Digital SAT!

Starting with an international administration in 2023, then a PSAT 8/9 in the US in that same year, followed by a PSAT 10 and finally the SAT in the US, the College Board is delivering a completely digital test-taking experience.

The test will be closer to 2 hours, not 3. Here’s the official announcement

My fellow tutors have also reported that it will be “adaptive” meaning that in some way, whether it’s question to question or section to section, student performance will be measured and the system will respond accordingly during the test: either an easier, equally difficult, or harder next section (or next question) will follow.


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Help for self-prepping GRE students

This video from an Education publication in India summarizes the free GRE prep apps out there is spot on.  I personally have used Magoosh vocab prep on their app.  I will definitely take the time to try the others…  Check out the summary here .


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Does that college require my ACT or SAT test with writing?

One of the more vexing issues in the college application process is knowing whether to sign up with writing or without.  It takes more prep time and costs more money to add the writing, so it is a significant question.


Unfortunately, the list of schools and their writing policies are ever-changing.  The least I could do is provide links directly to the ACT and SAT sites.  They  have entry forms in which one can enter an institution’s name, then click in order to find out if the school requires the essay.

For the SAT, click here.


For the ACT, click here.


The two tests differ greatly in what they require in the essay, so make sure not to equate prepping for an ACT essay with prepping for an SAT essay.

Here’s more about the ACT essay and more about the SAT essay.

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GRE – can you choose what scores to send? And are law schools talking GRE now?

Yes and No to both questions!

On the day you take your GRE, you can use Score Select to choose your best test days. You can represent your best test-taking day, but unlike “superscoring” on the SAT and ACT, you can’t choose one Verbal from a test day and one Quant from another test day.  More about Score-Select is described here.

LSAC                             ETS

In other news, the issue of whether law schools should accept the GRE has remained in the news since one Arizona law school changed its requirements to include GRE submissions.  The administrator of the LSAT, the LSAC, is threatening to halt the certification of LSAT scores as a sort of bargaining chip to keep the law schools GRE-free.  Many consider the LSAT a tougher test; opening the law school doors to GRE-takers would seriously hurt LSAC’s business. Read more about law schools and their plans here.

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NJ colleges’ and universities’ ACT score ranges

Pay more attention to those numbers in the 75% column.


Rutgers College

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Learning the unit circle for the ACT

unit circleOn a handful of ACT math tests, I’ve seen a unit circle question which requires outside knowledge of the coordinates around the circle. I had heard that there is a “hand trick” out there that students can use to recall those coordinates as you climb up and back down around the circle. Today I found a great blog post from “Mrs. B”. Check it out!

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In a few days, the old “Real ACT” prep guide will be re-released with no updates

act book coverThose of us who prep for the ACT are painfully aware that the exam has become more difficult over recent years.  Dual passages in the reading, new essay prompts, tougher science sections, more alg 2/pre-calc topics in the math are just some examples.  We’ve been looking forward to updated prep materials.  I was excited to see that Wiley is newly publishing a Real ACT prep guide, but alas, it is the same book.  The publisher doesn’t claim there is new material, but there isn’t any in case you were hoping for some. The customer service rep did say she was told an actual new guide would be published “in the Spring”.


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Schools that don’t require the SAT/ACT

The Washington Post provided a list back in July.


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The PSAT (and new SAT) Writing instructions Are Missing Something

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.02.39 AM

I have a problem with the PSAT Writing instructional page.  There should be clear instructions for the “logical order” questions (look at # 5 above) that require the reader to order numbered sentences.  There are already numbers that are in black squares on the page for the writing questions.  And for the order questions, some students may just try to use those numbers (the black square ones) as if they are also the numbers for the sentences that you need to put in order.  The numbers you need to move around for #5 are in brackets- but why not tell the students that?

Why don’t the instructions include two lines that describe a bracketed series of numbers, [1], [2], etc…, that are in the paragraph and are specifically meant as sentence numbers for these order questions?  Many students don’t answer these correctly because they don’t know to look for the brackets.

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Some thoughts about that recent Kaplan 1/2 new SAT and 1/2 ACT test

Did you recently take that half SAT- half ACT 90 minute test from Kaplan?  Before you get worked up about your results, here are things you should know:

The tests were written by Kaplan’s writers- they are not real SAT questions from the SAT writers, nor are they real ACT questions.

The number of questions on these two tests was about 20% the number of questions one would have normally had during the two full tests.  So I would not think of the scores as “an accurate representation.”

The SAT Reading/writing and the ACT English have very similar types of grammar questions.  And- those grammar questions are very different than those on the current SAT.

For a real, full-length ACT, click here

For a real, full-length new SAT, click here

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