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

PSAT Practice Tests (Updated)

If you're looking for PSAT practice materials, you've come to the right place. This guide contains all free PSAT materials, which you can download—including 10 PSAT practice test PDFs.

Unfortunately, since the PSAT's 2023 makeover, the College Board hasn't released a ton of practice tests. Luckily, though, you can still use old PSAT practice tests effectively to prepare. Before getting to the practice questions, we'll go over some of the changes made to the PSAT in 2015 and 2023. If you care about your PSAT score, read carefully so you don't waste your time studying the wrong things!

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The 10 Best ACT Books Recommended for ACT Prep

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Posted by Rebecca Safier

ACT

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. We'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 our recommendations, a quick note about the perspective we're coming from.

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Early Decision Schools: Complete List of ED Colleges

Did you know that early decision isn't necessarily early? "Binding decision" might be a better name for it, since some schools now offer "early" decision deadlines in January as well as in November.

Either way, applying early decision is a big commitment. If you apply this way, you should be totally sure you want to attend that school. Let's review the pros and cons of early decision and look at all the schools that currently offer early decision admission.

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Complete List: Colleges With Rolling Admissions

Deadlines are stressful—so why not get rid of them? Well, some colleges do just that. Rather than having a fixed application deadline, these schools open up a period of time for you to submit your application.

Rolling admission doesn't mean you won't have any timeline, though. This guide will go over what rolling admission means as you apply to college and also provide you with a complete list of colleges with rolling admissions.

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How to Become a National Merit Semifinalist

Every October, about 1.6 million juniors across the country take the PSAT. Those who score in the top 1% achieve the distinction of National Merit Semifinalist. Most of these students move on to become National Merit Finalists, with some winning scholarship money for college.

Being named a National Merit Semifinalist is a huge achievement along the path to college. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to become a National Merit Semifinalist.

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What Colleges Should I Apply To? Making a College List

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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PSAT Practice Tests: Free Questions and Full-Length Tests

Why buy a bunch of PSAT practice tests when you can find them online for free? To make your search as easy as possible, I've compiled all the best PSAT practice tests and sample questions available online.

Read on for a link to digital PSAT practice tests, 11 downloadable official PSAT practice test PDFs, and 10 bonus SAT practice tests. Since the College Board has only released one official, printable practice test for the current version of the PSAT, I'll also explain how you can modify older practice tests to effectively prepare for the test.

Let's get right to it with the first official PSAT practice test PDF for you to download.

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How to Win a National Merit Scholarship

Being named a Scholar is the highest academic recognition you can achieve from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It is a national distinction that puts you at the pinnacle of academic achievement.

To become a Scholar, you need to first become a Finalist. But not all Finalists win scholarships: only about 8,000 of 15,000 students win this award. In this article, we'll talk about what scholarships are available through the NMSC and what you need to do to get one.

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How Long Does It Take to Get SAT Scores Back?

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Posted by Rebecca Safier

SAT

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: roughly 13 days. 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.

Note: Score release schedules for the digital SAT (which is the only option available in 2024) may be unusually subject to change. Read this article to get an expert explanation of the new digital SAT and score release schedule.

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New 2023 PSAT Percentiles and Selection Index

Your PSAT score report will show you a myriad of scores, including your total score, section scores, 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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Predicted National Merit Scholarship Cutoffs for 2023-2024 (Updated)

What score do you need on the PSAT to qualify for National Merit distinction? The answer to this question depends on where you live. To achieve National Merit recognition, you need to match or exceed the cutoff score in your home state.

We’ve compiled the National Merit Semifinalist state cutoffs based on the most recent data from the fall of 2021. Before checking out the qualifying scores, let’s discuss how the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) determines who is named Commended Student or Semifinalist.

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International Students and the SAT/ACT: Complete Guide

Are you an international student aiming to attend college in the United States? Colleges are looking for students with language skills and global competencies more than ever, so you already have several strong assets to draw on in your college applications.

One requirement for your applications to most universities is the SAT or ACT. Let's go over the information you need to know about deciding between the SAT and ACT, registering for the tests, and preparing to achieve a high score.

But first, why are the SAT and ACT important for going to college in the US?

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The 11 Best SAT Books Recommended for SAT Prep

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Posted by Rebecca Safier

SAT

With so many SAT prep books to choose from, how can you tell the good ones from the bad ones? Well, not to worry because we've evaluated SAT books for you! This fully updated guide gives you our recommendations for the top 11 SAT preparation books to help you achieve the scores you want.

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Which Colleges Superscore the SAT?

Your SAT scores are an important part of your application, especially as the applicant pool gets bigger and more competitive every year. So how can you make sure colleges will consider your very best scores?

This article will discuss the colleges that superscore the SAT. After giving you a list of every college that superscores the SAT, I'll talk about how you can use this information strategically as you prepare to apply to college. To start, let's briefly review what "superscoring" means.

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The Best SAT Prep Websites You Should Be Using

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Posted by Rebecca Safier

SAT

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 (i.e., the 90s), you can use these online resources to prep from anywhere with the Internet. To help you discern high-quality resources from low-quality ones, this guide will break down the SAT prep websites you can use to review content, learn strategies, and find practice questions.

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