, PSAT, ACT, college prep, college planning

Why You Should Mark Up the SAT and ACT Reading Passages

Posted by Kristen Steinbeck

Apr 28, 2017 4:46:03 PM

On the ACT and SAT reading tests, taking control of the passages is key. One way to own them is by marking up the text with notes and indicators that will not only keep you focused on the reading at hand but also make it easier to flip back from the questions and find what you’re looking for. Think of the markups as breadcrumbs that will help you find the way “home” faster—that is, if “home” is a cabin on the edge of the woods full of all the right answers.

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Topics: test taking strategies, SAT test, study skills, ACT, sat prep

Does Test Anxiety Have You Worried Sick?

Posted by Karen Nichols

Aug 23, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Between 10 percent and 40 percent of students experience some level of test anxiety. For some, such anxiety amounts to a mild case of jittery nerves; for others, it can be debilitating. Symptoms can include sweaty palms, racing heart, tight chest, and nausea. Of course, such extreme reactions can negatively affect the student’s performance on an exam.

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Topics: ACT test, SAT test, test prep, test anxiety, PSAT, act prep, sat prep

Word Power: Five Tips for Building a Commanding College Vocabulary

Posted by Karen Nichols

Dec 14, 2015 7:16:57 AM

Without question, a strong vocabulary is a great asset. An expansive vocabulary improves reading, speaking, writing, and reasoning skills, and research has linked it to long-term educational and career success. Entrepreneur and best-selling author Seth Godin makes this point in his blog post, "Does Vocabulary Matter?":

The typical native speaker knows 20,000 words, and there's your opportunity:

If you know 40,000 words, if you learn five words a day for a decade, the world changes. Your ability to see, to explain and to influence flies off the charts.

In the short term, a strong vocabulary can also help you do your best on college entrance exams and college application essays. Read on to learn a few tips for growing your vocabulary during your high school years and beyond.

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Topics: ACT test, SAT test, study skills, Vocabulary Building, PSAT

Want to Improve Your ACT and SAT Test Scores? Get Better Sleep

Posted by Karen Nichols

Nov 10, 2015 10:34:33 AM

Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

Did you know that, as a teenager, you need eight to ten hours of sleep a night in order to function at your mental and physical best? Yet, according to the National Sleep Foundation, only 15% of teens get at least 8.5 hours of sleep on school nights. Read on to learn how you can get some more solid shut-eye.

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Topics: ACT test, SAT test, test prep, study habits

When Standardized Testing Meets Social Media

Posted by Julia Wasson

Mar 23, 2015 2:58:00 PM

Be careful what you share online about that test you just took.

You just finished taking your college entrance exam. After months, or even years, of preparation and hours of testing, you’re glad it’s over. Elated is more like it. You’re both exhausted and keyed up, your mind churning.

That one reading question about Stephen Hawking — I swear it had two answers. And the main idea question on the Vietnam passage didn’t seem to have any answer at all. How on earth do you work that math problem, #23? I know I spent too much time on it ...

You can hardly wait to hop on social media to chat up the experience with your friends. You reach for your cell phone ...


Don’t press “Send” just yet. Before you talk about any commercial standardized test on social media, there are a few things you need to know (starting with the fact that the cell phone in your hand is not even allowed in the testing center).

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Topics: ACT test, SAT test, social media

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 sophomores 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

Studying for the SAT/PSAT & ACT Tests

Posted by Julia Wasson

Jul 3, 2014 1:44:00 PM

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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