Posts Tagged ‘ACT’

Cool New App: Read Up to 1,000 Words a Minute!

speed readSamsung is releasing a brand new app called Spritz that promises to help us read up to 1,000 words a minute. Imagine the possibilities for book lovers!

Training our brains to read quickly and efficiently could also benefit students’ reading comprehension and help them through reading passages on tests like the SAT and ACT where timing is key.

Learn more about Spritz

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College Admission Requirements: College Admissions Scattergrams from Cappex

If you’re applying to college or plan to apply to college in the near future, I’m sure you’ve started wondering what it takes to get into your top choice school. Whether you’re applying to South University in Richmond or an Ivy League school, knowing the acceptance rate is important. It can determine the number and type of school to apply to. While the college admissions environment changes from year to year, depending on the scope and aptitude of the applicant pool, past admissions data does help to determine where you stand in terms of your GPA and SAT/ACT scores and gaining admission to a particular university.

To help you establish whether your GPA and standardized test scores are up to par for admission to your dream college, Cappex.com has come up with a cool and useful tool (more…)

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College Admissions: The Pressures of College Entrance Exams

In an increasingly competitive college admissions environment, college applicants are feeling the pressure. With more students than ever applying to college and competing for a limited number of spots at universities, it’s not surprising that college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT cause a good amount of stress. But it’s important to keep in mind that YOU’RE MORE THAN A TEST SCORE!

While there’s no use denying that SAT and ACT scores are an important piece of your application and student profile–they’re not everything.  Four years of hard work and good grades (hopefully) in high school  are not erased with one standardized test score.

That being said, the SAT and ACT are tests that can be mastered through hard work and time commitment. (more…)

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SAT Vocabulary: Introducing New Digital Quizzes!

 

We’re making some major upgrades to the Vocab Videos site, the first of which we’re delighted to announce to all of our Vocab Videos subscribers and fans: THE ADDITION OF DIGITAL QUIZZES!

Now, immediately after watching a Vocab Videos episode, you’re able to take an interactive quiz to review all of the SAT vocabulary content you’ve just watched! At the end of each quiz, you’ll see a detailed overview of how you performed–the questions you answered correctly, those you answered incorrectly, and what SAT vocabulary words you need to study further.

 

 

Downloadable score reports are available for printing if students want to keep a record of their progress or if teachers want to keep track of their students’ quiz performance. If your quiz score shows that you didn’t fully grasp the episode’s vocabulary content, go back and watch the video again, and then re-take the quiz!

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SAT Scores: Top National Universities’ Average SAT & ACT Scores

Have you ever wondered to what colleges your SAT scores will earn you acceptance to? Using US News & World Report’s 2010 ranking of national universities and data from the College Board, the Vocab Videos team has compiled a list of the average SAT scores of first-year students at some of the country’s top universities. Take a look below to see if your SAT scores are on target to gain you admission to your top-choice college. And don’t forget learning your SAT vocabulary can help raise your SAT scores 150+ points, so don’t forget to give Vocab Videos–our FUN & EFFECTIVE vocabulary learning system–a try!

From CollegeBoard.com: Average SAT Scores by College (Middle 50% of First-Year Students)
America’s Top National Universities 2010 (US News & World Report) SAT Critical Reading SAT Math SAT Writing ACT Composite
Harvard University 690 – 780 690 – 790 690 – 780 31 – 34
Princeton University 690 – 790 700 – 790 700 – 780 31 – 35
Yale University 700 – 800 700 – 780 700 – 790 30 – 34
California Institute of Technology 690 – 770 770 – 800 680 – 770 33 – 35
Massachusetts Insititute of Technology 650 – 760 720 – 800 660 – 760 32 – 35
Stanford University 660 – 760 680 – 780 670 – 760 30 – 34
University of Pennsylvania 660 – 750 690 – 780 670 – 760 30 – 34
Columbia University 680 – 770 690 – 780 680 – 770 31 – 34
University of Chicago 690 – 780 680 – 780 670 – 760 28 – 32
Duke University 660 – 750 680 – 780 660 – 760 30 – 34
Dartmouth College 660 – 770 680 – 780 670 – 780 30 – 34
Northwestern University 670 – 750 690 – 780 670 – 750 30 – 33
Washington University in St. Louis 680 – 750 710 – 780 32 – 34
Johns Hopkins Univeristy 630 – 730 670 – 770 650 – 730 29 – 33
Cornell University 630 – 730 660 – 770 29 – 33
Brown University 650 – 760 670 – 780 660 – 770 28 – 33
Emory University 640 – 730 660 – 750 650 – 740 29 – 33
Rice University 640 – 750 680 – 780 650 – 740 30 – 34
Vanderbilt University 660 – 750 690 – 770 660 – 750 30 – 34
University of Notre Dame 650 – 750 680 – 760 640 – 730 31 – 34
University of California–Berkeley 590 – 710 640 – 760 610 – 720
Carnegie Mellon University 620 – 720 670 – 780 620 – 720 28 – 34
Georgetown University 650 – 750 650 – 750 27 – 33
University of California–Los Angeles 570 – 680 600 – 730 580 – 700 24 – 31
University of Virginia 600 – 710 630 – 730 610 – 710 27 – 32
University of Southern California 620 – 710 650 – 740 640 – 730 29 – 32
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor 590 – 690 640 – 740 600 – 700 27 – 31
Tufts University 680 – 750 680 – 750 680 – 760 30 – 33
University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill 590 – 700 620 – 710 580 – 680 26 – 31
Wake Forest University 580 – 690 600 – 700 27 – 31
Brandeis University 620 – 730 640 – 730 620 – 720 27 – 31
New York University 610 – 710 600 – 720 620 – 710 27 – 31
College of William and Mary 620 – 730 620 – 720 610 – 710 27 – 32
Boston College 610 – 700 640 – 730 630 – 720 29 – 32
Georgia Institute of Technology 580 – 680 650 – 750 580 – 670 27 – 31
Lehigh University 590 – 630 630 – 710
University of California-San Diego 540 – 660 600 – 710 560 – 670 24 – 30
University of Rochester 590 – 690 640 – 720 590 – 690 28 – 33
University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign 540 – 660 660 – 770  
University of Wisconsin–Madison 550 – 670 620 – 720 570 – 670 26 – 30
Case Western Reserve University 590 – 700 650 – 740 590 – 690 28 – 32
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 610 – 700 660 – 750 580 – 680 25 – 30
University of California–Davis 520 – 640 560 – 680 520 – 650 24 – 30
University of California–Santa Barbara 540 – 660 550 – 670 540 – 660 24 – 30
University of Washington 530 – 650 570 – 680 530 – 640 24 – 30
University of California–Irvine 520 – 640 570 – 680 530 – 640
Penn State–University Park 530 – 630 560 – 670 540 – 640
University of Florida 570 – 680 590 – 700 25 – 30
University of Texas–Austin 530 – 660 570 – 700 530 – 660 24 – 30
Tulane University 630 – 700 620 – 700 630 – 710 29 – 32
University of Miami 570 – 680 600 – 700 570 – 670 27 – 31
Yeshiva University 550 – 690 550 – 680 22 – 28
George Washington University 600 – 690 600 – 690 600 – 690 27 – 30
Ohio State University–Columbus 540 – 650 580 – 690 540 – 640 25 – 30
University of Maryland–College Park 580 – 680 620 – 710
Boston University 570 – 660 600 – 690 590 – 680 26 – 30
University of Pittsburgh 570 – 680 590 – 680 560 – 660 25 – 30
Pepperdine University 560 – 660 560 – 680 560 – 660 24 – 30
Syracuse University 510 – 620 540 – 650 520 – 630 23 – 28
University of Georgia 560 – 660 570 – 670 570 – 660 25 – 29
Clemson University 550 – 640 590 – 680 25 – 30
Fordham University 570 – 670 570 – 670 570 – 670 26 – 30
Purdue University–West Lafayette 500 – 610 540 – 670 490 – 600 23 – 29
Texas A&M University–College Station 530 – 640 570 – 670 500 – 620 24 – 30
University of Minnesota–Twin Cities 520 – 670 600 – 710 530 – 650 24 – 29
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey–New Brunswick 530 – 630 560 – 680 540 – 640
University of Connecticut 550 – 640 570 – 670 550 – 650 24 – 29
Southern Methodist University 560 – 660 580 – 680 560 – 660 25 – 30
University of Delaware 520 – 630 540 – 650 520 – 640 24 – 28
Worcester Polytechnic Institute 560 – 660 630 – 720 560 – 660 26 – 31
Brigham Young University–Provo 560 – 670 570 – 680 25 – 30
Indiana University–Bloomington 520 – 630 540 – 660 24 – 29
Michigan State University 470 – 610 540 – 660 480 – 610 23 – 27
University of California–Santa Cruz 510 – 630 520 – 640 520 – 630 22 – 28
University of Iowa 500 – 640 560 – 690 23 – 28
Virginia Tech 540 – 640 570 – 670 540 – 630
Colorado School of Mines 550 – 650 620 – 700 26 – 30
Miami University–Oxford 530 – 630 560 – 660 24 – 29
University of Colorado–Boulder 520 – 630 550 – 650 24 – 28
Baylor University 530 – 640 550 – 650 510 – 620 23 – 29
Northeastern University 580 – 670 620 – 700 580 – 670 27 – 31
SUNY–Binghamton 580 – 670 620 – 710 27 – 30
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 520 – 610 540 – 630 22 – 27
American University 590 – 700 580 – 670 580 – 690 25 – 30
Marquette University 540 – 640 540 – 660 530 – 640 24 – 29
Stevens Institute of Technology 550 – 650 620 – 710 540 – 650 24 – 29
University of Denver 540 – 640 550 – 650 520 – 620 24 – 29
Auburn University 520 – 640 540 – 660 510 – 620 23 – 29
Clark University 550 – 650 530 – 640 550 – 650 24 – 29
Drexel University 540 – 630 570 – 670 520 – 630 23 – 28
Iowa State University 490 – 640 540 – 690 22 – 28
North Carolina State University–Raleigh 520 – 620 560 – 660 510 – 610 23 – 28
St. Louis University 540 – 650 540 – 670 24 – 30
University of Tulsa 570 – 700 560 – 690 25 – 32
University of Vermont 540 – 640 550 – 640 540 – 640 24 – 28
Howard University 460 – 660 440 – 660 430 – 660 19 – 29
SUNY–Stony Brook 520 – 620 580 – 670 520 – 620 24 – 28
University of Alabama 500 – 600 500 – 620 21 – 28
University of California–Riverside 450 – 570 480 – 620 460 – 570 19 – 25
University of Kansas 22 – 27
University of Nebraska–Lincoln 510 – 670 530 – 680 22 – 29
Florida State University 550 – 640 560 – 650 540 – 630 24 – 28
University of Arizona 460 – 600 490 – 620 21 – 27
University of Missouri 530 – 650 530 – 650 23 – 28
University of Oklahoma 510 – 640 530 – 660 23 – 29
Illinois Institute of Technology 540 – 670 630 – 720 530 – 640 530 – 640
University of Massachusetts–Amherst 520 – 630 540 – 650 23 – 28
University of Tennessee 510 – 640 530 – 650 24 – 29
Washington State University 480 – 590 490 – 610 460 – 570 21 – 26
Texas Christian University 520 – 630 530 – 650 520 – 630 23 – 28
University of Dayton 510 – 610 520 – 640 23 – 28
University of New Hampshire 510 – 610 520 – 630
University of San Diego 550 – 640 570 – 660 550 – 650 25 – 29
University of South Carolina–Columbia 530 – 640 560 – 650 24 – 29
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The ACT: A Few Things You May Not Know About that Other College Entrance Exam…

Often when we think of college entrance exams, the first thing that comes to mind is the SAT, but in actuality, all four-year colleges and universities also accept the ACT.  So students have a degree of choice when it comes to which standardized test they choose to take—even if it means taking both (though you will more than likely have to focus your attention on one).  The Vocab Videos team would encourage you to take practice tests for both the SAT and ACT when you begin your test preparation.  If it’s your first time taking the test don’t worry so much about your score as getting a feel for format, content, and question types to see which test feels like a better fit.

Be sure to take practice tests to decide between the SAT and ACT

Below are a few things you may or may not already know about the ACT as well as how the test differs from the SAT in certain aspects:

  • The ACT consists of 4 “tests”: English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, Writing (optional)
  • You will get a score from 1 to 36 on each of the four main tests.
  • If you choose to take the Writing test, your score will be combined with your English score.
  • Score Choice: Unlike the SAT, you may choose which ACT scores you want to send to colleges. The College Board always sends all your SAT scores together. Even if a college says they’ll just look at the highest score you got, they see every score you have—you can’t hide a score. For the ACT, however, you must specify which scores you want to send to a college.
  • No Guess Penalty: The ACT does not take off points for wrong answers. You should always fill in an answer for every question. If you are about to run out of time and there are questions you haven’t gotten to yet, guess something. NEVER LEAVE ANY BLANKS FOR ANY REASON! You’ll pick up a couple of points for any correct guesses.
  • Essay is Optional: If you’re terrible at essays, you don’t have to do one (most likely). But be aware that some schools may in fact require the ACT essay. Make sure to check with each of the colleges to which you’re applying.
  • Timing: This is the biggest problem kids have with the ACT. Unlike the SAT, where each subject is broken up into three sections, on the ACT each subject has just one long section. This can be exhausting. The actual time per question you have is roughly similar to (and actually a bit higher than) that of the SAT, but it’s more of a drain on your attention span and endurance. Furthermore, since the SAT sections are split up, you can totally bomb one math section and still do well on the others to salvage your math score. On the ACT, one hard question can mess up your timing for the whole math test. So timed practice is very important.
    • English: 75 questions, 45 minutes
    • Math: 60 questions, 60 minutes
    • Reading: 40 questions, 35 minutes
    • Science: 40 questions, 35 minutes
    • Writing: 1 essay, 30 minutes
  • More math content: The ACT will contain some higher level concepts that aren’t on the SAT, most noticeably some basic trigonometry. Also, all those formulas the SAT gives you at the beginning of the section? On the ACT, you’ve got to know them by heart.
  • Fewer line references in passages On the SAT, virtually every Reading question gives you a specific line reference. Most ACT questions do not give you line references. The ACT questions themselves are often very straightforward, but you’ll have to spend more time searching for the answer than you would on the SAT.
  • Science: Obviously, the inclusion of the science section is the one of the biggest content differences between the SAT and the ACT. The science section generally doesn’t require actual science knowledge so much as an ability to interpret scientific data and graphs. If you’re bad at interpreting scientific data, you won’t enjoy this.
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College Admissions: Applications to Selective Colleges Rise as Admission Rates Fall

 

Let Me In!!!

The New York TimesThe Choice college admissions blog recently published statistical admissions data to some of the nation’s most selective colleges. The Vocab Videos team encourages you to check out this 2010 admissions tally that will be regularly updated.

The article gives us some insight into just how difficult it is for students to get into top colleges these days. The Choice shares that undergraduate applications to Harvard rose nearly 5% to 30,489 with only 6.9% (or 2,110 students) admitted—that’s down from 7.5% in 2009. This trend, however, doesn’t stop at the Ivy Leagues. With more and more students trying to gain admittance to college, it’s growing more difficult for students to get accepted into all colleges in this increasingly competitive college admissions atmosphere.

But there are things you can do to make yourself a more “desirable” candidate. Consider the important admissions criteria below:

  • SAT/ACT Scores: Whether we like it or not, standardized tests continue to play a significant role in students gaining admittance to college. Be sure to fully prepare for whichever college entrance exam you’re planning to take. Whether you have a tutor, are enrolled in a course, or are preparing on your own—do some test prep as often as possible. Whether it’s a few questions a day or a practice test a week, practice more than anything else, is going to help you master and feel comfortable with the exams. To get an early start on SAT and ACT prep, start up on your vocabulary; it’s something that can be easily incorporated into your daily test prep routine.
  • Get Involved: If you’ve ever seen a college application, you’ll know that somewhere it’s going to ask you for your principal extracurricular, community, volunteer and family activities and hobbies.” Here, it’s your chance to show that you’re about more than grades and SAT scores. Because you know they’re going to be asking you for it, you should be aware of the importance of getting involved—in some way. You don’t have to join every club and sports team in addition to spending your weekends volunteering, but showing commitment to a few activities is imperative. (And if you’ve never volunteered, give it a shot, we’re sure that you’re going to find it quite rewarding).
  • College Essay: The college essay is also crucial, and it’s something you can get an early start on. You’re generally given some degree of choice when it comes to essay topic (take a look at the Common App’s essay options below), so this is an opportunity for you to share something about yourself that you’d like colleges to know. The essay helps to distinguish you as an individual and proves that you’re more than a test score. Be sure to write about something you’re passionate about and take your time with the essay writing process. A thoughtful, well-written essay can make a big difference in distinguishing you as a candidate.
    • Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
    • Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.  Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
    • Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
    • A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you
    • Topic of your choice.

Getting a head start on these items is going to make the college admissions process far less stressful for you, and doing each of them well is going to improve your chance of gaining admission to your top-choice colleges.

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SAT Preparation: Helpful Reminders for the Upcoming SAT & ACT

The March SAT (3/13/10) and April ACT (4/10/10) are fast-approaching, and the Vocab Videos team wanted to offer you a few reminders for the home stretch:

  • Remember to Register! If you haven’t already, be sure to register for your upcoming test! Sign up for the SAT by following the instructions at CollegeBoard.com. If you’ve missed the February 10th registration deadline, there’s still time; late registration for the March SAT is available through 2/18/10 (mail) and 2/24/10 (phone/online). Sign up here for the ACT. The registration deadline is 3/5/10 and while we don’t recommend you wait, the late registration deadline is 3/19/10.
  • Stay on top of your game: Just because the end is near (for some of you) doesn’t mean it’s time to slow down or give up–stay on top of your test-prep game! These last few weeks are important and there’s still room for improvement. Continue to put in your best effort with your tutors, brush up on your vocabulary*, and stay committed to doing your best.
  • Keep taking practice tests: Taking SAT practice tests could very well be your best form of review for the real SAT. The more familiar you are with the SAT, the more comfortable you’ll be come the actual test date. Knowing what to expect in terms of content, question type, and your time management ability, will greatly improve your test-time mentality. Check out this free SAT practice test available through the College Board.
hourglass

Taking the upcoming SAT or ACT? There's still time! Continue to stay committed to your SAT prep.

GOOD LUCK ON YOUR UPCOMING TEST!

*Don’t forget: learning SAT vocabulary words is one sure way to improve your SAT reading score up to 150 points! With vocabulary, you either know it or you don’t, and on the SAT vocabulary knowledge is a must. Learn it the fun & effective way with Vocab Videos, and be sure to check out the new Vocab Videos trailer!

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SAT Preparation: Have a Plan!

action-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!

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The ACT: A Basic Breakdown

Many of you aren’t quite as familiar with the ACT as you are with the SAT, but for some of you the ACT could certainly be worth taking. Here’s a quick look at the basic breakdown of the ACT.

The ACT is composed of 4 sections (called “tests”), plus an optional 5th:

  1. ENGLISH 75 questions in 45 minutes. Multiple choice grammar and usage questions.
  2. MATH 60 questions in 60 minutes. Multiple choice math questions.
  3. READING 40 questions in 35 minutes. Multiple choice reading comprehension questions.
  4. SCIENCE 40 questions in 35 minutes. Multiple choice data interpretation questions.
  5. WRITING (Optional) 30 minute essay. If taken, will be combined with English score.
  • You will get a score from 1 to 36 on each of the four main tests.
  • If you choose to take the Writing test, your score will be combined with your English score.
  • Your Composite Score is the average of your four test scores, rounded to the nearest whole number.
  • The English, Math, and Reading tests also have subscores in different categories. Each subscore is scored from 1 to 18.
  • Like the SAT, the ACT is scored by calculating a raw score based purely on the number of right answers, then translating that raw score into a final score using a scoring table. Also like the SAT, each test has its own unique scoring table in order to adjust for slight difficulty differences among tests.
  • Unlike the SAT, the ACT does not take off points for wrong answers. This means that random guessing will not count against you. Most multiple choice questions have FOUR choices instead of five. The only exception is the Math test, which does have five choices.
  • The letters of the answer choices alternate ABCD/FGHJ every other question. On the Math test, choices alternate ABCDE/FGHJK
pencil

ACT prep? Don't forget your #2 pencil, and Vocab Videos!

Remember: The best way to determine whether the SAT or the ACT is a better fit for you, is to take both SAT and ACT practice tests. So, if you’re struggling with the SAT, be sure to give the ACT a shot.

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