SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Rebecca Safier

Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.

Recent Posts

What's a Good PSAT Score for a Freshman?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Apr 1, 2021 10:26:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

If you're gearing up for a high PSAT score your junior year, then you might choose to take the PSAT as a freshman for practice. Taking the PSAT in 9th grade will help you identify your current scoring level and figure out how you can improve for the future.

As a freshman, you can choose between two tests: the PSAT/NMSQT that 11th graders take or the PSAT 8/9, a version of the test specifically geared toward 8th and 9th graders.

These two tests have comparable but slightly different score ranges. This article will go over the scoring and percentiles of both so you can know what would make a good PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 8/9 score as a freshman.

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The 10 Best ACT Books Recommended for ACT Prep

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Mar 31, 2021 7:00:00 PM

ACT Strategies

Has your reading list been taken over by ACT prep books? There are a lot out there to choose from, and you want to make sure you're using high-quality materials that will get you ready for the ACT.

This guide is meant to help you choose the best ACT prep books to achieve your goals. I've divided the books up into three categories: the critical book you need, the best books for general prep, and the best books by ACT section. Before jumping into my recommendations, a quick note about the perspective I'm coming from.

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How Long Does It Take to Get SAT Scores Back?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Mar 28, 2021 5:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

Don't you wish you could find out how you scored on the SAT right after you finish taking the test? Or maybe you'd like to forget all about it and pretend it never happened (better luck next time)!

Either way, your wait time for your SAT scores will be the same: somewhere between two and six weeks. This article fills you in on all the details of SAT score reporting and offers some advice for what to do once you get your scores.

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SAT and TOEFL: What You Need to Know About Each Test

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Mar 8, 2021 8:00:00 PM

SAT General Info, College Admissions

Is English your second (or third or fourth) language? If it's anything but your first, then you may have to take the TOEFL to get into university in the United States. The TOEFL is an English language test that shows you have the language skills to succeed in college.

As another admissions test, the TOEFL shares some similarities with the more ubiquitous SAT. This guide will compare the two tests, as well as give you some tips for preparing for both. If you're a non-native English speaker planning to apply to a U.S. college, then read on to learn the ins and outs of your testing requirements.

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What's a Good PSAT Score for a Sophomore?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Feb 28, 2021 4:30:00 PM

SAT/ACT Score Target, PSAT Info and Strategies

You wouldn't go for your driver's license test before ever getting behind the wheel, right? In reality, you'd practice your three-point turns and parallel parking first so you're ready and know what to expect when the real test comes.

Just as you suspected, this scenario's an analogy for the PSAT. Rather than sitting for it junior year without a practice run, you can improve your performance if you've already taken it in 10th grade. Taking the PSAT as a sophomore is a great, low-pressure way to familiarize yourself with the test, gauge your level, and figure out where you need to improve.

With this in mind, we'll look at what PSAT scores are good for sophomores and how to improve them even more for junior year. But first, let's consider how the PSAT is scored.

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New 2020 PSAT Percentiles and Selection Index

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Feb 28, 2021 4:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Your PSAT score report will show you a myriad of scores, including your total score, section scores, subscores, percentiles, and Selection Index (SI). This guide will focus on the last two pieces of data: your PSAT score percentiles and Selection Index.

Because it's important to understand how the other scores in your report relate to your PSAT percentiles and Selection Index, we'll start with a quick review of terms. If you're one of many students or parents looking for directions out of the complex maze that is the PSAT score report, read on to have the path illuminated!

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NCAA ACT Scores: What You Need to Qualify

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 6, 2021 9:30:00 PM

SAT/ACT Score Target

If you're a student athlete who wants to play in NCAA Division I or Division II sports in college, then this article is for you! We'll review NCAA's eligibility criteria for your GPA and ACT score, which NCAA compares using a sliding scale. More importantly, we'll give you the tips and strategies you need to achieve the NCAA ACT scores required for passing the clearinghouse.

First, let's quickly review how your grade point average, or GPA, is determined.

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How to Apply for College in the US as an International Student

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 4, 2021 8:30:00 AM

College Admissions

According to the Institute of International Education, more than a million international students studied at colleges in the United States last year. If you’re hoping to be one of those students, then this guide is for you.

To help you through the college application process, this guide will go over all the steps you need to take, from translating your transcript to taking the TOEFL. Before jumping into the process of international student admissions, let’s review how your application process is the same as a U.S. student's and how it’s different.

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When Do SAT Subject Test Scores Come Out?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 3, 2021 12:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests

After you take the SAT Subject Tests, you probably want to find out your results right away. You'll have to be a little patient, though, as you might need to wait between two and six weeks to get your SAT Subject Test scores.

We've compiled the exact score delivery dates below. We also offer tips on how to track down your scores and what to do after you get them. Read on to find out just when you'll get your SAT Subject Test scores.

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How Long Does It Take to Get ACT Scores Back?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 2, 2021 5:00:00 PM

ACT General Info

After you take the ACT, the anticipation isn't over! Now, you have to wait to get your scores. While the scores aren't available immediately, you don't actually have to wait too long to see your scores or have them sent to colleges.

This guide will go over when you can expect to see your ACT scores for each test date, as well as the differences in score release dates for students who took the ACT with Writing.

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SAT Subject Test Dates 2021: When Should You Take Them?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 1, 2021 11:13:00 AM

SAT Subject Tests

When are you planning to take the SAT Subject Tests? If you answered, "I don't know," you're not alone! It's hard to know when the best time is to fit in the Subject Tests with the general SAT, your schoolwork, and everything else you've got going on.

Let's take a look at when the SAT Subject Tests are offered in 2021 and when the best dates are for you to take them. As long as you have a plan, you'll be able to balance these tests with all the other things you're up to in your busy life.

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The New PSAT, Redesigned in 2015: Complete Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Dec 10, 2020 10:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies, New SAT

If you're a high school student planning on taking the PSAT, 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 SAT, 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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Best SAT Math Prep Books (2021): Expert Reviews

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 17, 2020 12:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

While there are many different SAT prep books, they all have one thing in common: they all claim to be the best. How can you figure out which one will actually help you succeed on the SAT?

This guide will give you my recommendations for the best prep books for the Math section of the SAT. Some of these books are best for strategies and thinking through the problems, while others are best for practice problems. A few are geared toward top scorers, while some will help you improve a low score fast.

Before delving into the list, I have to make one disclaimer:

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What Colleges Should I Apply To? Making a College List

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 2, 2020 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions

With more than 5,000 colleges to choose from across the country, you might be asking yourself, "What colleges should I apply to?" How do you narrow thousands of schools down to just 10? The best way to streamline your college list is to divide it roughly equally between safety schools, match schools, and reach schools.

This guide will go over exactly what these terms mean and how to choose the best schools for you. Before taking you through the process step by step, though, let's review the research process as a whole.

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ACT Book Guide: The Best Books for Intense Study

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 1, 2020 7:00:00 PM

ACT Strategies

Albert Einstein, who's generally considered a pretty smart guy, said, "It's not that I'm so smart. It's just that I stay with problems longer." That type of commitment, as anyone who's studying for the ACT knows, is its own form of intelligence, and it's what will help you accomplish your long-term goals.

This book guide is meant for students looking to "stay with problems longer" and study intensively, like 100 or more hours, to maximize their scores on the ACT. If you're a student who wants to leave no stone unturned as you prep for the ACT, then these are the books for you.

Before delving into the ACT prep book list, a word about what perspective I'm coming from in my recommendations.

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