Archive for the ‘Test Prep Resources’ Category

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 »

6 Factors That Can Affect ACT Scores

How-to-Improve-ACT-ScoresIt’s difficult to know whether or not something will make or break your college application. Should you take exclusively AP courses? Focus more on your personal essay? Take three lifestyle courses and cling tight to your 4.0? The reality is that, the most important factor comes down to what your dream school deems the most important factor.

However, one thing does remain true — your ACT score needs to be high enough to keep you out of the “no” pile. Here are six things that may factor into how well you’re scoring.

1. Sleep

We’ve all heard it before and we’re going to hear it again. Sleep impacts everything, especially your test scores. Cramming all night long will never be as beneficial to you as sleep will be. In a study performed by the ACT committee, students who slept 7-10 hours the night before retaking their ACT consistently scored one point higher than their previous test scores. Students who reported sleeping less than three hours saw only half of that improvement in their composite test scores.

 2. Breakfast

No doubt having a well-balanced breakfast is another tip you’ve already heard, but the same study done by the group at ACT found that students who ate breakfast before their retakes saw composite score improvements. Going into your test with a full stomach will allow you to focus less on finding a snack during your breaks, and more on the next section of the test.

3. Faster Internet

In a recently published study by High Speed Internet, a state’s internet speed showed a stronger correlation to ACT scores than household median income. The study also reveals that, on average, students who live in states with faster internet score higher than those who live in states with lower internet speeds. How’s that for new information?

 4. Positive Thinking

Many scholarly reports have been done on the power of positive thinking. It isn’t just a fluffy term your yoga instructor throws around. Thinking positive thoughts before you do anything, particularly take a big test, can impact how you end up performing. And on the opposite end of that, if you’re sure you’re going to fail, you probably will fail.

5. Reading

When Miami High School implemented a silent sustained reading program that required students to read for about an hour two times per week, students achieved steady gains in ACT reading scores. In fact, students raised their reading scores two points over four years. As a bonus, improving reading speeds and comprehension levels will allow you to work through all sections of the test faster and more efficiently.

6. Family Income

Research conducted by the ACT organization reveals that students from “low-income” families (defined as having a family income of less than $36,000 per year) don’t perform as well on the ACT as non-low-income families. Of the nearly 400,000 low-income students who took the ACT in 2012, only 10 percent met all four college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math, and science, versus about 25 percent of non-low-income students meeting all four benchmarks.

My number one tip? After taking the ACT 4 times, I can say with surety that forcing yourself to stay calm and take the test one step at a time makes a tremendous impact. I once jumped 7 points in the science section by reading the questions one at a time and then referring back to the story—rather than reading the story first and then answering the questions. Like I said: one step at a time. You can do this!

photo (1)
Holly King is a recently graduated writer living in Salt Lake City, UT. When not scouring the internet for updates in business, lifestyles and technology, she is tending to her garden and trying to perfect the world’s best egg sandwich.

image credit:

Comments: No Comments »