SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Can You Use Old Practice SATs to Study for the New SAT?

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Apr 6, 2016 10:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies


Since the SAT has just been redesigned, you might feel like there aren’t very many practice questions around for you to use. The College Board has released four free practice tests, but once you get through those, what should you do?

You might be wondering if you can use old SAT practice tests to study for the new SAT. The answer is yes, you can! I will show you how.

Read on to see why you would want to use old practice tests, what practice tests won’t do for you, and then a how-to guide on the most effective way to use old tests to prep for each section. Finally, I’ll also briefly discuss using the ACT for new SAT prep, since the tests are surprisingly similar.

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How to Overcome SAT/ACT Test Anxiety

Posted by Vero Lecocq | Apr 3, 2016 8:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies, ACT Strategies

We've all experienced nerves before an important evaluation, but for many of us the anxiety is much, much worse than a few simple jitters

By all accounts, a significant percentage of students experience some level of test anxiety, ranging from significant but livable symptoms to the most severely debilitating manifestations.

Dealing with any level of test anxiety during the SAT or ACT is, at its best, the opposite of fun. This guide will explain what test anxiety is, why it happens, and what you can do to manage it

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11 Things You Must Avoid During SAT Practice Tests

Posted by Dora Seigel | Apr 1, 2016 8:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies

Are you preparing for the SAT by taking practice tests? Awesome! You’re on the right track! How can you ensure that you’re getting the most out of each practice test you take? You need to make sure you’re taking each practice test under realistic testing conditions. What’re you doing (maybe subconsciously) that’s ruining your realistic testing conditions? 

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SAT / ACT Prep Strategies If You Have a Low Test Score but High GPA

Posted by Dr. Fred Zhang | Mar 23, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies, ACT Strategies

Do you have a high GPA, perform well in school, but can’t seem to do well on the SAT / ACT? This is a common pattern, and there are certain strategies that work especially well for you. First, we'll figure out why this is happening to you, and, depending on the reason, suggest ways to improve your SAT / ACT score. Second, we’ll go over what a high GPA but low SAT / ACT score signals to colleges and how to counter that signal.

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How to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score, by a 2400 Expert Full Scorer

Posted by Allen Cheng | Mar 12, 2016 5:10:00 PM

SAT Strategies

Updated for the New 2016 SAT!

The maximum score on the SAT is a 1600. Out of the 1.7 million students who take the test every year, only about 300 get the highest possible SAT score. This elusive perfect score catapults you to the top of high school academic achievement and can be a big boost to your college applications.

I scored perfect scores on the SAT. I actually scored two perfect scores - a 1600 in 2004 when I was in high school, and a 2400 in March 2014 when I took it 10 years later.

Most of the advice out there about how to get a perfect score come from people who didn't get perfect scores. In this exclusive article, I'll be breaking down exactly what it takes, and the ruthless techniques I used to get a perfect score.

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Average SAT & ACT Scores by State (Participation Adjusted)

Posted by Dr. Fred Zhang | Mar 6, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies, ACT Strategies

Participation rate has a huge impact on state average SAT / ACT scores. In any state, the top students on the SAT/ACT are those most eager to take it, so states with low participation rates have artificially higher SAT / ACT scores.  Here, we use advanced statistical methods to adjust for participation rate to get at the real ranking of states by their real SAT and ACT scores. 

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Khan Academy SAT Will Never Be Enough - Here's Why

Posted by Allen Cheng | Feb 24, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies, SAT General Info, New SAT

With the new 2016 SAT, Khan Academy has partnered with the College Board to create a free SAT prep program.

All things considered, Khan Academy's SAT prep program is high quality. It's a great introduction to the test and elevates the bar of free SAT materials. Students unable to afford books or prep programs have a useful resource to train for the test.

But it's not complete.

There's still a lot missing from the Khan Academy SAT program that can prevent you from getting the highest score possible.

In this review, you'll understand what exactly is wrong with the Khan SAT program – and why the partnership with the College Board means these problems will never be fixed. If you plan to use the Khan Academy SAT program, this will show you what you're missing.

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The Secret to Getting a Perfect SAT / ACT Score: All Questions Are Analytical

Posted by Dr. Fred Zhang | Feb 21, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies, ACT Strategies

It seems obvious that each ACT / SAT question must have exactly one answer, and this answer must be clearly and objectively correct. However, as we’ll explain below, that simple fact alone disqualifies vast swaths of reasonable questions that you otherwise see in everyday tests at school.  This obvious fact also leads to a little-known secret that, when applied correctly, guarantees the cracking of each question. You don’t have to trust me -- read through this guide and ask any perfect or near-perfect scorer. They’ll agree on the secret.

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Extracurricular Strong Students: College Admissions and SAT / ACT Strategies

Posted by Dr. Fred Zhang | Feb 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies, ACT Strategies

Do you have great extracurriculars?  Maybe you’re captain of the football team or president of a top debate team.  Your approach to college admissions will be quite different than a typical student’s, and your SAT / ACT prep process should be uniquely tailored to you.  In this article, we talk about what unique opportunities you have in test prep and what traps you should avoid.

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Low Score on the Old SAT: Should I Take the New SAT?

Posted by Halle Edwards | Feb 11, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies

Not so happy with your score on the Old SAT? You might be thinking about retaking the test. Unfortunately for you, the redesigned version of the SAT – in this post, we’ll just call it the “New SAT” – debuted in March of this year. Which means if you retake the SAT, you’ll be taking a totally redesigned test. So you may be wondering, "Should I take the New SAT?"

This post will help you decide if your Old SAT score is really not good enough for the colleges you hope to apply to. Next, we will explain some potential challenges with studying for the New SAT, and help you decide if it’s the right step for you. Don’t sign up for the New SAT before reading this post!

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Secret Truths of SAT / ACT Prep Methods: Pros and Cons of Each

Posted by Dr. Fred Zhang | Feb 6, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies, ACT Strategies, Tutoring

You know it's a great idea to prep for the SAT and ACT.  After all, for most students it's the most time-efficient way to increase their college admission chances.  However, there are so many ways to prep for the test out there -- what's the best way for you?  Obviously, some methods will be better than others, but it's also the case that some methods are overall not very good.

Quite frankly, every single SAT / ACT prep method has certain strengths.  For some students, tutoring is by far the best while, for others, self-study is clearly optimal.  Which one to choose depends on your circumstances and budget, but it’s quite simple to figure out.

Pay careful attention because finding the right prep method for you is by far the highest leverage choice you can make to improve your SAT / ACT score.  If you choose correctly, you may never again have to worry about test scores.  The follow through will be easy, and the point improvements will be quick.  Some say half the work is just getting started.  I disagree -- half the work is getting started correctly.

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Guide for Top SAT / ACT Scorers: How to Perfect Your Score

Posted by Dr. Fred Zhang | Feb 4, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies, ACT Strategies

Are you already scoring well on the SAT and getting a 1400 or above (2100 in the 2400 scale)?  This puts you in a special class, and your strategy for improving your SAT score will be very different from the average students'.  Having made the improvement myself, I’ll show you how you can aim for a perfect SAT score too.

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Best SAT Prep Books 2017 (Updated for New SAT)

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jan 30, 2016 11:30:00 PM

SAT Strategies, SAT General Info

There are a lot of “Best SAT Books” lists out there. We think most of them aren’t very good or thorough, and I’ve tried to write a much better guide here.  You’ll learn which books are absolutely critical for your prep, which books you should use to improve individual sections, and which books you need if you’re aiming for a top score. Importantly, you’ll also learn HOW to use these books to study effectively.

Keep reading to learn more.

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The Best Way to Study SAT Vocab Words

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jan 30, 2016 3:30:00 PM

SAT Strategies, SAT Reading

Studying SAT vocab is a confusing topic for most students. It's unclear how many words you need to memorize, which words to learn, and how to actually memorize these words without wasting time. If you think you need to memorize a list of 2000 words you found on the Internet, stop right there. We're about to save you a lot of time while delivering the same results.

In this guide, we'll discuss which words you should memorize and a reliable way to commit these words to memory.

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The Best SAT Flashcards: How to Make and Use Them

Posted by Dora Seigel | Jan 9, 2016 8:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies

Studying for the new 2016 SAT and struggling to remember specific concepts? Flashcards might be a great study resource for you! Flashcards can help you memorize the information you need to know.  In this guide, I’ll explain how to make SAT flashcards for vocabulary and math formulas and how to study with the flashcards you make. 

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