What is the PSAT and why it matters!

With the PSAT on the horizon on October 13th (or 16th), many students are struggling to factor this test (yet, another one!) into their college admissions plans and profile. To help students and parents navigate this stressful period we offer you this insight into the role the PSAT plays.

Let’s start with the basics:

  1. The PSAT is a shorter, slightly easier practice SAT
  2. The PSAT is offered in schools to Juniors and many Sophomores (and even some Freshmen)

Preparing for the SAT: done right and for free

Preparing for the SAT when done correctly and most effectively is a task that can only be accomplished by a parent, educational system, and child working in tandem for the same distant goal over the course of about 17 years. This educational triumvirate is the key to the intellectual development of the child and is the key to true achievement on the SAT and its ilk (PSAT, SAT Subject Tests, ACT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, etc). This tripod of invested individuals sets the foundation for the ways the child interacts in educational settings and manages the challenges presented by testing. This foundation will do more to determine whether the child scores a 300 or an 800 than any prep course or high-priced tutor.

GMAT Q&A: Multiple Tests

Recently we’ve decided to share some GMAT-related questions we’ve received (as well as our answers) in hopes that the information may be of benefit to others. Today’s question deals with how multiple GMAT scores may be interpreted by admissions officers.

Q: Is there a penalty for taking the GMAT multiple times, meaning do the schools see all your scores?

GMAT Q&A: Expected Improvement

From time to time we get questions from prospective GMAT test-takers we feel the answers to which might benefit others. This particular question came from an attendee at a recent webinar presentation given by Akil Bello for The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM).

Q: What is the typical improvement for a second test?

Sentence Corrections: Down to 2

For many GMAT Test-takers, Sentence Correction questions are both welcome and frustrating. Sentence Corrections are the shortest verbal questions, and often consume, on average, the least time per question. Moreover, Sentence Corrections are designed to test a relatively clear and finite set of grammar rules that make it similar to Quantitative questions in some respects. Given this, test-takers often have a greater affinity for Sentence Correction questions.

Grab the CAT by the Tail

Many GMAT test-takers are often confused by how scores are generated for the test. Lots of this confusion stems from the seemingly straight-forward, but not easily explained, notion of a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT).

The confusion is pervasive enough, it seems, that GMAC often makes a point to clarify what a CAT is and does at various conferences, on their website, and on their official GMAT Blog. In a recent blog post, Dr. Eileen Talento-Miller provided some information about how CATs are designed and how they function in a way that even us lay-people can understand. Dr. Talento-Miller is a Ph.D.-certified psychometrician, and in many respects she does a sound job laying out the CAT basics in an easy-to-digest fashion.

Minorities and the GMAT

A few weeks ago, co-founder Akil Bello presented the above topic at GMAC’s Annual Industry Conference. The session was well attended and garnered positive responses from many of the industry professionals in attendance.

With over 20 years of test-preparation experience, as well as a focus in the last 10 on helping underrepresented minorities excel at standardized tests, Akil was well-positioned to provide the insights interested parties where there to hear. After significant research, and analysis of a wealth of survey data provided by GMAC, Akil brought his observations and conclusions to sunny San Diego.

The GMAT is A-Changin’

On June 25th a short press release from GMAC provided the first details on the previously announced changes to the GMAT that were announced late last summer. The press release coincided with the company’s Annual Industry Conference (AIC) in sunny San Diego, California. As is often the case, the AIC was a gathering place for the GMAC member schools and business school industry members. Our very own Akil Bello not only presented a workshop at the conference, but was also able to learn more about the upcoming Next Generation GMAT.

Here’s what we know so far about the new GMAT:

Making the Jump, pt. 2 – Higher Scorers

As we discussed a few weeks ago in Making the Jump Part 1, there are some general rules that everyone can apply to improve their scores or break out of the range they’re stuck in. For each type of scorer (low, medium, high), however, a modified approach would also be beneficial. In today’s post, we’re going to tackle some strategies that higher scorers can use to help them break through the often difficult 650 point barrier.

First, we have a testimonial from a student was able to break out of his range and get the higher score that would get him into the schools he wanted:

SAT Writing: How the Essay is scored

Many parents I speak to ask me about the SAT essay, its weight in the total scoring, its role in admissions decisions and more importantly how to improve scores. Parents and students often are confused by the requirements of the SAT essay and how it differs from those most common to High School English classes. Many of you might have even heard test prep “experts” speak to strategies for improving SAT essay scores that seemed off the wall and far-fetched. I thought I’d shed some light on the issue.

First, here is what the College Board says:

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