How Test Prep Works (and doesn’t work): A primer for mainland Chinese parents and students

Posted by Lev on 6/8/18 3:37 PM

The American education system and the Chinese education systems are structured in very different ways, and the standardized tests which are used to evaluate college applicants reflect those differences. If the Gaokao is a test (of memorized knowledge), then tests like the SAT and ACT are best labeled evaluations (of broad fundamental abilities).  Accordingly, there is an upper limit to how much one can improve one’s score on U.S. standardized tests through typical Chinese academic study techniques such as memorization of vocabulary words. To score your best on American standardized tests, you may have to move away from study techniques you’ve used in the past.

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Tags: ACT, SAT

Plugging in Numbers: The Top Strategy for the Math Section of the SAT and ACT

Posted by David T. on 5/18/18 2:20 PM

Complicated algebra is the last thing many students want to deal with on a high-stakes test like the SAT or ACT. Yet it seems like there is no way around it, with the alphabet soup of variables scattered throughout the exam. Thankfully, there is a strategy for those problems where your algebraic manipulations are leading nowhere. It’s called plugging in numbers. 

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Tags: ACT, SAT

How to Ace the SAT Math Section

Posted by Daniel B on 5/7/18 6:08 PM

Whether you have struggled in your math classes or have excelled so far, to ace the new SAT math section will require putting in additional work.  You will need to set aside time to practice for it.

Time is a major factor in the math section, so obtaining the highest score will require more than simply being able to figure out a way to get to the right answer—it will often necessitate being able to identify the quickest way to get there. 

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Tags: SAT

What I Learned When I Retook the ACT and SAT

Posted by Colleen on 5/4/18 5:59 PM

My blog posts usually focus on the content of the ACT and SAT: what information is on the tests, how to think strategically about taking the tests, and how to maximize your score. This month, I decided to take a step back from the details and look at the bigger picture, so I sat down and took practice ACT and SAT tests, back to back. I realized a lot more about the two tests in this marathon session, and now I have some ideas for you.

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Tags: ACT, SAT

How to Practice Reading for the SAT and ACT

Posted by Colleen on 3/14/18 6:15 PM

Many students either don’t get the scores that they are hoping for on the reading section or feel like they aren’t reading accurately enough or quickly enough. But how do you improve your reading? Let’s go through some strategies that can help you improve your reading speed and accuracy.

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Tags: SAT

How to Strengthen Your Reading Sections on the SAT and ACT Test

Posted by Colleen on 2/5/18 4:37 PM

Welcome back to another blog post about the SAT and ACT tests! This post continues on my earlier posts on practicing reading and ACT and SAT reading questions. If you haven’t read them, be sure to circle back and check them out. 

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Tags: ACT, SAT

How to Read for the SAT and ACT: Three Methods

Posted by Colleen on 11/15/17 5:57 PM

One of the hardest sections to prepare for on the SAT and ACT is the reading section. For the other sections, like math and English, there is particular content to learn. For the reading section, however, the exam is testing how well you understand and interpret what you read. Most importantly in this section, you need to manage your time well. What are some strategies for approaching the section efficiently and thereby gaining maximum points? I break down three methods below.

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Tags: ACT, SAT

How do I use Punctuation on the ACT and SAT Exams? Part II

Posted by Colleen on 8/25/17 4:36 PM

College entrance tests require that you know the rules of punctuation. There’s no way around it, so let’s get right to it.

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Tags: ACT, SAT

The Key to Selecting the Right Answer on the SAT & ACT: Part 2

Posted by Colleen on 8/16/17 4:56 PM

Welcome to part 2 of my blog on English strategies. If you didn’t read part 1, you can check it out here.

Picture it now: you’re breezing through the ACT English or SAT Writing and Language section. Every question come easily to you, as you follow what your ear tells you is right. You didn’t need to learn grammar after all!

And then on one question it hits you: all of the answers sound right. Your ear cannot hear which one is wrong. You look at the next question and your ear has failed you again: all of the answers sound wrong.

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Tags: ACT, SAT

The Key to Selecting the Right Answer on the SAT & ACT: Part 1

Posted by Colleen on 8/11/17 7:00 PM

Here I bring you a two-part series about methods for the English/Writing and Language sections of the ACT and SAT.

Many students approach the English sections of the ACT and SAT with the mindset that they will go with whatever answer sounds right. Everyone who is taking college entrance exams already has a high aptitude in English. Isn’t this enough? 

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Tags: ACT, SAT