Archive for the ‘Test Prep Resources’ Category

Should I Retake the SAT or ACT?

sat retakeHave you received your ACT or SAT score recently? If so, you’re probably wondering whether or not to retake it, even if you did well the first time around.

The truth is, there’s no magic number of times someone should take the test. But keep in mind that people who test again generally do a little better the second time around. ACT data shows almost 60 percent of students improved their score after retaking it, and more than 55 percent of students who took the SAT as juniors improved their scores by signing up again senior year.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re debating whether or not to retake the SAT or ACT

Do You Suffer From Testing Anxiety?
Plenty of students struggle with nervousness when test day rolls around. If you think nerves got the better of you the first time, it may be worth taking the test once again. Because you’ll have taken it once before already, you may feel more comfortable and at ease the second time. This is especially true if you’re testing in the same room – the familiarity of the situation will help ease your anxiety.

Did Any Inconvenient Circumstances Disrupt Your First Test?
Life has a way of throwing difficult situations at you during the most inconvenient times. Unfortunately, it’s all too common to have something distracting pop up just as testing day arrives. Sickness. A death in the family. A serious fight with your best friend. These things can completely distract you from the task at hand and make it impossible to do your best.

Think back to test day to see if any other situations prevented you from performing as well as you could have. Maybe you felt sick and couldn’t eat breakfast in the morning, then were famished by the time you opened the test. Perhaps you couldn’t sleep because you were anxious and struggled to comprehend the questions because you were too tired. Things happen. If you think these circumstances impacted your score, it’s worth testing again – just make sure you don’t get yourself into the same situation twice.

Did You Feel Unprepared?
Test prep makes a huge difference in performance for many people. If you didn’t get a practice book or review major concepts thoroughly before test day, chances are you may have felt unprepared for some sections. Sign up for another testing date and make a plan to review any concepts you’re unfamiliar with or find particularly challenging. Get started early to make sure you have time to get help if there’s anything you’re really struggling to grasp.

Are You Looking for Scholarships?
The higher your score, the better your chances of getting some free money for college. If you know you’ll need scholarships and know you could have done better, you may want to retest and try to boost your results.

What Scores Do Your Dream Schools Require?
It’s simple: If your scores aren’t on par with what a school requires, your chances of getting in could be a lot lower. Compare your results to the college’s expectations – if they don’t match up and you’re set on this school, you may need to retest. And even if you don’t have a specific school in mind, remember that a higher score opens up more schools and more opportunities once you start sending out applications.

While your test scores are only one part of your application, you do want to do as well as possible on your ACT or SAT. Check out some of our top study tips to make sure you’re well prepared before you retest.

image credit:

Comments: No Comments »

SAT Subject Tests FAQ

Think your standardized testing career is over after taking the SAT or ACT? Before you throw away your No. 2 pencils and erasers, find out if you should be taking the SAT Subject Tests. Many selective colleges recommend or even require taking SAT Subject Tests (formerly known as SAT II: Subject Tests). Even if the schools on your list don’t require them, a high score is an excellent way to highlight your abilities and strengthen your college application.

Need more info before deciding to take them or not? Here’s an FAQ for those of you considering taking the SAT Subject Tests.


What are the SAT Subject Tests?

SAT Subject Tests are standardized tests given by The College Board, and like the SAT, students usually take these tests as a part of the college admissions process. Each test is multiple-choice, one hour in length, and is scored on a 200-800 point scale. Unlike the SAT, SAT Subject Tests test individual subjects. There are 20 test options in total, including Literature, History (United States and World), Mathematics (Levels I and II), Science (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) and Languages (nine are available, some with a listening option). You can take one, two, or three tests per test date.

Should I Take the SAT Subject Tests?

There are many reasons to take the SAT Subject Tests. Some schools require or suggest taking them, or others may use your scores to determine course placement or award introductory class credit. The tests are an opportunity to further demonstrate your skills and differentiate yourself. If you are confident in your abilities and think your score will impress the admissions committee, you should consider taking the SAT Subject Tests.

Which Test Should I Take?

In short, you should choose the subject or subjects you think you will do well on. Most colleges don’t require you to submit scores, so only take the tests if there’s a particular subject you excel in. So if you’re dominating your AP Bio class, think about taking the Biology Subject Test. Speak Spanish fluently? Consider the Spanish Subject Test with or without the listening portion.

When Should I take the SAT Subject Tests?

Generally, it’s suggested that you take the SAT Subject Tests when the material being tested is most fresh in your mind. Usually this is after you’ve completed the corresponding course in school, even if you are still in 9th or 10th grade. However, you must base the decision on when to take the exams on your own goals and timeline.

SAT Subject Tests are offered six times per year , but not all subjects are available on every testing date. Click here for a current listing of all the SAT Subject Test dates.

How Do I Prepare?

Just like the SAT and ACT, there are a number of ways you can prepare for the SAT Subject Tests. You can try out real SAT Subject Test questions, purchase practice exams, take an online course, buy prep books, or even get private tutoring. However, keep in mind that SAT Subject Tests usually act as enhancements to your college application and shouldn’t take you away from your time studying for the SAT or ACT, tests that carry more weight on an admissions decision. Also, remember that your corresponding high school courses should be preparing you for the tests. If you don’t think your class is doing an adequate job preparing you for a test, you may want to reconsider taking the test.

image credit:

Comments: No Comments »

4 Quick Test Prep Tips for Taking the SAT and ACT


While there are a fair number of colleges that don’t require test scores from their applicants, there are still a large number of colleges that do. If the schools you’re planning on applying to are not on that list of test-optional schools, then your ACT and/or SAT test scores are going to play a factor in whether or not you’ll be admitted.

Bottom line: regardless of what area of study you’re pursuing and what test you’re taking, your test scores have a huge impact on your educational future. Here are a few quick test prep tips to help you get the best scores you can.

1. Find your score.

Want to get an idea of just how much preparation you need to do? Kaplan Test Prep offers a super helpful tool that predicts what your SAT or ACT score will be for free in as little as 30 minutes! Predict your SAT score by clicking here, and predict your ACT score by clicking here.

2. Get help!

You don’t have to prepare for this big test all by yourself! There are many test prep resources available to help you get ready and feel confident. BenchPrep is a highly rated online resource that can help you prepare for your big test through the use of study guides, flashcards, quizzes, reports, tests, and more. BenchPrep users have increased their scores by an average of 15%! Cappex has partnered with Groupon to bring you a great deal: $19 for 12 months of access to one test prep course from BenchPrep (a $200 value). BenchPrep’s app is free for all registered BenchPrep users, so you’ll have access to your test prep resources wherever you go. Click here to get this offer today!

3. Be ready.

The night before the test, it’s important to get a full night’s sleep so you can stay alert and focused. Be sure to eat a substantial, healthful meal before the test so your brain and body have the energy necessary to tackle it. You wouldn’t want your grumbling stomach to distract yourself and your fellow test-takers.

4. Retake it.

For both SAT and ACT, you often have the option of taking the test more than once. If you take a test more than once, you can choose which set of scores are sent to your school. Each time you retake a test, you give yourself a higher chance of getting your best score possible. For example, 57% of students from the 2013 graduating class who took the ACT more than once increased their composite score on the retest. Keep this in mind when going into the test for the first time; knowing you’ll have more than just one chance to knock it out of the park will help ease the pressure and stress a bit, allowing you to do better this time around.

Tell us your best test prep tip in the comments below, and best of luck on your big test!

image credit:

Comments: No Comments »