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Suniti's Advice Corner

What to Do If You Blank Out During the SAT/ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Apr 05, 2017

what to do if you draw a blank during the sat or act

Taking the SAT or ACT is stressful enough as it is. But then to blank out during the test and to feel like the answers are just not coming to you might send your head spinning even more. If you find yourself blanking out during the test, there are a few things you can do to get yourself back on track.

  1. Breathe.

Don’t underestimate the power of breathing. Sometimes blanking out is the result of stress. Then when you can’t think of the answer you might stress out more, which leads to a vicious cycle. Stepping back and taking some deep breaths can break the cycle. Close your eyes and take 5-10 deep breaths in and out through your nose. You might be surprised at how you feel afterwards.


  1. Just get your pencil moving.

Write something. Anything. When you start working out a problem or underlining a part of a reading passage, you might jog your memory and the answer might come to you. You know more than you think you do. So just get that pencil moving and see what comes of it.
  1. Skip the question and come back to it.

The clock is ticking, and you don’t want to waste precious time on a question that’s stumping you. If you find that you’re spending more than a minute or two on a question, move on to the questions that you do know and come back to this one later. Taking a break and working on other questions might help jog your memory and will also help you pace yourself.

Get more helpful tips to improve your SAT score by viewing the 20 Best SAT Test Taking Strategies.

  1. Take your best guess.

There is no penalty for wrong answers on the tests, so if all else fails, just take your best guess. You might even guess correctly. By filling in one of the bubbles, you have a 25% chance of choosing the right answer, which is better than a 0% chance from not filling in anything. To maximize your chances of guessing correctly, try to use logic, evidence, plug-ins, and visuals to help you out. 

Blanking out during a test can be scary, but the strategies above should be able to help you center yourself and get you back on the right track.

 Setup a consultation with a TestRocker expert to help get you ready for your test!

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, International Students, tips, sat prep

SAT & ACT Test Day Tip: What to Eat for Breakfast (and what not to eat)

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Mar 31, 2017

breakfast the morning of the sats

We’ve all heard a million times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But who has time to make and enjoy a healthy breakfast when there’s so much else to do?

Unfortunately, with our busy schedules, many of us find ourselves skipping breakfast. If you’re taking the SAT or ACT any time soon, skipping breakfast is a habit you’re going to want to break. If you’re not a regular breakfast eater, ideally you should introduce it back into your routine a week or two before the test so that you don’t have an upset stomach the day of.

What You Should Eat

So what should you have for breakfast the morning of the test? You should definitely have something you enjoy. This will help you de-stress and put you in a good mood. That said, you want to make sure you’re giving your body and the brain the proper nutrients to keep you on your A-game. 

  1. Protein, protein, protein! This can include eggs, dairy products, or nuts.
  2. Whole grains. Instead of having white bread, try going for whole wheat bread. Oatmeal or granola with fruits or yogurt is also a great option. 
  3. Other ideas for a healthy breakfast include eggs Florentine, breakfast burritos in a whole-wheat tortilla, an omelet with vegetables, and steel-cut oatmeal with bananas and peanut butter. 
  4. In the mood for something lighter? Maybe have a protein or granola bar or a smoothie with milk, fruit, and protein powder.
  5. Also make sure you have at least a glass of water before the test and bring water with you to the test center.

What Not To Eat

  • As tasty as they might be, you want to avoid sugary foods and coffee. While they may give you an initial energy boost, you might experience a sudden energy crash during the test.
  • It’s also not a good idea to eat anything you’re not used to. It’s not a great idea to test your stomach right before going into a 4 to 5 hour test. 

As for after the test? Go ahead and spoil yourself! You’ve worked hard and you deserve it. Hopefully you can keep up this healthy breakfast routine even after the test. 



Can I Eat During The Test?

The day of the test, you’ll likely be at the test center for anywhere between 4 and 5 hours. You’re not allowed to have food with you during the test and you’re only given a couple of 5-minute breaks to step into the hall and munch on something. If you have a healthy breakfast before heading to the test center, not only will you be able to sustain yourself during the test, but you’ll also perform better. Plus, there’s nothing more distracting than a grumbly tummy.

What Kinds of Snacks Should I Take To My SAT or ACT Test?

Snacks are a good way to re-charge during breaks. Take small bite items like granola bars, apples, pretzels, nuts and dry fruit etc. Stay away from anything too messy (dirty hands), spicy (upset stomach) or too sweet (sugar high). 

Now that you know all about your test day breakfast, improve your SAT score by viewing the 20 Best SAT Test Taking Strategies


Not sure if you should take the SAT or the ACT?

Find Out Now


Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors, sat, New SAT, International Students, sat prep, breakfast, sat breakfast

Guide to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Mar 29, 2017

What is the ACT?
The ACT is a college admissions standardized test, similar to the SAT. It helps college admissions committees assess your academic ability and potential and your college readiness.

Why should I take the ACT?Frequently Asked ACT Questions FAQ

  1. Most colleges require either the ACT or SAT as part of your application. Students attending public high schools in Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming require Juniors to take the ACT for their statewide assessments.

  2. Finally, you might be eligible for certain scholarships based on your ACT score. Learn more here

Should I take the SAT or the ACT?

From the point of view of colleges, it doesn’t matter. All US colleges will accept either the ACT or the SAT. Ultimately it comes down to your personal preference.

Visual thinkers who like charts, tables, and graphs might prefer the SAT. Those who love to read and work well under time pressure might prefer the ACT. You can also take both to keep your options open when it comes to sending your scores to colleges.

Want to find out which is the best test for you? Click here to find out with just a few questions.

What is the ACT scored out of?

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.

TABLE: What is on the ACT? How long is the test?

The test covers English, math, reading, science, and an optional writing section. The total duration of the test is close to 3 hours, plus 40 minutes for the optional writing section.

Section # of Questions & Length Topics Included

75 Questions

45 Minutes

Punctuation, grammar, usage, sentence structure, strategy, organization, style
60 Questions

60 Minutes

 Pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, trigonometry.
40 Questions

35 Minutes

 Reading passages on social studies, natural sciences, literary fiction, and the humanities

40 Questions

35 Minutes

Data representations, research summaries.
Writing (optional)

1 Prompt

40 Minutes

Text reading, analysis, and writing skills. Students produce a written analysis of a provided text.

When should I take the ACT

It is recommended that you first take the test during the 2nd semester of your junior year (11th grade). This way you will have learned all the material covered in school, but will have plenty of time to retake the test. You want to be done with all your testing by October or November of your senior year.

Do I need to prepare for the ACT? When should I start preparing for the ACT?

You should absolutely prepare for the ACT. Preparing will help you improve your score, which will increase your chances of getting into more schools. It is a good idea to start preparing after your sophomore year (10th grade). The summer between your Sophomore and Junior years is a great time to start preparing because it gives you ample time. ACT prep is not something you want to leave to the last minute.

Start a Free Trial for TestRocker's one of a kind ACT test prep!

How many times can I take the ACT?

You can take the ACT up to 12 times. The test is offered 6 times during the year. At TestRocker, we recommend that you take it a maximum of 2-3 times. We have not seen much of a score improvement beyond the 2nd or 3rd attempt, so it’s best to spend your time on other parts of your college application.

How do I sign up for the ACT?

You register online on the ACT’s website. Make sure you check the registration deadline in advance. Also be sure to check the testing center nearest to you, as it may not be administered at your school.

Can I use a calculator for the math sections?

Yes, you are allowed to bring a calculator, but it must be the right kind of calculator. Bringing a TI-89 is the most common reason students are dismissed from the ACT. Check out this free lesson on ACT calculator tips.

TABLE: How much does it cost to take the ACT? 

Although the price can vary slightly each year, the registration fee for the 2016-2017 school year is as follows:

Service Fee (USD) Additional Information
Registration (without writing section) $42.50 Includes reports for you, your high school, and up to 4 colleges
Registration (with writing section) $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
Includes reports for you, your high school, and up to 4 colleges
Telephone registration $15 Only available if you’ve previously registered for a test
Late registration (US and Canada only) $27.50 Registering after regular deadline
Standby testing $51 Placed on waitlist for particular test center/date. Refunded if you are denied admission on test day.
Test center change $25 Keep your location, change the test date. If it’s after the registration deadline, you’ll also be charged the late registration fee.
International testing $51 Testing outside of US, Canada, or US territories.
Score reports for additional colleges $12 each Request online before test date.

Are there accommodations for students with disabilities during the ACT?

Yes. You can request accommodations online on the ACT website by filling out proper documentation.

Getting ready to take the ACT? Start TestRocker's Free Trial for sample questions and videos. 

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Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors, act, International Students, questions, faq, actprep, frequently asked questions, act test, act exam

New July ACT Test Date Added for 2018!

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Thu, Mar 23, 2017

 ACT, Inc has announced the addition of a 7th test date in the US: July. Here's what we know so far:

When will the July ACT first be available to take?

The July ACT will first be made available in 2018 on July 14th. While the College Board has introduced a new August SAT test date beginning in 2017, the ACT test dates remain unchanged for 2017: April 8th, June 10th, September 9th, October 28th, December 9th. 

TABLE: Remaining ACT Test Dates for 2017

ACT Test Date Available In
April 8th, 2017 Worldwide
June 10, 2017 Worldwide
September 9th, 2017 Worldwide
October 28th, 2017 Worldwide
December 9th, 2017 Worldwide

TABLE: ACT Test Dates for 2018

ACT Test Date Available In
February 10, 2018 US Only, Except NY
April 14, 2018 Worldwide
June 9, 2018 Worldwide
July 14, 2018 US Only, Except NY
September Worldwide
October Worldwide
December Worldwide

Where will the July ACT be available? 

The test will be available to all students in the United States, except for New York.New July ACT Test Date International test centers will not be offering the July ACT. 

Why should I consider taking the July ACT?

If you are in the Class of 2019 or later, you should definitely consider taking the July ACT. Here are a few reasons why:

Summer = Precious Free Time: The test is in mid-July which means you have part of your summer break to focus and prepare, without having to worry about regular school work and after-school activities. Taking the test in the summer gives you time to focus on other things during your senior year, such as keeping your grades up and working on your college application. Read more about whether you should study during the summer.

Early College Applicants: For those of you who plan to apply to colleges Early Action or Early Decision, this test date gives you an extra opportunity to raise your score and still have one final attempt to bring it up further if needed in the Fall. 

Makes time for the SAT or Subject Tests: If any of the universities you're applying to require you to submit SAT Subject Test scores, getting the ACT testing complete and out of the way sooner leaves you more time to prepare for subject tests in the Fall. Additionally, the same logic applies if you're also taking the SAT. Not sure if you should also take the SAT? Find out here.

Counselors, Students, Parents: What do you think about these test date changes? We want to hear from you. Leave your comments in the box below!

Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors, act, test dates, july act

Guide to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the SAT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Mar 17, 2017

What is the SAT? 
The SAT is a widely accepted standardized college admission test that helps Colleges assess your academic ability and potential in comparison with the rest of the applicants in your graduating class across the world. Since the test is standardized, it helps level the playing field so that students from all backgrounds have an equal chance to succeed.

Why should I take the SAT?

  1.  It’s a requirement: Most universities require a standardized test score (either SAT or ACT) as part of the college application.
  2.  Scholarships: Many universities use your SAT score to see if they can provide you with merit-based scholarships. 

Still not convinced? Read our blog on Why the SAT is important!

What is the SAT scored out of?

The SAT is out of a total of 1600 points. Evidence based reading + writing are two separate tests each count for 400 points, for a total of 800. The math section is scored out of 800 points.

TABLE: What is on the SAT? How long is the SAT?

The SAT tests you for your math, evidence-based reading & writing skills. The entire test takes 3 hours (plus 50-minute optional essay).

Section # of Questions & Length Topics Included
(800 points)

58 Questions

80 Minutes
Algebra, Problem Solving & Data Analysis, Quadratic & Higher order equations, Arithmetic operations, Geometry, Basic Trigonometry. Includes one 25 minute no-calculator section. Questions are mostly in multiple choice and a few free response formats.
(400 points)

52 Questions

65 Minutes
Evidence based reading & writing, focusing on analysis of History/Social Studies, Science, Data & Informational graphics and vocabulary in context.
Writing & Language (400 Points)

44 Questions

35 Minutes
Essay (Optional) (Scored Separately)

1 Free Response Question

50 Minutes
Tests reading, analysis and writing skills; students produce a written analysis of a provided text.

When should I take the SAT?

Most students take the test 2nd semester of their junior (11th grade) year. Definitely plan to be finished with your SAT by October/November of Senior year.

Do I need to prepare for the SAT? When should I start preparing for the SAT?

Yes, you should definitely prepare for the SAT. Everyone has the ability to improve, and you want your SAT® score to match your potential so that you can get in to the best possible schools. Start preparing for the SAT® any time after your Sophomore (10th grade) year. Summer is a great time to start because you actually have time to prepare. You should prepare ahead of time – don’t leave it till the last minute.

How many times can I take the SAT?

Although you can take the SAT as many times as you want, we recommend that you take it at least 2 times, and no more than 3 or 4 times.

What is the PSAT? Why & When should I take the PSAT? How is the PSAT different from the SAT?

Think of the PSAT as a baby brother of the SAT. It serves as a practice test to show you what the SAT® is like. For most students, the PSAT serves as a good wake up call to start thinking about college application process. The PSAT is administered in October. While you can take the PSAT as a Sophomore, you should definitely take it as a Junior as your PSAT score could qualify you to enter National Merit Scholarship programs. Learn more about why studying for the PSAT can be benefitial.

How do I sign up for the SAT?

You can register online at SAT.collegeboard.org. Make sure you check the registration deadline well in advance! Also make sure to check the nearest SAT testing center to you – it might not be administered in your school.

Can I use a calculator for the math sections?

Yes and no! The SAT has one no-calculator section where calculator use is not allowed. For the other section, however, you may use your calculator. Make sure that you check what types of calculators are allowed! For more Calculator tips, click here.

TABLE: How much does it cost to take the SAT? 

Although the price can vary slightly each year, the registration fee for the 2016-2017 school year is as follows:

Region Fee (USD) Additional Fee (USD)
United States $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
Africa (Sub-Saharan), Americas $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
East Asia/Pacific $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
Europe/Eurasia $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
Middle East/North Africa $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
South & Central Asia $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)

Are there any special allowances for students with disabilities?

Yes, the SAT can accommodate students with disabilities, once correct documentation has been provided and validated by the College Board. Contact the College Board for more information.


Do you have more questions about the SAT? Speak with a TestRocker expert: Schedule Now

Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors, sat, New SAT, International Students, questions, faq

June Cancelled SAT test date for International Students: Details, Answers and Advice

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Feb 27, 2017


JUNESATCANCELLED.pngMany international students who have been preparing for the June 2017 SAT were recently shockedto hear that The College Board has cancelled the 2017 June SAT for international students. Until these recent changes, the SAT was offered internationally 6 times a year; January, May, June, October, November & December. Going forward, the SAT will only be offered internationally 4 times a year.

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Here are some important things to note regarding these recent changes, and how they might affect you:

Why did the June SAT get cancelled?

The College Board had previously announced that it would be reducing the number of international test dates in the near future as an effort to reduce the number of cheating incidents that have been occuring at international test centers. The June SAT cancellation was the first test date to be cut.

When will the SAT be offered in 2017 for international students

For 2017, there is no March SAT for international students. The remaining test dates for 2017 are May, October and December. The June SAT has been cancelled.

When will the SAT be offered in 2018 for international students?

From 2018 onwards, the SAT will be offered 4 times a year for international students. Students can expect to see test dates in March, May, October & December. In speaking with various international schools around the world, it appears that of these four test dates, October will be the most popular. If you plan to take the October SAT internationally, make sure you register early before test centers fill up.

What should I do if I was planning on taking the June SAT?

Option 1: Take the May SAT instead, as long as you register by April 7th. This date might not work for you if you have final exams around that time. It also reduces the amount of time you have to prepare by one month. However, it leaves October & December as back up options in case you don’t do as well as you hoped.

Option 2: Take the October SAT instead. This date will give you more time to prepare. However remember that October will be very busy with college applications and keeping up with your school grades and extracurricular activities. You will also be left with only December as a back up test date incase you don’t do as well. This won’t work if you’re applying early decision to schools, however many universities will accept your December scores. Make sure you check with the universities you’re interested in before picking December as a test date.

Additional Tips & Suggestions: 

Consider the ACT: The ACT is equally accepted by all US universities. The test is offered internationally 5 times a year (September, October, December, April & June). If these test dates work well for you, it might be worth registering for the ACT as well. Want to know if you're well suited for the ACT? Click here to find out by taking a 2-minute free self-assessment!

Take SAT Subject Tests in June: If you were already planning on taking a test in June, and the universities you’re applying to require SAT subject tests, use the June test date to take a subject test instead, since the June SAT Subject tests haven’t been cancelled!

On June 3rd 2017, the College Board is still offering the following subject tests:


Level 1

 Latin Italian
French German Spanish  Mathematics
Level 2
  Biology E/M  Physics

Register by April 25th.

Remember that you can take up to 3 SAT Subject Tests on the same day, but you can’t take the SAT and Subject Tests on the same day. So the June test date is an ideal one to take the subject tests!

Planning on taking the SAT or ACT? Our TestRocker experts can help you get prepared.

I Want to Speak to an Expert!

Counselors, Students, Parents: What do you think about these test date changes? We want to hear from you. Leave your comments in the box below!

Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors, sat, New SAT, International Students, test dates

5 Questions & Answers about Calculators on SAT Test Day

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Jan 20, 2017

Calculator use is permitted (for some sections) on the SAT. For many students, calculators can act as security blankets. While calculators can be very useful, if used correctly, they can lead to added stress if you rely on them too much. It is important to educate yourself on calculator policies for the SAT test well in advance of test day. Here are a few of the most popular calculator-related questions we receive from students:

calculators for SAT test day.jpgI don’t have a calculator. Will my test center have extra calculators I could borrow? Could I share a calculator with someone else?
No, you need to bring your own calculator. You also cannot share your calculator with anyone else.

Can I use a calculator for all sections on the SAT?
You can only use a calculator during the Math – Calculator section. For all other sections including Reading, Writing & Math – No Calculator, you will be required to put the calculator away.

Can I use my phone as a calculator?
No, you can’t use your phone as a calculator. Nor can you use a laptop, tablet or any other device as a calculator. Your calculator must not have internet/wifi/bluetooth or audio/video recording capabilities.

What brand/type of calculators am I allowed to bring on SAT test day?

All scientific calculators and most graphing calculators are allowed. You can check for specific approved brands on the College Board website, if you like.

What are some General Calculator tips?

  • Make sure you are familiar with the calculator you bring. Take a practice test with that exact calculator so that you know how to use it.
  • Replace the batteries in your calculator at least two days before the SAT. Make sure it works!
  • A calculator can often be a crutch. Use it where it is useful, but don’t try to use it to solve every single questions. Sometimes it is better to use other strategies such as elimination to get to the answer faster.

Want some more useful Test Day tips and resources?

Click Here to Check Out Our Resources Page


Tags: For Students, sat, New SAT, calculator, math, tips

Before & After: Preparing for the ACT

Posted by TestRocker Team on Wed, Jan 04, 2017


While preparing for the SAT and ACT tests sometimes it can feel like you are all alone, but in reality you are in good company. Thousands of other students are going through the same tough but important process as they prepare for the SAT and ACT exams. Thousands of students are just as nervous, excited, and overwhelmed as you – so don’t worry, you’re normal!

As with all challenges it helps to talk to people going through the same experiences. We recently talked with high school student Julia Ryan about her experience preparing for the ACT and SAT tests and how TestRocker helped her do her best. Julia talks about her experience before she took her final ACT test, and about using TestRocker and improving her ACT score.



What were your score improvements?

“TestRocker boosted my ACT score by 4 points, which was incredible! I've never had that big of a score leap in any other standardized tests, so I was definitely super excited about that.”

What were your favorite features of TestRocker?

“I loved the specificity. I loved being able to go through the math section and being like "oh yeah I totally don't remember how to do that part of geometry at all." It made my previous scores make more sense because I could see exactly what I was missing, and then I could dive right into that and sharpen my weakest points.”

How do you feel TestRocker helped you improve your score?

“TestRocker goes right to the core of where you need work and how much work you need, so that helped me improve my score. Instead of just practicing for overall standardized tests, I could see exactly how much work I needed to do in each area in order to get the score I want!”
Julia Ryan on TR ACT.jpg

Julia using TestRocker's ACT Program

Why would you recommend TestRocker to friends?

“TestRocker is unique in comparison to the other ACT and SAT test prep because it targets exactly where you need help. It's completely specific to you, so that's why I recommend it. It's engaging and it keeps you on track in order to test as best you possibly can! I loved it.”

Check out TestRocker for yourself!
Take a free diagnostic test to instantly receive your customized study plan:

Sign up for our free trial

Tags: For Students, sat, act

Is the New SAT easier?

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Nov 01, 2016

HELLO.pngCutting to the chase, the answer is – it depends on the innate propensity of the student! The test has now been administered three times. TestRocker has had thousands of students prepare and sit for the New SAT as well as for the ACT. 

I have done an analysis of the questions and structure of both the ACT and the New SAT to help my students figure out which test is better suited to their strengths. Here is a summary of some of my findings:

Get Free SAT Practice Questions


Math Section:

I will say that the Math section of the New SAT is easier for students adept in English because the questions are less convoluted than those in the old SAT. Even in the No-calculator section, a section many students are nervous about, there is a dominance of straightforward algebra questions. Students have seen such questions before in their schoolwork. I would say in terms of content and time pressure, the ACT Math section is harder than that of the New SAT.

Let’s revisit the statement I made about the Math section being easier for students adept in English. The New SAT has added a language burden into the Math Section with the inclusion of text heavy questions. These questions mimic real life situations. Such as, questions about credit cards and interest payments. Students who come from countries or sections of societies where English is a weakness, the Math section can pose a reading and comprehension problem. Students might spend too much time trying to comprehend the question and setting up their equations before getting around to solving them. Thus, it would be hard for them to complete the Math Section in the allotted time.

Another set of students that could find the text heavy math section more burdensome is students with certain learning disabilities. Remember, if you have a learning disability, you are eligible for extra time. You must avail of this facility. The most common type of accommodation granted to a student is 50% extended testing time. Learn more about how secure testing accommodations here.

Reading Section:

The Reading section in the New SAT is easier than before in terms of the level of the text in most passages. However, the passages that relate to US foundation and history documents can have tough language. I would also say the Reading Section is easier than the ACT in terms of time pressure. Whether you’re taking the SAT or the ACT, Speed Reading Strategies are crucial to master. We have taught such strategies thoroughly on TestRocker.

What about vocabulary? Surprisingly, College Board insists that we are not required to learn obscure words anymore (by the way, many students don’t know what ‘obscure’ means). I can tell you that students still need to learn vocabulary because the mature level of some of texts included in the reading section requires the understanding of many obscure words.  Reading and comprehending the text becomes a challenge when students stumble on words they don’t know. Lifting their vocabulary skills will help students to not only read better, but also to write and communicate better.

Writing Section:

The New SAT grammar section is now identical to the ACT grammar section. Both test for knowledge of grammar, punctuation, structure of the passage, and rhetorical skills. The time pressure in the ACT is high in comparison: 75 questions in 45 minutes in the ACT versus 44 questions in 35 minutes.

The essay in the NEW SAT is an analytical essay and is harder to master than the more straightforward argument essay in the ACT. The prompt for the New SAT essay is a mature essay written by a renowned author. Students need to analyze the essay in term of the author’s use of rhetorical skills, and the strengths and weaknesses of the author’s argument. Students cannot give their own opinions. Whereas, the ACT essay is an extension of what it used to be. It is an argument essay where students need to address three given perspectives, and add their own analysis and opinions. So, the ACT has more latitude, while the New SAT essay binds the student into pure analysis of the essay prompt presented.

The above findings can serve as guidelines to help you choose between the New SAT and the ACT. To get an accurate idea of which is the test best suited for you, I would advise you to take TestRocker’s two-minute propensity quiz here.

Good luck!
Your Tutor,

Note: New SAT refers to the SAT test the College Board has been administering since March 2016.

Tags: For Students, sat, act, New SAT

8 to Great! Tips for Passing Your High School Spanish Course

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Sep 28, 2016

There are endless studies and research proving that studying a foreign e6275a9f41ad8b6f554c84d048be2572.jpglanguage in school is extremely beneficial for reasons beyond just having a strong High School transcript. In fact, the College Board reported that students who complete 4 years of studying a foreign language performed better on the SAT (100 points or higher) than those who did not*! If you are currently in a High School Spanish course, here are some great tips from our friends at Language Bird .

  1. Use N.E.T. time to study

There is a helpful concept, coined by the renowned success coach Tony Robbins, called N.E.T. time. This stands for “No extra time, time.” N.E.T. time is the time taken doing mundane tasks that require little or no mental focus. Examples are exercise, commuting to/from school, going to the bathroom, walking the dog, walking from class to class at school, taking a lunch break, shopping, cooking, etc. These activities add up to HUNDREDS of hours of your life every year. Take advantage of the N.E.T. time in your life and study your class notes simultaneously.

  1. Study your notes out loud.

Science shows by actually saying (Spanish) sentences and words out loud, additional pathways are physically created in your brain that will help you to remember the information!

  1. Use a good accent

Americans are notorious for egregious Spanish accents. This does not have to be you though! You must apply some strategies that will help you to clean it up quickly.

There are many sounds in Spanish that are easy for English speakers to create, but that are simply often ignored. For some reason, students are embarrassed to speak with a more native sounding accent. Perhaps it’s because it feels awkward since it’s different and our peers are all speaking with American accents. Whatever the case, with Spanish sounds that are already easy for you to create, embrace them! If anything, you should be embarrassed when not speaking properly. This will instantly improve your accent dramatically. Here are some examples:

Teléfono - Many students will ignore the accent mark and speak with the accent over the “o.” This has nothing to do with difficulty in saying it correctly. It’s just lazy. Don’t let this be you! Speak as the accents are written and your speech will be more beautiful.

Gracias – Many students will default to the American “r” sound and harsh “a” sound as in “Apple.” Don’t do this! Listen to your instructor and copy them. The “a” sound is more like “ah” and you don’t need to learn to roll your “r” for this words – it’s just one touch of the tongue.

  1. Sit near the good students or solo

Your friends are already the good students? Fantastic! Sit by them. During group conversation exercises their skills will help to push you.

If your friends are not necessarily the top students in the class, of course you will enjoy sitting with them, but we also know that it’s simply a massive distraction. Instead, choose to sit with some other people or at least solo!

  1. Do your homework

This is simple. Just do the work. Homework often counts for a large percentage of your grade and doing the work, even if it’s not all correct, can nearly guarantee you’ll pass the class.

  1. Be brave in class

Make it your mission to raise your hand at least once every class. The instructor will love you! Afraid other students will judge you? Who cares! Let them.

  1. Just ask

Don’t be afraid of asking your teacher questions during and/or after class. Many teachers love it when students are engaged and interested in learning their subject matter and feel honored and excited that you asked. Don’t be shy!

  1. Talk to your counselor

Now is a great time to learn how to advocate for yourself! In college, it will be all up to you, so practice now! This means you need to find help for yourself when you need it before the situation is beyond repair! If you feel like you are falling behind and you don’t know what else you can do, talk to your school counselor or another adult you trust on campus. They can provide suggestions or resources available to you that you may not know about.

Additionally, you can always call LanguageBird if you need!

They are happy to provide you with Spanish courses online with their instructors. You will receive high school credit accepted by colleges all over the U.S. and approved by the University of California and NCAA. 



*based on research shown in The Benefits of Second Language Study

Tags: For Students, For Parents

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