SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Laura Staffaroni

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

Recent Posts

Historical ACT Percentiles From 2016 to 2022

Whether you're currently studying to take the ACT or took it in 2016-2022, you might be curious about how your ACT percentile compares to students who took the ACT in past years.

In this article, we'll go over what percentiles are, how percentiles work on the ACT, and why ACT percentiles matter. We also lay out ACT percentile charts for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 so you can see how your score compares to historical ACT scores.

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The Complete List of the 25 CUNY Colleges

The City University of New York system is the lesser-known member of New York State's public university system. Unlike New York's SUNY colleges and universities, however, all the CUNY schools are located in NYC.

In this article, we'll go over a list of CUNY schools in NYC and CUNY locations along with what to consider when choosing which CUNYs to apply to.

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What Is a Good ACT Writing Score?

As you study for the ACT, it's easy enough to calculate your ACT composite target score. But where does your essay score fit into all this? What's a good ACT Writing score? Read on to find out how to figure it out!

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What Do Tutors Actually Do During SAT/ACT Tutoring?

You’ve heard of this strange, mysterious thing called “SAT/ACT Tutoring.” Okay, maybe it's not all that mysterious to you, but it was a cipher to me when I was in high school. Was SAT tutoring like homework, but with supervision? Why should I waste my precious free time with a tutor when I could just do everything myself? What actually happens during SAT/ACT tutoring?

In this article, I'm going to talk about what we at PrepScholar believe the best tutors do during the course of SAT/ACT tutoring. These are the best practices that we employ to get our industry-leading results.

This is in no way a guarantee that every tutor will follow every one of these guidelines, of course, but it gives you an idea of what to look for. We will answer all the questions I had as a confused high schooler…and more! As a bonus feature, I’ve included things that good tutors should absolutely NOT do during ACT/SAT tutoring sessions, so that if you encounter them, you can run in the other direction.

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What's an Average ACT Writing Score?

It's approximately one month after your ACT test date. You get your ACT score report and see your ACT Writing score. But what does that number actually mean? Did you do better than average? Worse? Exactly average? Learn what an average ACT Writing score is in this article.

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New York State Regents Exams: What Are They? When Do You Take Them?

If you're in middle school or high school in New York State, chances are that you've heard of the NYSED Regents exams. In fact, all NY public high school students have to take (and pass) a certain number of these exams to graduate from high school.

In this article, we'll discuss exactly what the Regents are and which Regents you'll need to take.  We'll also give you tips on how to prep for the Regents as well as the Regents testing schedule for 2023.

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CTY SAT Score Requirements

You've decided that you want to take part in the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at Johns Hopkins University. Good for you! Having made this decision, however, you probably have some questions about test score requirements. Do you have to take the SAT to apply for CTY or its programs? What does taking the SAT qualify you for, and how well do you have to do on it?

I'll answer all these questions, and even manage to squeeze in an example from Shakespeare, if you'll just read on.

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CTY ACT Score Requirements

You've decided that you want to take part in the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. Good for you!

Having made this decision, however, you probably have some questions about test score requirements—do you have to take the ACT in order to apply for CTY or its programs? What does taking the ACT qualify you for, and how well do you have to do on it?

I'll answer all of these questions for you in this article. Now, read on...

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Historical SAT Percentiles: New SAT 2016-2022

If you took the new SAT in between 2016 and 2022, you might be wondering what percentile your score is in. Is a 700 on Math in 2016 the same as a 700 in Math in 2022? How much do percentile scores change from year to year?

In this article, I'll explain what new SAT percentile scores are and how they've changed over time. I'll also provide percentiles for SAT combined and section scores for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

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What Is CTY at Johns Hopkins? Complete Guide

CTY, or Center for Talented Youth, at Johns 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 you need to know about CTY 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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How Much Should You Pay for SAT/ACT Tutoring?

Are you considering getting tutoring for the SAT/ACT, but want to know how much it will cost? Maybe you’ve already decided on tutoring, but aren’t quite sure how much money you should put aside for it?

The question of how much to pay for tutoring is important to consider when planning your test prep budget. After all, you want to make sure that you are spending your money wisely! This means that paying $30/hr to a high school senior who took the test once, got a 1450, and has never taught before is not the right option for comprehensive tutoring.

On the other hand, just because a tutoring service is more expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best one for you. A so-called expert SAT/ACT tutor can cost you anywhere from twenty to hundreds of dollars an hour, so it can be hard to know where you should be looking.

Why is it worth spending money on tutoring, and how can you narrow in on the right budget for you? Read on to find out!

feature image credit: Save Money  by 401(K) 2012, used under CC BY-SA 2.0/Cropped from original.

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What Are the Ivy League Schools' Acceptance Rates for 2022?

The eight schools in the Ivy League are among the most well-known and selective universities both within the US and in the world at large. Because of this, Ivy League (and similarly selective non-Ivy) schools have tens of thousands of students from whom to choose their class of 2026.

But what are Ivy League schools' acceptance rates, and how have those rates changed over time? In this analysis, we'll look at Ivy League admissions, from the number of applicants to the number of students who ultimately end up attending.

In addition to the eight Ivy League schools (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, UPenn, and Yale), we'll also consider eight equally selective non-Ivy League national universities: Caltech, Duke, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Northwestern, Stanford, UChicago, and Vanderbilt.

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The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In)

Do you dream of building driverless cars or a space elevator? You should check out the best engineering schools in the US!

But with so many different engineering schools out there and intense competition for the top programs, how can you figure out where you should apply? To help you decide, we've compiled a list of the best engineering schools in the US. We'll explain a little bit about each school on the list as well as provide rankings within specific subfields of engineering.

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Which Schools Use the Coalition Application? Complete List

Ah, October. The changing of the leaves, the onset of autumn allergies...and the knowledge for high school seniors that, slowly but surely, college application deadlines are drawing ever nearer.

If you're applying to schools in the U.S., you've probably heard of the Common App before, but you may not know about the relatively new Coalition Application.

The Coalition Application works pretty much the same way as the Common App—it's an online application that you only have to fill out once (aside from supplements for certain schools). This centralized application system is a big time saver if you're applying to multiple Coalition Application schools.

To help you figure out if you can use the Coalition Application for the schools on your college wishlist, we've listed all the current Coalition Application schools in this article, broken down by state.

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Writing the Why NYU Essay

If you're applying to New York University, you'll need to submit both the regular Common App materials as well as the NYU supplement, which includes a short essay. At its heart, the NYU essay prompt asks you to answer a single straightforward question: why do you want to go to NYU?

In this article, we'll fully analyze the "Why NYU?" essay prompt and what successful essays need to accomplish. We'll also go over potential topics to write about and look at the essay that got me into NYU's College of Arts and Science.

First, however, we'll begin with a quick discussion of why schools ask students to write "why this school?" essays

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