ACT & SAT Prep and College Admissions Blog

FAQs as a New College Student - Answered

Posted by mark sko on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

What’s the best way to meet people?

Some might suggest that the most daunting aspect of college is making friends.  Out of thousands of young adults, somehow you have to find a group of like-minded people to spend your time with.  I mean, who wants to be alone throughout all four years of college?  Chances are, you’ll be happier the more connections you make.  It’s like high school all over again, except with a larger pool to weed through.

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Topics: undergraduate student common questions, college freshman advice, college questions, college freshman questions, new student FAQs

The Long Awaited Arrival of a Student’s Honest Review of 'The Standardized Test'

Posted by mark sko on Fri, Sep 04, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

As a rising senior in college, I have had my share of first hand experience with standardized tests.  Through elementary, middle, and high school, students in my state (like most states) are required to take assessment exams.  When I had finally suffered through my last of those, the SATs and ACTs were right around the corner ready to greet me with open arms.  I, on the other hand, wasn’t sure I was quite as ready to accept the challenge.
Even now, it seems as if new variations of standardized testing are being created yearly.  Although a lot of controversy has surrounded the validity of this method of evaluation, for better or for worse, this is our country’s preferred approach.  Instead of fighting it, I learned how to live with it.  And this is an evaluation of my experience.  Hopefully, if you yourself have not yet experienced the SATs and ACTs, or other similar standardized tests, this article will help ease your fears and confusion.

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Topics: standardized tests, studying for standardized exams, studying for the SATs, studying for the ACT, sat help

Tips for Choosing the Right College

Posted by mark sko on Tue, Sep 01, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

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Tips to Boost Your ACT Score

Posted by Suzanne Pearman on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 07:30 AM

Since the ACT Writing test is optional, many students question whether schools even care about it. With the ACT clocking in at almost three hours, it can be tempting to skip the essay instead of spending an additional 30 minutes on the test. However, many schools require you to take the ACT with Writing - and even if it is not mandatory at the schools you are applying to, taking it anyway may show initiative and make you a more attractive candidate. 

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Topics: ACT test

SAT Math: Solving Impossible Math Problems

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Tue, Feb 03, 2015 @ 11:47 AM

The SAT sometimes approaches math a bit differently than we’re used to in math class.  One of these differences in approach is in the way some SAT math problems ask us to solve for relationships between variables, rather than the value of one particular variable.  These problems can seem very challenging, or even downright impossible, at first glance, because they often give us multiple variables but only one equation.  

One thing we learn in math class when studying systems of equations is that in order to solve for 2 variables, we usually need 2 separate equations; to solve for 3 variables, we need 3 separate equations; and so on.   Certain SAT math problems will appear to violate that general rule and ask us to do something that’s supposed to be impossible, like solving for 2 variables with only 1 equation.  When we look more closely at such problems, though, we realize that the SAT is not really asking for the value of each individual variable involved.  Instead, we’re asked to find the value of the sum, product, or some other relationship involving 2 or more variables.  

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Topics: SAT, math skills

Should I mention religion in my college essay?

Posted by Ethan Sawyer, the College Essay Guy on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 @ 02:39 PM

The short answer is this: it’s okay to discuss religion in your essay as long as the take-away (or values) promoted in the essay are universal. Here’s what I mean:

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How Do I Write the “Why Us?” Essay?

Posted by Ethan Sawyer, the College Essay Guy on Thu, Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:34 PM

1. Don’t write about the school's size, location, reputation or the weather.

Why? Because that's what half of America is writing about. Take a hint from Emory University, whose “Why us” essay used to read:

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How to Self-Study for an AP Exam

Posted by Luke Liu on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 @ 11:47 AM

Unfortunately, not all high school AP programs are created equal. Even though colleges put your AP exams in the context of how many were offered at your school, there are major tuition savings to be had from doing well on more AP exams. If you find yourself wanting to take an AP exam that your school does not offer, here is how you can ace the exams on your own:

Pick Your Textbook

This is an important decision as it will form the basis of your self-study journey, especially for exams that have recently gotten a facelift from the CollegeBoard. For such exams, like AP Biology in the 2012-2013 school year, you will want to Google “SUBJECT NAME textbook correlations”.

For most redesigned exam, the CollegeBoard collects correlation assessments from textbook publishers to ensure that their books align with the exam frameworks.  This is usually the ideal way to pick the best textbook.

If a comprehensive correlations document is not available, then you can look for the “SUBJECT NAME example textbook list”, which is more commonly available. Get the latest edition whenever possible and if you can’t decide, just go with whichever one you think has the most reputable publisher behind it.

Either way, do not spend too much time obsessing over the textbook you use – the important thing is how you will use it. 

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What Students Can Learn from the 2016 SAT Re-Design

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Mon, Mar 10, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

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Topics: sat tutoring, SAT redesign, SAT study tips, SAT classes

10 Tips for Presenting Your Best Self To Colleges – Part 2

Posted by Susanna Cerasuolo on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 @ 11:26 AM

In part one of this two-part post, I referenced five ways to differentiate yourself in preparation for applying to college

The first five tips were:

  1. Do what you love
  2. Distinguish yourself at school
  3. Distinguish yourself in your community
  4. Get a job or an internship
  5. Do some independent research
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