Suniti's Advice Corner

2015-2016 SAT/ACT Test Dates & Registration Deadlines

Posted by TestRocker Team on Tue, Jul 21, 2015

planning

Dear Class of 2016 and 2017: 

Another school year is about to begin! 

Get ahead of the curve by deciding your SAT/ACT test dates as soon as possible. Make sure you register in time as well. Here are the test dates to help you get started:

Image Credit: Woolwich

SAT TEST DATE WHICH TEST? REGISTER BY LATE REGISTRATION
October 3, 2015 Current SAT September 3 September 18
November 7, 2015  Current SAT October 3 October 23
December 5, 2015 Current SAT November 5 November 20
January 23, 2016 Redesigned SAT December 28 January 8
March 5, 20156
(US ONLY, EXCEPT NY)
Redesigned SAT February 5 February 19
May 7, 2016 Redesigned SAT April 8 April 22
June 4, 2016 Redesigned SAT May 5 May 20

To Register for the SAT, visit: https://sat.collegeboard.org/register/


 

ACT TEST DATE REGISTER BY LATE REGISTRATION
September 12, 2015 August 7 August 21
October 24, 2015 September 18 October 2
December 12, 2015 November 6 November 20
February 6, 2016
(US ONLY, EXCEPT NY)
January 8 January 15
April 9, 2016 March 4 March 18
June 11, 2016 May 6 May 20

To Register for the ACT, visit: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/

 

You also might like:

Planning for the SAT, Subject Tests and the ACT

Creating a Test-Prep Plan with your Teen

 

Tags: For Students, For Parents

How to Prepare for the May SAT in 3 Weeks

Posted by Urvashi Mathur on Wed, Apr 08, 2015

Are you taking the SAT on May 2nd?

If yes, your test is just about 3 weeks away! To help you unlock your dream SAT score, the TestRocker ultimate private tutor, Suniti, has created a 3 week SAT prep calendar. Follow this calendar on the TestRocker program and you will be ready to rock the SAT in 3 weeks.

And remember, TestRocker is completely online, so you can prep for the SAT whenever you want, wherever you want. Good luck!

 

Click to Download the Calendar

 

may-2nd-2015

 

Are you ready to rock the test? 

Get Started!
 

 


 

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Your Guide to SAT Test Day

Staying Calm on Test Day

5 Things You Shouldn't Do Before Your SAT Test

Tags: For Students

Advice from a Parent: Helping the Expat Student Navigate the College Selection and Application Process

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Apr 08, 2015

College_Prep_Harkness_Table

We are very excited about this blog post. While most of our entries are advice from our perspective here at TestRocker, this one is truly unique. Alison Cuozzo, a parent of one of our students, shares seven useful tips for students and parents living outside the United States during the college application process.

 


While students studying abroad follow a similar routine in the college selection and application process as their US counterparts, there are a few adjustments that need to be made for the international student. Following is a list of tips for successful planning:

  1. Know your SAT/ACT test-dates

    While all international applicants take the SAT and/or ACT on the same dates as in the States, not all test dates are offered overseas. It is important to look at the CollegeBoard website and identify which SAT test dates are offered in your host country. Likewise, the ACT test dates should be investigated well in advance.

  2. Plan ahead for college visits

    Living abroad limits students’ abilities to visit colleges throughout the school year. Therefore, it is important to plan summer college visits as early as possible to maximize your time in the States. The timetable that worked best for our daughter in 11th grade was to take her first SAT in January, thus allowing her to retake the test in May if necessary, and still getting her scores back before going on college tours. While standardized tests are only one component of an application, there is no point in spending half of the summer and a lot of money travelling to schools where your test scores are well below the average of accepted students at that school. Additionally, June is an ideal time to take any of the SAT subject tests since they will have completed most of the coursework by that time (and possibly have taken the AP exams in May).

  3. Prepare in advance for standardized tests

    To prepare for the January exam, our daughter started with TestRocker during the summer before the 11th grade. This allowed her plenty of time to learn any content that she was lacking for the exam. After completing the program and finishing the sample tests on the program, she practiced taking written SAT exams over her winter break. While the mastering the content is the most crucial component of doing well on the SAT or ACT, it is really beneficial to practice physically writing the exam using the College Board’s book of practice SATs (or ACT) and timing oneself. Taking two or three practice exams will help prepare you for the pace at which you will have to answer all questions in each section.

  4. Make your college essay meaningful!

    Choose your Common Application topic wisely so that it separates you from all of the other applicants your admissions officer is reviewing. It is often tempting to want to write about your experience as an expat, or a meaningful service trip you have participated in Cambodia, etc. Remember, the admissions officer that reviews your application ONLY reviews international students. There are probably thousands of essays written from students in international schools about overcoming culture shock, being a third culture kid, performing service in a third world country, or being a global citizen. While these are all meaningful topics, they are also very common in the international applicant pool.

  5. Complete your Common Application beginning 12th grade
     
    Finish the Common Application essay over the summer prior to the start of 12th grade! By the time the students enter 12th grade, they often feel they have finished the hardest part of taking multiple standardized tests and ensuring good grades through the 11th grade. However, the course load during senior year is usually very rigorous with multiple AP or upper level classes. Additionally, many seniors hold leadership positions in many clubs, play a varsity sport, play in advanced band, or any number of time intensive activities. It is very challenging to maintain heavy involvement in numerous extra curricular activities, focus on high academic achievement, write several supplemental essays, and complete college applications. Since the Common Application essay will be sent to most schools, this needs to be written really well which often includes multiple drafts and rewrites. Students should at least complete this essay over the summer because many or most colleges require additional supplemental essays that will demand a lot of time during first semester of senior year.

  6. Take notes during college visits

    During the summer college visits, make sure to write down notes immediately after visiting each school. They often will run together in your mind after you spend three weeks listening to numerous college talks. Most supplemental essays required for each school will ask why you are interested in that particular school. The notes taken during your college tours will help personalize why that particular college interests you beyond what can be researched online.

  7. Submit your applications well in advance

    While most college applications are not due for the “regular decision” round until January 1st, try to submit them earlier in December to increase the likelihood of an alumni interview. Living so far from the States poses a challenge with interviews. There are a few colleges which a student can request an interview during the summer before applying. Most, however, do not and getting an interview often depends on how many active alumni from that particular school are in your area. Do NOT panic if you are not offered an interview. Colleges understand international students are at a disadvantage for having an interview and will not hold it against them.


     

About Alison

Ali-pictureAlison Cuozzo moved to Singapore six years ago with her husband and three children who are currently in 12th, 10th and 8th grades at an American international school. Having lived in four countries, Alison’s family most recently moved from Fairfax, VA where she was highly involved in the PTA at her children’s public school. In Singapore, Alison volunteers as a coordinator for a speaker series that hosts experts from around the world who address important and timely topics on parenting, child development and family life. Last year, the organizers introduced “tech talks” specifically to tackle issues regarding the rapidly changing role of technology in students’ lives. Alison received a B.A. in psychology from UNC Chapel Hill and a masters degree in social policy and administration from University of Chicago.

 


You might also like:

6 Things to Consider When Applying to US Colleges as an International Student

10 Steps to College Acceptance in the US

An International Student Guide to Admissions in the US

Tags: For Students, For Parents

New PSAT Practice Test Available!

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Thu, Mar 26, 2015


The College Board recently released a practice test for the new PSAT that will be administered in Fall 2015. This is a great opportunity for you to see what kinds of questions to expect! Here's my advice:

  1. Try it out!practice

    There's no better way to learn more about the test than actually trying it out yourself. Make sure you do it in a timed environment and get rid of any distractions. This will lead to a more realistic score result. The test will be 2 hours and 45 minutes long. You will need a number 2 pencil, a calculator, the printed test, and scratch paper. Read the directions and notes carefully. 

    The new PSAT practice test consists of 4 sections:

    - Reading: 60 minutes, 47 questions
    - Writing and Language Test: 35 minutes, 44 questions
    - Math Test (No Calculator Allowed): 25 minutes, 17 questions
    - Math Test (Calculator Allowed): 45 minutes, 31 questions

    Click here to access the practice test

  2. See how you did

    Once you're done with the test, take a break and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the shoulder! Now it is time to grade your test and review your answers. You can score the test yourself, or you can send us your test and we will grade it for you (for free!) We will also provide you with an explanation of your strengths and weaknesses based on your results. 

  3. Make a test-taking plan

    This is a great time to figure out how you will prepare for the redesigned PSAT as well as the SAT. We recommend preparing during the summer, when you have spare time. To get started, read our blog about 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Selecting a Test Prep Method for the SAT/ACT


You might also enjoy the following blogs:

How to Become a Great Test Taker

The New SAT: Advice for the Class of 2017

How to Choose a Target Score

The Current SAT vs. New SAT

Tags: For Students

Current SAT vs. New SAT Downloadable Flyer

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Feb 27, 2015


Many students have requested a simple side-by-side comparison of the current SAT vs the New SAT, so we are delivering on our promise.

flyer

 

To view, print or download the TestRocker comparison chart, simply click on the link below:

http://blog.testrocker.com/current-vs-new-sat-info

And if you have any questions at all, make sure you fill out the comments box below! 

You might also enjoy the following blogs:

The New SAT: Advice for the Class of 2017

How Will The Vocab Section Change on the New SAT

The Content and Structure of the New SAT

What the College Board Plans to Change about the SAT

Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors

Disappointed With Your First SAT Attempt? Tips for a better SAT score!

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Feb 18, 2015


Ok, so your first attempt wasn’t exactly the cakewalk you thought it would be. It’s not the end of the world. That’s why the test is offered several times a year. There is still time to improve (if there is at least one test date before your college application deadlines). 

Most students take the test more than once, increasing their chances of the score they want. Each test you take is an opportunity to improve the next time around. Taking a test is like flexing a specific muscle. The more you do it, the better your results will become. But like every workout, you need to stay diligent and plan accordingly.

Here are 5 things you can do now to get a better score:

charlie_brown
  1. Know Thy Enemy!

    Analyze your score report. Find your strengths and your weaknesses. Figure out what brought your score down and plan your prep to focus more on improving those sections.

  2. To better understand, or for a full tactical analysis on your score, schedule a free consultation with us.  

  3. Victory is in the Preparation!

    Make preparation a priority. Don’t expect to do better by simply showing up on game day. Sit down with your parents or counselor and decide on your test-prep method for the next attempt(s). Here are 5 questions you must ask when selecting a test prep method. Once you've decided how you will prepare, write out a practice schedule that you can stick to. Utilize weekends and school breaks. Actually writing out the days you plan on working towards your goal is the first step. Don’t just make a commitment in your mind. Writing it down will improve your likelihood of actually sticking with your plan of attack. Start today!

  4. Select your Dates of Battle.

    Decide as soon as possible when you will be taking the test for a 2nd and then 3rd time (if needed). Mark those dates in your calendars. Knowing when your test is will make planning a study schedule easier and reduce stress. Don’t put it off until later. Knowing exactly when your test is, gives you one less thing to worry about. Remember that you can super score (the sum of the best performance in each section across all three attempts). If you need advice on picking the right test dates for you, read this blog entry. 

  5. Diversify your Point of Attack.

    The SAT isn’t the only test you can take to show off your academic abilities. Simultaneously look into the ACT. Maybe you will do better on that test. More options mean a higher possibility of success. Read our top 4 reasons to take both the SAT & the ACT

  6. Make Strong Allies!

    Too often people think that they have to go into this process alone. It doesn’t have to be that way. Get a friend, teacher or family member to keep you on track. Having someone there just to keep you pushing forward will not only increase your chances of staying on your prep schedule, but also, it can boost confidence and increase your likelihood of success. We know it’s a stressful process, but remember, you’re not in it alone. 

You might also enjoy the following blogs:

How to Become a Great Test Taker

The New SAT: Advice for the Class of 2017

How to Choose a Target Score

Tags: For Students

5 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Test Prep Method for the SAT/ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Jan 05, 2015


Selecting a test prep method can be a daunting task. Every student is different, so there isn't one option out there that works for everyone. You know yourself better than others, so ask yourself the questions below, and make sure you do your research!

  1. When will I have time to prepare? 

    Consider your academic course load and extra-curricular activities. If have a busy schedule, and are choices-300x214involved in many different activities, it will be difficult for you to use a method of prep that requires being present at specific times – whether it is on the weekend or after school. You need to select a method that is more flexible, so that it can be accessed at your convenience or in small doses. 

  2. How much time do I have until my SAT/ACT test date? 

    If you don’t have too much time until your next SAT/ACT test date, you need to start preparing now. Books and online programs are instantly available to you once you purchase them, leaving no time wasted on scheduling or finding enough class times that could work. If your test is more than 3 months away, chances are that you have more options available to you. However keep in mind that you should continue preparing all the way till your test date. So if you are looking in to a schedule-based option, you need the sessions to extend as close to your test date as possible.

  3. How much preparation do I need? 

    If you haven’t taken the PSAT, attempt a full-length test at home to get an idea of where your scores stand as of now. Then, think about what your target score is. Not sure about what your target score should be? Read this blog about how to choose your target score. If you are looking for a high score improvement, you will need a customized plan and personalized attention. If you are just looking to boost your score by a few points and your scores are generally average, you can get by with less personalization. If you are a very high achiever and already have very high scores, you will need to drill down on the few areas of improvement and really target your preparation. This requires analysis of your strengths and weaknesses.

    Attempt the TestRocker diagnostic test to see what your areas of improvement are! 

  4. Which test prep options are available in my area? 

    If you live in a remote location and don’t have easy access to transportation, group classes and private tutors might not work for you logistically. If you live in a big city, all options are available, but scheduling can be tough because demand is high. Select your method of preparation early! If you rely on a parent or sibling to drive you to and from sessions, make sure you communicate with them prior to signing up for test prep so that they can make it a priority help you.

  5. How many times am I going to take the SAT/ACT? 

    If you can, take the SAT up to 3 times, and the ACT up to 2 times. That is our recommendation at TestRocker. These tests are offered only 6 – 7 times a year, so you will need to plan for a test preparation method that can be a resource to you throughout the process, over all two or three attempts. Check out our blog about picking the right SAT/ACT test dates.

You might also enjoy the following blogs:

How to Become a Great Test Taker

For Parents: Developing a SAT/ACT Plan with your Child

Tags: For Students

International Students: 10 Steps to College Acceptance in the US

Posted by TestRocker Team on Thu, Dec 18, 2014

If you are an internationflags-1al student and you want to pursue your undergraduate studies in the United States, this blog is for you! You will definitely need to have a clear plan of action as you go through the application process. To help you get started, we asked our friend and highly accomplished international admissions expert, Peter Davos, to provide a list of the steps to college success in the US.


1. Pursue your academic passion

With over 4,000 universities in the US, it's important to make the right choices. Take the time to choose a university that offers the major that you want, the flexibility that you seek, and the activities with which you want to get involved.

 

2. Get involved

Take part in and show commitment to a few extracurricular activities that you love. Be it sports, volunteer work, music, leadership programs, or internships, it’s important to show that you’re a well-rounded student.

 

3. Choose a rigorous curriculum

It's not enough just to get good grades. It's also important to show that you can handle the rigorous curriculum of a US university. The best way to do so is by choosing a rigorous high school program, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Advanced Placement, or A-Levels.

 

4. Take standardized tests

As much as we wish it weren't so, standardized tests are a critical component of the application that can make or break admission. Choosing the right exams (SAT vs. ACT, SAT Subject Tests, TOEFL) to take and when is a crucial part of the process. Plan to retake tests up to three times and seek tutoring if needed. (To get a customized study plan for the SAT, ACT or both, take the TestRocker Diagnostic test for free. Simply create a free account by clicking here.)

 

5. Create a balanced college list

Choosing the right colleges to apply to will not only impact the responses you will receive but also ultimately impact your happiness and success in your four years at university. Create a list of universities that matches your personality, credentials, and learning style.


6. Apply!

The most labor-intensive part of the process, applying to a number of US universities takes time and effort. Managing your time and understanding deadlines is key. Take the time to craft a structured and well-written personal statement. Ask for letters of recommendation from your teachers and prepare for possible admissions interviews.

 

7. Research scholarships

US higher-level education can be very costly, particularly for international students. That's why it's always worthwhile to research what types of scholarships there are out there. Make sure you're eligible to apply!

 

8. Get accepted!

It's April and responses from colleges are now coming in. With two or more acceptances in hand, it's time to make an informed choice. Make sure you are confident and comfortable with your decision. Some considerations include: university reputation, amount of aid received, academic curriculum, location, and extracurricular programs.


9. Apply for your student visa

There's one last step to be completed before you embark on your American adventure: apply for your F-1 student visa. Getting your student visa can be a smooth and stress-free process if you manage your time and prepare all the necessary forms in advance. Get your parents involved!


10. Pack your bags

Pack your bags, kiss your parents goodbye and get ready to live the best four years of your life. Study hard, get involved in student life, and make lasting friendships. Your ids education the most powerful tool you will have to make a difference in the world!

 
Students in the GCC region: Click here to request a free consultation with Peter.

 
About the Author:
peter

Peter is the founder and Managing Director of Carian College Advisors, the GCC's leading educational consultancy focusing exclusively on US university admissions. He graduated Phi BetaKappa, with a double major, from Johns Hopkins University and spent his junior year abroad completing the General Course in International Relations at the London School of Economics. Peter holds Master’s Degrees from Oxford University and Harvard University, where he was selected Marshal of his class. He has completed UCLA’s Certificate in College Counseling and IECA’s Summer Training Institute. A Johns Hopkins Alumni Interviewer for over twelve years, Peter is also a member of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Council, Second Decade Society, and founder/co-president of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Society of the UAE. He is a proud member of the HECA (Higher Education Consultants Association), OACAC (Overseas Association for College Admissions Counseling), HASUAE (Harvard Alumni Society of the UAE), and American Business Council of Dubai. Peter is an Offensive/Defensive Lineman for the Emirates American Football League’s Dubai Barracudas and has been chosen to represent the UAE on the country’s National American Football Team, the Falcons. He is a contributing writer on US Education issues for Gulf News has lived in Dubai since 2010.

Tags: For Students, For Parents, International Students, College Applications

The New SAT: Advice for the Class of 2017

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Thu, Dec 04, 2014

 


SAT-changes-ahead-New SATChange is always scary! By now you know that the SAT is changing. I have received a lot of questions from current 10th graders (students who will graduate in 2017) about what to do when it comes to test preparation now that this change is on the horizon. Here are my top 3 pieces of advice, in no particular order:

 

1. Don't panic! 

Yes, the SAT is changing. However, keep in mind that as of now, it is just as much of a mystery to you as it is to admissions officers who will be reviewing your application. Everything will become clearer as the College Board releases additional information. 

 

2. Take the ACT, if you can

While the SAT is changing, the ACT is not. The ACT is accepted by all 4 year colleges and universities in the United States. And last year, more students took the ACT than the SAT. Admissions officers are just as familiar with the ACT as the SAT. If you still decide to take the new SAT, submit both scores. Admissions officers like to see as much information about you as possible, so it definitely won't hurt! Sign up for an ACT diagnostic test here.

 

3. Take the current SAT before March 2016

Universities will accept your scores from the current SAT, as long as you complete your attempts before March 2016. January 2016 will be the last time the current SAT is offered. If you do so, you will not need to take the new SAT. This is the advice I am giving to all my students, because there are no preparation materials currently available for the new SAT, and you can kickstart your prep now by preparing for the current SAT. 

Have more questions about the new SAT? Leave a comment below and one of our TestRocker experts will be in touch with you shortly. 

Other blogs you might be interested in:

How Will The Vocab Section Change on the New SAT

The Content and Structure of the New SAT

What the College Board Plans to Change about the SAT

Tags: For Students, New SAT

15 Tips About Writing An Effective SAT/ACT Essay

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Nov 10, 2014


One of our TestRocker students recently asked me for a list of 15 points to keep in mind while attempting the Essay section on the SAT/ACT. I thought it was worth sharing!

  1. Begin your introduction with short, firm sentences.keep-calm-and-write-your-essay
  2. State your 'stance' or thesis firmly and clearly.
  3. In the introduction, mention the 2-3 supports you will use in the essay to support your thoughts. 
  4. Make good transitions or 'links' to open each paragraph. 
  5. Tackle 1 support at a time in each paragraph. 
  6. Build your thoughts up with each sentence. Each sentence should add on to your thoughts. Do not repeat, put forth new information.
  7. At the end of each paragraph, write a 'mini' conclusion to connect to the topic and why your support proves your point of view. 
  8. Link well onto the second support. 
  9. Keep focus on the issue. Don’t go off topic. 
  10. Take a quick look at the assignment as a reminder to stay on topic, and to ensure you are answering what the prompt is asking you. 
  11. Take a few phrases and vocabulary words from the prompt, but don’t reproduce verbatim! 
  12. Don’t make 'politically incorrect’ statements.
  13. Write a powerful conclusion. Keep it simple but make firm assertions. 
  14. Keep an eye on time. 
  15. Use good and clear hand-writing! 

You might also enjoy the following blog entries:

Tips on How to Master the Essay Section

How to Become a Great Test Taker

Tags: For Students

About Suniti

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Suniti is the creator of TestRocker, an online learning platform that helps you unlock your dream SAT and ACT scores. TestRocker is based on Suniti’s highly successful and proven method of teaching students how to maximize their SAT and ACT scores, a method she has perfected through tutoring thousands of students globally for more than a decade. 

TestRocker is a one of a kind online SAT/ACT program that empowers students to take control of their test preparation. After taking our diagnostic test a customized study plan, individualized to students' strengths/weaknesses, allows them to track progress as they work through the program. Each of the 1,200 SAT & 2000 ACT questions on TestRocker are accompanied by video explanations from Suniti. Parents are able to track their child’s progress through biweekly reports.

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