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 Is the SSAT? Expert Guide to the 3 Levels

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 4, 2018 11:12:00 AM

Other High School

Are you interested in going to private school? If so, you might need to take the SSAT to get in. But what is the SSAT? It's an admissions test that independent schools throughout the U.S. and the world use to assess their prospective students.

The test is available in three levels, so students in elementary, middle, and high school can take it. This comprehensive guide will go over each level of the SSAT so you can learn all about its purpose, structure, and questions. You’ll also find six useful tips for test prep. To start, let’s go over the purpose of the test.

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The New PSAT, Redesigned in 2015: Complete Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 3, 2018 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 new and 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 SATs, 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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The 11 Best SAT Books Recommended for SAT Prep

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 1, 2018 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 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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When Do SAT Subject Test Scores Come Out?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 1, 2018 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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What Is a Good SAT Subject Test Score?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 20, 2018 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 Modern Hebrew 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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Predicted National Merit Scholarship Cutoffs for 2018 and 2019 (Updated)

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 13, 2018 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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How to Become a National Merit Semifinalist

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 12, 2018 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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Average SAT Subject Test Scores: Complete List

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 11, 2018 9:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests

A 750 on an SAT Subject Test sounds like an amazing score, right? Not necessarily! Interpreting scores on the Subject Tests is more complex than it is 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 SAT Subject Test, and go over what they mean as you choose which tests to take.

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What's a Good PSAT Score for a Junior?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 11, 2018 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 (NMSC).

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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Does Your PSAT Score Qualify for National Merit?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 5, 2018 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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Complete Guide: Colleges Not Requiring SAT Scores

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 1, 2018 6:00:00 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 more than 1,000 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions that have changed their approaches to standardized test scores. Keep in mind that the majority of colleges, especially the more prestigious schools, do still require (and strongly consider) SAT scores.

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

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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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