Seniors: Free Test Prep Resources


The best preparation for testing is to take rigorous courses, work hard, and read, read, read. But familiarity with the SAT and ACT and taking practice tests can improve scores. So, seniors, if you're taking the SAT or ACT this fall, here are some resources for free practice tests and test prep:


ACT Sample Test


SAT College Board Practice Test 

Spark Notes SAT Practice Test

You can find more information about testing, including information on the essay, testing accommodations, test-optional schools, and how colleges view testing in Chapter 7 of College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step, "Taking the Tests."

Juniors: Preparing for the SAT or ACT


This marks the first in our weekly reminders for juniors starting the college application process. Each week, we'll be providing information, checklist items and advice on applying --  testing, researching colleges, first college visits and more.

First up?

Keep your eye out for an opportunity to take the PSAT or PLAN. The best preparation for the SAT and ACT is to challenge yourself with rigorous courses in the classroom and read, read, read.  But familiarity with the tests and practice can increase scores up to a point. The PSAT, offered by the College Board, and PLAN, offered by ACT, are practice tests meant to prepare you for the SAT and ACT. Your answers and the correct answers are available with the score report -- good feedback that will show you where you need to improve. The PSAT is offered every October by the College Board, but you register through your high school.  The PLAN is administered at the discretion of the high school or school district. Stay alert for announcements about the PSAT and PLAN and follow up. If you haven't heard of anyone taking these tests at your school, check with your guidance counselor about them. 

Seniors: It's Not Too Late to Test


This marks the first in our weekly reminders for seniors. Each week, we'll be providing information, checklist items and advice on applying to college --  testing, essays, deadlines, college visits, letters of recommendation and more.

First up?

It's not too late to take the SAT or ACT this fall.

SAT Deadlines:

Register by September 7th for the October 6th test

Register by October 4th for the November 3rd test

Register by November 1st for the December 1st test

You can register online for the SAT here

ACT Deadlines:

Register by September 21st for the October 27th test

Register by November 2nd for the December 8th test

You can register online for the ACT here

Or visit your high school college or guidance counselor for registration materials.

Remember, the best preparation for the SAT and ACT is to challenge yourself with rigorous courses in the classroom and read, read, read.  


We'll be posting for Juniors, as well. Look for our first item for the Class of 2014 tomorrow.

College Admission on India Ink at The New York Times

Our primer on standardized testing for international students applying from India is up on the New York Times' blog India Ink. Thank you to Jacques Steinberg, education writer and author of The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College, who helms the New York Times' blog The Choice, for inviting us to explain the role testing plays in the admission decisions of American colleges and universities. And thank you to the experts who contributed to the feature: Jarrid Whitney, executive director of admissions and financial aid at the California Institute of Technology; Katharine Harrington, vice president for admissions and planning at the University of Southern California; Jenny Rickard, chief enrollment officer at Bryn Mawr College; Jim Montoya, vice president for higher education at the College Board; and Amin Gonzalez, associate director of admissions at Yale University and his colleagues Rebekah Westphal and Jean Lee.

The Standardized Test Cheating Scandal

In the wake of the Long Island, New York, standardized-test cheating scandal, Jacques Steinberg at the New York Times' Choice blog has posted an informative dialogue with Ray Nicosia, director of testing integrity for the Educational Testing Service, which administers the SAT.  Twenty students now face charges of fraud and impersonation in a scandal encompassing both the SAT and ACT. The students either paid others to take the tests for them or impersonated students in taking the tests.  In Questions for the SAT’s Top Cop, Steinberg and Nicosia discuss the testing service's security measures as well as how students -- and even parents -- can report irregularities or suspicions of cheating.