How to Organize Your Summer Test Prep Reply

The summertime is upon us! While every high school student deserves some rest and relaxation, it’s also the perfect time to kick your SAT and ACT prep into gear. With no academic obligations on your plate and a long runway to improve your testing performance, now is the time to start setting yourself up for college success. In this brief guide, I’ll show you exactly how to make the most of your summer and walk into the fall ready to knock these tests out of the park.

Summer Prep Tip #1: Cancel the Cramming and Covet Consistency

The most underrated ingredient in any successful test prep program is long-term effort. You can’t cram for the SAT and the ACT – they test large banks of information applied in unique ways, and they test process more than they test knowledge. If you give your brain the time to develop thick, well-developed pathways for these processes and facts, you’ll have an incredibly easy time tackling these exams.

With that in mind, your focus should be on small bits of steady, everyday effort. If you can put in 20-45 minutes a day throughout the summer, you won’t just be making things easier on yourself – you’ll also be using your brain the way it’s meant to be used. Don’t put off your prep and then try to get in eight hours on a Sunday – instead, try to focus on small, consistent study sessions on a daily basis, and feel free to split them up! If you can do twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the afternoon, you’ll be in amazing shape.

With that in mind, make sure to pick a program that allows you to study on your own schedule! Most SAT and ACT classes and tutors have somewhat restrictive scheduling limitations, which won’t allow you to optimize your summer prep. Instead, find a way to study that allows you to do small bits of work on your schedule, whenever you have the time.

Summer Prep Tip #2: Make Sure You’re Studying for the Right Test

Things in the testing world have gone topsy turvy. The PSAT is now in the New SAT format starting this fall, the SAT is going to switch in March of 2016, and the most recent versions of the current SAT have had their fair share of problems over the last few months. Fortunately for you, this makes life easier, not harder.

As far as I’m concerned, your best bet is to pursue one of these two paths:

  1. Study for the ACT, which will kill two birds with one stone. Because the New SAT is almost identical to the current ACT, by studying for the ACT, you’ll be able to knock out the ACT, the New SAT, and the New PSAT (I guess that’s three birds…).
  2. If you vastly prefer the current version of the SAT to the ACT, you should study up and take it before it changes in March.

Summer Prep Tip #3: Pick a Flexible Program

Summertime is marked by totally unpredictable schedules. You never know where you’ll be, when, or for how long. With that in mind, it’s essential that you pick a program that works wherever you happen to be, and that doesn’t rely on a set-in-stone schedule. As we already discussed, consistency is key, so choosing a program that accommodates the flexibility of your summer schedule will be essential.

Classroom courses are the worst offenders. If you have to be in a specific place at a specific time week in and week out, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. If you work with a tutor, make sure that he or she can work with you online via Skype or video conferencing software, and be sure that he or she can work on different schedules throughout the summer.

The most flexible way to prep is usually through an online course (a reason why online SAT and ACT prep programs are rapidly increasing in popularity). As long as you have a laptop with you, you can prepare whenever you find the time and wherever you happen to be. All you’ll need is the discipline to log into the program after a day at the lake or the beach (sometimes, it’s easier to study before you’ve been out in the sun all day).

No Matter What, Starting Early is Essential

No matter which program you use, and no matter which test you decide to take, the best thing you can do for your performance is to start preparing today. The longer the runway you give yourself to prepare, the less work you have to do on a daily basis, the more breathing room you have, and the more effectively your brain will be able to retain information. Even if you only put in ten minutes a day, starting now will be the smartest decision you can possibly make!

Thanks so much for reading my guide! Have a great summer, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.


Anthony-James Green is a world-renowned SAT and ACT tutor with over 13,000 hours of experience teaching these tests, crafting curriculum, and training other tutors to teach their own students. Business Insider recently named Anthony: “America’s Top SAT Tutor


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Use Online Course to Pick the Right College Major Reply

Written by Joseph Rauch, writer at SkilledUp.

Have you decided on your major? If so, great! However, you won’t actually know what it will be like until you take a course.

Only a few years ago, there was no practical way of testing the water before stepping onto campus. Students had to take a somewhat blind leap and hope the courses in their majors would live up to their expectations and fulfill their passion. If they didn’t, oh well. There went a huge chunk of their money and at least a year of their lives.

Students do have the option of entering college with an undeclared major. However, this means they run the risk of wasting time and money by sampling in-person courses in an effort to figure out their major. For example, a student could spend hundreds of dollars and an entire semester on an introductory economics course only to discover the field wasn’t right for them.

Now things are different. Thanks to the rise of Massive Open Online Courses [MOOCs] and their respective providers, incoming college freshman have a way to test drive their major for free online instead of discovering whether they like it after they’ve already registered.

MOOCs attempt to offer as much of the college course experience as possible from the comfort of your home computer. Each one has video lectures, class materials such as slides, quizzes, and assignments, and the option of reaching out to professors and fellow students for feedback and answers to important questions. You can take them on a schedule or sign up for self-paced, archived courses, which will limit your interactivity but still offer the same information.

These courses are a smart way of planning ahead so you don’t end up with the wasted investment in a major that did not live up to your expectations. MOOCs also help high schoolers affirm their interests and prepare for their majors before entering college.

“I’ve always been pretty interested in programming, but I had never had a lot of exposure to it,” said Florida high school senior David Cooney. “Through Coursera and a few entry level programming courses, I was able to get a better understanding of what computer science was like. I’m applying to a few schools in Florida and to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with my intended major being computer science.”

Cooney is one of millions of online course takers who have used Coursera, which people in ed tech often refer to as one of the “Big Three” MOOC providers. There are also older students who take MOOCs and look back on the issue of choosing a college major with a nuanced perspective, wishing they had once enjoyed the option of testing the water with free resources.

“When I decided on my major, I was extending my high school interests, most often created by a teacher who had made an impact,” said Thomas Johnson, an avid MOOC taker in his 50s and Germanic studies scholar, as he described his college years. “Bad mistake. I went all the way through pre-lims and was writing a dissertation before I awoke to my actual interests. My excuse is simple: I was making these decisions before the digital information age.”

Johnson also recommends using Quora, a curated online forum that allows you to pose questions and receive answers from a community.

“So my advice is simple: examine which Quora topics get you interested or intrigued. Then take a free MOOC to see if the academic approach to that topic still works. Then go for it at the very best school you can find to match your skills and abilities,” he said.

Granted, this advice may not be for everyone. If you have no idea what your interests are, college can be a great place to discover that so long as you can afford it.

Still, it’s clear that MOOCs are one way to test drive your major, discover new interests, and perhaps even give yourself an advantage over other freshman. Most of them are free. So, the worst case scenario is that you’ll waste a few hours of your life as opposed to hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on the wrong major.

Joseph Rauch is a Writer who graduated with a degree in psychology and creative writing from NYU. He writes for SkilledUp and has published pieces with The Huffington Post, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, FindSpark, The Halo Group, and many more publications.

Is Studying for the SAT Useless? Reply

iStock_000001927691SmallThe SAT is a test shrouded in myths. One of the most prominent is the idea that woven deep into the very fabric of your DNA is an “SAT gene”, and stamped on that gene is a number as immutable as the number of commandments Moses received up on Mt. Sinai. Those who buy into this idea regard prepping for the SAT as akin to moving Mt. Sinai itself. More…

Prepping Your Homeschooler for the SAT Reply

application4When it comes to SAT prep, homeschooled children have a unique advantage. Most students are used to lecture-based classroom learning, an ineffective model that doesn’t get to the core of each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and individual learning style. Because your child is used to independent study, he or she can tackle the SAT the right way from the onset, without any adjustment in his or her approach to the proper material.

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The SAT Essay: How to Plan and Prepare for it 1

Hand grasping pencil about to writeThe SAT is coming up on June 7. Chances are that if you’re taking it at this point, you’re probably taking it for the first time. It can be a daunting thing, particularly one of the more frightening sections — the essay. Not to fret! Today we’re here to talk about how to plan and prepare for writing a sock-blowing-off essay.

(Tip number 1: Don’t say “sock-blowing-off”.)

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The CLA+ Exam and What It Could Mean Reply

dv1644022Forbes just today posted a new article about the CLA+ exam, and what it could mean for accountability in higher education. You can find that article here. It’s a relatively positive take on the CLA+ and what it could do.

Here, let’s talk a bit about some of the potential issues with the CLA+ and how it could affect college education in the future.

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