Archive for the ‘The Dreaded…SAT’ Category

SAT Registration: Follow These Simple Instructions…

Sometimes navigating websites even to do what seem like the simplest tasks can be overly complicated. But when you’re preparing for the SAT, you’re under enough stress! Follow the clear-cut instructions below to register for the SAT through without a hitch.

  1. Go to
  2. If you already have a College Board account—sign in. Otherwise, under “My Organizer” click “Sign Up,” enter your information, and create a user name and password.
  3. When signed in, go to and click “Register Now.”
  4. Fill out your basic information to get to the “Select Test and Center tab.”
  5. The rest is self-explanatory!

If you’re still in the stages of SAT preparation don’t forget to learn your SAT vocabulary which could help you raise your score up to 150 points!

Good luck on your SAT!


SAT Preparation: Have a Plan!


Preparing for a standardized test like the SAT or ACT? Have a plan!

If you’re just beginning to embark on the test preparation journey, it’s safe to say that you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. The test prep process is one that can be stressful. After all, standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, whether we like it or not, are extremely important—they help determine where one is accepted into college. And, it’s no secret that where one goes to college can certainly influence his or her future. Below are a few tips for staying on top of your SAT test preparation.  It is students, themselves, who are largely in control of creating a plan for test-prep success…and sticking to it.

  • Make a Schedule:  Set goals for yourself. Assign a certain amount of time each day to working on test prep, whether you’re taking the SAT or ACT (or any standardized test, for that matter).  Make a plan with your tutor outlining what you hope to accomplish, or resolve to study from your review book for thirty minutes a night. A commitment and a little review per day can go a long way.
  • Study Vocabulary: If you’ve got plenty of time before you take the SAT and/or ACT, and are wondering what you can do to start preparing for your college entrance exams, the answer is STUDY YOUR SAT VOCABULARY!  Vocabulary is an essential part of test prep success, and a manageable way to get a head a head start in your SAT preparation. Essentially, you can start learning it at any age. Study a little vocab a day; knowing you SAT vocabulary will mean higher scores on your verbal sections.
  • Take Practice Tests: This is often, far and away, the best form of review. Take as many SAT and ACT practice exams as you can! Come to know what to expect when it comes to the format, question types, and your time management skills. The more comfortable you are with the test, the more comfortable you will be on the big day.
  • Read: There are lots of wonderful reasons for reading, but if you didn’t know, it can be extremely useful when you’re preparing for your college entrance exams. Pick up the newspaper or go take out a book from the library. Have a dictionary on hand to look up any words you come across that you don’t know (we can’t emphasize enough how crucial SAT vocabulary is!). You’ll be reading about subjects you’re not necessarily familiar with on the SAT and ACT, so get some practice. Make sure that you’re able to grasp the reading passages’ key content.
  • Prepare Essay Examples: It’s a good idea to use past SAT essay prompts to practice writing the essay.  But there is a step you should take before sitting down to practice writing your SAT essay: Prepare your examples! Come up with a handful of essay examples and stories that you can work into nearly any SAT essay topic. Having some well-rehearsed examples to apply to your SAT essay will save you precious time on the test and likely help earn you a higher score.

What good is a SAT study plan if you’re not going to stick to it?  Make sure you stick to your test-prep study schedule! Study some vocabulary every day; do a practice SAT or ACT section a few times a week; be sure to show some commitment. This is important; it will undoubtedly pay off when you’re mailbox is filled with college acceptance letters!


SAT Preparation: A New Style SAT Program with SAT Teacher Training

High school students preparing for the SAT, or for that matter going through the whole college admissions process, may need a lesson in time management. Between SAT preparation, school assignments and studying, and all the extracurricular activities in which they find themselves involved, students today have a lot on their plates. Yet each obligation, in its own way, plays an important role in college admittance:

  • High GPA
  • High SAT scores
  • Involvement in Extracurriculars, Athletics, Community Service to fill up an college activity resume
A Lot on My Plate

Applying to college? You've got a lot on your plate...

SAT preparation and “regular school” are often separate endeavors. SAT prep tends to be a different type of “homework.” Students may get home from school right before their SAT tutor comes over, or perhaps they’re spending a portion of their weekend at an SAT class or studying from their own test prep manual. Whatever the case, SAT preparation isn’t usually integrated into the typical school day, but doing so could very well serve to benefit students and teachers.

New York based educational services company, A-List Education (, is trying to bring schools and SAT prep together with a new kind of SAT program. The sat teacher training program involves providing the schools with the resources necessary to manage their own, in-house SAT preparation courses that can be offered at no cost to their students.  Expert SAT tutors equip school English and math teachers with the content and strategies needed to master the SAT. Teachers receive A-List’s extensive suite of SAT materials including the online vocabulary system, Vocab Videos (, and companion teacher aids that not only provide explanations of answers but also the reasoning behind common mistakes students make and how to correct them. A-List consults school administrators to develop a customized curriculum and course structure, and stays involved throughout the program providing detailed score reports to assess each student’s progress, indicate to teachers where a student is struggling, and suggest techniques to help improve scores.

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Here are a few reasons why an SAT course is important and why running it in a school could be the way to go:

  • A bad SAT score can tarnish an otherwise impressive academic record.
  • When it comes to the SAT, it’s less about what you know (the content learned in school) than how you apply it (through various SAT strategies).
  • The program allows teachers, who have first-hand knowledge of students’ proficiencies, to build on their relationships with students and provide them with an SAT program that is fundamentally tailored to their needs.
  • By the time most students take the SAT, their math classes are teaching concepts far beyond what they will need on the test. English classes in school tend to focus on literature, specific books and literary history, while the SAT tests general reading comprehension without any specific literary knowledge.
  • Establishing separate classes specifically geared toward SAT preparation can ensure that students gain and refine the skills they need without sacrificing time from other classes.
  • Subsidizing the cost will shift the burden of cost away from the students, who may not be able to afford the best courses.
  • Holding courses during the school day will make it easier for students to attend without sacrificing time for schoolwork, sports, or the arts.
  • The school’s imprimatur upon the classes will make students take the work more seriously than they would independent classes, which are often viewed as extracurricular and therefore optional.
  • Training faculty in new subject matter will create a new level of valuable expertise in staff that can grow stronger and more refined over the years

An in-school SAT program of this kind gives high schools the capability to develop sustainable, high-quality programming that they can continually offer to students.


SAT Preparation: Staying Focused during the Holidays

It’s easy to get distracted during the holiday season, but doing what you can to stay focused will make your return to the realities of school and SAT preparation that much easier. Enjoy your time off, but make the most of it. Here are a few suggestions for staying on top of your SAT prep game during the upcoming winter break:

  • Get Your Rest: This may not have been what you thought our first recommendation would be, but catching up on some probably much-needed rest is essential to a healthy body and brain! Get some of the sleep that you missed out on when you were up late studying for that last test or writing that final paper your teachers tried to squeeze in before break.  Once well-rested, you’ll be re-focused, revitalized, and ready to set your mind to the task at hand.
  • Do Manageable Tasks: We know Christmas break likely isn’t the time you’ll want to spend hours reviewing your SAT manual or writing college essays, but there are ways to use your time wisely without overdoing it. Read the newspaper to learn new words and grasp the general idea behind stories. Watch Vocab Videos to learn crucial SAT vocabulary. Take 25 minutes to do a practice SAT math section. They’re simple, painless tasks you can do to stay on top of your SAT game.   
  • Finishing Touches on College Applications: With most college application deadlines right around the corner, you’re probably looking forward to getting applications off to colleges and out of your hands. But make sure that you’re sending off your best quality work. Don’t skip out on the finishing touches. Make any necessary adjustments to polish up your college essay, go over your activities resume to make sure you’ve mentioned all of your community involvement, and review applications one last time to make sure you’ve included everything.

Please ENJOY YOUR BREAK, but stay motivated with relatively simple (but important!) tasks to keep on top of the college admissions process.


SAT Study Guides: Article Reveals Numerous Errors in Popular SAT Books

If you can’t trust your SAT book when preparing for your college entrance exams what can you trust? Every year, students on the college admissions journey, face the increasingly difficult task of getting into college—preferably a good one and/or the one they wish to attend.  A large part of the typically stressful process, and what ultimately plays a significant role in getting students into their choice colleges, are SAT/ACT scores. No matter what test prep avenue students and parents choose, most include acquiring an SAT book of some kind for guidance and at-home practice and preparation. And so it is both astonishing and unacceptable to discover that many commonly used SAT guides, like Wiley’s “Mastering the SAT Math” and Barron’s “SAT Math Workbook,” contain mistakes—and not just few, but up to 36 errors! (For more details on these shocking figures check out Fox NY’s revealing article here

These revelations are unfair to all students using these SAT guide books. “As if preparing for the SAT’s wasn’t difficult already, now students have to navigate through the big mistakes made by major publishers,” the article states. Those students who are actually taking the initiative to try to improve their SAT scores on their own are being exposed to inaccurate information; in some cases, the right answer isn’t even listed as an option!

While we’re not trying to scare you, in a way this article reinforces an important point—when it comes to SAT preparation, ultimately, responsibility lies in a students’ hands. That’s not to say it in any way should be your responsibility to fact-check SAT books, but the time, effort, and dedication you put into your SAT preparation is up to you.  So while you unfortunately may not be able to trust every SAT book out there, you can trust that putting the time into taking practice tests and learning the strategies needed to master the SAT will help you earn your best SAT score.

For dependable tips for getting SAT-ready, check out our blog “5 Tips from Harvard Pros on Getting Ready for the SAT” (


SAT Test Preparation: How to Make Educated Guesses on College Entrance Exams

So, on multiple choice tests, the right answer is always there. The obvious problem is you may not always know what that correct answer is.  But in some cases, it’s worth taking an educated guess, especially when you can limit your answer choices. Below are a few things you should know that will help you make educated guesses on the SAT and ACT.


  • On the SAT, there are penalties for wrong answers, so avoid random guessing (that is, guessing when you’re completely clueless as to what the correct answer is).
  • Educated guessing, however, is a good option. You only lose ¼ of a point of raw score for wrong answers, but you earn one full point for each right answer. So on the SAT, it’s statistically advantageous to make an educated guess if you can eliminate 1 or 2 (preferably) answers.
  • If you’re investing time on a question, it’s worth taking a risk and making an educated guess. Don’t waste time working on a problem and then not make your best guess.


  • On the ACT, there are no penalties for guessing/wrong answers, so never leave answers blank!
  • Each answer choice (A, B, C, D etc.) shows up about 20-25% of the time as the correct answer; it’s best to be consistent and designate one letter as your guessing answer.
  • As a strategy for picking your optimal guessing answer (because each answer choice does show up roughly 20-25% of the time), look at your scantron’s bubbled-in answers and choose the letter that appears the least.

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Of course, you never want guessing to be your first option. It’s always best to go into a test like the SAT and ACT as prepared as possible, equipped with strategies to help you solve problems and answer as many questions correctly as possible. But there are always those instances where we encounter tough questions that we just can’t figure out, and wasting time trying to work through them usually isn’t worth it. So in some cases, it’s certainly worth taking your best educated guess.

*For a laugh and how NOT to guess, check out this link:

If you enjoyed these suggestions, and for help being prepared with all the vocabulary you’ll need-so you don’t have to guess-CHECK OUT VOCAB VIDEOS!


SAT Preparation: Tips for Handing College Entrance Exam Stress

Be sure to get a good night's sleep before your SAT!

Any test can be stressful. Let’s think of a few—a calculus exam, your road test, THE SAT. None are particularly pleasant experiences—agreed?  But college entrance exams, like the SAT and ACT, can be even more overwhelming since they mean a bit more than your average test. It’s important to be able to manage the stress that comes along with the inescapable knowledge that the SAT and ACT play a significant role in getting you into the college of your choice. Here are a few tips for handling the stress:

  • Take Practice Tests: The more comfortable you are with the test, the more prepared you’ll be come the big test date. Take as many SAT or ACT practice exams as you have available to get familiar with format, question types, and your time management abilities.  If you practice enough, the official exam will feel like just another practice test.
  • Don’t Cram: It’s unlikely that that you’ll learn something while cramming the night before the SAT or ACT that will better your performance on the test. Don’t overwhelm yourself the day before the test with all the last minute tricks you can learn, or by taking another full exam. It’s not going to help, and you’re not going to want to be falling asleep during the actual test with your number 2 pencil in hand. Instead get a good night’s rest. You’ve prepared, and sleep will certainly benefit you more than cramming.
  • Eat a Healthy Breakfast: Your parents were right—breakfast is the most important meal of the day, particularly before such a big test! Get your blood sugar up and your brain functioning most efficiently with a healthy breakfast. Plus, you’ll be taking your exam for quite a few hours and you won’t want to be hungry, or for your stomach to be growling too loudly in that quiet testing atmosphere.
  • Read Directions and Questions Carefully: Don’t get so stressed out staring at your first real SAT that it all becomes a blur. Read the directions to get into focus; and, READ QUESTIONS CAREFULLY. Knowing what’s being asked of you is a simple way to avoid careless mistakes.
  • Think Positively: It may sound corny, but believe in yourself and go into the test with a good attitude. Negative, “I’m going to fail” thoughts will only destroy the confidence you’ve been building throughout your test preparation. At this point you’ve done all you can, and now it’s just a matter of applying everything you’ve learned and practiced. Take a deep breath, keep a positive perspective, and know that you’re going to do just fine.

Some stress before a test can actually be beneficial—it can push you to work harder and to put forth maximum effort, but too much test stress and anxiety will certainly take its toll on a student’s test-time confidence, so be sure to keep these tips in mind.

If you liked this advice, and want to reduce any test stress you might encounter by not knowing your SAT and ACT vocabulary—check out Vocab Videos!


SAT Test Preparation: Knowing Your SAT Vocabulary Words Is Worth 150 Points!


When it comes to vocabulary, the rich get richer.

Knowing your SAT vocabulary words, can help you better prepare for the SAT and increase your SAT score up to 150 points! So, putting in the time to learn the right vocabulary words  is well worth your effort. Here are a few tips and tricks for getting your SAT vocabulary down pat:

  1. Watch Vocab Videos: Sure, you can learn your SAT and ACT vocabulary by using flashcards, but why would you? Watch Vocab Videos. Not only is video a more engaging and entertaining method of studying your SAT vocabulary, it’s also a more effective SAT test prep tool. Research has shown that people remember more effectively when they have visual and auditory cues. Instead of just telling you the definition of a vocabulary word, video allows students to see a vocabulary word’s meaning in action.
  2. Repeat: We know that watching a vocabulary video once isn’t enough to remember a vocabulary word forever, so watch the vocabulary words that you’re having some difficulty with again. When it comes to vocabulary and retaining the meaning of vocabulary words, repetition and reinforcement are essential. Watching vocab videos multiple times, allows your mind to really absorb the visual memories the videos offer.
  3.  Quiz: Test your SAT vocabulary knowledge and take advantage of the Vocab Videos quizzes. Confirm that you’ve successfully learned the SAT vocabulary words that the videos define and illustrate. The quizzes, modeled after SAT style questions, also provide excellent preparation for standardized tests.
  4. Get Involved: Go the extra step to really get involved in the vocabulary learning process. Make sure you know each vocabulary word so well that you would be able to recognize and understand every word in any context, or manner in which the words present themselves. We’d even suggest writing some of your own sentences using the SAT vocabulary to make sure that you truly grasp the words’ meanings.

There’s no reason not to take advantage of this concrete way to increase your SAT and ACT scores. Give Vocab Videos a try!


SAT Vocabulary: Vocabulary Matters Long After the SAT Test!


Vocabulary is crucial in SAT test preparation as it can help raise SAT test scores significantly. Even if you’re not preparing for the SAT or ACT tests, a good vocabulary is beneficial to anyone who speaks the English language. Let me remind you of a few reasons vocabulary matters:

  1.  Speak well: Learn to articulate your impressive ideas using equally impressive vocabulary words. Blow a potential employer away at a job interview. Speaking well and intelligently is important both inside and outside the classroom.  
  2. Write well: Writing is a skill that you’ll likely need no matter what career path you choose. Whether you’re a presidential speech writer or just sending an e-mail to an employer, knowing how to write well is invaluable. Having a good vocabulary and an intimate knowledge of vocabulary words and language will help you get there.
  3. Read well: Better understand what you’re reading. Perhaps you’ll no longer require the dictionary at your side while reading the Wall Street Journal and the literary work your professor assigns. A thorough understanding of a vocabulary word’s meaning is an important part of reading comprehension.
  4. Score well: While a good vocabulary is useful for more than standardized testing, it also helps with SAT test preparation, ACT test preparation, ISEE test preparation, GRE test preparation and more. SAT Reading scores can increase up to 150 points by learning some big vocabulary words, SO LEARN THEM. It’s worth the effort.

Vocabulary really does matter, so make learning vocabulary a priority whether you’re in school or not. Sure, you can learn new vocabulary words using vocabulary flashcards or vocabulary books, but why would you?  Give Vocab Videos a try for a fun and effective way to speak, write, read, and score better.


High SAT Scores: 5 Tips from Harvard Pros on Getting Ready for the SAT


  1. START EARLY:  Allow yourself enough time to get a handle on the test. The college admissions process is stressful, and SAT preparation can certainly be overwhelming, but giving yourself enough time to get familiar with the SAT will make the big test date a little less scary. 
  2. MAKE A PLAN: There’s a lot available to students for SAT test preparation: SAT tutoring, SAT classes, online SAT preparation, and SAT books.  Pick the study method that fits with the kind of help you need and establish a plan for tackling the test. Make a schedule; a little SAT prep a day, in some form or another, will go a long way. 
  3. LEARN VOCAB: Learning vocabulary is an important way to improve your SAT scores. About 1/3 of the SAT Reading section is made up of questions that are explicitly vocabulary-dependent, so knowing SAT vocabulary can increase your score by 150 points in total. Even on questions that don’t specifically test vocabulary, it’s easy for students to get confused by difficult words, so vocabulary can help in all aspects of reading comprehension.   
  4. TAKE FULL PRACTICE TESTS: Again, familiarizing yourself with the SAT is key! Take full-length SAT practice tests, and get to know the format and the kinds of questions that frequently appear. As miserable as it may sound, taking timed, full-length SATs under test-like conditions can be extremely beneficial when getting ready for the SAT. Just practicing sitting and taking a 3 hour and 20 minute test will make it that much easier to do on the day that it counts.  
  5. READ The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, AND OTHER LITERATURE: Prepare for the SAT Reading sections, and learn what’s going on in the world at the same time. You’ll be reading about subjects you’re not necessarily familiar with on standardized tests, so get a head start. Read, get a grasp of the content, and look up the meanings of any words you come across that you don’t know.  

If you found these tips useful, and would like some more help getting ready for the SAT, check out Vocab Videos and get started!