ACT & SAT Prep and College Admissions Blog

Dealing with Difficult Reading Passages on the SAT and ACT

Posted by Mike S. on Fri, May 18, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

The SAT and the ACT are not designed to be fun tests. That’s probably really obvious to you already! These tests takes forever, have a billion questions, and will turn you into a zombie for the rest of your Saturday.

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Topics: ACT study plan, SAT test, ACT test, SAT study plan, ACT prep, act reading, sat reading, sat prep

Common Wrong Answer Choices on the SAT and ACT Reading

Posted by Mike S. on Fri, Apr 06, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

Many to-be ACT and SAT takers absolutely dread the Reading section for a series of totally fair reasons. The passages can be mind-numbingly boring. Questions about tone and author’s purpose seem cruelly subjective. So many of the questions have various answer choices that seem fine.

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Topics: ACT study plan, SAT test, ACT test, SAT study plan, ACT prep, act reading, sat reading, sat prep

ACT Science: Extracting Signals Through Noise to Improve Your Score

Posted by Steve Markofsky on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 @ 09:20 AM

“Ever thought about taking the ACT?”

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Topics: ACT study plan, ACT overview, ACT test, ACT Science, ACT prep

SAT Math: An Overview

Posted by Dhara Shah on Thu, Mar 08, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

Studying for the SAT can seem like a daunting undertaking, but all you really have to do to master it is break it up and take it one section at a time. Today, we will be highlighting the Math section of the SAT.

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Topics: SAT, SAT test, SAT study help, SAT study plan, SAT math

Should You Answer SAT Questions in Order?

Posted by Mike S. on Thu, Feb 22, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

 

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Topics: SAT, SAT test, SAT study help, SAT study plan, SAT writing

SAT/ACT English: A Common Language

Posted by Steve Markofsky on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 @ 09:10 AM

As the ACT has come into its own over the past 10-20 years as a fully recognized college admissions test alongside the SAT, students increasingly weigh both of these exams to assess which one may be better suited for them, sometimes opting for both.  Preferences (and rumors) abound, of course: “There are too many trick questions on the SAT math!” or “I'd take the ACT, but the science section is a deal-breaker!”  While these sentiments may (or may not) be true, depending on the student, what's certainly true is that they contribute heavily towards apprehension over which test to take!  There is, however, one section that is nearly identical on each test, and offers a way to kill two birds with one stone in your college admission exam prep.  That's the grammar/rhetoric section, referred to as the “English” section in the ACT, and the “Writing and Language” section on the SAT. CollegeXpress offers an in-depth analysis of the similarities and differences between the two tests.

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Topics: ACT, SAT, SAT study help, ACT study help, ACT/SAT study skills, SAT writing, ACT english

The PSAT: Your First Step to SAT & ACT Success

Posted by Method Test Prep on Wed, Sep 06, 2017 @ 11:54 AM

This fall, many high school juniors––and even some sophomores––will take the PSAT. In all likelihood, this will be their first experience with standardized college admissions exams. You may have heard that students’ PSAT results “don’t count” and “don’t matter.” While it’s true for most students that college admissions committees won’t use PSAT scores to gauge their college readiness (that is, after all, what the SAT and ACT are for), the view that the PSAT doesn’t matter at all is both shortsighted and counterproductive. In truth, PSAT scores can provide valuable insight into your strengths and weaknesses; when used correctly, the results can help students take a big first step toward success on the SAT and ACT.
 
But what do we mean when we say used correctly? There are several ways to take advantage of your scores, some more practical and valuable than others. Here are three tips for getting everything you can out of the data on your PSAT report.
 
1. Don’t get too distracted by the overall section scores; instead, focus on the detail. The highest-level scores provided by your PSAT report will be in the form of two numbers, each out of 760: your Math score, and your Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (ERW) scores. (Note that on the SAT, both of these are scored out of 800.) Students and parents tend to obsess over these scores, forgetting about the other numbers the PSAT report provides. While they do suggest something about overall performance, these numbers are not terribly revealing. Instead of focusing on your 540 in Reading & Writing and your 580 on Math, pay closer attention to your subscores, listed on a scale from 0 to 15. These scores reveal more specific areas of strength and weakness. For example, let’s suppose you do score a 580 on the Math. That number alone tells you that you are “above average” (average for juniors is around a 510), but not much else. The subscores, however, can reveal where that 580 came from. Perhaps your “Problem Solving and Data Analysis” subscore was a very strong 12 out of 15, but your “Heart of Algebra” score was an 8. This immediately reveals that you need to direct your focus toward reinforcing your algebra skills, which include interpreting, creating, and rearranging equations and expressions.
 
2. Make a list of topics you need to work on; use the test to isolate examples. It will be easier for you to formulate a prep plan if you translate the information within your PSAT score report into your own summary. Use your subscores to assemble a list of topics that disproportionately impacted your score. Furthermore, take a look at the answer sheet provided on the final page of the report to isolate the specific questions you found difficult. You’ll have your test booklet, so you will be able to see the exact questions you could not answer or that you answered incorrectly. Consider taking pictures of these questions with your phone, or even printing them out and pasting them into a notebook. Now, you have a suite of problems and questions that will form the basis of your prep. And by the way, even if you’re planning on sticking to the ACT, know that the (P)SAT and ACT share lots of content: the subscore categories presented by your PSAT report are just as likely to reveal potential strengths and weaknesses on the ACT.
 
3. Use the scores to establish a baseline and formulate goals. Realistic expectations and goals are are both very important. Assuming you put in a decent effort while taking the PSAT, your scores reflect where you stand without any concerted prep. Now, you can use the report to begin planning. How many topics must you focus on to increase your scores? How much time are you prepared to dedicate to SAT or ACT prep? Do your initial scores suggest you may benefit from a prep course setting (students who score around average are more likely to benefit from multi-student group courses than are students whose scores are on the extremes), or would small-group or private tutoring be more productive? Is your goal to increase your score by 50 points, or by 300 points? On which section can you focus to maximize the points earned for the time spent studying? The answers to all of these questions lie within your report: you simply have to use the data at your fingertips.
 
Remember: though the PSAT may seem inconsequential, the information it provides can be extremely helpful in raising your scores. Using the PSAT to develop positive and proactive momentum can mean the difference between productive, meaningful prep and last-minute frantic cramming. So take advantage of all the PSAT report has to offer––when all is said and done, you’ll thank yourself for doing so.
 
-Evan Wessler, Vice President of Education––Method Test Prep

 

 
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Topics: ACT/SAT, ACT, SAT test, ACT test, SAT study help, ACT study help, ACT/SAT study skills, ACT-Math practice, PSAT

A Guide To ACT Scoring

Posted by Kristine Thorndyke on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 @ 09:38 AM

Understanding how the ACT is scored is one of the most fundamental aspects of taking the test. Before even stepping foot into the classroom on test day, knowing the scoring for the ACT can help you to outline your studying and set realistic score goals as you are planning for the big day. Let’s dive into our guide for ACT scoring and what you should know right now:

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Topics: ACT, ACT overview, ACT test

A Guide to Tackling the ACT Reading Section

Posted by Banke Abioye on Mon, Apr 03, 2017 @ 12:48 PM

Reading four lengthy passages and answering 40 questions in a short timespan of 35 minutes can seem overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with the ACT Reading section and the many tricks that the ACT writers try to confuse test-takers with. However, a little review and practice of a few simple test-taking strategies will give you the skills and confidence necessary to tackle the ACT Reading section.

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Topics: ACT, Reading Comprehension, ACT/SAT study skills

ACT Science: Sifting Out What Matters (and what doesn’t)

Posted by Gaurav Dubey on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

The ACT Science section has a rather misleading name. Perhaps a better name would be the ACT Reading Section Part 2: Science Concepts. The exam requires no prior knowledge of scientific content or concepts. Instead, students are required to interpret data graphs, what the scientific method is and how scientific theories disagree from each other. These are concepts taught in every high school in the country. The ACT is a standardized exam that must provide a level playing field for all applicants, from all demographics across the United States. As such, it may be comforting to know that advanced science concepts such as DNA transcription and translation or the Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium won’t be tested. To succeed on this portion of the exam, exposure to ACT Science questions and practice solving them is critical. The following is an important tip to succeeding on the ACT science section:

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Topics: ACT, ACT/SAT study skills, ACT Science