<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

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. 

Try TestRocker For Free

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

Frequently Asked PreACT Questions (FAQ)

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Jul 17, 2017

PreACT-faq-frequently-asked-questions-about.jpg

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?

Try TestRocker For Free

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!

Try TestRocker For Free

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. 

Activate Free Trial

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.

There are 4 sections on the ACT: Math, English, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing section. Your composite score represents the total of your scores in each of these sections divided by 4 or 5 .

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

Cramming 

StudyingStudent_400.png

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. 

Start Your Free Diagnostic Test

Grid-In questions

Grid-In_Print_JC.png

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

2015_4$largeimg09_Apr_2015_233058323.jpg

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 

super-scoring.jpg

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!

Give TestRocker a try right now for freeby activating your Free Trial. 

Activate Free Trial

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

NCAA SAT & ACT Requirements

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Jun 09, 2017

Student Athletes.jpg

Are you ready to be a student athlete in college? As you probably know by now, your athletic ability, while important, isn’t the only requirement for being on a collegiate sports team. Your grades and your test scores are also important.

For Division I and Division II sports teams in the National College Athletic Association (NCAA), there are different GPA and test score requirements for eligibility. Essentially, your test scores and your GPA need to balance each other out. So if your GPA isn’t the highest, you’ll need higher test scores in order to compensate. 

Increase your test score to improve your recruiting eligibility.

Start Free Trial

Here’s a quick review of NCAA definitions.

Division I

These schools have the largest student bodies and the most funding due to large scale television contracts, alumni funding and the sheer size of the school. In addition, the NCAA grants Div. 1 programs the most scholarships. However, the high school GPA and test score requirments are most rigorous in this divison. 

Division II

These schools are smaller and there are fewer funds for their athletic departments. The NCAA grants fewer scholarships than Division I teams. Students who don’t meet all the academic requirements for Division II may be eligible for partial qualification. Partial qualifiers may do all of the same things as full qualifiers except for compete during the first year of college.

Division III

This division has the largest number of particpating schools. The majority of high school student athletes going on to compete in college end up in Div. 3. The NCAA has no set GPA or test score requirements, but it is left up to the school and their athletic department to decide on academic elibility. So for more information on that see your prospective schools website.

Redshirt Athletes

Student athletes participation is delayed or suspended in order to lengthen their eligibility period. They may attend and take classes at the college or university, practice with the team, and dress for play, but they may not compete in games. One reason that students might be redshirted is low GPA. In the case of Division I sports, students with a GPA below 2.3 are eligible for redshirt only.

Note: The NCAA does set their own GPA and test score requirements for Division III.

The tables below will show you the NCAA SAT and ACT requirements for eligibility. Note that the NCAA doesn’t look at your composite (average)ACT score between sections, but rather your total score added up. Learn more about the ACT here. Additionally, the SAT is looked at as a total score added up between each section as well. Learn more about the SAT here. 

You might not be sure whether to take the SAT or ACT. Find out which one might be better for you here. 

TABLE: Division I GPA and Test Score Requirements

GPA

SAT Total Score

ACT Total Score

3.550 and above

400

37

3.525

410

38

3.500

420

39

3.475

430

40

3.450

440

41

3.425

450

41

3.400

460

42

3.375

470

42

3.350

480

43

3.325

490

44

3.300

500

44

3.275

510

45

3.250

520

46

3.225

530

46

3.200

540

47

3.175

550

47

3.150

560

48

3.125

570

49

3.100

580

49

3.075

590

50

3.050

600

50

3.025

610

51

3.000

620

52

2.975

630

52

2.950

640

53

2.925

650

53

2.900

660

54

2.875

670

55

2.850

680

56

2.825

690

56

2.800

700

57

2.775

710

58

2.750

720

59

2.725

730

60

2.700

740

61

2.675

750

61

2.650

760

62

2.625

770

63

2.600

780

64

2.575

790

65

2.550

800

66

2.525

810

67

2.500

820

68

2.475

830

69

2.450

840

70

2.425

850

70

2.400

860

71

2.375

870

72

2.350

880

73

2.325

890

74

2.300

900

75

2.299

910

76

2.275

910

76

2.250

920

77

2.225

930

78

2.200

940

79

2.175

850

80

2.150

960

81

2.125

970

82

2.100

980

83

2.075

990

84

2.050

1000

85

2.025

1010

86

2.000

1020

86

Note: GPAs are from a 4.0 scale, and below 2.3 qualify for redshirt only.

TABLE: Division II Full Qualifier GPA and Test Score Requirements

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Total Score

3.300 and above

400

37

3.275

410

38

3.250

420

39

3.225

430

40

3.200

440

41

3.175

450

41

3.150

460

42

3.125

470

42

3.100

480

43

3.075

490

44

3.050

500

44

3.025

510

45

3.000

520

46

2.975

530

46

2.950

540

47

2.925

550

47

2.900

560

48

2.875

570

49

2.850

580

49

2.825

590

50

2.800

600

50

2.775

610

51

2.750

620

52

2.725

630

52

2.700

640

53

2.675

650

53

2.650

660

54

2.625

670

55

2.600

680

56

2.575

690

56

2.550

700

57

2.525

710

58

2.500

720

59

2.475

730

59

2.450

740

60

2.425

750

61

2.400

760

62

2.375

770

63

2.350

780

64

2.325

790

65

2.300

800

66

2.275

810

67

2.250

820

68

2.225

830

69

2.200

840 and above

70 and above

Note: GPAs are from a 4.0 scale, and below 2.3 qualify for redshirt only. 

TABLE: Division II Partial Qualifier GPA and Test Score Requirements

GPA

SAT Score

ACT Total Score

3.050 and above

400

37

3.025

410

38

3.000

420

39

2.975

430

40

2.950

440

41

2.925

450

41

2.900

460

42

2.875

470

42

2.850

480

43

2.825

490

44

2.800

500

44

2.775

510

45

2.750

520

46

2.725

530

46

2.700

540

47

2.675

550

47

2.650

560

48

2.625

570

49

2.600

580

49

2.575

590

50

2.550

600

50

2.525

610

51

2.500

620

52

2.475

630

52

2.450

640

53

2.425

650

53

2.400

660

54

2.375

670

55

2.350

680

56

2.325

690

56

2.300

700

57

2.275

710

58

2.250

720

59

2.225

730

60

2.200

740

61

2.175

750

61

2.150

760

62

2.125

770

63

2.100

780

64

2.075

790

65

2.050

800

66

2.025

810

67

2.000

820 and above

68 and above

Note: GPAs are from a 4.0 scale, and below 2.3 qualify for redshirt only.

Source: From the NCAA website.

Dreading your Test Prep? Here's a secret - you don't have to study everything. We can help you increase your score by targeting specific areas so that you study smarter rather than longer! Start a free trial to see what your areas of study need to be:

Start Free Trial

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

Which is Easier : The SAT or ACT?

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Thu, Jun 01, 2017

is the sat or act easiest?

College prep season is upon you, and you’re working extra hard to keep up your GPA, participate in extracurricular activities, and write strong college essays. Of course there’s also the dreaded college admissions standardized test. With everything else you have going on, you probably want to take whichever test is easier, right?

Which is easier?

We hate to break it to you, but one isn’t easier than the other. They’re equal in difficulty. In addition to being at the same level of difficulty, they are also judged equally by colleges. The content they test is also similar. Below is a table showing the similarities and differences between the tests, and each tested section.

Table: Breakdown of the Sections of the SAT and ACT

Section

 Time/# of Questions

SAT

ACT

Writing/English

Time (Minutes)

35

45

# of Questions

44 

 75

Math
(With Calculator)

Time (Minutes)

55

60

# of Questions 38

60 

Math
(No Calculator)

Time (Minutes) 

25

None

# of Questions

13

Reading

Time (Minutes)  

65

35 

# of Questions  52

 40

Essay (Optional)

 Time (Minutes) 

50

40

Science

 

 Time (Minutes) 

None

35

 # of Questions

40

 

Which test should I take?

The good news is that since the tests are so similar in terms of level of difficulty, content tested, and judgment by colleges, you really can’t go wrong with either.

If we needed to pick out a few, the biggest differences between the two tests are the scoring systems, the time allotted per question, and the ACT has a Science section that the SAT does not. See below for more information on these differences. This means if you really want to choose one or the other you will want to consider these differences and see which best suits you. Keep in mind we really do recommend trying both tests, because despite these differences they are very still very similar.

Try this 5-minute survey to find out which test is best for you.

Scoring

Because the tests are scored differently, one may end up working out better than the other for a particular student. The SAT is a total composite score of all of the sections out of 1600. The ACT is an average composite score between 1-36. Therefore, with averages versus totals a student could benefit more from one or the other depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

Sections & Timing

As seen in the table above, the ACT gives less time per question than the SAT does. This means that if you struggle with answering questions quickly then the SAT could benefit you more. However, most of the sections in the ACT have shorter overall time allotments. So if you struggle with longer concentration, or get fatigued by longer sections then the ACT may be better for you.

The Science Section of the ACT

The science section of the ACT is not optional. If Science was a struggle of yours during high school then you might want to avoid the ACT. However, the questions in the Science section deal more with reading, data analysis, and science terminology. You should not expect any science math problems. Keep this in mind when deciding which test to take, because if the ACT is generally more for you, you might have nothing to worry about with the Science section.

You can learn more about the Science section here.

I really don’t want to waste my time and/or money on two tests.

We understand. So if you really need to choose one or the other and you’re feeling stuck, we’ve created a survey that can help you out. In less than 5 minutes, you should have a better idea of which route you want to pursue. Answer these questions as honestly as possible—after all, they’re designed to help you.

Whether you choose to take the SAT, the ACT, or both, be sure to check out TestRocker as you prepare. When you use TestRocker’s unique and innovative test prep methods, it should be smooth sailing when you take the test.

Find out which test you should take. 

Find Out Now

Any additional Questions? Write it in a comment below and we'll get back to you.

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

What International Students Need to Know About The SAT and ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, May 19, 2017

must-know-about-sat-act-for-international-students.jpg

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. 

START FREE TRIAL

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.

START FREE TRIAL

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

static1.squarespace.jpg

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!

Click for 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

sat-act-must-haves.jpg

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.

Snacks/Water

sat-act--nice-to-have-items.gif

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.

Dictionaries

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

sat-act-what-not-to-bring.jpg

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. 

START 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

new august sat test

*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.

SAT/ACT Season is coming. Start prepping now for your dream score.

Try TestRocker For Free

 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

Worldwide

September 8, 2017

November 4, 2017

US only

October 5, 2017

December 2, 2017

Worldwide

November 2, 2017

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


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. 

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

Start Free Trial 

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!