<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=137445156611445&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Suniti's Advice Corner

5 Reasons Why You Should Prepare for the PSAT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, May 26, 2017


Guys, this is really important information! While it is all public information, it is not common knowledge. You could be missing out on free money for college, and beneficial college recruitement resources. So take notes, use the resources we mention, and take this important advice to the bank.

You might say to yourself “The PSAT is just a practice SAT, so I don’t need to worry about it, right? It’s the SAT that really matters, isn’t it?” or “I don’t even want to take the SAT—I’m preparing for the ACT.”

The PSAT is not just a practice SAT and you absolutely should be taking it seriously. In fact, the PSAT opens many doors to you that you may not have otherwise been aware of. Below is a list of reasons why you need to take the PSAT seriously. Check it out and get an immediate edge over your peers, who don’t realize just how important the PSAT is.

TestRocker offers a one of a kind PSAT Prep Program.


1. The PSAT helps prepare you for the SAT/ACT.

Preparing for the PSAT will kickstart your prep for the SAT and ACT. This reason might seem the most obvious, but it’s true. The PSAT is a shortened version of the SAT, so it will give you an idea of what will be on the SAT and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Why is this important? These are not normal tests that you're used to taking in school. They are longer, more time-intensive, and they cover a lot more content at multiple levels of difficulty. In addition to preparing for the content, it is important for you to learn about these aspects of the test. More preparation over a longer period of time leads to higher score improvements. 

2. Doing well on the PSAT can equal thousands of dollars and scholarship opportunities!

For many students, the PSAT can end up being even more important than the actual SAT/ACT. The PSAT is the only way to qualify for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program. You can become a National Merit Semi-Finalist by outscoring other students in your state. Many colleges will offer scholarships to students who qualify as semi-finalists, even if they don't qualify as finalists! Other scholarship opportunities that might be available to you based on your PSAT scores include the National Achievement Scholarship Program and the National Hispanic Recognition Program, along with many others. Not preparing for the PSAT means you might be leaving free money on the table.

Here's an example: Baylor University provides a full scholarship to National Merit finalists if they select Baylor as their 1st choice. 

3. Taking the PSAT puts you on colleges’ radar.

College Radar.jpg

When you take the PSAT, you can indicate which colleges you’re interested in as well as your academic and personal interests, which will put you on colleges’ radar. The College Board’s Student Search Program allows over a thousand colleges to identify prospective students based on factors such as intended major, GPA, and state residency. Scoring well on the PSAT can lead to being recruited by colleges and learn about colleges you may not have otherwise considered. Some colleges may even offer you scholarships based on your PSAT scores.


4. Your PSAT score will be used to identify your target university list.

The process of sitting down with your high school counselor to start the college application process is exciting. Your counselor will help you create a list of safety, target and reach schools. This list will largely be based on your current GPA and how you scored on the PSAT. It is important for your PSAT score to be as realistic as possible, which can only be achieved through preparation. You don't want to end up with a target list that doesn't accurately reflect your potential. 

5. Not preparing for the PSAT has no benefits.

Think back to any test you have ever taken; whether it was a final exam in school, or your driver's test. Did you walk in to it unprepared? Probably not. The PSAT that you take in your Junior year is almost 3 hours long. It is a big time commitment, and there are no retakes. Your score counts and has potential ramifications regarding your future without you even realizing it. So take control of your PSAT score and walk in to the test prepared. 

Most students underestimate the importance of taking the PSAT. Now that you’ve read this, you won’t be one of them.

If you’re looking to get the highest possible PSAT score, check out TestRocker, which will give you access to a fun and interactive personalized study plan.

Give it a try now for free and no credit card required.


Next Post: PSAT, SAT & ACT Terminology [Must Know Terms]

Tags: For Students, For Counselors, International Students, psat

What International Students Need to Know About The SAT and ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, May 19, 2017


Applying for college in the US as an international student comes with a unique set of challenges. There’s some getting used to how the US college application system works, in addition to getting up to par on your English if it’s not your native language, and getting ready to transition to life in a new country.

There will be much needed SAT and ACT preparation, and you’re probably feeling more than a little overwhelmed at this point. We get it. That’s why we’ve prepared this list especially for international students on how to prepare for the SAT and ACT.

Get free practice questions and videos right now. 


Decide Which Test to Take

If you’re not sure whether to take the SAT, the ACT, or both, take TestRocker’s self-assessment to help you figure out which test is a better fit for you. 

If you have the time and resources, we recommend that you take both tests. The method of questioning and language used varies between the tests, and one might suit you better than the other, leading to a higher score. 

Know Where and When The Test is

Note that the test dates for international students are not always the same as those for US students. It is easy to be confused between the International and US test dates on the testing sites. The following tables include upcoming test dates and deadlines for international students. Remember that you can (and should) take the tests at least 2 times (max 3 times) so that you can get the highest combined superscore

TABLE: SAT Dates and Deadlines for International Students

Test Date

Registration Deadline

October 7, 2017

September 8, 2017

December 2, 2017

November 2, 2017

March 10, 2018

February 9, 2018

May 5, 2018

April 6, 2018


TABLE: ACT Dates and Deadlines for International Students

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

Check online to find SAT and/or ACT test centers nearest to you. Keep in mind that the test center might not be in your school.

Register Early!

The number of SAT and ACT test centers internationally is not high enough to accommodate the increasing number of test takers. Also, many test centers are being shut down due to cheating scandals etc. For this reason, register for your desired test dates as soon as possible to secure your spot. You don't want to be in a situation where the test date you want or need is unavailable. 

Don't Try to Memorize or Study Last Minute

Many of you are probably used to memorizing content and studying last minute for exams. We know this strategy works well for a large number of tests you've had to take so far. Unfortunately, the SAT/ACT cannot be aced through memorization and last minute cramming. You have to give yourself enough time to learn/re-learn the concepts that are being tested, in addition to familiarizing yourself with a new testing format. You also have to get used to answering questions in under a minute. 

Get Comfortable With English

For many international students English is not their first language. If this is the case for you, start reading as much as possible in English, whether it be through novels, news articles, or essays. You can find plenty of works in English online. If you’re reading something that’s not in English, try translating it into English in your head. This will help you tremendously not only on the Reading section, but even on the Math section.

Study Vocabulary in Context

If you’re a language nerd, you might have fun memorizing the definitions of obscure vocabulary words. For the purposes of the SAT and ACT, however, this is a waste of time. These tests do not assess your ability to memorize the definitions of words, but rather your ability to use them correctly in context. To see a simple way of learning vocabulary, check out this video about TestRocker’s vocabulary game.



The reason this is particularly important for international students is because the vocabulary used in the US and tested on the SAT, may not be as commonly used overseas. This could be because there's no translation in the cultures language, or even translated it might just not be commonly used. 

Prepare for the Optional Essay Sections

The SAT and ACT offer an optional Essay section. For the ACT they call this the writing section. If you’re applying to colleges that require these sections, then you should definitely take it. Even if the schools on your current list don't require the Essay section, we recommend that you take the test with the Essay. If, at a later date, you decide to add on a college that does require the Essay, you won't have to go and take the test all over again. 

At TestRocker, we help you prepare for the essay section by hand-grading your work and providing line-by-line feedback so that you can get the highest possible essay score. 

Know What you Need to Bring to the Test

Whether you’re traveling to the test center from near or far, there are fewer things that will spike your probably already high anxiety levels than realizing you don’t have what you need. Review the checklist of what you’ll need and keep them all in one place the night before.

If you need some extra help studying, TestRocker is here to support you.

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

7 Tips to Reduce Test Anxiety For The SAT & ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Thu, May 11, 2017

7 tips to cope with test stress and anxiety for the sat and act

Fact: Taking tests is stressful. Combine this with the college application process, and test-taking anxiety tends to take on a stronger presence than ever before.  A certain amount of anxiety leading up to the SAT or ACT is normal. But beyond a certain point, anxiety can hinder your performance. Don’t let your stress get the best of you. There are tons of measures to take to reduce your anxiety.

Using these 7 stress management tips to reduce test anxiety will ensure that you get through your test as anxiety-free as possible.

1. Create a test-taking plan

Before you go out and purchase a big test-prep book, take a step back and make your test-taking plan. Creating a plan and knowing what you're working towards will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. It is a good idea to create this plan with a counselor or parent; someone to help you stay organized and accountable. Your test-taking plan should answer questions such as:

- Which test am I taking? SAT or ACT? (Click here for an easy way to find out)
- Which test dates am I working towards?
- How do I plan to prepare?
- When do I need to register for the tests by?

For a quick-start guide on how to create your test-taking plan, click here

2. Study!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but preparing for the test is the best way to know what to expect and to go in feeling confident. Don’t cram; give yourself a few months’ time to prepare. The SAT and ACT don't consist of curveballs or surprises; if you prepare, you will know what types of questions you will encounter, the topics being tested, and the level of difficulty you should expect. The more you familiarize yourself with the tests, the less anxious you will feel. Remember that preparing doesn't mean exclusively taking full-length practice tests. To effectively prepare, you need to first identify your weaknesses and learn/re-learn the concepts.

Not sure where to start? Take a free diagnostic test to instantly view your customized study plan. 

3. Stay organized, specially the week of the test. 

This will ensure that you’re not scrambling and panicking the night or morning of the test..

Learn everything you need to know about the week of the test here. You will want to follow these tips to ensure you are on top of everything in advance of the morning of the test. 

 On Friday night, pack everything you’ll need in one place. Make a checklist of what you will need. That way you’re not second-guessing whether or not you remembered to pack something. This list should include:

  • Your admission ticket
  • Your photo ID
  • Two sharpened No. 2 pencils
  • A good eraser
  • An approved calculator (with extra batteries)
  • Snacks (for the break)
  • Water

Click here to learn all about what you should or should not bring.

Also make sure that you know exactly where the test site is and get there early.

4. Exercise & practice deep breathing

Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which reduces feelings of anxiety and leaves you feeling good. Whenever you feel stressed, go for a run, do some yoga, jump on your bike—whatever appeals to you. While you’re taking the test, stretch whenever possible, and during the breaks, get up and move.

Deep breathing is an excellent way to calm your nerves. Breathe in and out through your nose. Feel your diaphragm expand as you inhale and feel it sink as you exhale. Breathing works wonders for your body and your mind. It helps keep yourself centered and gives you the focus needed to rock the test.

5. Be your own best friend

If your best friend were feeling anxious about the upcoming test, what would you tell him or her? You’d probably tell your friend that she’s smart and she can do it! On test day, be your own best friend.

Anytime a negative thought tries to enter your mind, kick it out and replace it with a positive thought. If it helps, repeat a mantra to yourself in your head. This can include “I am calm,” “I am smart,” “I know this material,” or “I’ve got this!”

6. Focus on yourself

There will be other people in the room with you when you’re taking the test, but they don’t matter right now. Only you do. As much as you can, try to block the other people in the room out and focus on the task at hand. Don’t worry if they finish before you do. Just worry that you do finish. You’re not trying to outscore them—you’re just trying to do your best.

7. Keep things in perspective

Yes, the SAT and ACT are certainly important tests and you should take them seriously, but they are not the be all and end all. First of all, if you’re not happy with your scores, you can take the test again. Pain in the neck? Sure. End of the world? Not at all.

Secondly, remember that your college application also comprises your personal statement, your grades, your recommendations, and your resume. 

Finally, remember that it’s only a test. Your scores on the SAT and ACT do not determine your self-worth. Keeping it all in perspective helps take much of the pressure off.

What do you do to cope with test anxiety?

Let us know in the comments what you do to be stress free during a test, because let's be honest - anxiety stinks and we don't want anybody to go through it. 

Are you still feeling stressed? TestRocker is here to help. Ask us anything below and we are happy to help. Get started with your studying now and give our free trial a try.


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

What to Do the Week of the SAT/ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, May 09, 2017

What to Do the Week Leading Up to the SAT/ACT


Your test date is soon approaching, and you’ve probably been working hard these past few months. The week of the test is an important one, as you want to make sure you’re on your A-game the morning of. Below are some suggestions for how to prepare in the final week leading up to the big day.

  1. Don’t Cram

Cramming won’t help you on the SAT and ACT. At this point, you know what you know. Instead of trying to learn new material from scratch, which won’t do you any good, set aside 30 minutes to an hour a day to do some practice questions and review your concepts. On Friday, don’t study test content. Take a look at these 20 SAT strategies. Covered in the 20 strategies are question structure tips, timing advice, calculator hints, and much more to help you improve your score instantly. No matter what you do, do not take a full length practice test on the Friday before the test! You will end up burning yourself out. 

  1. Stay Active & Have Fun!

It’s a good idea to exercise at least 30 minutes a day this week. You might be wondering how exercise will help you on a standardized test. As it turns out, getting enough exercise helps relieve stress, improves memory and concentration, and helps you sleep better. It also helps boost your immune system, so you can go into the test feeling your best. Additionally, remember to relax and have some fun. Constantly thinking about the test 24/7 is not going to help you stay calm or perform any better. So give your mind some time to switch off and think about something else, specially the day before the test!

  1. Eat Well During The Week

Make sure you get enough fruits and vegetables. Just like staying active, a healthy diet gives your immune system a boost and keeps you energetic and alert. Stay away from highly caffeinated/energy drinks - they might make you feel energized for a few hours but you will definitely crash shortly after.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

We know that sleep might be a foreign concept to many of you. But if you had to choose one week out of the year to pay attention to your sleep, this might be it. Try going to sleep an hour earlier than you normally would each day this week. Your body and your mind will thank you for it the morning of the test. 

  1. Get Organizated the Night Before

That’s right—you want to do this the day before the test. Not the morning of. The last thing you need the morning of the test is to scramble and panic, realizing that you don’t have something you need. On Friday, gather all of the following and keep them in one place: 

  • Your admission ticket
  • Your photo ID
  • 5 sharpened No. 2 pencils (non-mechanical)
  • A good eraser
  • An approved calculator (with backup batteries)
  • Snacks for the break
  • Water



Important! Learn more about what stuff you will need to bring, and what stuff you may want to bring, and what NOT to bring. 

Also make sure that you know exactly where your test center is and how you’re going to get there.

  1. Wake Up Early the Morning of

It’s recommended that you wake up early the morning of the test so that you’re not rushing and scrambling. Since you should be going to sleep earlier this shouldn’t be too hard for you. Get yourself together in the morning, and perhaps do some meditation or something relaxing to keep you calm and centered. If you're not a morning person, ask a parent or sibling to make sure you're awake so that you don't accidentally sleep through your alarm!

  1. Have a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is important on test day, because you will be testing for over 3 hours with limited breaks. Eating before hand in the morning is the only time you’ll have to get in a full meal. This will keep your brain and your body going. Try going for a breakfast that’s rich in protein and fruits. Avoid foods with too much refined sugar, as this will lead to a crash in the middle of the test. Learn more about test day breakfast here. 

Don't do these 5 things while studying.  

See these 20 must know strategies to instantly increase your score!

Get Free Startegies

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

What to Bring on SAT / ACT Test Day

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, May 05, 2017

Sign up for a Free Trial below to access some extra practice questions before test day!

Get Free Practice Questions


What to Bring (And Not To Bring) The Day of the SAT/ACT

Fewer things are worse than showing up at your test center and realizing that you don’t have everything you need. This checklist goes over everything that you’ll need to bring as well as things that are nice to have and things that you cannot bring.

What do I need to bring to the SAT or ACT?

Your Admission Ticket

When you register for the test online, you will receive an admission ticket in your email. This includes important information such as your name, test center, and test you’re taking. Print this out ahead of time and bring it with you to your test center. You will not be allowed in without it.

Acceptable Photo ID


Acceptable photo ID will typically be government-issued and can include your passport, driver’s license, state ID, or school issued ID’s. The name on your admission ticket must match the name on your photo ID. Just like your admission ticket, you will not be allowed in without your photo ID. 

If you are taking the test outside the United States, check with your test center. Most likely, you will need to show your passport or a valid national ID card. 

5 No. 2 Pencils with Erasers

You will only be able to complete the test in No. 2 pencil, so don’t bother bringing pens or any other types of writing utensil. Make sure that your pencils are sharpened, and have good erasers just in case you make any mistakes. Any errors need to be completely erased—otherwise your score might be affected. Bring four or five pencils so you don't waste time sharpening or asking others for spare pencils during the test. 

An Approved Calculator

You will only be able to use your approved calculator for the math sections. Any scientific calculator and most graphing calculators are acceptable. Four function calculators are also acceptable but not recommended. Only battery-operated, handheld calculators can be used. No power cords are allowed.

Approved calculator brands include:

  • Casio
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Radio Shack
  • Sharp
  • Texas Instruments

Click here for a full list of SAT approved calculator models.

Click here for a full list of ACT approved calculator models.

The following types of calculators are NOT permitted:

  • Laptops, other computers, tablets, cellphones, smartphones, or iPads
  • Models that can access the Internet and/or have Bluetooth, wireless, audio/video recording or playing, camera, or any other smartphone-like feature
  • Models that have a typewriter-like keypad, pen input, or stylus
  • Approved calculators with additional hardware features
  • Models that use electrical outlets, make noise, or have a paper tape
  • Some models with touchscreen capability (e.g. Casio ClassPad)

The possession of any non-approved devices during the test will result in your being dismissed from the test and your scores automatically being cancelled. Find out more about calculators on test day.

Nice to Have (but not required)

Watch (without an audible alarm)

Having a watch can help you keep track of the time and therefore help you pace yourself. A watch with an audible alarm is not allowed and can result in your dismissal from the test.

Extra Batteries and Backup Equipment

These can be helpful just in case something happens to your calculator and you’re not left stranded without one. Note that you’ll need permission to access them. You won’t be able to keep them on your desk during the test.

A Bag/Backpack

Bringing a bag makes it possible for you to keep organized and have everything in one place. You can also pack your bag the night before the test so you don't forget anything you really need.



There will be a couple of 5-minute breaks during the test during which you can have snacks. Snacks can be eaten outside the testing room. You will not be allowed to eat while you’re actually taking the test. The test is at least 3 hours long, so having some snacks can help sustain you. Getting enough water is also important for optimal memory, focus, and concentration.

What Not to Bring

Possession of any of the following items during the test can result in your being dismissed from the test and your scores automatically being canceled. Note that there are few exceptions in the case of test takers with disabilities, and any accommodations must be approved ahead of time by the College Board’s or ACT’s Services for Students with Disabilities.

ANY Electronic Devices

This includes cell phones, smart phones, iPods, iPads, tablets, laptops, other computers, cameras, devices that can transmit and receive audio, photo, or video, or any other texting or personal computing device. The only exception is a CD player if you’re taking an SAT Foreign Language Subject Test with Listening (only offered once a year).

Notebooks, Cheat Sheets, Scratch Paper, Books, or Pamphlets

Scratch paper and any other information you need to know will be provided to you in your test booklet. The SAT and ACT are not open-book or open-note tests. You have hopefully spent ample time preparing and have the tools you need to answer the questions.


No exceptions, even if English is not your first language. If you don’t know the meaning of a word, you should be able to figure it out from context, just as you have hopefully spent the last few months practicing.

Protractors, Compasses, or Rulers

You will not need them and you may not use them anyway. Any measurement information will be provided to you in your test booklet.

Colored Pens, Highlighters, Colored Pencils


Any writing or scratch notes you make during the test may only be done in your test booklet, and any markings in your test booklet must be done in pencil.

If you have any questions about what you can and cannot bring, please contact College Board or ACT ahead of time so that you are not taken off guard the morning of the test.

Find out what not to do the night before the night of the SAT by clicking here. 

To learn more about the ACT click here.

Find out what you should eat for breakfast the day of the test. 


Is your test coming up? Take a look at a few sample questions to prepare last minute using a TestRocker Free Trial. 


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

The New August SAT Test Date

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Thu, Apr 27, 2017


*The new test date only applies to US based students. 

New SAT Date in August 2017

 Not sure you’re ready to take the SAT in June but don’t want to wait until the fall either? Well, there’s good news. There’s now going to be an SAT date in August. Here’s what we know so far.

 When is the first August SAT?

The August SAT will be administered for the first time on August 26, 2017. The following table shows the remaining SAT dates for 2017 with registration deadlines.

TABLE: Remaining SAT Dates and Registration Deadlines for 2017

SAT Date

Available In

Registration Deadline

August 26, 2017

US only

July 28, 2017

October 7, 2017


September 8, 2017

November 4, 2017

US only

October 5, 2017

December 2, 2017


November 2, 2017

Register for the SAT here, and then start a TestRocker Free Trial to start prepping here

Still need to study? 

Download this last minute August SAT calendar to get ready. 

Download Study Guide

Where will the August 2017 SAT be available?

The August 2017 SAT will be available in the US only. International test centers will not be offering the August 2017 SAT.

Why should I consider taking the August SAT?

There are several reasons to consider taking the SAT in August. Some of these reasons are listed below.

1. You have the entire summer to prepare

During the summer, you’ll be able to study for the test without the additional pressure of classes and afterschool activities. Furthermore, getting the test out of the way before the start of the school year will give you more time in the fall to focus on other parts of your college application. If you need ideas for studying over the summer read this blog on How to Prepare For the SAT/ACT This Summer. 

2. Perfect if you’re applying early

If you’re planning on applying to any colleges early decision or early action, you’re probably looking at an application deadline of mid-October. If you take the SAT in August, you’ll have your scores in time for the October deadline. Learn about Early Decision and Early Action applications here. 

3. Free up your time in the Fall to focus on other things

Getting your SAT testing out of the way frees up additional time for you to spend on the rest of your college application in the fall. Still need to take a subject test or two before you submit your application? Now you can use the October test date to get those done! Remember, you can take up to 3 subject tests in one day, but you can't take the SAT and subject tests on the same day. 

August is perfect to start studying for the August SAT. Get started on your prep right now.

Improve Your Score

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

5 Things NOT to Do When Studying For The SAT or ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Apr 26, 2017


Studying for the SAT and ACT is tricky business, and quite often, students find themselves using ineffective study techniques. Below is a list of 5 things you shouldn't do as you prepare for the SAT/ACT.

Get Free SAT & ACT Practice Questions


  1. Waiting Until the Last Minute

Getting comfortable with the ACT and SAT takes time, and waiting until the last minute just adds more anxiety to an already stressful situation. Give yourself a few months’ time to prepare. If the test date is approaching and you only have a few weeks left, then click here to download a free last minute SAT prep calendar. As a next step, make sure you register for the next available test date far in advance so you can prepare over a longer period of time. 

  1. Skipping Particular Sections You’re Strong In

You might think that if you’re strong in one subject/topic, you are better off skipping that section during your test prep to save time. However, in addition to understanding the content, the ACT and SAT are also about how to be a good test taker. You might know how to answer a question correctly, but do you know how to answer it correctly in under 1 minute? So yes, if you know a topic well, you should spend less time on it - however ignoring it completely isn't a good idea either! Not sure which topics you're strong vs. weak in? Click here to take a free diagnostic test and instantly view your customized study plan.

  1. Relying on Memory Tricks 

Memory tricks are all about memorizing associations and are often used as shortcuts to pass a test. These memory tricks can work in the short term, but they don’t actually help you to learn the material, and they are certainly not effective for the SAT and ACT. However, there are highly effective strategies that can be applied for these tests. Get 20 free SAT strategies that will improve your score here. 

  1. Making Flashcards

Flashcards may be effective in helping you memorize definitions of words. Many students feel that spending time making flashcards is an effective way to study for SAT vocabulary because the action of writing down  a word and definition can help in retention of the word itself. Truth? This is one of the biggest time wasters! The SAT doesn’t test your ability to regurgitate definitions. Instead, they test your ability to understand vocabulary in context (i.e. knowing how to use it in a sentence). Instead of wasting time making flashcards, spend time learning how to apply words in sentences. Watch this quick video to see how TestRocker’s vocabulary game helps you strengthen your vocab without being a complete bore!


  1. Taking Too Many Full-Length Tests

A full-length SAT or ACT will take you over 3 hours, plus grading and figuring out what you got wrong. Multiply that by however many practice tests you plan on taking, and that’s a whole lot of hours that could be better spent elsewhere. Significant score improvements come from learning the concepts being tested, not just from doing the same things over and over. Only once you have a solid understanding of the concepts should you start taking full-length practice tests so that you get used to the test format. 

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

How to Prepare for the SAT & ACT this Summer

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Apr 25, 2017

 sat-act-pre-over-the-summer.jpgSummer is coming up, which means fun in the sun, traveling, barbecues, spending time with friends, and of course, relaxing. But did you know, summer is also a great time to prep for the SAT/ACT? Before you dismiss the idea, hear us out.

Summer Offer 

$100 off + unlimited access

Learn More Here

When the school year starts, you’re going to be busy with your classes, extracurriculars, and college application, all while having some semblance of a life. Adding rigorous test prep to that list of to-dos would be even more stressful. Spending dedicated time during the summer will have you feeling confident and ready by the time you need to take the test at the end of the summer. Learn about the new August SAT here. See upcoming ACT test dates here. 

Below are 4 ways to study for the SAT/ACT this summer. The best part is that you can do these while out on your patio or on vacation.

  1. Pinpoint your weaknesses.

    There are 35+ topics tested for on the SAT/ACT. We are sure that you don't need to focus on all topics with equal importance. There are some topics you're stronger at, and others you need to improve in. Figuring out which ones you're weaker at is a good first step to your test prep. You can do this by taking TestRocker's free diagnostic test - it will analyze your results and instantly tell you which areas you need to focus on. If you're not sure whether you should take the SAT or the ACT (or both), click here to find out in less than 3 minutes. 

  2. Solidify your concepts.

    Now that you know your weak areas, don't panic. Chances are that you learned these topics a long time ago, and you just need a refresher of the concepts. Don't just do random practice questions without understanding the concepts. Why? Here's a good example: a math problem asks you to answer a question about isosceles triangle ACD. Now if you can't recall what an isosceles triangle is, it is going to be a waste of time to attempt that question. TestRocker helps you learn (or relearn) the SAT/ACT concepts you're weak at through concept video chapter overviews. These videos include everything you need to know about each topic. Don't skip this step - strong conceptual understanding of the topics will lead to high score increases. 

  3. Increase speed and accuracy.

    Once you've got a good grasp on your concepts, use your test prep to increase the speed with which you answer questions. Start testing yourself with short, timed and targeted practice drills. You want to be able to answer questions in under a minute on test day. You also want to answer them correctly, so focus on accuracy and avoid careless mistakes. The more you practice, the better you will get. The secret is to do shorter quizzes or drills vs. attempt a full length practice test each time. TestRocker helps you with this step by giving you access to timed practice drills for every topic. Each drill comes with video explanations and time-saving strategies. Sign up for a free trial to see example video explanations. 

  4. Read voraciously. 

    Read everything and anything that interests you. So much of the SAT and ACT is about reading comprehension and interpretation, so reading on your own is a great way to study. Choose any books and newspapers that you enjoy and read them with a critical eye. If you come across words that you don’t know, try to use context clues to determine the meaning. Check out some of our free SAT strategies for reading comprehension. You can also see how TestRocker's vocabulary game can be a great resource. Warning, it is addictive! 

Test prep during the summer doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience. By spending a few hours each week preparing, you’re doing yourself a great favor. So get some studying in, relax, and enjoy yourself!

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

All About College Application Deadlines: Early Action, Early Decision & Regular Decision

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Apr 19, 2017

college application deadlines and decisionsFall semester of senior year can be nerve-wracking while you’re working on all your college applications and making sure you get them in on time. What’s more, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to get into your top-choice colleges. To help keep you on track, we’ve written descriptions of the most common types of application deadlines and what they entail. Look here to learn how to build your  application list.

Early Decision

Early Decision deadlines are typically in October or November, and you’ll usually get an answer before winter break. It is a way of indicating to the college that it is your top choice and that you intend to enroll if you are accepted. If there’s one college that you have your heart absolutely set on and is your top choice, you might want to take advantage of the Early Decision application deadline if the college offers it.  This is likely to increase your chances of getting in, and if you do get in, you get to relax during your second semester. The caveat? Early Decision is binding. If you are accepted to a college Early Decision, you must withdraw all your other college applications and commit to attending your Early Decision college. For this reason, you should only apply to a college Early Decision if you are sure that it is your top choice.

If you still need to take the SAT or ACT during your senior year then any early decision application might not be for you. See this about whether or not you should take the test again. 

Early Action

The timeline for Early Action is similar to that of Early Decision. The difference is that it is non-binding. In other words, even if you are accepted, you are not obligated to attend. Some schools split Early Action into Early Action I and Early Action II. The deadlines are usually between October and November and decisions are usually made between December and January. While you can only apply Early Decision to one school, you can apply Early Action to multiple schools. The caveat is that some schools only offer Single Choice Early Action, which is discussed below.

Single Choice Early Action

Single Choice Early Action is similar to Early Action in that it is non-binding, but is different in that it is exclusive to that school. In other words, if you’re applying to a school Single Choice Early Action, you cannot apply to other schools Early Action. While this type of application deadline is rare, it is a way of demonstrating your interest in the school, which can increase your chances of getting in.

Regular Decision

Almost all colleges have a regular decision deadline, which is usually between December and January. You’ll usually get an answer starting in February or March, but definitely no later than April. Regular decision is non-binding and non-exclusive, so as long as you haven’t gotten into a college Early Decision, you can send out as many Regular Decision applications as you want.

Rolling Admissions

Colleges with a Rolling Admissions cycle will accept applications all throughout the year until they fill capacity, so you could apply all the way through April or even the summer. However, the earlier that you submit your application, the better your chances of getting in. It is recommended that you submit Rolling Admissions applications around the same time you would a Regular Decision application. Rolling Admissions is non-binding and non-exclusive. The one caveat with Rolling Admissions is that specific programs might have specific deadlines, so be sure to check on these before you apply.

Rolling Admissions will buy you some additional time. You may want to think about  superscoring your SAT & ACT scores during that time. Learn about superscoring here. 

Running Out of Time? Download our 1 Month Prep Calendars.

SAT Calendar
ACT Calendar


Table: Application Deadlines For Top Universities Fall 2017 Semester


Early Decision

Early Action

Regular Decision

Rolling Admission

University of California Berkley

Does not offer

Does not offer

November 30th

Does not offer

The Ohio State University

Does not offer

Does not offer

February 1st

June 1st

Cornell University

November 1st

Does not offer

January 2nd

Does not offer

University of Notre Dame

Does not offer

November 1st

January 1st

Does not offer

Brown University

November 1st

Does not offer

January 1st

Does not offer

University of Central Florida

Does not offer

Does not offer

May 1st

May 1st

University of Pennsylvania

November 1st

Does not offer

January 1st

Does not offer

Massachusettes Institute of Technology

Does not offer

November 1st

January 1st

Does not offer

Princeton University

Does not offer

November 1st

November 1st

Does not offer

Harvard University

Does not offer

November 1st

January 1st

Does not offer

Arizona State Unviersity

October 3rd

Does not offer

Feb 1st (Int.)

April 3rd (US)

Feb 1st (Int.)

April 3rd (US)

While the table above represents the dates for application deadlines, some universities require receiving test scores at different time. The table below indicates the latest test dates a student can take the SAT and ACT in order to apply early decision/early action for a particular universities.

TABLE: The latest SAT & ACT test dates for Early Decision or Early Action applications.

School SAT Dates ACT Dates
Cornell October 7th

October 28th

Notre Dame October 7th

September 9th

Brown University October 7th

October 28th

University of Pennsylvania November 4th

October 28th

Massachusettes Institute of Technology November 4th

October 28th

Princeton University  November 4th

October 28th

Harvard University  November 4th

October 28th


Below is a table showing the last SAT and ACT test dates a student can take in order to apply on time for Regular Decision applications at particular schools. 

TABLE: The latest SAT & ACT test dates for Regular Decision college applications.

School SAT Dates ACT Dates
University of California Berkley

January 21st

April 14th 

The Ohio State University

December 2nd 

 December 9th

December 2nd 

December 9th

Notre Dame October 7th September 8th
Brown University

December 2nd 

 December 9th

University of Pennsylvania

December 2nd 

December 9th

Massachusettes Institute of Technology

December 2nd 

December 9th

Princeton University

December 2nd 

December 9th

Harvard University

December 2nd 

December 9th
Do these tables not include information on the colleges you are interested in? Below the article comment the schools you are interested in, and we will try to get back to you with information.

Having a solid understanding of the different types of application deadlines is important for planning out your college application process, and it keeps you on track during your fall semester.

Prepare for the the SAT or ACT with a TestRocker Free Trial.

Start Free Trial

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

How Many Times Should I Take The SAT & ACT?

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Apr 11, 2017

how many times should I take the sat and act

Have you ever submitted a test and thought to yourself, "I would do so much better on that test if I could retake it!" ? Most of the time, a do-over or retake isn't an option. However, when it comes to the SAT & ACT tests, multiple attempts are important (within limits). 

How many times CAN I take the SAT/ACT? Technically, you can take the ACT up to 12 times and the SAT as many times as you want. 

Should I take the them more than once? 

The short answer is yes, Yes, YES! Whichever test you decide to take, you want the score to be the highest it can possibly be. Even if you're a great test taker, unless you get a perfect score, there is room for improvement. There could be many reasons why you didn't get the score you are capable of. Some factors could even be out of your control, such as, feeling unwell on testing day, not sleeping well the night before the test, blanking out on a section, a personal emergency etc. Still not convinced? Read more about why you want your test scores to be the highest they can possibly be

You can also retake the tests in order to submit your superscore. Click here to learn all about Superscoring your test score. 

How many times should I take the SAT/ACT?

While retaking the tests to improve your scores is recommended, we discourage our students from retaking them more than 2 or 3 times.

Here are 3 reasons why taking the test more than 3 times is not a good idea:

1. It is unlikely that your score will continue to improve after 3 attempts. 

Test Attempt example.jpgWe have found that after the 3rd attempt, your score is likely to not go up drastically. Taking the test more than 3 times and getting the same—or possibly lower—results can only lead to frustration. If you use these 20 SAT strategies they will help improve your next score. 

2. Some schools require you to submit all of your test scores.

This includes the scores that you’re not so proud of. While colleges will almost certainly look favorably upon improved scores over time, decreased scores over time won’t show you in the best light. For this reason, you also don’t want to take a real test as a practice test.

3. Your time is better spent elsewhere.

The tests are not the be all and end all when it comes to your college application. Also important are your grades, extracurriculars, recommendations, and essays. Use your time wisely, prepare for the test, study hard between attempts and then move on to the rest of your application. 

Remember that it can cost between $40 and $60 to register for the tests depending on whether you choose to do the writing section. If you don’t live in the US, register late, or have to modify your registration, you’ll end up incurring even more fees. After a few attempts, it’s just not worth it!

So give the tests your best. If you’re not thrilled with your score, you can always take it again. But taking it more than 2 or 3 times is not in your best interest.

Be prepared for your next test by creating a solid test taking plan. You can find a test taking planning guide here. 

Prepare Better For Your Next Test Attempts

Improve Your Score Here

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

About Suniti

describe the image

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. 

New Call-to-action

Follow TestRocker

describe the imageTestRocker twitterdescribe the imageinstafor blog 

Start your ACT,  SAT, or PSAT  Free Trial Today 

Click Here to Check Out Our Resources Page


Stay up to date with our Blog!