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Suniti's Advice Corner

Suniti Mathur

Recent Posts

How to Register For The ACT [With Pictures]

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Jan 08, 2018

 Planning on taking the ACT? Awesome! However, unlike the tests you take at school, you can’t just show up at the test center. You need to register first. Without registering, you won’t be able to take the test.

You might be thinking, “Great! Another thing I have to add to my to-do list.” Studying for the ACT is already stressful, and having to take care of the necessary logistics is a pain. But in this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of how to register online—the easiest way to register. Follow these steps, and you should be able to register with no problem. Once that’s out of the way, you can go back to studying. Registration takes about 40 minutes. You’ll want to have on hand your or your parents’ credit card information, your high school course details, and a headshot photo.

Before getting into the registration steps, keep in mind that you’ll want to register as early as possible in order to get your preferred testing location. They also have strict registration deadlines. For US students you can register late with a fee. But we recommend not procrastinating for this! Sometimes seats do become sold out. For more info on this check the ACT website. 

TABLE: This table represents the test dates and registration deadlines for the ACT

2017-2018 ACT Dates (International)
Test Date Registration Deadline
September 9, 2017 August 4, 2017
October 28, 2017 September 22, 2017
December 9, 2017 November 3, 2017
April 14, 2018 March 9, 2018
June 9, 2018 May 4, 2018

Source: ACT.org

Find out what ACT skills you need to improve.

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students

Answering the Most Common PSAT Score Questions

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Dec 12, 2017

This time of year, 11th graders ask us a lot of PSAT score related questions. A lot of students begin to panic when they get their PSAT results. So they come to us to figure out how to flip their score into a top SAT/ACT score. In this post, you will find the most common PSAT questions we get every December as PSAT scores come out.  Leave a comment below if you have any additional questions, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Does a low PSAT score hurt my college application?

Turn that frown upside down: A low PSAT score will not hurt your college application. Colleges do not factor in your PSAT score as a part of your college application.

The one negative of getting a very low PSAT score is that you will not meet the National Merit or other scholarship cut offs. But don’t be disheartened – only 7500 out of 1.6 million PSAT takers (that’s 0.5%) end up receiving scholarships through National Merit. 

The only thing a low PSAT score should do is motivate you to study hard for the SAT/ACT, because those scores matter a lot. Think of your PSAT score as a baseline. With the right practice, you can turn your PSAT score into a high SAT/ACT score. 

Do colleges see my PSAT score?

Your individual PSAT score is not reported to colleges. However, if you opted in to Student Search Services during your PSAT test, you might hear from colleges and/or scholarship organizations if your score falls within a certain test score range the organization is looking for. 

Why is the PSAT out of 1520 if the SAT is out of 1600?

The PSAT is slightly easier than the SAT, so rather than scaling it up to 1600, the College Board has kept it at a lower maximum. Don’t worry about what the test is out of. All you need to know is:

If you got 1100 on the PSAT, you would score (approximately) 1100 on the SAT.

Read our post all about understanding your PSAT score. 

Do I need to study for the SAT/ACT if I got a high PSAT score?

You should definitely study for the SAT/ACT, no matter what your PSAT score is. First, the SAT/ACT are tougher than the PSAT. This means you will score lower on the actual tests unless you prepare. Second, your PSAT score is not reported to colleges.

Turn your PSAT Into a Top SAT/ACT Score - Learn More

What is a good PSAT/SAT/ACT score?

“Good” in this case is relative. For some, a 960 is a great score. For others, a 1420 is a good PSAT score. And for some, even a 1420 isn’t good enough. To understand what kind of score would be considered “good” for you, it is important to have a list of a few colleges you might be interested in. If you have this list, follow these steps to understand what a “good” score for you means:

Option 1

  • Visit the college’s admissions website (type in Google: [Name of University] admissions website. Here’s an example with Boston University:

Boston University admissions search example

  • Look for Undergraduate admissions class profile (select the most recent one available)

boston university admissions landing

  • Scroll till you see “Average SAT Score” or “Average ACT score” of incoming class  

boston university admission stats

Source: Boston University 

For BU, the Average SAT for their freshman admitted class 2021 is 1452, and average ACT is 32. So for a student who wants to know what a good score is if they’re interested in a university like BU, a good score is around 1400 on the SAT or 30+ on the ACT.

Option 2:

  • Go to google and type in something like “[Name of University] Average SAT score”

university of illinois admissions

  • Make sure you click on the official University’s site (it should end in .edu) as there are a lot of other non-official sources of information that might not be most recent or as accurate.

university illinois admissions google results

university of illinois admission stats

Source: University of Illinois

For University of Illinois, the Average SAT for their freshman admitted class 2021 range is 1360-1480, and average ACT is 27-33. So for a student who wants to know what a good score is if they’re interested in a university like University of Illinois, a good score is one that falls within either of those ranges.

Still not completely understanding your score? Read our post where we go into detail in understanding your PSAT score. Click Here To Understand Your PSAT Score

Turn your PSAT Into a Top SAT/ACT Score - Learn More 

Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors, psat

How to Register For The SAT [With Pictures]

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Oct 17, 2017

 

We find a lot of our student have a hard time registering for the SAT. The SAT is something that stresses a lot of students out as is, and no one likes to fill out forms. Some people get stuck on all of that paper work. Additionally, some people have a hard enough time finding where to begin. That's understandable considering CollegeBoard has so much content on their website. So this is why we have written up a step by step guide on how to register for the SAT.

At step 1 you will find a link that will take you directly to the beginning of the SAT Registration. Then follow our images below which will walk you through the entire process. 

What you will need: A head shot saved on your computer, valid passport(international students), and the registration fee (varies based on location).

If you need to find the SAT dates and the registration deadlines click here

If you still have any problems at all then leave us a comment below and we will try to get back to you as soon as possible. 

Need to Prepare for the SAT?

Start Studying Now 

Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students

5 Common (easily avoidable) SAT & ACT Mistakes

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Sep 25, 2017

5 mistakes students make about the sat and act

In the midst of prepping for the dreaded SAT and ACT, it can be easy to let certain details fall through the cracks. However, these seemingly minor details can have major implications for your college application process. Don’t let this happen to you. Here, we highlight 5 common SAT mistakes and ACT mistakes students make. For SAT tips and ACT tips on how to avoid these mistakes continue reading. 

  1. Not sending your scores to your colleges of interest.

    Most colleges require you to submit your standardized test scores as part of your application—that’s the whole reason you’re taking these tests, right? On Collegeboard, you can submit your SAT scores up to 4 colleges of interest for free for every test date that you register for. As soon as your scores become available they are sent to those schools. It seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many students don’t do this. Double- and triple-check to make sure that your scores have been sent to all colleges of interest. If you don't, you will need to pay to send your scores again and they take longer to deliver. 
  1. Providing the wrong information on interest forms.

    The PSAT registration, along with other resources, asks you to indicate what majors you’re interested in. There are tons of websites that are great resource for college research but be aware that in most cases the information you provide them is given to colleges. So make sure you’re providing the correct information. Again, seems easy. You might be thinking, “Who would make a mistake like that?” But it happens. So just be careful. Submitting the wrong information could mislead admissions counselors and could hurt your chances of acceptance if your schools of interest don’t offer your reported majors of interest.

Here are some good websites for college research. Again, be careful to provide the best information for you.

Niche

Big Future

CollegeWeekLive

CollegeConfidential

  1. Not doing the “optional” essay section.

    Yes, it might say it’s an optional essay, but when it comes to college admissions, you should interpret “optional” as “required.” First of all, some colleges still require the essay. If you decide to apply to one of those colleges, you will have to take the tests with the essay section. Second of all, doing the essay even if it’s not required by the college can improve the college’s impression of you because the essay serves as another piece of information about you. You always want to try to go above and beyond what’s expected of you. And, the more time they spend on your application, the less time they have to spend on someone else's! There’s no benefit to not doing the essay. Feel that you’re just not good at essay writing? That’s nothing that a little bit of preparation can’t help with—for example, with TestRocker. A real person will hand grade at least 2 practice essays, and give you feedback on what to change and how to do better.

Sign up for TestRocker

  1. Not bringing the right materials.

    The night before your test, set aside everything that you’re going to need so that you’re not scrambling the morning of and inadvertently forget something. You will need a photo ID, your admission ticket, at least two No. 2 pencils with erasers, and an approved calculator with spare batteries. If you don’t have your ID and your admission ticket, you won’t be allowed into the test room. If you take the test with anything other than a No. 2 pencil, it will not be scored properly. And if you don’t have a calculator, you’ll just spend more time than you have to on certain math problems. It’s also a good idea to bring snacks and water to help you maintain your stamina throughout the test.

  1. Not planning for multiple test attempts.

    While it may not be pleasant to take the SAT and ACT, you should absolutely plan to take the test at least twice. If you don’t do as well as you would have liked the first time around, then you definitely want to take it again so that you can put your best foot forward on college applications. Make sure that you schedule accordingly and register in time so that you’re able to submit your scores in time for college application deadlines. It would be a shame to not make a college application deadline because you didn’t take the SAT or ACT early enough. And if you did score well the first time, awesome! You can still take the test again for the opportunity to superscore or to submit your best scores. Use TestRocker’s downloadable test prep plan to make sure you are on the right track. Finally, register for the tests as soon as possible because test centers fill up fast. In many cities/countries, there is only one test center.  And once a test center is full, you will have to wait until the next available test date.

Have more questions? Comment them below or talk to a TestRocker expert.

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students

How High Test Scores Lead to Scholarships

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Sep 25, 2017

Scholarships.jpg

By now it should come as no surprise that scoring well on the SAT and/or ACT will increase your chances of getting into your top colleges. What you may or may not have heard is that high test scores also increase your chances of getting college scholarships. Let’s face it—college is expensive! For this reason, it’s a good idea to take advantage of any sort of financial assistance you can get. There are nonprofits and other organizations that can provide scholarships, but the most common scholarship will come from your college itself. 

The SAT/ACT give you an opportunity. Perhaps you didn't get the best grades and your GPA is average at best, but you redeem yourself by scoring big on your entrance exams. That could still potentially lead to a scholarship. If you did have a good GPA and accompany it by outstanding test scores then sky's the limit.

Different colleges will award different types of test score scholarships. While it is a good idea to check with the colleges that you’re interested in to make sure you’re getting the most up-to-date information, this blog curates relevant data from Guaranteed Scholarships on SAT/ACT scores and scholarship opportunities. Below you will find tables about dozens of colleges and their typical ACT & SAT scholarship offers correlating with test scores. 

Don't forget about superscoring your test scores. Every point counts when it comes to scholarships and superscoring is the key to bumping your total score to the next scholarship tier.

Improve your test scores through TestRocker and receive SAT & ACT scholarships.

Try TestRocker For Free

 

TABLE: Alfred College Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Score

Award

93

1200

26

Free tuition, room, and board

90

1150

25

Free room

88

1100

24

Free board (18 meals a week)

 

TABLE: Arcadia University Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

Award

3.2

1030

Between $3000 and full tuition

 

TABLE: Belhaven College Scholarships

ACT Score

SAT Score

Annual Award for Students Living on Campus

20

930-960

$500

21

970-1000

$1000

22

1010-1040

$1500

23

1050-1080

$2000

24

1090-1100

$2500

25

1120-1150

$3000

26

1160-1190

$3500

27

1200-1220

$4000

28

1230-1260

$4500

29

1270-1300

$5000

30

1310-1340

$5500

31

1350-1380

$6000

32

1390-1440

$6500

33

1450-1500

$7000

34

1510-1560

$7500

35

1570-1600

$8000

36

 

$8500

 

TABLE: Bluffton College Scholarships

First-Time or Transfer

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Score

Annual Award

First-time

3.0

1050

23

$8396

First-time

3.5

1140

25

$9396

First-time

3.75

1220

27

$10,396

Transfer

3.5

1050

23

$2500 (up to $4000 based on need)

 

TABLE: Buena Vista University Scholarships

GPA

ACT Score

Award

3.75

26

$7500

3.25

20

$5500 annually

 

TABLE: Cedarville College Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Score

Award

3.0

1310

30

$2000 annually

3.0

1120

25

$600-$1400

 

TABLE: Centenary College Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Score

Annual Award

3.8

1210

27

Up to $10,000

3.3

1030

22

Up to $8000

3.0

910

19

Up to $6500

2.5

800

16

Up to $5000

 

TABLE: Chowan College Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

Annual Award

3.0

1000

$5000

3.0

1100

$5200

3.0

1200

$5500

3.0

1300

$5750

3.5

1000

$5500

3.5

1100

$5750

3.5

1200

$6250

3.5

1300

$7000

4.0

1000

$5750

4.0

1100

$6250

4.0

1200

$7000

4.0

1300

$8000

 

 

TABLE: Daniel Webster College Scholarships for Resident Students

GPA

SAT Score

Annual Award

2.5

1000

$2000

3.0

1000

$4000

3.8

1200

$7500

 

TABLE: Dominican University of California Scholarships

Student

GPA

SAT Score

Annual Award

All students

3.6

1200

$11,500

Traditionally under-represented students

3.2

920

$11,500

 

TABLE: Dordt College Scholarships

GPA

ACT Score

Award

3.0

21

$500-$5000

 

TABLE: D’Youville College Scholarships

Scholarship

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Score

Award

Duration

Honors Scholarship

 

1100

24

50% off tuition and 25% off room and board for residents; 50% off tuition for commuters

4-5 years depending on program

Academic Initiative

85

1000

21-23

25% off tuition and 50% off room and board for residents; 25% off tuition for commuters

4-5 years depending on program

Achievement Scholarship

80-84

900-1090

19-23

$1000-4000 annually

4-5 years depending on program

 

TABLE: Eastern College Scholarships for Incoming Students

Class Rank

SAT Score

Annual Award

Top 15%

1200

$7000

Top 25%

1100

$6000

Top 40%

1000

$4000

Top 50%

950

$1500

 

TABLE: Faulkner University Scholarships

SAT Score Range

ACT Score Range

Annual Award

1030-1130

22-24

$2500-$3000

1140-1290

25-28

$3500-$4000

1300-1370

29-30

$5000-$5500

 

TABLE: Goshen College Scholarships

GPA

Class Rank

SAT Score

ACT Score

Award

3.5

Top 15%

1100

24

$1800-$3000

3.8

Top 5%

1270

29

$2400-$3500

 

TABLE: Hampden-Sydney College Scholarships

Class Rank

SAT Score

Annual Award

Top 5%

1400

$15,000

Top 10%

1350

$11,250

Top 15%

1250

$7500

 

TABLE: Hamline University Scholarships

GPA

Class Rank

SAT Score

ACT Score

Annual Award

3.8

Top 5%

1260

28

$5500-full tuition

3.5

Top 15%

1180

26

$3500-$6500

3.25

Top 25%

1140

25

$2000-$5000

 

TABLE: Jamestown College Scholarships

GPA/Class Rank

ACT Score

Award

3.8

30

$9000

Valedictorian (Ranked 1st)

25

$8500

Salutatorian (Ranked 2nd)

25

$7500

3.8

26

$6500

3.4

24

$5000

3.0

20

$3000

 

TABLE: Mars Hill College Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

Award

3.5

1200

$7000

3.5

1100

$6000

3.5

1000

$5000

3.5

900

$4000

3.0

1000

$3000

3.0

900

$2500

2.5

1100

$3000

2.5

1000

$2000

 

TABLE: Niagra University Scholarships

GPA

ACT Score

SAT Score

Award

95

26

1150

$9500

91

27

1270

$8500

90

22

1000

$8200

85

24

1100

$7200

85-89

20-22

950-1050

$6500-$7500

mid-80

20+

950+

$4500-$5000

 

TABLE: North Central University Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Score

Annual Award

3.5

1240

28

$2500

3.0-3.49

1050-1230

23-27

$1500

 

TABLE: Northwestern College Scholarships

Class Rank

ACT Score

Annual Award

Top 5%

28

$5000-$6750

Top 10%

26

$3000-$4900

Top 25%

23

Up to $2900

 

TABLE: Ouachita Baptist University Scholarships

SAT Score Range

ACT Score Range

Annual Award

1110-1170

24-25

$2000

1180-1290

26-28

$3000

1300-1370

29-30

$4000

1380+

31+

$5000

 

TABLE: Palm Beach Atlantic College Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Score

Annual Award

3.5

1150

26

$2000

3.25

1050

23

$1000

 

TABLE: Regis College Scholarships

GPA

Class Rank

SAT Score

Annual Award

3.0

Top 10%

1200

$9000

3.0

Top 25%

1050-1190

$6000

3.0

Top 50%

950-1040

$3000

 

TABLE: Roosevelt College Scholarships

GPA

ACT Score

Annual Award

3.0-3.24

24

$1000

3.25-3.49

22-29

$1500-$5000

3.5-3.79

22-29

$3000-$6000

3.85+

27

Up to $7500

 

TABLE: Southern Christian University Scholarships

SAT Score Range

ACT Score Range

Annual Award

940-1010

23-24

Up to $300

1020-1090

25-26

Up to $400

1100-1250

27-29

Up to $500

1260+

30+

Up to $600

 

TABLE: Southwest Baptist University Scholarships for Incoming Freshmen

GPA

Class Rank

SAT Score Range

ACT Score Range

Award

3.85

Top 5%

1190-1230

24-27

$2950

3.75

Top 10%

1170-1310

26-29

$2950

3.85

Top 5%

1240-1600

28-36

$2530

3.75

Top 10%

1090-1160

24-25

$2530

3.75

Top 10%

1090-1230

24-27

$2100

 

TABLE: Southwest Missouri State University Scholarships

GPA

Class Rank

SAT Score

ACT Score

Annual Award

3.6

Top 20%

1170

26

$2000

3.8

Top 10%

1090

24

$1000

 

TABLE: Union College Scholarships

ACT Score

Tuition Award

30+

20%

28-29

12%

25-27

7%

 

TABLE: University of Indianapolis Scholarships

Class Rank

SAT Score

ACT Score

Award

Top 5%

1270

29

50% tuition

Top 15%

1100

24

30% tuition

 

TABLE: University of the Redlands Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Score

Award

3.5

1100

23

$1500

 

TABLE: University of St. Francis Scholarships

GPA

Class Rank

SAT Score

ACT Score

Annual Award

3.5

Top 20%

1100

24

$5000-$7000

 

TABLE: University of Tennessee at Martin Scholarships

GPA

ACT Score

Annual Award

3.5

28

$3000

3.5

25

$1500

 

TABLE: William Woods University Scholarships

Class Rank

SAT Score Range

ACT Score Range

Award

Top 5%

1130-1230

30+

$5000

Top 20%

1130-1230

25-27

$3000

 

TABLE: Wilmington College Scholarships

GPA Range

SAT Score Range

ACT Score Range

Annual Award

3.0

1090-1600

24-36

$9000

3.0

860-1080

18-23

$7000

2.99

860-1600

18-36

$2000

 

TABLE: Wingate University Scholarships

GPA

SAT Score

Annual Award

3.0

1000

$3000

3.4

1100

$4000

3.8

1200

$6000

If your school of interest is not listed, leave a comment below and we will reach out to help. 

Preparing for the SAT & ACT with TestRocker will help you improve your scores. Give it a try—you never know how much money you will end up saving on your college degree!

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students

9 SAT, ACT & PSAT Videos Every Student Needs to See

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Sep 22, 2017

9 SAT & ACT Videos Every Student Needs to See.jpg

Video is becoming a more and more common medium in educational settings, and with good reason. Think about it—are you more likely to be engaged when you’re just reading something or listening to a teacher talking? Or when you’re watching a video that actually brings the concepts you’re learning to life? Several studies have demonstrated that watching videos is associated with greater retention and better mastery of material, which explains the success of TestRocker.

TestRocker has over 4000 videos about the SAT, ACT, and PSAT. It also has over 4000 practice questions, each of which are accompanied by at least one video. We’ve found that students who perform the best on the tests after using TestRocker are also those who have watched the most videos.

Start Watching TestRocker Videos

Improve Your Score

Because of our love for video we’ve searched around for the top SAT videos and ACT videos online. If nothing else, you’ll want to be sure to watch at least these 9, which are discussed in detail below. For those of you taking the PSAT, these can also be helpful PSAT videos. 

9. Why Punctuation is Important.

Without punctuation there is no sentence. Punctuation is the glue that holds together a set of statements. In this video you will learn why it is so important. It will help you understand the importance of the writing and essay sections of the SAT and ACT. This video has 2 parts. So be sure to continue on to the next video to complete the entire lesson. 

Click here to see our entire punctuation series. 

8. SAT vs ACT Myths & Facts.

There are a lot of myths about the SAT & ACT. A lot of times these myths mislead students into taking the test that isn't best for them. In this video you will learn about SAT myths and ACT myths. Remember no one test is "easier" than the other, or are they? Read about which test is easier

7. Don't Even Think About Doing This...

6. Know What to Bring on Test Day.

This is important because if you bring the wrong tools or don't come prepared with the right credentials then it's possible you won't be allowed to take the test. That's a rough situation to be in. That means you wasted your money registering for that test, you might have spent a lot of time preparing for that partiuclar test, or it could already be late in the application season. This video highlights what you need to bring, what not to bring and additional items you might want to bring with you to the test. 

Read more about what to bring and not to bring on test day.

5. How to Get Scholarships With Good Test Scores.

In this video a college student explains how her test scores resulted in receiving a scholarship. So she explains why preparing for your SAT or ACT is immensely important.  

4. Stay Motivated to Not Procrastinate

In this video the creator talks about procrastination and the misconception that it is fueled by lack of motivation. He brings up the point it fueled by the lack of willingness. Watch the video to understand more. TestRockers best student success stories come from students who have watched the most number of our videos. I am talking hundreds of our videos. It sounds like a lot; however, using TestRocker a little bit each day or a few times a week will really begin to add up the number of videos watched quickly. With average score increases of +180 SAT and +4 ACT, our combination of practice questions and video explanations takes the cake as the best test prep option. Start watching our videos.

Improve Your Score

3. ACT Math Calculator Study Session (Great for SAT too)

It's important to know how to function your calculator for the test. You might need to learn how to use a scientific calculator or how to function your particular model, and how to use it for specific types of questions. This ACT calculator video goes over it all and will greatly improve your score by learning the tips and tricks our tutor will explain. Keep in mind this video is also very good for any SAT calculator help also!

Click here to watch

sat-act-calculator-practice-video.png

2. How to Tackle The Dreaded SAT & ACT: How to Get Scholarships & More

There's a secret to the TestRocker process that not every test prep service utilizes. In this video Urvashi explains the process of a proper SAT/ACT prep plan, how to take your score to an impressive level and learn why scholarships and college recruiting starts with the PSAT.  

Click here to watch

Urvy on CollegeWeekLive Thumbnail Lo.jpg

1.  SuperScoring the SAT & ACT

Possibly the most under utilized yet most effective strategy for boosting your test scores. This video explains how you can superscore your test scores. Read our article to get all of the details about superscoring.

 

By now you should have a good grasp on the importance of the SAT & ACT, and why it is important to be well prepared for it. Now for your next step, get settled with a good test prep service. 

Improve Your Score

 

For more questions or comments, please enter them below in our comment field. 

Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students

Do My Scores Still Count [SAT & ACT]

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Jul 19, 2017

Do My Scores Still Count- [SAT & ACT].jpg

Timing is important when planning to take the SAT and ACT. When taking standardized tests, you want to plan your test dates such that they will be valid when it comes time to apply to college. In this blog, we’ll answer all questions related to when you can and should take the SAT and ACT.

How long are my SAT scores valid?

Technically, they are valid forever. That said, after 5 years, your scores probably don’t mean a whole lot.

"If you took the test 5 or more years ago, your scores will be accompanied by a note explaining that they may be less valid predictors of college academic performance than more recent test scores." CollegeBoard

 Furthermore, the SAT has changed significantly in the past year, so if you took the old test, it might be worth it to take it again. Some colleges place restrictions on the length of time between taking a test and submitting your scores, but usually this period is no less than 5 years.

How long are my ACT scores valid?

Like the SAT, 5 years about the cutoff. Technically the scores are never terminated, but ACT suggests using those scores may not be worth it.

“ACT scores from more than five years ago may no longer be appropriate because they may not reflect your current level of educational development.” ACT

In any case, you can request to have your scores sent for any test date after October 1, 1996. To receive them go to this ACT webpage

How late can I take the SAT and ACT?

This depends on the application deadline.

For the SAT it depends.

  1. If you order free score reports, meaning you determined 4 colleges you'd like to send reports of your grades to by 9 days after thest, the colleges will receive scores between 29 and 32 days after you take the test.
  2. If you do not order free score reports, the colleges will see your scores between 34 and 43 days after taking the test.

CollegeBoard explains all details needed on this topic here

In the case of the ACT, colleges receive scores according to the reporting method and schedule they select—at least every 2 weeks. Scores are not released to colleges until all scores are available for reporting. Most multiple choice scores (including the composite score), are available 2 weeks after the test date. Writing scores are typically available another 2 weeks after that. So you could be looking at a total of 4 weeks.

Therefore, you should not plan on taking the tests later than 1-2 months before the application deadline. You can check with the individual colleges how late they will accept scores.

Can I take the SAT and ACT after high school?

Absolutely! While some of the logistics and test prep methods might be different from that of a high school student taking the tests, you are never too old to take the SAT and ACT.

How early can I take the SAT or ACT?

Technically you can take them as early as you want. In regards to the SAT CollegeBoard says,

"Anyone can take the SAT. But the rules are a little different if you are:

  • 12 years old or younger.
  • In eighth grade or lower, regardless of your age."

These rules include being apart of one of their required youth talent agency, and requests for permanent record keeping if the student does not want the score removed from their records. 

Read more about the rules here.

For the ACT, student's younger than 13 are required to register via mail due to internet laws.

"Due to Internet privacy laws, students 12 years or younger cannot register online or create an ACT web account, even if their parents or guardians assist them or create their account."

To get a registration packet go here

If you do take the tests before 11th grade you should definitely expect to retake it in 11th or 12th. With a year or more of education your score should increase.

What it comes down to is that there’s no age limit to these tests. The only thing that can matter in these situations are whether or not the scores reflect your education level at the time of application, and if the school of interest will still accept the scores. 

You need to begin prepping for the tests months in advanced, and the best online SAT, ACT and PSAT prep is right here at TestRocker. Give it a try for free and see why it is the award winning SAT/ACT prep program. 

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students

Frequently Asked PreACT Questions (FAQ)

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Jul 17, 2017

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Everyone’s heard about the PSAT. What you might be less familiar with is the PreACT, or the preliminary ACT. The PreACT just came out last year. If you’ve got questions, this is the place to be. Below is a guide to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the PreACT.

While reading this FAQ, it is a good idea to open our ACT FAQ in order to track the differences and similarities.

Looking for SAT or ACT prep?

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What is the PreACT?

Similar to the PSAT, the PreACT provides college and career readiness information to students before they take the actual ACT.

Who can take it?

It’s is available to 10th graders through schools that are offering the exam.

Understanding PreACT Scores?

Just like the ACT, it is scored from 1 to 36. For each of the four required sections, you get a raw score, which is the number of questions you get right. Your final score, known as the composite score, is the average of your four raw scores.

Understand compose scoring read our test terminology post

How long is it?

The PreACT is 1 hour and 55 minutes long. That’s nearly half the length of the ACT.

What is on it?

The PreACT covers English, math, reading, and science. There is no writing section. The test consists of questions from old ACT exams, so the PreACT is a good indicator of the difficulty of the ACT.

TABLE: PreACT Sections

Section

Topics Covered

English

Punctuation, usage, sentence structure and formation, topic development, organization, unity, cohesion, knowledge of language

Math

Pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, coordinate geometry

Reading

Main idea of a passage, author’s purpose, tone, meaning of words in context

Science

Scientific reasoning on biology, Earth and space sciences, chemistry, and physics

 

When do I take it and when are test dates?

You can take the PreACT in 10th grade. Some schools administer it, and different schools offer the test at different times between September and June. If you’re interested in taking it, talk to your guidance counselor about the test date and procedures. If your school is not offering the test, your counselor can help you find a nearby school that is.

How much does it cost.

It’s $12 to take the exam. Some schools will cover the cost. In other cases, it is your responsibility. Check with your counselor about payment procedures for the PreACT at your school.

Why should I take it?

First of all, the PreACT is a good indicator of how you would do on the ACT, and is a great way to prepare for the ACT. Secondly, students who take the PreACT can opt in for free to Educational Opportunity Services (EOS), which makes your data available to over 1500 colleges and financial aid and scholarship groups.

TABLE: What are the differences between the PSAT and the PreACT?

 

PSAT

PreACT

Cost

$15

$12

Time of Administration

October or November

Anytime throughout the year as decided by schools

Scholarship Competition

National Merit Scholarship

No associated scholarship

Time to Results

6 weeks

2 weeks

 

Should I take the PSAT or the PreACT?

If you want to take the SAT, you should definitely take the PSAT, and if you want to take the ACT, you should definitely take the PreACT. It is a good idea to take both so you can see where you are stronger. You could also make your decision based on which test(s) your school offers. Keep in mind that if you do not take the PSAT, then you are not eligible for the National Merit Scholarship.

Take our quick survey to find out which test you should take to be sure you're taking the right test for the greatest success. 

SAT or ACT Survey

Should I prepare for the PreACT?

Definitely. There is no benefit from not studying, and preparing ahead of time helps you put your best foot forward and feel less anxious. Additionally, as stated above the PreACT gives you the ability to opt into the EOS, which could lead into scholarships and boost college recruiting. So be prepared to impress before you’re even applying to colleges. Keep in mind, the PreACT is not something to stress about. Just do your best.

For more information about the PreACT see this post. 

Infromation on college entrance exams are often changing. For the most up to date PreACT info see the ACT website.

To start preparing, check out TestRocker—a fun and interactive test prep program that will help you rock the PreACT, PSAT, SAT or ACT!

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, act, International Students, preact

PSAT SAT & ACT Terminology [Must Know Terms]

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Thu, Jul 06, 2017

psat sat and act terms you should know

As you’re preparing to take your college admissions standardized tests, you might be coming across some unfamiliar terms and thinking, “what the heck does this mean?” This guide will be your lifesaver throughout the process. In it, we define the most common terms you’ll come across. Understanding these terms is essential to making your test prep process as smooth as possible.

Preparing  for the upcoming tests? TestRocker offers an SAT, ACT & PSAT prep FREE Trial. Get a free diagnostic test, study plan, and 2000+ questions & videos. 

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Accommodation

An adjustment in traditional testing conditions for students with special needs. For example, students with processing speed deficiencies can be accommodated with extended time. Students with visual impairments can be accommodated with questions being read out loud. Students must have proper documentation of their special need in order to receive accommodation. Although the test conditions for students receiving accommodations are different, the test content and scoring are the same.

For an entire guide on test accommodations see this post. 

Answer choice

The potential answers given in a multiple choice question on a test.

Most questions on the SAT and ACT are multiple choice. This means you will be given 4 answer choices on the SAT and 5 on the ACT. Only one of these will be correct, and you will need to clearly indicate your answer choice. The other three choices often represent common errors and are there to trick you. Don’t fall into that trap. Always look for evidence to support your answer choice.

Composite score

Averaging out a scaled score between all sections within a particular test.

ACT scores range between 1 and 36. For each of the four required sections, you get a raw score, which is the number of questions you get right. Your final score, known as the composite score, is the average of your four raw scores.

To understand more about the ACT, read our post about frequently asked questions. 

Cramming 

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Cramming refers to studying everything at the last minute.

Don’t do it. While this approach might have worked for you on a smaller quiz or test, it is absolutely the wrong approach for the SAT and ACT. We have an entire list of study strategies you should NOT do in this recent post. 

Diagnostic Test

A test taken to see where you benchmark for a particular test.

Typically students will take a diagnostic test before they start studying in order to assess their current level of knowledge of the material on the SAT or ACT. The results of your diagnostic test give you an idea of where you’re doing well and where you need to improve so that you can tailor your studying accordingly.

Take TestRockers diagnostic test to understand where you need to improve for to score well on the SAT, ACT or PSAT. 

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Grid-In questions

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Image from Clear Biology

An answer system sometimes used on scantron tests that which require multiple bubbles to be filled for a complete answer. Typically it is used to answer math problems with specific decimal answers. The SAT has 5  grid-in questions on the no calculator math section. 

Multiple-choice question

Questions that give you a set of answers of which only one is correct. On the SAT, you will be given 4 answer choices, and on the ACT, you will be given 5.

No calculator section

Math section of the SAT on which you may not use a calculator, even one that is approved. It is 25 minutes long and consists of 20 questions, making it the shortest section on the SAT. Fifteen of the questions are multiple choice and 5 are grid-in. As opposed to the calculator sections, this section focuses more on reasoning than on figures.

Learn more about the SAT in this post.

Percentile rank

A measure of how you scored compared to other students who took the same test. Your percentile rank ranges from 1 to 99 and tells you the percentage of students who scored the same as you or lower. For example, if your percentile rank is 95, that means that 95% of students who took the test scored the same as you or lower.

Proctor

An adult supervisor in the test room who administers the test and makes sure everything goes smoothly. The proctor’s responsibilities include handing out and collecting materials, checking admissions tickets, making sure everyone is quiet, and ensuring that test takers are following all the rules.

Prompt

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Image from Tribune India

Another word for the essay question or assignment. Take the time to read the prompt carefully and understand what it’s asking and then outline your response before writing.

Raw score

Simply the number of questions you answered correctly. Raw scores are translated into scaled scores (defined below), which are the scores you will report to colleges.

Registration deadline

The deadline by which you must register to take the test. Registration deadlines are about 1 month before the actual test date for the SAT and 5-6 weeks before the test date for the ACT. It is recommended that you register as early as possible to ensure that you get your preferred test date and location. In the event that there are spots available, you may be able to register late, but you will have to pay a late registration fee.

The SAT is holding a brand new August SAT. Learn how and why you should take advantage of it here before it is too late.  

Scaled score

A score that is converted from your raw score (defined above), taking into account question difficulty and the performance of your peers. On the SAT, your scaled score ranges from 200 to 800 on each section (400 to 1600 total). On the ACT, your scaled score ranges from 1 to 36.

We have an entire post all about the SAT here. It goes deeper into SAT scoring and other SAT topics. 

Student-produced response 

Responses for non-multiple choice questions. In other words, students fill in these responses themselves. This will be the case for the essay and for the math grid-in questions on the SAT. Read the question carefully to make sure you’re providing the answer in the requested format.

Subscore 

Within the math and reading sections on the SAT and the math, reading, and science sections on the ACT, different types of skills are tested (for example analysis in science and expression of ideas). You are given a subscore for each of these skills, which together make up your section scores.

Superscoring 

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If you take the SAT or ACT more than once, some colleges allow you to superscore, which involves taking your highest score from each section across all of your test sittings and using those highest section scores to calculate your new total score (SAT) or composite score (ACT).

Total Score 

The total of your two section scores on the SAT. Each section (math and reading) has a score range from 200 to 800, so your total score will be between 400 and 1600.

TestRocker 

testrocker-transparent.pngThe best SAT and ACT test prep program! Students who study with TestRocker gain an average of 180 points on the SAT and an average of 4 points on the ACT. Get started with TestRocker today!

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students

Top 10 Graduation Gift Ideas

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Jun 16, 2017

 

Graduation season is upon us—how exciting! All of that hard work and studying has finally paid off, and high school graduates are now about to embark on an exciting new chapter in their lives. A milestone such as high school graduation deserves special recognition. Show the grads in your life that you care with a gift that they’ll find useful and will enjoy. Stuck on ideas? The list below can help.

1. Money 


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This is probably the most common and most obvious. What college student couldn’t use a little extra cash to put towards their tuition fund or to enjoy the occasional night out with friends? If you’re not sure what to get for a grad, you certainly can’t go wrong with money. 

2. Gift Cards

On a similar note, you can get the grads in your life gift cards to places they might be frequenting over the next few months or years. Such venues might include Amazon, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Walmart, and Starbucks. You can find these kinds of gift cards at your local grocery store, Walmart, convenience store or on their websites. 

3. Public Transportation Cards and/or Flight Tickets

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Most undergrads (at least in their first year) won’t have cars with them on campus, and depending on where they’re going to school might need a way to get around. Many colleges have their own free shuttle services to get around campuses or places very nearby, but in the case that a student wants to venture out a little further, a public transportation card could be helpful. Depending on how far they are from their hometown, a plane ticket to get home for the holidays could also come in handy. Many major transportation companies give you the ability to send vouchers and prepaid tickets to another person, or local transportation systems often sell prepaid cards on their websites. 

United Airlines hosts a travel crowdfunding platform. This allows people to get help from friends and family with funding a trip. Check it out here. 

4. Subscription & Streaming Services 

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After a hectic week of classes, sometimes it can be nice for students to just sit back, relax, and catch up on the shows you they might have missed during the week. Subscriptions to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, and GameFly can help students decompress.

5. College-Branded Paraphernalia 

3a15c090cfbc8c6e169a056b9136e84b.jpgSend your grads to school in style! College book stores have a wide selection of school-spirited clothing, including T-shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, scarfs, sweatpants, shorts, hats, socks, and gloves. College-branded key chains, lanyards, coffee mugs, banners, and stuffed animals can also make great gifts and let students show off their school pride. You can also usually find college paraphernalia at major sporting goods stores, and on Amazon or other online stores. 

Checkout Fanatics where they have over 500 different collegiate licenses and sell a ton of nice clothing. 

6. Subscription Food Services

Keep the freshman 15 off with healthier snack options. Eating healthy is tough in college. The dining halls don't always serve the most healthy options, there's a lot of processed snacks around campus, and students don't always have the money or means to venture outside of campus. 

That's why we suggest a healthy and wholesome food service like Graze or UrthBox. Graze is a portion controlled and nutritionist approved monthly service. UrthBox is similar but provides healthy, gluten free and organic snacks. These services are great because they will ship right to the student at college and will continue each month as long as you keep them subscribed. So it's one less thing they need to worry about while getting used to the college lifestyle. 

7. Books 

Another idea you can’t go wrong with. Sure, students will be reading plenty of course material while in college, but taking some time to read for fun is good for their mental wellbeing and gives their mind a chance to rest. Plus, it’s always nice to have new books to look forward to during the holidays.

We recommend the following books for high school graduates:

A Short Guide to a Happy Life: This short and simple book by Pulitzer Prize Winner, Anna Quindlen, is meant to show readers how good we have it. It is a book that will stay on the coffee table for generations.

P.S. I Love You - A book of inspirational quotes filled with wisdom and life advice. This is a great read and keepsake for young adults heading into the real world.

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Lifes Little Instruction Book -This book is a great morale booster. When school or life is getting tough Lifes Little Instruction Book provides great advice to move forward with living a happy and rewarding life.

The 5 Ingredient College Cook Book - Cooking during college gets a little difficult, but a students' got
to eat. This cook book can help a student make delicisious healthy meals with only 5 ingredients. 

Why Didn't They Teach me This in School? - Let's be honest high school doesn't teach us all there is to know about the real world. This book lays out 99 personal money management principles to live by. 

8. Laptop, iPad, or Tablet 

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For those students needing an update on any of these devices, graduation might be the perfect occasion. These devices will help students stay connected and organized during the year. A lot of stores like BestBuy or Walmart have discounted items for college students. Covers or cases for these devices could also make good gifts.

9. Personalized Stationery 

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Some classes prohibit using electronic devices. So sometimes students need to go back into time and use some old fashioned stationery. Stationery gift ideas include pens, notebooks, post-it notes, and calendars. Journals also make great gifts, as it gives students a space to express themselves and reflect upon their journey. At the end of the year, they can look back on their reflections and feel proud of all that they accomplished.

Personalized stationary is a hot trend right now. At Minted they give you the ability to createinteresting designs for thank you cards and letters. A big trend right now is monogramming. It's a cute and subtle way to stamp your name on things. Then your student will have a nice way to write thank you letters to their teachers and counselors. 

10. Personalized Travel Gear 

14993-33753.jpgCollege students do a lot of traveling. Whether it's coming home for breaks, going on trips with clubs or doing semesters abroad, there's a lot of travel. A nice gift idea is to get the student new travel bags with their name or monogram embroidered on it. You can get it done through the site Personalization Mall. 

Another popular trend right now is custom passport holders. It's a nice way of keeping their travel memories organized and stylish! Etsy does a lot of personalized passport holders. Check it out here

What are your favorite graduation gift ideas? Tell us in the comments below!

From all of us at TestRocker, congrats to the grads!


If you are a student who still needs to take the SAT or ACT, or a parents with teens who will soon need to take these tests, then it's time to start preparing. These tests are a huge factor in college acceptances. TestRockers average increased scores are +180 (SAT) and +4 (ACT). We've found that the students who score the best after using TestRocker have watched the most amount of our videos. With 2000+ videos there's plenty of content to improve you or your students SAT & ACT scores. 

Give the free trial a try to watch some videos & try some practice quetions. 

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For information on which test is easier click here. If you are thinking about studying over the summer you can learn about that here

Tags: For Students, For Parents, Graduation

About Suniti

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

TestRocker is an award-winning PSAT/SAT/ACT program that empowers students to take control of their test preparation. After taking a diagnostic test, students receive a customized study plan, individualized to their strengths/weaknesses. Students practice and learn concepts through videos. Each of the 2000+ questions on TestRocker is accompanied by a video explanation from Suniti. TestRocker has the largest video library in the world for PSAT/SAT/ACT preparation. 

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