Archive for the ‘Tests other than the SAT’ Category

Education Matters: In College, Working Hard to Learn High School Material

The New York Times recently published an article highlighting the failings of many New York high schools (and, undoubtedly, many across the country) to adequately prepare students for college courses. Many students find themselves failing the required CUNY placement tests, and thus placing into remedial reading, writing, and mathematics courses. With good reason, students wonder why they are in this position after passing Regents exams and graduating high school with sufficient grades. It doesn’t help but call to question how we define secondary education success. While Mayor Bloomberg has improved the high school graduation rate, up to 61% in June from 46.5% percent in 2005, the rate does become less impressive when looked at next to the percentage of high school graduates that need remediation in these three core subjects when they enter CUNY community colleges: 22.6% in 2010 (2,812 students), up from 15.4% in 2005 (1,085 students). 74% of NYC high school graduates enrolled at CUNY’s six community colleges take remedial courses in at least one academic subject.

But what’s perhaps more troubling is that the problem doesn’t end there. Students who require remediation in all three subjects, likely discouraged,  are at the highest risk of dropping out.  To respond to the large number of students in academic need and to prevent dropouts, CUNY has developed the Start program, an intensive semester focused on remedial  reading, writing and mathematics. The program has proven successful and given students the much-needed help they require. Of the 300 students enrolled thus far, 241 stayed the duration of the semester, and 159 of these students after taking the course, passed all three remediation tests.

CUNY is taking the right steps to help students facing all too common of a problem: not being prepared for college level material. As the Times article points out, it calls to question what Regents exams, which so often drive school curriculum, are actually measuring. Unfortunately, in many cases, it seems the tests do not accurately reflect what students need to know for college success. So how do we better prepare students academically for college? NYC’s chief academic officer, Shael Polakow-Suransky, says the solution isn’t adjusting passing and “college ready” scores, it’s  “to give kids more challenging, rich and authentic work.”

What’s your take?

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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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FREE SAT VOCABULARY VIDEOS: Vocab Videos FREE Subscription Plan

Vocab Videos is pleased to announce that it has recently launched a FREE Vocab Videos subscription plan! Now, visitors to our site can register for a free one month account and receive access to more than 150 Vocab Videos and a portion of our study materials! We wanted to give everyone the chance to see what we do over here at VocabVideos.com and how our videos can making learning vocabulary fun!

ATTENTION EDUCATORS: See bottom of post!

By registering for a free subscription plan, users can access the following features:

  • Vocab Videos Study Guide: Our study guide provides suggestions on how to get the most out of Vocab Videos. Learn how to best utilize the videos, absorb vocabulary efficiently, and employ our review material most effectively. The guide will help you to craft your own individualized vocabulary regimen.
  • Video Library: Our free account provides access to 8 episodes and over 150 Vocab Videos! Become familiar with engaging Vocab Videos storylines and meet some of our  hilarious characters. You’ll can’t wait to see what happens next!
  • Digital Quizzes: Test your new vocabulary knowledge by taking a Vocab Videos digital quiz after each episode! SAT–style questions offer preparation for standardized tests. At the end of each quiz, detailed quiz results show quiz performance and what questions were answered correctly and incorrectly; results can be downloaded and printed.
  • Downloadable Worksheets: Worksheets can be used to maximize comprehension and retention. They provide space to write sentences, synonyms and mnemonic devices, and to build a more clear understanding of the meaning of the words.

If you like what you see, we make it easy to upgrade to a 6-month or 12-month premium account! A premium subscription plan includes  total access to ALL 500 VOCAB VIDEOS + our extensive suite of study resources. In addition, to our entire video library our premium subscription level offers access to:

  • ALL Digital Quizzes: Take a total of 25 digital quizzes, one for every Vocab Videos episode + cumulative quizzes that take some vocabulary from each episode. Detailed quiz results chart your quiz performance and what words you answered correctly and incorrectly; results can be downloaded and printedQuiz results are stored to the user dashboard, so you can constantly monitor your progress.

  • Digital Flashcard Maker: The digital flashcard maker allows you to create flashcards for additional vocabulary words or for ANY academic subject – flashcards will be saved and stored in your personal Vocab Videos account. Flashcard maker features include:
    • Add an image or movie file
    • Study in quiz mode—“flipping” cards to review
    • View cards in table mode (option to hide the question or answer column)
    • Download and print flashcard sets to review on-the-go

  • Digital Worksheets: Like downloadable worksheets, digital worksheets provide space to write sentences or mnemonic devices to build a clear understanding of the word. Once they are entered, sentences are stored on a personalized study sheet. Print out worksheets for review on-the-go.

  • Vocab Videos Glossary: A searchablealphabetical glossary of all the words featured in Vocab Videos along with their definitions. The glossary allows users to keep track of words they’ve mastered, and to review definitions even when they don’t have access to a computer.
  • Vocab Videos Definition Groups: These category lists group words by common themes. This valuable reference allows for an even more comprehensive understanding of the vocabulary. Definition groups are useful for helping grasp subtle differences in meanings and when to use particular words.
  • Vocab Videos Crossword Puzzles: Crossword puzzles by episode offer a fun form of review. Users can print these out to study on-the-go.

EDUCATORS: Don’t forget, you’ll want to consider a school or classroom package to introduce Vocab Videos to your students! Classroom packages provide individual student and teacher accounts for Vocab Videos.

Teacher accounts allow you to monitor student usage, view quiz results (questions students answered incorrectly), and download review material to incorporate into your curriculum. Sign up for a free teacher demo account on our Educators page, or contact us to get started with a classroom package:

Email: [email protected]

Call: 646-216-9187 ext. 202

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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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Comparing SAT & ACT Scores: SAT/ACT Conversion Table

ACT Table A:College Board Study Table C:Admissions Data Table B:Percentile Match[1]
36 1600 1600 1600
35 1580 1580 1570
34 1520 1550 1540
33 1470 1510 1510
32 1420 1470 1480
31 1380 1420 1460
30 1340 1380 1430
29 1300 1340 1375
28 1260 1300 1330
27 1220 1250 1290
26 1180 1210 1250
25 1140 1170 1210
24 1110 1130 1170
23 1070 1090 1125
22 1030 1040 1090
21 990 1000 1050
20 950 960 1005
19 910 920 960
18 870 880 925
17 830 830 880
16 780 790 835
15 740 750 785
14 680 710 730
13 620 660 685
12 560 620 605
11 500 580 580
Table A taken from collegeboard.comAll data compares ACT Composite Score with SAT Reading and Math only.

A-List Education, the education experts who brought you Vocab Videos, put together this SAT/ACT conversion chart to help you figure out how the two test scores correlate. Converting an ACT score to an SAT score isn’t like converting miles to kilometers. There’s no “right answer,” no exact value of what an ACT score is worth in SAT points. There are a lot of factors at work here, and several different ways to look at the data.

As any simple web search will show you, there are many SAT-ACT conversion tables out there. Many of these tables are taken from score comparison data available on the College Board website (see Table A). This chart is based on a study of test scores from 1994 to 1996. It’s a comparison based on skill: if you get score X on the SAT, you’ll get score Y on the ACT. It’s probably the most reliable chart out there in that it’s the product of a rigorous scientific study commissioned by people who know about this sort of thing. However, it uses data from the old SAT. The College Board will tell you that the scores should be comparable, but let’s see if there’s any fresher data available.

Fresher data is readily available in the form of percentiles. Both the SAT and ACT publish tables of the percentiles of test-takers who achieved a particular score. So A-List took data from 2005 to 2007 and matched up the scores on the two tests that correspond to the same percentile (see Table B). This chart shows significantly higher SAT scores for corresponding ACT scores than the College Board table does. The problem is that this is an unscientific study, so there could be other factors contributing to the score distribution.

Both these charts seek to equate scores based on the ability of students: a student who gets score X on one test is likely to get score Y on the other. But this overlooks why these scores matter at all: college admissions. These charts don’t tell us the value of the scores with respect to actual admissions decisions. Perhaps colleges treat the tests differently. Perhaps a college will accept a student in the 80th percentile of the SAT but require the 85th percentile of the ACT, or vice versa.

So A-List took a look at the college admissions data in the 2008 U.S. News and World Report guide and matched the SAT and ACT scores of incoming students at each college. They found those numbers were somewhat in between the previous two charts. This chart has the same concern about scientific validity as Table B, but it’s the best way to directly gauge how much a score is actually worth to colleges. Read More…

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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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Vocab Videos Advice: SAT Subject Tests (AKA SAT IIs)

We at Vocab Videos encourage you to begin thinking  about SAT subject tests (AKA SAT IIs).  SAT II subjects include Literature, Math (Levels 1 & 2), US and World History, the Sciences, and an assortment of Foreign Languages. Many colleges will require or recommend that students take at least one or two SAT IIs, and some might even ask that you take a particular subject, so be certain to check out the admissions requirements for EACH college to which you’re applying.

Test dates are typically the same as those for the SAT, and at one-hour per test (no matter what subject), students can take up to three SAT IIs on any given date. Subject tests are being offered alongside the SAT on May 1st and June 5th, so if you haven’t already be sure to:

  1. Begin your research on which of your colleges require SAT subject tests.
  2. Start thinking about what subject tests you feel comfortable taking on.
  3. Devise your SAT II battle-plan!

For some guidance on your colleges’ SAT II reqs, use the College Board’s “Find a College” feature. Search colleges by name, click on the “Admissions” tab, and check out what is said about SAT IIs under “Admission Policies and Factors.”

And because vocabulary will ALWAYS help you, don’t forget to get started with Vocab Videos–SAT and SAT II vocabulary the fun & effective way!

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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.
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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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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

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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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