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

The 10 Best ACT Books Recommended for ACT Prep

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 4, 2017 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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Colleges That Superscore ACT: Complete List

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Oct 18, 2017 12:00:00 PM

ACT General Info, College Admissions

Are you taking the ACT? Before registering, you should know how admissions officers look at your scores. Do they consider Math, Science, Reading, and English individually, or do they care more about the composite score?

You might be relieved to hear that many colleges “superscore” your ACT scores by taking the best subscores across all your test dates and creating the strongest possible composite score. Read on for the full list of colleges that superscore the ACT, followed by some tips on how you can use this policy to your advantage. 

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The 11 Best SAT Books Recommended for SAT Prep

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Oct 12, 2017 12:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies

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

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What's a Good PSAT Score for 2015?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Oct 5, 2017 1:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

 

With all the scoring changes on the redesigned College Board exams, what counts as a "good score" on the PSAT these days? There are a few factors you can use to define what's good: score percentiles, National Merit criteria, and your own personal goals for the PSAT and the SAT. First, it's critical to understand how the PSAT is scored. 

This guide will review the scoring scale of the PSAT, along with National Merit Scholarship Corporation's Selection Index, so you know what counts as a good PSAT score. To start off, let’s go over a few key PSAT terms that will help you understand the rest of this guide.

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Average SAT Subject Test Scores: Complete List

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 21, 2017 9:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests

750 on an SAT Subject Test sounds like an amazing score, right? Not necessarily! Interpreting scores on the Subject Tests is more complex than on the general SAT. For example, an excellent score on the Literature Subject Test might look very different from an excellent score on the Korean with Listening Test.

Let's take a look at the average scores for each Subject Test and what they mean as you choose which tests to take.

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PSAT Test Dates 2015

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 21, 2017 10:00:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

 

The PSAT test dates of 2015 have come and gone, but they are not forgotten - especially for students aiming to become National Merit Finalists. This guide will go over the exact PSAT test dates in 2015, as well as discuss how test-takers can make the most of their PSAT score reports today.

If you’re looking for future PSAT test dates, then check out this guide instead. If you’re in the right spot, then read on to learn about how the PSAT testing schedule works for participating students.

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Does Your PSAT Score Qualify for National Merit?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 20, 2017 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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Predicted National Merit Scholarship Cutoffs for 2017 and 2018 (Updated)

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 13, 2017 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 2017. 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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What Is a Good SAT Subject Test Score?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 8, 2017 9:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests

What's a good Subject Test score? This might sound like a straightforward question, but it's actually a little more complicated. What makes a good score varies by SAT Subject Test as the number of test takers differs from test to test. For instance, in 2017 more than 140,000 students took the Math Level II Test, more than 48,000 students took the Literature Test, and only 453 took the Italian Test.

As you'll see below, most good scores for SAT Subject Tests are in the 700s, but there are other factors to consider as you set your target scores. Let's take a look at the average scores and percentiles so you can know what a good score is for each individual SAT Subject Test.

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The Best ACT Prep Websites You Should Be Using

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 28, 2017 12:00:00 PM

ACT Strategies

When you think of Twitter or Instagram, your first thought probably isn't about ACT prep. But you can actually find very helpful ACT information on these sites and several others.

Rather than relying solely on heavy ACT prep books, you can lighten your load by moving your ACT prep online. You'll find lots of free resources on everything, from test content and key strategies to high-quality practice questions.

This guide will go over the best test prep websites you should be using if you're aiming to ace the ACT. But first, a word on the perspective I have when it comes to ACT websites.

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When Do SAT Subject Test Scores Come Out?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 27, 2017 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 may need to wait between two to six weeks to get your scores back. 

We've compiled the exact score delivery dates below, plus some tips on how to track down your scores and what to do next. Read on to find out when you get your SAT Subject Test scores.

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National Merit Finalist - How to Win the Scholarship

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 20, 2017 8:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Many students take the PSAT in the fall of their junior year. What a lot of students may not notice is the full name of the test is PSAT/NMSQT, or Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Thus, the PSAT is not just good practice for your SATs. It’s also the first step in becoming a National Merit Finalist and hopefully, earning a $2,500 scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

In this article, we’ll discuss what steps you need to take to become a National Merit Finalist and compete for a scholarship. We'll also give you advice on how to write a strong application and maximize your chances of becoming a National Merit Scholar.

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Which Colleges Superscore the SAT?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 3, 2017 12:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies, College Admissions

Your SAT scores are a very 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 talk about colleges that superscore the SAT. After the list, 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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Complete Guide: Colleges Not Requiring SAT Scores

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 2, 2017 3:00:00 PM

SAT General Info, College Admissions

Not all admissions processes are created equal. One major point of difference among colleges these days is how admissions officers consider your SAT scores. More and more schools are de-emphasizing SAT scores as part of your application with “test optional” and “test flexible” policies. One college has even eliminated SAT scores completely!

There are now over 900 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions that have changed their approach to standardized test scores. Keep in mind that the majority of colleges, especially the more prestigious schools, do still require and strongly consider your SAT scores.

Let’s take a look at the different policies and the schools that no longer require applicants to submit their SAT scores for admission.

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The Best SAT Prep Websites You Should Be Using

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jul 31, 2017 12:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies

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

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