SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

SAT Essay Prompts: The Complete List

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Apr 6, 2017 5:00:00 PM

SAT Writing, SAT Essay

The SAT Essay has changed drastically from what it looked like from March 2005-January 2016. On the plus side, you’ll now be asked to do the same task every time: read an argument meant to persuade a broad audience and discuss how well the author argues his or her point. On the minus side, you have to do reading and analysis in addition to writing a coherent and organized essay.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the 11 real SAT essay prompts that the CollegeBoard has released (either in The Official SAT Study Guide or separately online) for the new SAT. This is the most comprehensive set of new SAT essay prompts online today.

At the end of this article, we'll also guide you through how to get the most out of these prompts and link to our expert resources on acing the SAT essay. I’ll discuss how the SAT essay prompts are valuable not just because they give you a chance to write a practice essay, but because of what they reveal about the essay task itself.

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What Sections Are on the ACT? All 4 Test Sections, Explained

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Apr 6, 2017 12:00:00 PM

ACT General Info

If you’re not sure what sections are on the ACT, we can help! In this guide to ACT sections, we’ll give you a quick summary of all the sections of the test. Then, we’ll take a closer look at each section. Finally, we’ll discuss which ACT test sections—and scores—are most important for you.

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The 21 Colleges With the Best Financial Aid

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Apr 5, 2017 6:30:00 PM

Financial Aid

College in the US is expensive—too expensive, in fact, for the average student to afford on their own. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 85% of students at 4-year colleges were receiving some financial aid as of a couple of years ago. Financial aid is good in all its forms, right? If it helps college students afford their educations, what could be the problem?

Unfortunately, not all financial aid is created equal, and not all schools can afford to give out “good” student aid. Here, I’ll briefly talk about the types of financial aid available (the “good” kinds and the “bad” kinds) before laying out the colleges with the best financial aid programs in the country.

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The Best SAT Prep Websites You Should Be Using

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Apr 5, 2017 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies

The SAT has been around in one form or another since 1901. Through all its changes, probably the most helpful one for you is the rise of free online practice questions and guides covering every aspect of the test.

Rather than having to carry around 400-page practice books like the students of yesteryear (ie, the 90s), you can use these online resources to prep from anywhere with Internet. To help you discern the high quality resources from the low, this guide will break down the SAT prep websites you need to review content, learn strategies, and of course, find practice questions.

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What Is CTY at Johns Hopkins? Complete Guide

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Apr 5, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Early Achievers (7th/8th Grade)

CTY, or Center for Talented Youth, at John Hopkins University (JHU) offers an assortment of resources to gifted students. These resources include summer programs and courses, written resources, community awards/recognition, and college counseling.

The first step to many of the CTY programs is registering for the Talent Search. Even the programs that are open to everyone give priority to students who participated in the Talent Search. For your convenience, we’ve compiled everything here into one magnificent blog entry guide. I recommend reading it all the way through, but if you only want to read one particular section, you can pick it out from the Table of Contents.

I'll start off by going in depth into the Talent Search and then mention other programs along with links if you want more information than I give in this article.

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The Best Scholarships for Juniors in High School

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Apr 5, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Financial Aid

Many students think that they should start looking at college scholarships once they actually start applying to college—so, sometime early on in their senior year. Although it’s true that many big-name scholarships require applicants to be high school seniors, there are some great awards out there for younger students as well.

So why not get a head start in applying for scholarship awards? You could win money for college, sure, but you’ll also get experience in the scholarship application process before submitting even more applications your senior year.

I’ve compiled a list of scholarships for high school juniors. This list will be a great place to start, but you may also want to search for more targeted awards (e.g. by geographic area). You can browse the scholarships below based on whether they're competitions or merit-based scholarships. Read to the end for tips and strategies on getting the most scholarship money possible!

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Complete Official SAT Practice Tests, Free Links

Posted by Allen Cheng | Apr 4, 2017 10:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

Official SAT tests released by the College Board are the absolute gold standard for SAT practice questions. Each test released by the College Board contains real questions given to real students at previous administrations of the SAT. 

In this post, I'll tell you where to find all the official SAT practice tests available anywhere online. This comprehensive guide gives you access to more practice tests than any other guide out there. Most of these tests are free and great practice to get started with SAT prep. We'll also discuss how to use these tests to get the most improvement possible from them.

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The New PSAT, Redesigned in 2015: Complete Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Apr 3, 2017 10:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies, New SAT

If you're a student who graduates high school 2017 or later, you’ll be taking the redesigned PSAT. This new version of the test started in October 2015 was administered to all students across the country.

We’ll let you know all about the PSAT format, scoring, and content and what you need to know to be prepared. Not only is the 2015 PSAT an important step in prepping for the SATs, but it also qualifies you for National Merit distinctions and scholarships.

Let’s dive into the changes in format, scoring, and content being made to the redesigned PSAT and what these changes mean for your test prep.

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What Is a Good SSAT Score? Understanding Your Scores

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Apr 3, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Other High School

If you’re looking at applying to a private elementary, middle, or high school, there’s a good chance you’ll need to take the SSAT first. But what is a good SSAT score? How can you get the score you need to get into the school of your dreams?

Unfortunately, there's usually not a clear cutoff for what SSAT scores are acceptable. In this article, we'll try to remove some of that uncertainty by going over how scoring on the SSAT works and what counts as a good SSAT score.

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How to Cram for the SAT: 10-Day, 200-Point Prep Plan

Posted by Dora Seigel | Apr 3, 2017 8:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies

If you’re reading this guide, I’m going to assume you don’t have a lot of time before your SAT test date. If you do have a lot of time before your SAT test date (1 month or more), feel free to read this article for useful tips, but I urge you to spread your prep out over the full amount of time you have. Do not wait to cram. The total amount of time spent preparing for the SAT matters, and though you can make great strides in just 10 days, you still need to put in the time. I’ll guide you through the steps to successfully cram for the SAT and raise your score by up to 200 points. 

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What Is a Good SAT Score? A Bad SAT Score? An Excellent SAT Score?

Posted by Dr. Fred Zhang | Apr 1, 2017 11:00:00 AM

SAT/ACT Score Target

What is a good SAT score? You took the SAT, got your scores back, and now you want to know how you did. Or maybe you want to know what score to aim for next time.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to figure out how your SAT scores stack up compared to all the other test-takers out there. Then, we’ll help you figure out what’s a good SAT score for you based on the colleges you are interested in. We’ll also provide the SAT score ranges of 38 popular schools, and discuss what to do if your score turns out to be lower than expected.

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What's a Good PSAT Score for a Junior?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Mar 31, 2017 11:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

The PSAT is an important test on the road to college. Your scores predict how you'll do on the SAT, plus top scorers may earn distinction and scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

So, how do you know whether your PSAT scores are good? While what counts as a good score varies depending on your personal goals, we can give a more objective answer to this question by considering PSAT score percentiles. First, let's review how the PSAT is scored. 

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SAT Test Dates: Full Guide to Choosing (2017, 2018)

Posted by Dr. Fred Zhang | Mar 31, 2017 9:00:00 PM

SAT Logistics, SAT General Info

The SAT is offered seven times a year, but which SAT test dates will work best for you and your schedule? What essential factors should you consider before creating an SAT schedule? What are the best SAT dates for juniors? For seniors?

In this comprehensive guide, we offer you the most current info on SAT test dates (domestic and international) for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. We also give you our top tips for choosing the best SAT test dates for you, as well as tons of resources you can use to assist you in navigating the complicated web of SAT/ACT test dates.

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How Do You Calculate SAT Score? Raw and Scaled

Posted by Dora Seigel | Mar 31, 2017 11:30:00 AM

SAT General Info

The old SAT was scored on a 2400 point scale, and the new SAT is scored on a 1600 point scale, but you don’t answer 2400 or 1600 questions on these tests (or a number remotely close). So, how does your score get calculated? I'll show the steps to calculating your final SAT score for both the old (pre-March 2016) and new (March 2016 and on) SAT. 

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What Is the Average SAT Score?

Posted by Allen Cheng | Mar 30, 2017 1:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

You're probably curious about how you stack up against average SAT scores. But what is an average SAT score? There are lots of different ways to look at average SAT scores. How many types of averages are there, and which averages are important for you?

We'll discuss official results for all these questions—and more—and tell you which SAT average scores actually matters for your future.

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