SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Allen Cheng

As co-founder and head of product design at PrepScholar, Allen has guided thousands of students to success in SAT/ACT prep and college admissions. He's committed to providing the highest quality resources to help you succeed. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT (1600 in 2004, and 2400 in 2014) and a perfect score on the ACT. You can also find Allen on his personal website, Shortform, or the Shortform blog.

Recent Posts

Printable ACT Practice Tests PDFs: 6 FREE Official Tests

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jul 26, 2020 2:00:00 PM

ACT General Info

No matter how you prep for the ACT—whether you have a tutor, take a class, or study by yourself—you must get access to official, printable ACT tests. These tests are released by ACT, Inc., and contain real questions given to actual students on previous test dates. Although all of these questions have been removed from circulation (meaning you won't ever see them on the real ACT), their quality is second to none when it comes to realistic ACT practice.

In this post, I'll tell you where you can find all official, printable ACT practice tests with answer keys. I'll also give you key strategies to help you make big improvements on each practice test.

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Complete Official ACT Practice Tests, Free Links

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jul 26, 2020 12:00:00 PM

ACT General Info

No matter how you prep for the ACT—whether you have a tutor, take a class, or study by yourself—you must get access to official ACT tests. These tests are released by ACT, Inc. and contain real questions given to actual students on previous test dates. These questions have been removed from circulation (so you won't ever see them on a real test), but their quality is second to none when it comes to ACT realism.

In this post, I'll tell you how to find all currently available official ACT practice tests. Most are free and offer a good way to get your feet wet with ACT prep. We'll also discuss how to use these tests to improve your ACT score.

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When Is the Next ACT Test Date?

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jul 12, 2020 3:00:00 PM

ACT Logistics

Here's the most updated info on when the next ACT test is happening and when you have to register.

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When Do SAT Scores Come Out? SAT Score Release Schedule

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jul 11, 2020 1:00:00 PM

SAT Logistics

The SAT score release dates are always tense for students. Did you get the score you were aiming for? Do you have to take the SAT again? Checking scores immediately when they come out gives you the most time to plan ahead.

In this article, find out when you'll receive your SAT score report depending on your test date, and learn the fastest way to check your SAT score.

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SAT Cost, ACT Cost, and How to Save Money

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jul 11, 2020 12:00:00 AM

SAT versus ACT, SAT Logistics, ACT Logistics

If you're deciding between taking the SAT and the ACT and you have a tight budget, this guide will help. We'll cover the registration costs, reporting costs, and how you can save money no matter what test you choose.

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When Is the Next SAT Test Date?

Posted by Allen Cheng | Apr 19, 2020 12:00:00 PM

SAT Logistics

Here's a guide on when the next SAT test is happening and deadlines for signing up.

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Printable SAT Practice Tests PDFs: 18 FREE Official Tests

Posted by Allen Cheng | Apr 11, 2020 2:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

In this article, I'll tell you where to find all official, printable SAT practice tests and answer keys. This comprehensive guide gives you access to more SAT practice tests than any other online guide. In addition, you'll learn key strategies that'll help you make big improvements on SAT practice tests you can print out.

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Best ACT Prep Books 2020

Posted by Allen Cheng | Apr 11, 2020 12:00:00 PM

ACT General Info, ACT Strategies

There are numerous "Best ACT Books" lists out there. But we think most of them aren't very good or thorough, so I've tried to write a much better guide here.

In this article, you'll learn which books are absolutely critical for your ACT prep, which focus on improving individual sections, and which you'll need if you're aiming for a top score. Most importantly, you'll learn how to use these top-notch ACT prep books for effective studying.

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When Do ACT Scores Come Out? ACT Score Release Schedule

Posted by Allen Cheng | Mar 23, 2020 6:00:00 PM

ACT Logistics

You've taken the ACT and are now waiting for your scores. This can be a tense time, but knowing when exactly to expect your ACT results can help you plan ahead.

When do ACT scores come out exactly? In this article, find out when your test scores will become available, how to get your ACT results as fast as possible, and what to do once you have them.

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Best SAT Prep Books 2020

Posted by Allen Cheng | Mar 1, 2020 12:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies, SAT General Info

There are a lot of "Best SAT Books" lists out there, but we think that most of them aren't very good or thorough. As a result, I've tried to write a much better guide here.

In this article, you'll learn which books are absolutely critical for your SAT prep, which books you can use to improve your individual section scores, and which books you'll need if you're aiming for a top score. More importantly, you'll learn how to use these SAT prep books for effective studying.

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Complete Official SAT Practice Tests, Free Links

Posted by Allen Cheng | Feb 28, 2020 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 official practice test contains real questions given to actual students at previous administrations of the SAT.

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

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These 2 Recommendation Letters Got Me Into Harvard and the Ivy League

Posted by Allen Cheng | Feb 15, 2020 5:56:00 PM

College Admissions, Letters of Recommendation

When I applied to college, I was accepted into every school I applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, the Ivy League, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and more. While I had a strong overall application, the two teacher letters of recommendation were critical in getting me admitted.

Why? Both teachers said I was one of the top students they had ever taught. Both enthusiastically advocated for my personality, leadership skills, and energy.

How can you earn recommendation letters that will get you into your top choice colleges? I'll show you how in this article.

For the first time, I'm sharing my full, unedited letters of recommendation as examples for you. These are the exact letters submitted when I applied to college. Even better, you'll see exactly what my Harvard admissions officer underlined—what really stood out as important and noteworthy.

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How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League, by a Harvard Alum

Posted by Allen Cheng | Feb 5, 2020 4:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Getting into elite schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and others is a goal of many high school students. How exactly to accomplish this is often a mystery to students and parents going through the admissions process. Lots of unhelpful and vague advice abound, especially from people who have never gained admission themselves to these schools.

In high school, I got into every school I applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and Stanford, and I attended Harvard for college. I also learned a lot about my classmates and the dynamics of college admissions in ways that were never clear to me in high school. Now, I'm sharing this expertise with you.

I've written the most comprehensive guide to getting into top schools. I'm going to explain in detail what admissions officers at Ivy League schools are really looking for in your application. More importantly, I'm going to share an actionable framework you can use to build the most compelling application that's unique to you.

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How to Get a 4.0 GPA and Better Grades, By a Harvard Alum

Posted by Allen Cheng | Feb 1, 2020 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions, Coursework/GPA

On the 4.0 scale, an unweighted 4.0 GPA means perfection. You need straight As in every class—not even one A- is allowed. In college applications, this carries a lot of weight. You're essentially telling the college, "High school classes are a cinch. I've taken a tough course load, and I'm more than prepared for what college has to throw at me."

In high school, I got a 4.0 GPA with a course load featuring 10 AP courses. I got straight As and 12 A+'s. This strong course load, along with a strong application, got me into Harvard and every college I applied to.

While it's flattering to say, "Well, Allen's just a smart guy," in reality I relied a lot more on high-level strategy and effective academic habits. These were the same strategies I applied to my undergraduate work at Harvard and that led me to graduate summa cum laude with a 3.95 GPA. This is the guide I wish I had my freshman year of high school.

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New SAT Conversion Chart: Old 2400 to New 1600 (Official)

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jan 18, 2020 3:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

In March 2016, the SAT underwent a massive redesign, part of which included a change to its scoring system: it shifted from a 2400-point scale to a 1600-point scale. But how do you compare a new SAT score with one on the old SAT 2400 scale? What scores are colleges looking for since some still don't have data on the new SAT?

The official new SAT to old SAT conversion charts below offer the most accurate score conversions from one SAT to the other. If you need to convert your new SAT score to an old SAT score, or vice versa, simply use our handy conversion tool below to find your score.

After you get your SAT conversion, keep reading—I tell you why it's easier to get a higher SAT score than before due to the new SAT scoring advantage (the new SAT score is higher in certain score regions!).

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