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Suniti's Advice Corner

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

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Sep 22, 2017

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

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

Start Watching TestRocker Videos

Improve Your Score

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

9. Why Punctuation is Important.

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

Click here to see our entire punctuation series. 

8. SAT vs ACT Myths & Facts.

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

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

6. Know What to Bring on Test Day.

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

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

5. How to Get Scholarships With Good Test Scores.

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

4. Stay Motivated to Not Procrastinate

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

Improve Your Score

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

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

Click here to watch

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

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

Click here to watch

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1.  SuperScoring the SAT & ACT

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

 

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

Improve Your Score

 

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

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

How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Educational Consulting Business

Posted by Michael Henry on Tue, Aug 08, 2017

How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Educational Consulting Business

Are you an Educational Consultant trying to grow your business? If so, first of all, kudos on doing what you do! Through your work, you are helping several students reach their full potential in high school, college, and beyond. Secondly, as you probably already know, if you want to get your name out there and reach a broader base of customers, you need to meet your target audience where they are.

These days, you’re probably going to find most of your target audience online. More and more, kids and their parents are using the Internet to research colleges and to prep for the SAT and ACT. Therefore, it is highly effective to leverage social media to reach more people and grow your business. There are so many different features on the different social media platforms that you can use to make your content more interesting, fun and relatable to your audience.

In this post, we’ll first give you a rundown of the reasons you should be using social media. Then we’ll talk about which platforms you should use for which audiences and the features you should use to make the most of these platforms.

Can I really get business from Social Media?

  1. It’s (mostly) free.

The best things in life are free, right? On social media, you don’t have to spend excessive amounts of money on advertising. It is free to create an account or page and to post on any platform, and should you decide to use paid advertising to reach potential customers, you can spend as much or as little as you want depending on the number of people you are hoping to reach. On social media, just a little bit of money can expand your reach.

  1. It’s a great way to expand awareness of your services.

Once you start reaching the right people, your following will start to grow organically. With the right type of content, your followers will be inclined to share your posts among their networks, creating a ripple effect. On social media, you can reach many more people and get your name out there much faster compared to non-digital methods of advertising.

  1. There are so many built-in features to help you create more interesting content.

Whether it’s videos, photo albums, live streaming, or stories, social media platforms are filled with fun and innovative features that will help you capture your audience’s attention. You should take full advantage of these features and use analytics to determine which ones give you the most reach and engagement. Keep in mind that the newer features are likely to get the most engagement, since apps and websites like to promote them the most. We recommend always keeping variety in the type and content of your posts to keep your social channels fresh and more interesting.

  1. It’s an easy way to communicate.

Teens typically spend anywhere between 6 and 10 hours online a day. Social media seems to be their preferred method of communication today. If they have questions about anything school-related, they’re likely to quickly pull up your Facebook page and send you a message rather than call or email. Having a presence on social media allows for your audience to conveniently get in touch with you.

  1. It builds your credibility.

These days, every business and brand has a presence on social media. If you are not already on social media, you are doing yourself a disservice. Building your credibility is not only posting about your brand, but also by sharing information that is genuinely useful to your audience.

In the marketing world this is called “trust factor.” You need to show your audience that you are legitimate. To do this, be sure to post about news, testimonials, reviews, and company culture. There will be potential clients who look you up on social media to find trust factor. You want to make sure to look professional, knowledgeable and successful. Otherwise a poorly displayed business on social media can look a poorly ran business. Take a look at TestRocker's Facebook Page as an example. 

  1. It shows your personality.

Followers like to see the person behind the brand, and social media is a great way to do just that. Showing your personality through photos, videos, stories, and live streaming helps your audience build a connection with you, which will increase engagement and ultimately bring in more business.

Now that you’re convinced to get on social media to build your followership and your business, we’re going to discuss the most important social media platforms for reaching your target audiences, namely students and their parents.

We came up with 9 of the most important Social Media tips to grow your business. Download the list and be sure to follow each tip and watch your business grow!

Get Social Media Tips

Most Effective Social Media Platforms for Parents

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  1. Pinterest
Parents, especially mothers, often use Pinterest to exchange ideas about such topics as recipes, DIY around the house, and of course, their kids. Posting infographics  or downloadable resources is an effective method to garner social media attention and get more contacts.

Parents are influenced by social media just as much as a teenager would. According to WordStream 93% of Pinterest Users use the platform to plan or make purchases.

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As you can see here this Pinterest post from a Homeschooling mother has 22 pins. Those are 22 influenced parents who are showing their trust and want to show their followers the post. 

  1. Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media platform and you can find almost everyone on here. While kids are still on Facebook they have taken to and spend more time on other platforms, you will still find their parents on Facebook. On Facebook, you can boost posts so that they reach more people in your target demographic.

A cool feature to take advantage of is “Facebook Live,” where you can live stream your content. Facebook is all about their Facebook live feature because it's fairly new and gets great engagement. Good go to Facebook Live feeds are to do Q & A's, wacky challenges, hold a seminar or even showing the sights and sounds of a special event. 

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Other than these cool features Facebook can operate like Pinterest would. There are tons of impressionable parents on Facebook eager to help their student grow. 

  1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the place to be for professional networking, which is why you’ll find parents on here. In particular, LinkedIn Messaging has a high open rate because LinkedIn constantly reminds you to view a message until you’ve clicked on it or deleted it.

Most Effective Social Media Platforms for Students

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  1. Instagram

Today’s youth enjoy and engage with visual content more so than text based content, which is what makes Instagram so effective. According to New Survey, 76% of American teens are on Instagram. That's a huge opportunity. Followers want to see visually appealing things on Instagram. Aesthetic is everything.

It is important to get engagement with your content otherwise Instagram will give it a shorter shelf time to show to your followers. They want their users to have a good experience and showing content that doesn't perform well is not going to help. 

However, we understand your service isn't a visually tangible product. It's hard to create content around that. If you can supply a good mix of professional, fun, aesthetic and relevant content then skies the limit. 

Here are a few companies that also don't have the most visual products but still rock Instagram.

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  1. Snapchat

Today more than 75% of American teenagers use Snapchat. We’ve been finding that kid’s today are using this app for basic messaging, even more than texting and iMessaging in some cases. However, Snapchat can be a bit more complicated than a simple post and call to action.

For those of you who don’t have a good grasp on Snapchat, let me explain. The concept behind it is that you send a “snap” to a friend or a set of friends. A snap can be a picture or a video that can go for no longer than 10 seconds. After your friend views the snap it vanishes from their inbox forever. However, they can then reply with their own snap or text back. 

Live stories are also a fun feature to take advantage of. Stories are similar to a snap in that they are temporary. You can post a video or picture for your entire following to see and they can view it as many times as they want for 24 hours.

With those features aside, you can still privately direct message (DM) followers. This is where the value in Snapchat is for you. Again kids are starting to Snap and/or Gram as their preferred platform for communication. We have found that many students prefer communication on Snapchat or Instagram. Why wouldn’t you utilize that gateway to start a conversation?

" 'I enjoy the ability to directly send messages to others, and ‘streaks’ because they offer a good excuse to talk to people,' said Zena Meyer, a senior at Orange County School of the Arts, referring to a running count of how many consecutive days two users have chatted on the app. " - LA Times

" 'My friends and I usually start a conversation first with a photo, and then usually keep the conversation by texting through Snapchat,' said Simone Chu, a senior at Arcadia High School." - LA TImes

HubSpot taking advantage of their Snapchat account. 

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Follow us as we recently launched our account!

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  1. Twitter:

Not only is Twitter easy to use, it is incredible for getting information out in real time. It’s also easy to schedule posts in advance. When using Twitter, keep in mind that most tweets have a lifetime of 18 minutes according to WishPond, and possibly less if your followers are following lots of accounts. Therefore, it’s a good idea to schedule your posts at times when you know your audience will be online and to re-tweet important posts to increase your audience’s chances of seeing them.

  1. WhatsApp:

In our increasingly globalized world, youth and adults alike are using WhatsApp to connect with their friends in different countries. WhatsApp is the worlds leading messaging app around the world. It's similar to iMessage where it does not rack up fees because it is a web based platform. Therefore, it is perfect for professional communication, international communication and even just basic communication if you prefer. For us as educational professionals it opens up a window of opportunity by making communication easier and cost efficient with our international students. 

We came up with 9 of the most important Social Media tips to grow your business. Download the list and be sure to follow each tip and watch your business grow!

Get Social Media Tips

 For More Ways to Grow your Educational Consulting Business - See Part 1

Follow Us @TestRocker
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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students

3 Ways to Grow Your Educational Consulting Business

Posted by Michael Henry on Mon, Aug 07, 2017

3 ways to build your educational consulting business
 
We attended the HECA annual conference in Long Beach, CA this year and had some excellent conversations with a side of southern California sun. Something that we found interesting was the volume of conversations happening among peers and in sessions that centered on how to expand your independent consulting business.
 
heca-ieca.jpgThis being our first experience at HECA, we anticipated the usual conference discussions about new policies at schools or sharing a few things from a recent campus visit that were intriguing. Much to our surprise, there were so many generous conversations related to how small businesses have grown into groups and practices serving dozens of students at each grade level. 
 
At TestRocker, we can relate and have crossed a lot of the same bridges that you have. It's for that reason, we wanted to share some ideas on how to grow your business. Some of these ideas we got from consultants at the conference and others are practices we have stumbled upon as we grew our business from 1 country to 36 countries! 
 
Without further ado, here are 3 ways to grow your educational consulting business.
 

1. Think outside the box for referrals.

There are many people in a student's life from family to teachers and coaches. Finding contacts in unique ways can not only be untapped wells, but also create helpful relationships with influencers in a student's life.
 
Is there an employer in the community that gives out internships to high school students? Are there Meetup groups in your area where you can not only engage with a hobby of yours, but also find parents of students with similar interests? What are students doing after school other than the traditional activities like sports, band or clubs? There are many organizations that offer non-traditional after school experiences now.
 
After coming up with your new ideas for reaching students, contact the necessary person in charge of that organization or event.  Then explain how you can help them and vice-versa to help services for services. It works like a charm.
 

2. Use social media appropriately & effectively.

There's no doubt that social media plays a big part in every business now. It doesn't matter what the demographic is, there's a way to effectively use social media.  It's especially influential to a teenage and parent demographic. Using social media can bring in new clients or keep existing clients. The best part about it: for the most part, it's free! 
 
There are two key parts to social media marketing.
1. What social media outlets to use.
2. How to use social media to impact your business. 
 
There's a lot to discuss on this topic. To get actionable ideas on how to grow your business with social media click here.
 

3. Adding Complimentary Services

Add complimentary services to generate additional revenue without changing the time you spend on regular counseling activities. By partnering with complimentary services, you generate additional revenue with the same amount of effort.
 
Obviously, it should mirror the same high level of customer service that you provide in your practice as well as be a trusted resource on whatever piece of the process you are helping with, from test prep and interview prep. It's just easier to sell a full service product than have potential clients spending additional time shopping instead of making a decision and getting to work sooner. 

testrocker_iMac2.pngTestRocker is a perfect example of a service that operates on a similar timeline that you you'll inevitably address in conversations with your students anyway. College entrance exams are our specialty and we've been working with consultants and their students for over 5 years now, so we know the level of service that is required when you refer students to work with us.
 
I'd love to tell you more about how we can support your practice as a complimentary service. Let's start with a quick 15 minute demo of the program so you can see how it works.
 
Schedule a time with me
 
 

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

Do My Scores Still Count [SAT & ACT]

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Jul 19, 2017

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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. 

Improve Your Score

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

Frequently Asked PreACT Questions (FAQ)

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Jul 17, 2017

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

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

Looking for SAT or ACT prep?

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What is the PreACT?

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

Who can take it?

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

Understanding PreACT Scores?

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

Understand compose scoring read our test terminology post

How long is it?

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

What is on it?

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

TABLE: PreACT Sections

Section

Topics Covered

English

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

Math

Pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, coordinate geometry

Reading

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

Science

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

 

When do I take it and when are test dates?

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

How much does it cost.

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

Why should I take it?

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

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

 

PSAT

PreACT

Cost

$15

$12

Time of Administration

October or November

Anytime throughout the year as decided by schools

Scholarship Competition

National Merit Scholarship

No associated scholarship

Time to Results

6 weeks

2 weeks

 

Should I take the PSAT or the PreACT?

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

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

SAT or ACT Survey

Should I prepare for the PreACT?

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

For more information about the PreACT see this post. 

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

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

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

PSAT SAT & ACT Terminology [Must Know Terms]

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Thu, Jul 06, 2017

psat sat and act terms you should know

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

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

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Accommodation

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

For an entire guide on test accommodations see this post. 

Answer choice

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

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

Composite score

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

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

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

Cramming 

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Cramming refers to studying everything at the last minute.

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

Diagnostic Test

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

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

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

Start Your Free Diagnostic Test

Grid-In questions

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Image from Clear Biology

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

Multiple-choice question

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

No calculator section

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

Learn more about the SAT in this post.

Percentile rank

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

Proctor

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

Prompt

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Image from Tribune India

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

Raw score

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

Registration deadline

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

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

Scaled score

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

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

Student-produced response 

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

Subscore 

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

Superscoring 

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 

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

4 Reasons to Prepare for the SAT & ACT this Summer

Posted by Sybil St. Hilaire on Tue, Jun 20, 2017

4 Reasons to Study this Summer Blog.jpg

The time is finally here, the long awaited and much deserved summer vacation. After a long and grueling semester filled with tests, final projects, and tight deadlines, it is finally time for students and their parents to take a break! Families are heading off on vacations or looking forward to staycations. Both of which include days dedicated to rest, relaxation, new hobbies, and family bonding. 

While we here at TestRocker believe the summer is a perfect time to decompress, we also see it as the perfect opportunity for high-schoolers to do some stress-free SAT/ACT prep. Learn how to prepare for the SAT & ACT over the summer here. 

Join our Live  Summer Practice Classes with our expert tutor. These classes are for TestRocker premium users only. You can enter our drawing for a free invitation right her. 

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Here are the top four reasons why:

1. Avoiding the summer slide

giphy-tumblr.gifAccording to a study by John Hopkins University, children lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in math during their summer months. This is because students often find themselves with no set routine and don’t receive the same level of intellectual stimulation that takes place in the classroom. Studying for these tests over the summer with a customized program like TestRocker will keep children engaged. The program also helps refresh many concepts that were learned in school.

2. Studying when relaxed leads to better retention

There is no shortage to the number of studies that show that retention is higher when students learn while relaxed. Students have more free time in the summer, along with the opportunity to take a brief break before getting back to studying. This is the chance for your children to study more effectively for the tests at their own relaxed pace, in a comfortable environment.

3. Getting ahead of the crunch

Mistakes are made when we do things in a hurry. The same is true with studying for the ACT or SAT. One big mistake is starting to study without a plan and final goal in mind. Beginning SAT prep during the summer allows students to invest in a summer study plan. The absence of schoolwork also makes it much easier to make time for dedicated prep, 4-hour practice tests and quizzes. The next school year will bring along its own set of stresses: new classes, more activities, more tests, college applications, essays, deadlines and the tests. Use the summer to help your child get ahead of the crunch, and the competition.

4. The new August SAT

This only goes for SAT takers. However, for those of you who are taking the SAT this is a great opportunity. Collegeboard decided to hold their first test date in August instead of September. For most students this is before they go back to school, and it's useful to take the SAT before school starts as #3 explains, because 12th grade gets stressful. For more information on the August SAT see our post all about it. 

End the summer well ahead of the curve when it comes to SAT & ACT prep, and begin the next school year without the additional burden of anything more than the occasional refresher. 

Further reading:  How to decide whether summer test prep is right for you

Johns Hopkins Universit study

Tags: For Students, For Parents

Top 10 Graduation Gift Ideas

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Jun 16, 2017

 

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

1. Money 


college-budget-1.jpg

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

2. Gift Cards

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

3. Public Transportation Cards and/or Flight Tickets

transportation 2.jpg

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

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

4. Subscription & Streaming Services 

netflix.png

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

5. College-Branded Paraphernalia 

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

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

6. Subscription Food Services

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

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

7. Books 

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

We recommend the following books for high school graduates:

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

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

graduation idea books for college.jpg

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

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

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

8. Laptop, iPad, or Tablet 

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

9. Personalized Stationery 

Personalized stationary gift-1.jpg

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

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

10. Personalized Travel Gear 

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tags: For Students, For Parents, Graduation

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. 

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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:

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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

About Suniti

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

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

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