Taking college entrance exams any time soon?

Well into my second decade helping thousands of students ace the SAT (and all the other standardized tests), I am still learning.

Year in and year out, I discover more hints, uncover more tips, and teach more techniques that continue to write new college-entry success stories.

21 must know facts about college entrance exams

This article encapsulates the 21 must know secrets about college entrance exams as well as the facts you need to know if you are (or your child is) planning to go to college and taking college entrance exams.

21 Must Know Secrets About College Entrance Exams

Just so you know that the following information is verifiable, I am including some references at the end also.

My personal wish for you is that you also benefit from these 21 secrets about college entrance exams, hints and tips.

Secret 1. You Should Always Write the SAT Essay…Even Though You Don’t Have To.

Do you want to be ahead of the pack and improve your chances of getting into college with a higher college entrance exam score?

A super-important secret is to write the SAT essay, even though it is now optional.

Here are 5 stellar reasons you should write it—no matter what.

a. You could say the essay completes your scholarship submission.

It makes your comprehensive. So many people opt-out of the essay, you stand a better chance of scoring better than your peers.  In fact, those who don’t do the optional essay run the very real risk of being in the first f.

b. When you write your essay, some colleges will even exempt you from writing classes. That’s less pressure on you for later.

c.If an admissions counselor is on the fence about your application, the fact you’ve written an essay could be a positive deciding factor.

Some colleges are known to have a requirement for the essay. If you don’t know this, and you opt-out, you run the risk of having to re-sit the entire SAT again. And …

d. Believe it or not, the essay is a standardized test.

e. Often, students who do not do the optional work are in the first cut.

If you want less work and stress in the long run—and greater opportunity—just do the essay. Many of our CPG students receive perfect essay scores on the SAT, ACT and Accuplacer, so we are confident we can stand behind our course and help you achieve a great result.

In the reference section, I am including a list of colleges that require the SAT essay.

Secret 2. The ACT Essay Is Also Optional … So, Just Like The SAT, You Should Always Write It.

You’re reading this because you want to ease the financial burden on the choices you make for your tertiary education.

Write the essay. It makes good sense and could translate to a great score and even free college or other great scholarships.

Check the college list that requires the ACT essay, but regardless of which college you apply for, follow the CPG-Rule: cover all bases and write it, no matter what.

Find a list of colleges that require the ACT essay at the end of this article.

Secret 3. Every College Takes Either The SAT Or ACT.

Gone are the days where you choose which test you should do to determine which college you attend.

I know that certain states, high schools and parents still tell students that colleges take only the SAT or only the ACT.

This is not necessarily true.

Both tests are widely accepted by every college and if one school prefers one over the other, it will convert the score.

Recently, there are several activist groups which are pushing for no entrance testings, but for now, most of the best colleges and universities in the country still require these tests.

When certain areas only promote the ACT, they do a disservice to their students by not giving them the opportunity for the SAT—and of course the PSAT which can yield amazing scholarships in the junior year.

Follow the CPG-Rule: try them both. Take advantage of the free practice-tests on both their websites.

At the end of this article is a great conversion chart so you can interchange your SAT and ACT results.

college entrance exams

Secret 4. Your High Scores Boost College Reputations and They Want to Brag About You.

It sounds crazy but if you score highly then you’re much more attractive to any college you apply to!

Sounds crazy but great students help boost the reputation of the college!

They are always on the lookout for high scorers because it gives them the reputation of the kind of college that the best students want to attend!

It starts with recognition by the National Merit Corporation for students with high junior PSAT scores.

So, you should be aware of the minimum number of annual Merit Scholarship awards that the NMSC expects each college to offer based on junior PSAT/NMSQT scores.

Some of the perks that colleges offer for these students who enroll are; full-ride, free tuition, free room and board, grad-school money, a new computer, study-abroad stipends, spending cash, honors dorms, etc.

College Prep Genius teaches you how to ace tests from as young as 6th grade forward so you can get a jump start on acing the SAT and ACT exams.

From there we also encourage you to take the PSAT in 8th, 9th and 10th grade for practice and the 11th grade when it really counts for scholarships.

National Merit Scholarship information is referenced at the end.

Secret #5. The Redesigned Sat Was Actually Created By ACT Writers.

Ever wonder why the ACT and the SAT are remarkably similar tests and why the results can be used to apply for just about any college?

It wasn’t long ago that more students took the ACT than the SAT.

So, in 2012—in an attempt to claw back their market share—the newly appointed president of the College Board, David Coleman, hired experienced ACT test-writers and created the new, improved and redesigned SAT.

Now you know why both tests appear to be almost identical and have a 99% overlap in structure.

This overlap makes a ton of sense for the industry: It means that students of any age can rely on the common strategies, test-taking techniques and crossover of information to help them design and navigate their own futures.

The College Prep Genius test-prep program has helped students prepare for a range of other tests such as AP, Subject Tests, GRE, Military, FBI … and the list goes on. Our students have often scored a massive 35 (out of 36) on the ACT and, at the same time became National Merit Scholars on the PSAT/NMSQT.

Secret #6 Pay Attention To Sneaky Additions Like Extra Sections on the Tests.

Without any announcements, the College Board added an extra section to the test.

This surprise change was administered at designated testing facilities. Be on your guard in case you encounter an unexpected 20-minute experimental fifth section with unpredictable subject matter.

Reports from test-takers confirm possible targeting of those who have opted-out of the essay and don’t have accommodations.

The Advising and Admission Handbook given to counselors contained these obscure instructions: “Any section of the SAT may contain both operational and pretest items.”

“Operational”: test questions that count toward your score. “Pretest”: test questions that are neither scored nor factored in.

With wording like “operational” and “pretest”, you should assume these questions count, so don’t disregard them.

Treat them like the rest of the test and take them seriously.

It’s possible they may be a repeat of questions found in an earlier section on the same test, so answer them the same way.

This tactic is also used to detect cheating on the test. If the question is weird, more than likely it is being used to gauge difficulty level for a future test and it’s possible it won’t be scored.

More recently, as more and more students have opted out of taking the SAT Essay, this experimental section has become more common. Note the change in proctor manual which indicates you can expect this fifth section more often:

“At some centers, certain administrations will include an additional 20-minute section to be completed by all SAT test takers, including students taking the SAT with Essay.”

Bottom line—does this fifth section count? The College Board has been fairly mysterious about this added experimental section, so while it is still not definitive, treat it like the rest of the test. Some of the questions may count.

To collect data for future tests, the test-makers might be scattering various experimental questions throughout all five sections of the test, to learn question difficulty when writing future tests so, allow for the inclusion of the unexpected and don’t let it throw you off your game.

Secret #7. You Can Count on the Structure of the SAT Because It’s So Expensive to Create. 

Amazingly, the cost to write each SAT test is a staggering $625,000! To It takes a lot of time and research to write a standardized test.

There’s a formula that must be followed; the questions and answer choices must always follow the same patterns, rules and profiles…each and every test. It is the strength of the system which becomes your reliable secret weapon so you can ace the tests.

That’s why a college prep program is your best best if you want to know the secretsCollege Prep Genius is arguably the most reliable and successful college-prep system out there and has been around since the early 2000s.

Quite simply, the CPG system has proven its program works.

It exposes and exploits the weakness of test-standardization and uncovers all the recurring patterns, so you can learn to study the test itself. It shows you how to conquer questions that seem purposefully designed to artfully deceive the test-taker.

What’s more, it decodes all the built-in deception and helps you answer most questions in 30 seconds or less. What college-hopeful wouldn’t benefit that?

Secret #8. The SAT and ACT Do Not Measure What You Learned in High School.

Both the SAT and ACT Are Literally Trying to Bamboozle You. Not Just in The Tests But On Their Websites About Their Tests.

You’ve probably read things similar to the claim that the SAT and ACT “measure what is learned in high school.” Nope.

This is just not true. Statements like this are very misleading to students, parents and counselors.

Yes, the test questions use a scaffold of high school content.

However, the tests themselves DO NOT measure your knowledge of high school curriculum directly.

These tests—Like all Standardized Tests—are Filled with Questions that Test Logic and Reasoning, and Critical Thinking.

You must keep up with your high school subjects for your own sake but what you need for the SAT and ACT is essentially different.

Once you are taught what to look for—and you practice the test-techniques—the tests will instantly become easier.

Secret # 9. You cannot study for the SAT or ACT, but you can study how the questions are written and answered.

With the playing field level, colleges can fairly compare you with other students, regardless of school, demographics, sociographics and even GPAs (which rely on teacher subjectivity and vary too widely to be useful).

I’ve listed 2 links at the end of the article to see deception in action!

Here is an Easy-reference Overview Chart of Both the SAT AND ACT:


Reading 4 Answer Choices5 Answer Choices
Writing/EnglishTests Grammar, Style And AnalysisTests Grammar, Style and Analysis
MathTrigonometry, Geometry, Algebra, Contains Geometry FormulasTrigonometry, Geometry Analysis, No Grid-In Questions
ScienceNo Science SectionScience Questions Similar To Sat Reading Section
EssayAnalytical Response Required, Duration 50 MinutesPersuasive Writing Required, Duration 40 Minutes
ScoresScores Are Not AveragedAveraged Scores
Annual FrequencyOffered 7 Times Per YearOffered 7 Times Per Year
Permitted AttemptsUnlimitedLimited To 12 Attempts
Best Possible Score160036

Secret #10. You Can Get Your SAT and ACT Score Report Back with Answers and Difficulty Level. But There’s A Catch.

You probably already know you can do and redo tests multiple times.

This is an excellent strategy for you to choose your best scores and keep improving your score and your chances.

Well, here’s a brilliant and little-known tip for you: There are 3 times a year where you can sit for the SAT or ACT and—for a small fee—you will receive your scores, answers, a clean test booklet and learn the difficulty level of each question.

That kind of help is priceless.

It will help you identify where you might have gone wrong.

And you’ll have another real test to practice with (since they are not in unlimited supply).

Once you are aware of the nature of the errors you keep making, you can learn to conquer them.

It is my firm recommendation that you only use test questions written by the College Board or American College Test.

Don’t waste your time with made-up problems from other companies.

These can be irrelevant and a waste of time and money. Put time squarely on your side by starting test-prep early.

This is what College Prep Genius advocates and is one of the secrets to your test-success.

The references at the end will show you which of the tests will entitle you to get detailed results back. And it’s worth knowing that CPG only gives you proper test-question practice.

Secret #11. Try, Try and Try Again! It’s A Winning Strategy.

Did you know colleges don’t care if you take the SAT or ACT tests multiple times?

Never make the SAT and ACT a one-shot deal unless of course you have a perfect score the first time!

Work the system in your favor, take the test many times, choose and submit your best scores (even from different attempts) and massively increase your chances to win scholarship money or attend the college of your dreams.

Most students take the SAT or ACT 1-3 times. Make the numbers work for you.

And if you start taking tests as early as middle school, you’ll not only get familiar with the tests but also learn from your personal weaknesses.

Since 85% of colleges admit and give scholarship money solely based on test scores, doing well is your way to get a piece of the action.

Schools get their national rankings based on scores so the higher the score—the more money you get! It’s an excellent symbiotic loop: Score well to give you the best chance to get into the college of your choice.

And colleges want your highest overall scores because it Improves their rankings. It’s  an extremely good strategy to exploit for your personal gain.

Ever heard of Score Choice? Take advantage of it!

This is where you choose which scores you submit to colleges.

Regardless of the tests you sit for, you choose the date you tested best on.

The other reason to take the tests multiple times is because most schools will compile your highest scores across several SAT attempts.

This is called your Superscore.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by only taking the test a couple of times.

You need to use an effective strategy to improve your ability to score as high as you possibly can.

In September 2020, the ACT will allow students to retake only certain sections of the test to improve them instead of retaking the entire test.

This is huge and will greatly benefit the students. We will see if the SAT follows suit.

Rule of thumb: Generally, the students who start test-prep early are the ones who have the biggest score increase, receive the most money and go to the college of their choice.

Some helpful resources about Score Choice and Superscore are included at the end of the article.

Secret #12. You’ll Benefit From The Subtle ACT Essay Change That Flew Under The Radar.

There was a lot of to-do when the SAT was redesigned.

It took everyone’s attention away from the ACT.

Barely anyone noticed the subtle essay changes that came into play, in September 2016.

It didn’t seem important that the allotted essay time increased from 30 – 40 minutes.

Nor did the new grading system rate much of a mention: the ACT now mimics the old SAT essay score and format.

Here’s where it counts. Because both essay sections are remarkably similar, you can prepare better than you thought possible.

And you have good time to tailor it to the questions that appear before you.

Take full advantage by learning the the College Prep Genius method of pre-planning your persuasive essay with our reliable template. (from the Old SAT) We’ll teach you how to have most of it written even before test day, regardless of the essay question prompt.

Now that’s really smart. You will write a winning formula essay and now have more time to do it.

Secret #13. Percentiles Of The PSAT Score Matter. Know What They Mean.

If you’re a sophomore or junior, you’ll want to score in the 99th percentile of your state to fall into the scholarship range.

So, it pays to know what percentile your PSAT scores fall into by using the official chart from the National Merit Corporation.

When you start PSAT tests in the earlier grades you get a much greater chance of learning from your weaknesses before the junior year.

The PSAT test booklet is sent to the school or can even be sent to the home, if the correct boxes are checked.

Secret #14. Hedge Your Bets by Taking Both the SAT and ACT.

Don’t Be Concerned If Your School Only Promotes The ACT. It’s Better to Hedge Your Bets On Both Tests.

Here’s why:  You probably know that every college accepts either the SAT or the ACT for their entrance exams. Even if the college has done away with these tests, you can still include your score in your portfolio of work.

But, sometimes schools have a preference to promote one over the other.

You should disregard an ACT preference: Since the PSAT is a test designed by the makers of the SAT, all PSAT/NMSQT opportunities could be invisible or worse, even unavailable to you.

With the new redesigned PSAT, scoring is different, score cut-offs can range from 320 – 1520 and it can vary from state to state.

Confusing! States with the lowest cut-off scores tend to be the ones that only promote the ACT and not the SAT.

The College Prep Genius program teaches you how to master the SAT and open up more opportunities.

You will effectively be overprepared for the PSAT by taking advantage of the huge overlap in format and design across the range of similar tests. In fact, the PSAT is 15 minutes shorter and doesn’t have an optional essay.

Secret #15. You Can Convert an SAT Score to a PSAT Score so Being Prepared For Both The SAT And ACT Can Really Pay Dividends!

Sounds crazy to do more standardized tests rather than less I know.

But it’s true that you can convert an SAT to ACT score and vice versa.

It sounds really attractive to reduce the number of tests you sit, but is it worth it?

The short answer is ‘no’. Many colleges give more money based on their own preferences for either the SAT or the ACT.

Score conversion is often not as effective as scoring well on both formats.

Your diligence in applying yourself across both platforms means better opportunities.

You will help elevate your chances of admittance which could very well mean more scholarship money.

Understand the conversion chart, (see number 12, above) and you could receive more money.

There is an optimal range so, find which score is higher and ask the college to convert from one test to the other.

It could mean you get several more thousand dollars than you might have ordinarily received.

There are 13 opportunities a year to take a national SAT or ACT so take as many as possible to get the most money.

College Prep Strategies work on both tests so treat these tests as games you can win at.

Some colleges will even Superscore your highest ACT Math and highest SAT Reading, to give you more money.

Some schools have been known to take the highest math from the ACT and highest reading from the SAT for scholarship money.

Secret #16. SAT Essay Judges Grade In 30 Seconds.

I’ve spoken to some SAT judges who say the grading system allows for their ability to grade in 30 seconds flat! Impressive.

It doesn’t leave much room for deliberation, so you need to be well-versed in essay writing.

CPG is a specialist in this. After the test, the papers are scanned into the computer and sent out to the 3600 perspective judges across the nation.

Judges have a minimal requirement of a college degree and have taught writing classes.

Their onerous task is to “read” thousands of subjective essays and use an objective and standardized grading system.

They hone in on key points and quickly skim each paper in 20-30 seconds.

College Prep Genius shows you the 6 essential points judges look for.

When you understand that the SAT essay is analytical and the ACT is persuasive, you can easily learn to write a perfect scoring essay on both tests.

Hint: Take a look again at points 13 and 14 above and you’ll understand why the College Prep Genius proprietary essay template is essential to your test-success.

Secret #17. Psssssssst…Residual ACT Gives You a Chance to Take the Test at Non-Conventional Times.

Ever heard of the Residual ACT?

Well, it’s a little known extra (almost secret) chance to take the test at non-conventional times. And it has other great advantages for you.

The ACT is offered nationally 7 times a year and generally takes place on a Saturday.

This could be a hindrance to you for many reasons: Job commitments, sports events, your lifestyle, your religion, and more.

Most college campuses can cater for you with sittings of the Residual ACT which are administered several times a year. Sometimes they are offered weekly or monthly.

There are other localized advantages too: You could pay at the college; avoid deadlines or late fees; and even receive your score back super quickly, anywhere from a day up to a week.

It’s important to note your score can only be used for that particular school; however, students can take Residual ACT tests at other campuses with the result again only being applicable for use at that school and no other.

Since these are official ACTs, you can get incredible advantage when you take the ACT again.

It seems crazy to redo a test because you might do better by just one paltry point.

But when you know that tiny increase could equate to another $20,000, it really is completely and utterly worthwhile. CPG is a big believer in the process.

Take as many standardized tests as possible.

Secret #17. Don’t Guess on Answers of Questions You Don’t Know.

Other Prep-Test Companies Will Tell You to Guess the Answers Of Questions You Don’t Know: Don’t Do It. It Is Completely Wrong.

Gone are the days where there are penalties for guessing an answer.

Nowadays, neither the redesigned SAT nor the ACT will deduct points if you get an answer wrong.

In theory it sounds like a great idea to just guess in case you get it right.

That’s why most test-prep companies will encourage you to guess the answers you don’t know.

So, just like the college-entry standardization system tests your logic, let’s apply employ some good old-fashioned logic to the assertion about guessing answers.

The SAT questions have 4 answer options and the ACT questions have 5 options.

Guessing therefore gives you a 75% chance on the SAT and 80% chance on the ACT of getting the question wrong.

Based on the bell curve, correct questions can be worth as much as 40 points. Knowing this, students shouldn’t be quick to guess on a question they don’t understand (as suggested by so many programs).

Boil it down, and the best way to reward your efforts in the exam is to spend your valuable time figuring out the answers to the questions you can answer.

When you enroll in our College Prep Genius program, you’ll learn the steps to test success and how to answer more correct questions by using time-tested and proven strategies.

Learn the right strategies, have more time, and like so many of our students before you, you could even have the ability to go through the test 3 – 4 times instead of only once.

And since, on average, you only have around a minute or less per question, that’s a great advantage.

CPG techniques teach you to answer more questions correctly in 30 seconds or less.

Can’t answer something quickly? Then, skip it and come back to it later.

We’ll even show you how to answer more questions by ordering them in a certain way. In short, we teach you how to apply specific CPG techniques that take the guesswork out.

Look carefully at the following 2 tables. These tests are as much about strategies as they are about technique. That’s how you prepare. Not high school content. It’s much more about being taught the right strategies.


SAT Time Overview
SectionQuestionsMinutesTime Per Question
Reading526575 Seconds
Writing443547 Seconds
Math (no calculator)202575 Seconds
Math (calculator)385586 Seconds
Essay (optional)Given article50Analytical response
SAT Time Overview
English754536 Seconds
Math606060 Seconds
Reading403552 Seconds
Science405552 Seconds
Essay (optional)Prompt Question40Persuasive response


Secret #18. College Board and ACT Partnerships Still Don’t Help You Understand Test Structure Nor Give You Skills in the Type of Thinking You Need to Do Well on College Entrance Exams

You’ve probably heard of Khan Academy.

It’s a well-regarded online education site. When the College Board forged an alliance with Khan, they had already been offering free SAT-prep for years.

This partnership seems to back-up the College Board claims that in order to score well, all you need is to study your high school content.

Although Khan Academy is a great free resource for subject matter, you will definitely not learn shortcuts and strategies on acing the SAT.

Such an alliance seems designed to get you to focus on high school content.

However, these partnership sites are always computer-centric.

This utilizes a completely different skill set and you should get practice doing your test-prep with pencil and paper—just like the real thing.

We suggest you use their actual questions as part of your test-preparation, but make sure you rely on a dedicated test-prep company (like CPG) for specialist and objective strategies.

In response to the College Board—Khan Academy partnership, The American College Test teamed up with Kaplan to provide a low-cost online test-prep program for 8th – 11th graders.

The price is significantly lower than their normal classes and some students can also qualify for free waivers.

The program—which introduces core concepts and an ACT overview—does promote real ACT tests but seems to only lead into their paid college prep program.

Rather than give you definitive answers, they strongly encourage interaction on social media with other students and recommend you take your weak points to your counselor for help.

Going to your counselor is flawed advice as they normally fill their days with changing schedules, dealing with discipline problems.

In my experience, counselors generally do not understand how to help you raise your scores.

And that’s why test-prep courses exist in the first place.  Invest in a program that helps you prioritize test-taking strategy over high school curriculum.

Secret #19. Test-Prep Companies’ Dirty Little Secret #1.

Beware of test-prep companies that use any test that is not College Board-approved.

Only ever trust companies that use actual SAT or ACT tests (for homework) to work out your abilities, strengths and areas of improvement.

One ploy of these unscrupulous companies is to have you sit a diagnostic test at the beginning and end for you to see your marvelous improvement. But the first test is exceptionally hard and the one at course-completion is much, much easier.

To determine your true baseline score and to mention your progress, you MUST take an actual SAT or ACT before and after enrolling in a program.

It is the only way to guarantee valuable diagnosis and the scale of your improvement.

Find the link at the end for free official practice tests.

Secret #20. Test-Prep Companies’ Dirty Little Secret #2:

There are many test-prep companies and they all want a piece of the test-prep pie.

The market is very competitive and prices can run from hundreds of dollars to price tags with five-digits!

To find reliable testimonials can sometimes be very difficult so again, beware.

Some test-prep companies buy sophomore PSAT scores of certain zip codes.

They find students who have scored high (without their help) and invite them to attend their test-prep classes for free.

When these students are juniors, and score high on their PSAT, the company brags that the results are all because of enrollment in their company.

These students are likely to have done well without the company’s help.

It seems more ethical if companies who believed in their programs were to instead offer free classes to students who scored low and really need help.

Secret #21. Test-Prep Companies’ Dirty Little Secret #3:

Our final “beware” is this: Be on the lookout for schools that have a special arrangement and only endorse a particular college prep program.

Usually it’s because there’s a financial “kickback” or benefit when you take a particular test or enroll in a certain test-prep course.

This “under the table” money is often part of an invisible deal and used to benefit certain areas of the school. E.g. sports or PTAs.

A test preparation company needs to be completely unbiased.

Thankfully reputable companies exist that are both effective and extremely affordable for most families.

Jean Burk is the author of College Prep Genius and is a Fox news contributor who has been featured on many TV networks, radio shows and magazines.

Both her children earned scholarships that allowed them to attend college free, attend grad school and law school for free all because of their standardized test scores.

Jim Bohannon (successor to Larry King) called College Prep Genius “the Sam Walton of test prep.”  http://youtu.be/b8nXJ_bc1qg

To learn how to ace tests like the SAT/PSAT/ACT/CLT… as well as read testimonials of students who raised their tests scores from 300-600 points and received incredible scholarships, visit College Prep Genius.

College Prep Genius has been featured on NBC, Fox, WE, CBS, ABC, ION, Forbes Living TV, UShop TV, TXA21, CW33, & The Homeschool Channel. To find out more information, contact Jean Burk at 81-SAT-2-PREP, info@collegeprepgenius.com.

Here are the references as promised:

Some very useful references for you:

The SAT is created by writers of the ACT test. See page 15 and onward:


Here is a tweet from the Aaron at the College Board noting that the ETS is no longer writing the SAT. This is what he said: “…with rSAT we manage all writing/form construction in-house. use some contractors for scale, but it’s all managed here now.” The link follows if you’re interested to see it with your own eyes!


Watch out for sneaky announcements about new or changed test dates and test changes:


How to understand SAT Scores:


The SAT costs 6 figures to write.

The article underlies the importance of using valid test material from the College Board.

Dealing with an above board company like CPG, is essential. The relevant quote appears at the end of an article about a test-prep company caught cheating with actual test questions: “Replacing the test could cost $625,000, the complaint said.” Here’s the reference for you:  https://www.law360.com/articles/47833/college-board-sues-test-prep-firm-for-infringement

Information that misleads you to believe that the SAT and ACT test high school content:

SAT: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/inside-the-test

ACT: https://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act-educator/the-act-test.html

The specific ACT and SAT sittings that give you the opportunity to purchase your detailed results (to help you improve):

ACT: December, April and June, TIR: https://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/scores/request-a-copy-of-qa.html

SAT: October, March and May,

SAT QAS: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/verifying-scores

Score Choice and Superscore

Score Choice-SAT: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/sending-scores/score-choice

Superscore-SAT: This article has a table on page 4 to help you determine what criteria colleges and universities use to assess your score/s. The article does not specifically refer to Superscore by name but refers to it as “Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates”


Superscore-ACT: https://www.act.org/content/act/en/students-and-parents/college-planning-articles/how-to-calculate-your-act-superscore.html


Score Choice-ACT: There is no specific Score Choice option for the ACT but students have the opportunity on certain test dates to list colleges and dates of the score reporting.

ACT changes to retaking one section at a time: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/08/us/act-test-superscore.html

Changes in the ACT essay that benefit you:


A very useful and comprehensive SAT / ACT score conversion chart.


A list of colleges that require the SAT essay:


A list of colleges that require the ACT essay:



Useful information about National Merit Scholarships:

Take a look at pages 20 – 22 of the list for projected National Merit winners from each college. You will find a list of colleges. The number in parentheses alongside each institution’s name represents the number of National Merit winners that the school is likely to pursue:


How to interpret the percentiles of the PSAT score:

The PSAT percentile score chart can be seen on pages 6 – 9:


Know the predicted PSAT cut-off scores for your state:


Why doing both SAT and ACT tests helps you:


Objective grading of subjective essays

Right side of Page 153: This essay judge notes that 2-3 essays are graded per minute

Residual ACT tests are important to consider:



Free official practice SAT tests:



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