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Suniti's Advice Corner

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

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Apr 19, 2017

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

Early Decision

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

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

Early Action

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

Single Choice Early Action

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

Regular Decision

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

Rolling Admissions

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

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

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

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

How Many Times Should I Take The SAT & ACT?

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Apr 11, 2017

how many times should I take the sat and act

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

How many times CAN I take the SAT/ACT? 

Technically, you can take the ACT up to 12 times and the SAT as many times as you want. 

Should I take the them more than once? 

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

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

How many times should I take the SAT/ACT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Your time is better spent elsewhere.

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

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

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

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

Get $150 off any SAT or ACT program using code 2ndTRY.

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

All About Superscoring on The SAT & ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Apr 07, 2017

 

superscoring the sat and act

Superscoring the SAT and ACT


If you take the SAT or ACT more than once, you might be worried about your score in a particular section decreasing even if your composite or final score increases. In order to show yourself in the best light, some colleges will allow you to superscore the SAT or ACT.

What is superscoring?

Superscoring entails taking your highest score for each section of the test across all your test sittings and using these highest section scores to calculate your final score (SAT) or composite score (ACT).

Table: SAT superscoring example.

  Math Reading/Writing Total
Attempt 1 650 700 1350
Attempt 2 710 650 1360
Superscore 710 700 1410

For example, let’s say you take the SAT once. You get a 650 in Math, and a 700 in Reading and Writing, giving you a final score of 1350.

You want to get that math score up, so you take it again. This time you get a 710 in Math, and a 650 in Reading and Writing, giving you a final score of 1360.

Superscoring allows you to take your highest section scores between both sittings to calculate your final score. So you would take your 710 in Math from the second test, and your 700 in Reading and Writing, giving you a final score of 1410. Get 20 SAT strategies to improve your score. 


Table: ACT superscoring example.

  Reading English Math Science Total
Attempt 1 22 25 30 27 26
Attempt 2 27 26 23 23 25
Superscore 27 26 30 27 28

Now let’s say you take the ACT once. You get a 22 in Reading, a 25 in English, a 30 in Math, and a 27 in Science. Your composite score is 26. The second time you take it, you get a 27 in Reading, a 26 in English, a 23 in Math, and a 23 in Science. This gives you a composite score of 25.

Superscoring your ACT allows you to take your 27 in Reading from the first test, your 26 in English from the second, your 30 in Math from the first, and your 27 in Science from the first, making your composite score 28. Not sure if you should take the ACT again? Click here to find out why you should.

Do I superscore myself? Or does the college do it?

It depends on the college. Some colleges require you to submit all of your scores from each sitting. If they superscore, they will do the calculations. Some colleges recommend but do not require you to submit all your scores. Finally, some colleges allow you to choose which scores from which sittings you want to submit, allowing you to superscore on your own.

Which colleges allow you to superscore the SAT and/or ACT?

The table below lists colleges that allow you to superscore the SAT and/or the ACT along with their score submission policies. Explanations of the score submission policies are as follows:

Requires all: These colleges require you to submit every single one of your standardized test scores, both SAT and ACT, from all sittings.

Requires all SAT or ACT: These colleges require you to submit either all of your SAT scores from all sittings or all of your ACT scores from all sittings.

Recommends all: These colleges recommend but do not require that you submit all of your standardized test scores.

Score choice accepted: These colleges allow you to submit whichever scores from whichever sittings you would like.

Keep in mind that colleges might change their policies from year to year, so be sure to check their admissions websites to get the most up-to-date information.

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TABLE: List of colleges, superscoring and score submission policies.

College

SAT Superscore Allowed?

ACT Superscore Allowed?

Score Submission Policy

Abilene Christian University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Adelphi University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Agnes Scott College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Albion College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Allegheny College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

American University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Amherst College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Appalachian State University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Arizona State University-Tempe

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Austin College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Babson College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Baldwin Wallace University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Bard College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Barnard College

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Baylor University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Beloit College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Bennington College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Bentley University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Berea College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Berry College

Yes

No

Recommends all

Binghamton University-SUNY

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Biola University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Birmingham-Southern College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Boston College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Bowdoin College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Brandeis University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Brown University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Bryn Mawr College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Bucknell University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Butler University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California Lutheran University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Fresno

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Fullerton

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Long Beach

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Los Angeles

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

California State University-Monterey Bay

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Northridge

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Carleton College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Carnegie Mellon University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Case Western Reserve University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Centre College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Chapman University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Christopher Newport University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Claremont McKenna College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Clark University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Clarkson University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Clemson University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Colby College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Colgate University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

College of Charleston

Yes

No

Recommends all

College of New Jersey

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

College of St. Benedict

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

College of the Holy Cross

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

College of William and Mary

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

College of Wooster

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Colorado College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Colorado State University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Columbia University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Concordia College-Moorhead

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Connecticut College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Cooper Union

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Cornell College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Cornell University

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

Creighton University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

CUNY-Baruch College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Dartmouth College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Davidson College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Dennison University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

DePauw University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Dickinson College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Drew University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Drexel University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Duke University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Duquesne University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Earlham College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Elon University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Emerson College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Emory University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Fairfield University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Florida Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Fordham University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Franklin and Marshall College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Furman University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Gallaudet University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

George Mason University

Yes

No

Recommends all

George Washington University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Georgetown University

Yes

No

Requires all

Georgia Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Gettysburg College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Gonzaga College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Goshen College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Goucher College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Grinnell College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Hamilton College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Hampden-Sydney College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Hampton University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Hanover College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Harvard University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Harvey Mudd College

Yes

Yes

Requires all

Haverford College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Hendrix College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

High Point University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Hofstra University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Hollins University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Howard University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Humboldt State University

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

Illinois Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Indiana University-Bloomington

Yes

Yes

Score choice okay

Ithaca College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

James Madison University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Johns Hopkins University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Kalamazoo College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Kenyon College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Knox College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Lafayette College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Lake Forest College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Lawrence University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Lehigh University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Lewis & Clark College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Loyola Marymount University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Loyola University Maryland

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Loyola University New Orleans

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Luther College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Marist College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Mercer University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Miami University-Oxford

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Middlebury College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Mills College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Millsaps College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Yes

No

Recommends all

Mississippi State University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Morehouse College

Yes

Contact college

Score choice accepted

Muhlenberg College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

New College of Florida

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

New York University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

North Carolina State University-Raleigh

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Northeastern University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Northwestern University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Oberlin College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Occidental College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Ohio University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Ohio Wesleyan University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Pacific Lutheran University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Pepperdine University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Pitzer College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Point Loma Nazarene University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Pomona College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Pratt Institute

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Presbyterian College (SC)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Princeton University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Providence College

Yes

No

Recommends all

Purdue University-West Lafayette

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Queens University of Charlotte

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Quinnipiac University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Randolph-Macon College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Reed College

Yes

No

Recommends all

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Rhodes College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Rice University

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Rochester Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Rollins College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Newark

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Samford University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

San Diego State University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

San Francisco State University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

San Jose State University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Santa Clara University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Sarah Lawrence College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Scripps College

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Seattle University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Seton Hall University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Sewanee-University of the South

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Siena College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Simmons College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Skidmore College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Smith College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Soka University of America

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

Southern Methodist University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Southwestern University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Spelman College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. John Fisher College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. John’s College Annapolis

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

St. John’s University (NY)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. Lawrence University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. Mary’s College (IN)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. Mary’s College of California

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Yes

No

Recommends all

St. Michael’s College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. Olaf College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Stanford University

Yes

Yes

Requires all

Stetson University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Stevens Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Stonehill College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Stony Brook University-SUNY

Yes

No

Recommends all

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

SUNY-Geneseo

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Susquehanna University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Swarthmore College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Syracuse University

Yes

Yes

Requires all

Taylor University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Temple University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Texas Christian University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Texas Lutheran University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

The Catholic University of America

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

The Citadel

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Thomas Aquinas College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Transylvania University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Trinity College (Hartford)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Trinity University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Tufts University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Tulane University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Union College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

United States Air Force Academy

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

United States Coast Guard Academy

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

United States Military Academy

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

United States Naval Academy

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University at Albany-SUNY

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University at Buffalo-SUNY

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Chicago

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Colorado-Boulder

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Connecticut

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Dallas

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of Denver

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Florida

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Georgia

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Kentucky

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of La Verne

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Mary Washington

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Maryland-College Park

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Miami

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

University of New Hampshire

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of North Carolina-Wilmington

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Notre Dame

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Oregon

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Pennsylvania

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Pittsburgh

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of Portland

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Puget Sound

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Redlands

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Richmond

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Rochester

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of San Diego

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of San Francisco

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of South Carolina

Yes

No

Requires all

University of South Florida

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of Southern California

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of St. Thomas (MN)

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Tennessee

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Texas-Dallas

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of the Pacific

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Tulsa

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Vermont

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Virginia

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Ursinus College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Valparaiso University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Vanderbilt University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Vassar College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Villanova University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Virginia Commonwealth University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Virginia Military Institute

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Wabash College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Wake Forest University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Washington and Jefferson College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Washington and Lee University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Washington College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Washington State University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Washington University in St. Louis

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Wellesley College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Wesleyan University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Westmont College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Wheaton College (IL)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Whitman College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Willamette College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Williams College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Wofford College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Xavier University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Yale University

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Yeshiva University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

 

Get $150 off any SAT or ACT program using code 2ndTRY.

Sign up for a free webinar to learn more about your score and next steps.

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Learn More
 

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

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

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Apr 05, 2017

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

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

  1. Breathe.

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

 

  1. Just get your pencil moving.

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

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

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

  1. Take your best guess.

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

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

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

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

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Mar 31, 2017

breakfast the morning of the sats

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

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

What You Should Eat

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

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

What Not To Eat

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

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

See SAT FAQ

See ACT FAQ

Can I Eat During The Test?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Guide to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the SAT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Mar 17, 2017

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

Why should I take the SAT?

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

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

What is the SAT scored out of?

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

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

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

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

58 Questions

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

52 Questions

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

44 Questions

35 Minutes
Essay (Optional) (Scored Separately)

1 Free Response Question

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

When should I take the SAT?

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

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

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

How many times can I take the SAT?

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

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

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

How do I sign up for the SAT?

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

Can I use a calculator for the math sections?

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

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

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

Region Fee (USD) Additional Fee (USD)
United States $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
-
Africa (Sub-Saharan), Americas $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
$35
East Asia/Pacific $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
$53
Europe/Eurasia $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
$38
Middle East/North Africa $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
$47
South & Central Asia $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
 $49


Are there any special allowances for students with disabilities?

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

 

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

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

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

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Mon, Feb 27, 2017

 

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

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

Why did the June SAT get cancelled?

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

When will the SAT be offered in 2017 for international students

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Tips & Suggestions: 

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

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

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

U.S.
History
World
History
English
Literature
Chemistry

Mathematics
Level 1

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

Register by April 25th.

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

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

I Want to Speak to an Expert!

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

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

5 Questions & Answers about Calculators on SAT Test Day

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Jan 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are some General Calculator tips?

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

Want some more useful Test Day tips and resources?

Click Here to Check Out Our Resources Page

 

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

Before & After: Preparing for the ACT

Posted by TestRocker Team on Wed, Jan 04, 2017

 

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

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

Before:

After

What were your score improvements?

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

What were your favorite features of TestRocker?

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

How do you feel TestRocker helped you improve your score?

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

Julia using TestRocker's ACT Program

Why would you recommend TestRocker to friends?

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

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

Sign up for our free trial

Tags: For Students, sat, act

Is the New SAT easier?

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Nov 01, 2016

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

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

Math Section:

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

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

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

Reading Section:

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

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

Writing Section:

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

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

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

Good luck!
Your Tutor,
Suniti

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

Tags: For Students, sat, act, New SAT

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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