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

NCAA ACT Scores: What You Need to Qualify

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Oct 13, 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 Get a College Application Fee Waiver: 3 Approaches

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 29, 2021 6:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Most college application fees fall in the $40 to $50 range, with some costing as much as $90 (ahem, Stanford). For many students and their families, these fees present a serious obstacle along the already pricey path to college. If application fees are burdensome to you, you might qualify for college application fee waivers.

Just like SAT and ACT fee waivers, these college fee waivers allow you to send off your applications for free. This guide will go over how you can qualify for and use college application fee waivers; it'll also review how much college apps usually cost and how much you can save with fee waivers.

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How to Become a National Merit Semifinalist

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 20, 2021 10:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies, College Admissions

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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Does Your PSAT Score Qualify for National Merit?

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 20, 2021 4:30:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Are you gearing up to rock the PSAT this fall and wondering what score you need to qualify for National Merit? This guide will give you 51 different answers to that question.

Don't worry, it's not a complicated response. It's just that the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) compares test takers on a state-by-state basis. To become a National Merit Semifinalist, you have to score in the top 1% of students in your state.

This guide will fill you in on all qualifying cutoff scores from coast to coast (plus Alaska and Hawaii) for the PSAT. But first, let's review exactly who qualifies for National Merit.

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PSAT Practice Tests (Updated)

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 20, 2021 12:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

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 2015 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. If you care about your PSAT score, read carefully so you don't waste your time studying the wrong things!

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What's a Good PSAT Score for a Junior?

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 19, 2021 4:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

The PSAT is an important test on the road to college. Your scores predict how you'll do on the SAT. Plus, top scorers can earn distinctions and scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

So how do you know whether your PSAT scores are good? While what counts as a good score varies depending on your personal goals, we can give a more objective answer to this question by considering PSAT score percentiles. But first, let's review how the PSAT is scored.

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Predicted National Merit Scholarship Cutoffs for 2021 and 2022 (Updated)

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 19, 2021 8:30:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

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 2020. 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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Early Decision Deadlines for Every College With ED

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 10, 2021 6:00:00 PM

College Admissions, College Info

If you're applying early decision, then you've already accomplished something pretty rare in the college application process—you know exactly where you want to go to college!

This guide goes over your timeline for applying early decision and provides a comprehensive list of deadlines for all early decision schools. Read on to learn everything you will need to know about applying early decision to your dream school.

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Important College Application Deadlines You Can't Miss

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 10, 2021 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Timing is everything. Nowhere is this saying more true than in the college application process. From taking the SAT to writing your personal essay to submitting your Common App, the process takes months, if not years, to complete.

So when do you need to finish gathering all your application materials and submit them to your colleges? That all depends on your deadlines. This guide will go over the different options for college application deadlines, plus step-by-step instructions on how to keep track of them all.

First off, what are the different options for applying?

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When To Apply For College: Complete Timeline

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 8, 2021 5:30:00 PM

College Admissions

Many students start college in the fall after they graduate high school, but their planning and applying starts years before. Application deadlines may be in the fall or winter of senior year, and completing each step on the path to college might start as early as freshman year.

This article answers all your questions about when to apply for college: when do you complete each step of the process, and when are your college deadlines? After reading this, you'll know exactly when to apply to college and what steps are needed.

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How Long Does It Take to Get SAT Scores Back?

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 5, 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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International Students and the SAT/ACT: Complete Guide

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 5, 2021 3:00:00 PM

SAT versus ACT, College Admissions

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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What Is Rolling Admission? When Do You Apply?

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 4, 2021 2:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Who needs deadlines? Colleges with rolling admissions invite you to submit your application within a general time frame, usually ranging from the fall to the spring.

While these schools don't have a set deadline, your timeline for applying still matters. This guide will explore the rolling admission policy and how it affects your college planning. First, what is this application option all about?

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The Complete List of Colleges That Require Interviews

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 1, 2021 7:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Many colleges ask you to interview with an alum or admissions officer as part of the application process. This article has the full list of schools that require, recommend, or offer interviews, and it will give you some pointers on how to figure out your college's interview policy.

To start off, let's review the point of the college interview. Is your interviewer evaluating you, or is the meeting simply a chance for you to learn more about the school?

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Early Decision Schools: Complete List of ED Colleges

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 1, 2021 5:30:00 PM

College Admissions, College Info

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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