Posts Tagged ‘SAT’

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


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, has come up with a cool and useful tool (more…)


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…)


Vocab Videos: Links to Student Worksheets on Your Home Dashboard!

Vocab Videos is continuously looking to improve its online platform by adding new features and updating existing ones. Digital worksheets provide space for students to write sentences, synonyms, mnemonic devices and other ways of remembering vocabulary words and their meanings. Now, links to a user’s completed worksheets are available right from their home dashboard making them more accessible to users.



Vocab Videos for Your Classroom: Why It’s Right for You!

Vocab Videos is an online SAT and high school vocabulary system that uses hilarious short videos to illustrate the meanings of 500 frequently tested SAT vocabulary words. Bringing the system to the classroom not only provides students with an enjoyable way to learn essential high school vocabulary, but helps them prepare for their college entrance exams–tests that play an important role in where they will pursue their higher education.

We’ve recently made some major upgrades to the Vocab Videos online system to help enhance functionality for educators and students.  Our new digital quizzes and revamped teacher dashboard make Vocab Videos an addition to your classroom you’ll want to consider.  

All Vocab Videos classroom packages include:

-Individual user accounts to Vocab Videos online platform for teachers and students–providing access to our video library of 500+ Vocab Videos!

-Teacher dashboard where educators can monitor their students’ usage, view quiz results and download review material.

-Access to downloadable (PDF) quizzes for printing

-Curriculum consulting on how to best incorporate Vocab Videos into the classroom

-Registration web page with institution name and logo 

Year-long classroom packages start at $195 for 15 students ($13/student)and $360 for 30 students ($12/student). Please contact [email protected] or call 646-216-9187 ext. 202 with questions or for more information.

Once a classroom package is purchased, students register for free through a Vocab Videos landing page we create for your school (see below):

All students who register through this page are then linked to the primary teacher account appearing under “Students” on the teacher dashboard. 

When a teacher clicks on the name of one their students, they’re able to view that student’s Vocab Videos site usage and quiz results.

Still not convinced? Sign up for a FREE trial to check out our teacher demo and see what is included in a classroom package!


College Admissions Counseling: Make the Most of Your Summer

If you’re a high school sophomore, junior or soon-to-be senior, consider optimizing your time off from school. Make the most of your vacation with one of our summer opportunity suggestions:

Even if it’s not on your reading list, read a good book this summer
  • Summer job: For many of you, a summer job is a typical part of your summer experience.  If it’s not, we’d recommend you start looking around and applying. Not only will a summer job put some cash in your pocket, it’s a good learning experience. Did we mention it’s also something to tag onto your college activities resume?
    *If you’re getting a bit too late of a start, and summer jobs are scarce, don’t be too discouraged—read on for other ways to have a productive summer!
  • Internship: Internships can provide a world of opportunity. They are a terrific way to get a glimpse into a particular occupation or industry, and thus, to discover if the career path that you’re contemplating is right (or wrong) for you.   And while it may be looking a bit down the road, internships can also turn into job offers.  Whether it’s a paid or unpaid internship, the experience is generally profitable in the end.
  • Volunteer: If you’re having a hard time finding a summer job or internship opportunity, we’d urge you to consider volunteer work. After all, it’s unlikely a volunteer organization will turn down a helping hand. Sure, giving back and giving your time will look good when you’re applying to colleges, but there are many more reasons to volunteer your time. Volunteering can give you the chance to take on a leadership role, meet new people, get involved in your community, or learn and develop a new skill. Overall, it can be quite a personally rewarding experience.
  • Get Smart: Even though you’re not in school, try not to use summer as an excuse to turn off your brain. You may not like the sound of this, but if you’re going into your sophomore or junior year, summer is a great time to start preparing for your SAT. Read a few good books and the newspaper to improve your reading comprehension, try Vocab Videos for a fun way to learn your SAT vocabulary, or slowly work your way through an SAT study guide while lounging around. If you’ve already taken the SAT, read regardless to keep that brain active! Use summer as a time to get ahead of the game.

How to Ace the SAT: Stephen Colbert’s Sound Advice

Hey Vocab Videos fans! Watch Stephen Colbert’s advice on acing the SAT below for a laugh.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen’s Sound Advice – How to Ace the SATs
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News

And don’t forget to keep studying your SAT vocabulary!


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.

Top 5 Things to Avoid on the SAT Essay

Knewton: Online Prep for the SAT, GMAT, & LSAT

This blog post was brought to you by Josh Anish, Senior Editor at Knewton, where he grades essays as part of the company’s SAT course.

1) Don’t write too little. Many scorers grade on perceived effort, which they often judge—for better or worse—on the number of words written. Use most if not all of the space allotted. Write at least 4 paragraphs (5 is even better), with at least 3 sentences per paragraph.

2) Don’t be controversial. Not even a little. You may think that the United States’ invasion of Iraq was super whacky, or that the Tea Party Movement is brilliant—but keep those kinds of topics far, far away from the SAT essay. Write about things like heroism, generosity, and kindness. In other words, play it safe. You’ll have plenty of time to share provocative thoughts in college.

3) Don’t use first-person pronouns (“I” or “me”) in the first paragraph. The graders of the test know who wrote the essay. You don’t need to say “I think peanut butter is the best thing since sliced bread.” Just go ahead and assert, “Peanut Butter is the best thing since sliced bread.” It’s a stronger statement anyway.

4) Don’t be vague. We get it; these essay topics are super broad and boring (almost by design). But that doesn’t mean you should respond in a super broad and boring way. Home in on specifics. Don’t use words like “society” or phrases like “in this day and age.” Besides, it’s easier to be specific. Draw on concrete examples. For example, if you’re asked to write 400 words about “honesty,” drill down the topic to talk about honesty in business, or the honor code at your school.

5) Pick a thesis and stick to it. Don’t make too many concessions to the other side. If the essay prompt asks whether a penny saved is a penny earned, and you think the answer is an emphatic “Yes,” don’t waste any time making the case for spending a lot of money. Think of yourself as a lawyer advocating for a perspective, not a historian summarizing the full spectrum of events.


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.