4 Quick Test Prep Tips for Taking the SAT and ACT

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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: petersons.com

Original Post Date: October 13th, 2014

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Which U.S. Colleges are Ranked as the Safest?

safetyCappiesLogoCampus safety is a hard topic to discuss. No one likes to even imagine that he or she may be a target for crime. But that’s why it is so important. The college experience is exciting, but it does mean you’ll be on your own. A lot. You’ll be out late at night, whether it’s studying, going to a party, or just coming home from a movie or concert. You’ll be home alone in either a dorm or apartment.

There will be choices for you to make in order to go through the school year without incident. Schools are always there to help, with valuable tips, resources and on-campus services.

Take it from those who have been there – there are definitely tricks of the trade when it comes to campus safety. Some are just common sense, such as securing your bicycle properly, going with a buddy when walking from one place to another, or locking all your doors at night. But other tips, while not as obvious, can make all the difference in the world.

Are some schools safer than others? It’s a factor in picking the school that’s right for you. We believe the release of our brand new 2015 Cappies™ category: “Safest Colleges,” will be of high interest to students and parents alike.

The Cappies™ have taken millions of reviews and safety ratings from nearly 2,000 U.S. colleges. Many of the schools on our list provide services for students such as late night transportation services, escorts to walk people to and from destinations on campus, real-time crime reports and 24-hour emergency telephones.

Other recognized schools are trying out more innovative safety measures with great success. One school in particular offers a customized version of the “Circle Of 6” mobile phone app. If you download the app, you can pick six friends or resources as part of your circle. Students who ever find themselves in an unsafe situation can text any of those resources or friends with just a couple of clicks.

Go through the list and find out which school offerings may fit you the best.

Campus Safety is the second category covered by the Cappies™. We previously covered Best College Food, and going forward we will provide student rankings for the following categories: Hardest Colleges, Best Value Colleges, Best Colleges for Activities, and Best College Dorms. Stay tuned for further announcements there.

Original Post Date: October 7th, 2014

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How Many Colleges Should You Apply To?

Categories: Admissions Advice

photo2You know you should to apply to safety, target, and reach schools, but exactly how many of each do you need? It’s easy to say that students should apply to as many schools as possible; however, each application often requires time (even the common app) and money. The number of colleges you apply to should depend on your unique situation. Since you’ll be the one filling out those applications, it’s best to be rational and find a plan that works for you. Here are a few factors to consider when determining that number:

Decision Timelines

Schools will usually let you know when you should expect to receive an admissions answer. Are you applying Early Decision? Early Action? Does your #1 choice do rolling admissions? You may be confident of your chances of getting into a school that will let you know their decision quickly. If you would have enough time to apply to more schools after you receive the decision (in case you aren’t accepted), you may want to start off applying to only a few schools. If most of the schools on your list won’t give you an answer until May, you’ll probably want to apply to more schools, including safety schools, right off the bat.

Finances

Though some schools don’t have application fees and waivers may be available to qualified applicants, you may end up paying a lot of money just to apply to college. Talk to your family or counselor about how you will be paying your application fees and determine a budget if necessary. Need to slim down your application list? Be direct and only apply to schools you think you may actually want to attend. Don’t apply to schools simply to see if you can get in, or just because you told someone you would apply.

Habits

Here’s where you need to do some major self-reflection. It’s time to be honest with yourself so you can make an attainable application plan. Ask yourself questions about your past habits and history. Do you tend to bite off more than you can chew? Do you procrastinate? If so, you may want to narrow down your focus so you can be sure you are only submitting quality applications. Do you change your mind frequently? Would any future outside forces/events change your decision? If it’s possible you could decide in May that you’d rather stay closer to home, or if you insist on knowing at least one other person on campus, you’ll want to be sure that you’ll have choices come decision time.

Research

Finally, take into account the amount of research you’ve done and how much left you still need to do. If you haven’t visited any schools on your list by the time you start applying, or are still finding new schools that peak your interest, give yourself plenty of options. On the other hand, if you’ve taken multiple campus tours and have pretty much memorized facts of off admissions brochures, you can probably narrow down your list more. However, don’t be afraid of last minute additions. If a new school catches your eye late in the game and you want to apply, go with your gut if possible. Many schools offer special programs and visits for accepted students still making their final decision.

Of course, there is no perfect number of schools to apply to, and your list may change as you go through and learn from the application process. Stay open-minded, yet focused on the aspects of schools that matter most to you. Visit our Admissions Tips & Tools for more free resources to help you out along the way.

image credit: hercampus.com

Original Post Date: October 2nd, 2014

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