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 Best ACT Prep Websites You Should Be Using

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 23, 2018 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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How to Win a National Merit Scholarship

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 9, 2018 6:52:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies, College Admissions

 

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

Not all Finalists are chosen to receive scholarships, however.  Only about 8,000 of 15,000 students gain this award. In this article we’ll talk about what scholarships are available through NMSC and what you need to do to get one.

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Colleges That Superscore ACT: Complete List

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 9, 2018 11:00:00 AM

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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Important College Application Deadlines You Can't Miss

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 6, 2018 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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Early Decision Schools: Complete List of ED Colleges

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 2, 2018 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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Complete List: Colleges That Require SAT Subject Tests

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 2, 2018 2:30:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests, College Admissions

Does applying to college make you feel like you're trying to walk through a door but don't yet have the keys? To gain access, first you need to understand exactly what the colleges you're interested in require. This can be tricky with the SAT Subject Tests, as different colleges have different policies.

We've compiled a comprehensive list of all the colleges that require SAT Subject Tests, along with others that recommend or consider them as part of your application. As policies are continually changing, always double-check with the school about their standardized testing requirements. Let us know in the comments if we need to make any updates! 

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How to Write a Great Peer Recommendation

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 1, 2018 6:45:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

So your friend/sibling/classmate wants you to write her a peer recommendation. Being the awesome friend/sibling/classmate that you are, you've not only agreed to write the letter, but you plan to write the BEST recommendation letter of all time. 

Apart from good intentions (check!), what else do you need to write an outstanding peer recommendation? This guide will break down the content and structure of peer reference letters so you can help get your bestie into the college of her dreams (which is probably Dartmouth or Davidson, the only colleges I currently know of that require peer evaluations).

First, here is your mission, since you've chosen to accept it.

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The Best SAT Prep Websites You Should Be Using

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jul 19, 2018 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 (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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How Long Does It Take to Get SAT Scores Back?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jul 17, 2018 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? 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 three 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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3 Examples of Bad Letters of Recommendation from Teachers

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jul 5, 2018 6:49:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

 

While you may have seen examples of really impressive recommendation letters, what about the really bad ones? What exactly do bad letters look like, and what makes them so subpar?

Bad recommendation letters can be hard to put a finger on, because they aren't necessarily critical or disparaging about a student. Instead, they might leave a poor impression because they come off as unenthusiastic, unspecific, or simply too short. The examples below represent letters that would do very little to help a student's college application and, worst case scenario, could even hurt it.

By knowing what weakens a letter or leaves a negative impression in the minds of admissions officers, you can make sure your letters don't contain any of these features. First up...

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The Complete List of Colleges That Require Interviews

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 21, 2018 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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118 Great Questions to Ask on a College Tour

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 11, 2018 5:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Touring your prospective colleges is a great opportunity to learn from the people who study, work, and teach on campus. By keeping your eyes and ears open, you can gain a strong sense of a school and its culture, far beyond the facts and figures on its website.

To make the most of your visits, you should prepare thoughtful questions to ask on a college tour. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive college visit checklist of questions for your tour guide, current students, admissions officers, financial aid officers, and professors. Plus, we’ll offer some advice on what not to ask.

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What Should I Give to a Teacher Writing My Recommendation Letter?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 9, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

A substantial bribe. Just kidding. You should give your teacher recommenders something much more valuable for writing effective letters of recommendation: your input. 

Sharing your ideas will assist your teacher in writing you an insightful and specific letter. This guide will discuss what materials you should produce, and why your "recommender's packet" can go a long way toward making your final letter outstanding. 

To start, let’s review why recommendations are important to your application. If you understand what admissions officers look for, then you can make sure that your materials are useful and relevant. With this in mind, let's consider what purpose rec letters serve in the admission process.  

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Who Should I Ask to Write My College Recommendation Letter?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 8, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

Are you debating who to ask for recommendation letters for college? Letters of rec are a very important part of your application, and strong ones can go a long way toward making you stand out among the competition.

That's why you should choose your recommenders with the same thought and care that you put into your personal essay, SAT or ACT prep, and other parts of your application. Before we dive into the key questions to ask yourself when choosing a recommender, let's review what separates the good letters from the bad ones.

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About the PSAT/NMSQT: Expert Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 7, 2018 2:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

If you think the PSAT is just a practice test, then you're missing a key part of the story. The Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, more commonly known as the PSAT/NMSQT or just the PSAT, is also essential in the competition for National Merit distinction and scholarships. Plus, it can help you figure out exactly how to study for the SAT.

This guide's dedicated to the PSAT/NMSQT, from its overall structure to how it’s scored to what kind of questions show up in each section. Before putting the test under the microscope, let’s go over the purpose of this test. What is the PSAT NMSQT for, anyway?

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