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SAT Word of the Day - Superfluous



(adj.) having more than needed or wanted; excessive

(pronounced "soo-PUR-floo-uhs") 



Example Sentence:

  • The lawyer's continuing arguments were superfluous, as the jury had already reached a verdict.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.


* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!



Which is more important--the GPA or the SAT Score?


College Application Heavyweights: The GPA vs the SAT Score8190611701 be5006d41e m

In the battle between SAT scores and GPA, many students wonder which heavyweight matters most to your college application. Though many college admissions departments say your GPA delivers the biggest punch, these same admissions officers are secretly showing scorecards that declare the SAT the winner of the match. So why the secrecy and denial surrounding the importance of the SAT?

Think about how the two sets of data are computed:

Your GPA is cultivated over four years and measures effort, focus, and diligence whereas your SAT score is acquired in a matter of hours and is generally believed to simply reflect your aptitude. Universities might appear “shallow” if they reveal that more weight is given to a four-hour test than a GPA produced over a four-year period. It’s a lot like someone who says that that only thing that matters about a prospective date is personality, but yet that person only dates supermodels. Sometimes we say things that are not fully true in order to avoid public censure, and college admissions departments are no different. But, we now know that test scores are the most important components of a college application thanks to former admissions officers who have come forward and revealed the secret formula used to determine an applicant’s standing.

There are several reasons that the SAT is considered a more valuable admissions tool than your GPA.
The most obvious is that the SAT is a standardized test. While your GPA compares you to the rest of your school, your SAT score compares you to the rest of the country. GPAs are not standard. An ‘A’ earned in Mrs. Crawford’s English class in New York City might only equate to a ‘C’ in Mr. Pryor’s English class in San Diego. Plus, some schools are guilty of inflating the grades of its students. Because multiple high schools are competing for the same students, it is in the best interest of the school to produce a senior class with an outstanding GPA average. Parents in the district may hear that a certain high school consistently produces a senior class with an average GPA of 3.9 and they immediately sign their 8th grader up, not realizing that the average GPA of the class is a full point higher than it should be! A counselor in a competitive high school might go one step further and leave a student’s class ranking off of a transcript in order to make an inflated 4.0 look like a stellar score, when in fact it is just slightly above average among the class. You can start to see why a college admissions officer has a hard time putting a lot of faith into a GPA generated by school employees! But while these admissions officers may be afraid to trust some principals, counselors, and teachers, they can certainly trust an SAT score. It is standardized by a third party, the College Board, and it fairly compares Jane in Florida to John in Oregon. It can also provide additional, unbiased information about a student’s transcript or recommendations. Let’s say that Tina received an ‘A’ in geometry and had a glowing recommendation from her math teacher, but she only scored a 460—well below average—on the SAT math section. An admissions officer would likely infer that Tina’s grade was inflated and that her math teacher is an unreliable source. Sadly, this information will also be applied to other applicants from the school, both in the current application class and in years to come. As much as the SAT may seem like an unfair assessment to you, it is the only fair tool for admissions officers to compare students from different schools and educational backgrounds across the country.

The SAT is also respected for its indication of aptitude. Most admissions officers are intellectuals themselves, and they tend to value intellect in their applicants. For this reason they are more likely to dismiss less than desirable grades when accompanied by a high SAT score. If Clive submits a 2020 on this SAT but a GPA of 2.5, an admissions officer may explain the discrepancy by saying Clive was obviously quite bright but must not have been challenged by his high school teachers; he is likely to shine when he is properly engaged by the professors at their prestigious university. But if Cleo turns in an application with a 1430 SAT score and a 4.0 GPA, that same admissions officer is likely to be suspicious of her transcript and doubt her ability to keep up with the intellectual level of college courses.

Colleges want students with high SAT scores

Finally, high SAT scores are secretly coveted by colleges and universities because officials want to boost the average SAT score of the incoming class in order to appear more selective than competing schools. City University wants nothing more than to advertise that their freshman class had an average SAT score of 1820, which is 100 points higher than State College across town. A higher selectivity ranking attracts better applicants and more funding, and like all businesses, colleges are constantly competing for clients and market share.

Your GPA is still very important

That said, keep in mind that your GPA is not at all worthless! While the SAT might have won the match, the GPA manages to steal several rounds. It is the only numerical data that can reveal hard work, self-discipline, and consistency. Together with your transcript, your GPA can show improvement over time and intellectual growth. These qualities are quite valuable when you are being compared to another student with a similar SAT score but lesser GPA. It is still important to take rigorous classes and earn good grades to bolster your transcript and GPA.

Despite what your guidance counselor may say or an admissions officer at your prospective university may claim, your standardized test scores are the most important components of the college admissions process. If you want to be the applicant with the knockout punch—gaining you certain admission—you must be fully prepared and submit the best SAT score possible.

Photo: "304 of 366," courtesy of Pam loves pie

SAT Word of the Day - Temperate



(adj.) moderate; not extreme

(pronounced "TEM-per-it")



Example Sentence:

  • The plants prefer a temperate climate - not too hot and not too cold.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.


* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!



SAT Word of the Day - Irrelevant



(adj.) unrelated; not connected

(pronounced "ih-REL-uh-vuhnt")



Example Sentence:

  • The purpose of the staff meeting is to discuss the issues with our health insurance; any other complaints are irrelevant and will not be discussed.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.


* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!



How do I cancel my ACT score?


blog   cancel resized 600So you took the ACT, and you have a sinking feeling that you didn't do as well as you wanted to. In fact, you're so sure you didn't well that you want to make sure no one ever sees your score other than you. You can't travel back in time and tell your past self not to take the test, but there is something you can do: You can permanently delete your score and make sure your high school and prospective colleges never see it.

Change Your High School and College Codes

First things first: you have to act fast to make sure your high school and prospective colleges never receive your score. The ACT website states that you only have until noon (Central Time) on the Thursday after the test date to correct your high school code and/or change your college codes. To make sure that your score does not end up on your high school transcript, you must change your high school code by the deadline. Delete the code from your high school’s assigned number and leave a blank field. This little known secret ensures that the test scores are sent to you, not your high school. If you fail to make this change, the score will be sent to your guidance counselor and it will likely end up on your transcript, even if you request that your scores are removed from ACT’s database.

While changing your high school code, you should also remove the college codes you entered so that the score is not sent to those prospective colleges.

To make both of these changes, log into your ACT Web Account and select “Make changes to your registration.”

Delete the Score from Your Record

Then you wait. If you receive the scores and surprise yourself by doing better than you expected, you might decide to keep them. If this occurs, you will have to pay a small fee to have those scores sent to your colleges. But if your intuition was correct, and your scores were as low as you expected, you need to delete them from your ACT record. To do this, you must send your request in writing (no emails or phone calls!) to the following address:

ACT Institutional Services
P.O. Box 168
Iowa City, IA 52243-0168

Be sure to include your name, address, and test date. ACT will then send you a form to complete, which you must complete, sign, and return in order to have that test date deleted.

Note that if you take the ACT again before the previous score is deleted, you must NOT enter prospective college codes during registration. Otherwise, universities that request all scores be sent will see the score you are in the process of deleting.

Note that unlike the SAT, you cannot cancel your ACT score at the testing center or in the days following the test. You will see your score, no matter what. But you can make sure that no one else does by following the PowerScore solution above.


SAT Word of the Day - Provocative



(adj.) tending to rouse feelings of excitement, irritation, or anger

(pronounced "pruh-VOK-uh-tiv")



Example Sentence:

  • At the press conference, the boxer made provocative remarks intended to anger his opponent.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.


* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!



What can you bring--and not bring--to the ACT?


With the ACT on the morrow, many students will spend tonight making final preparations for the test. If you're one of them, make sure you pack everything that you will need (and leave home everything that you don't) for the big day!

What you MUST bring

  • Your ACT Test Center Ticket (you can log onto your ACT Web Account and print it off there).
  • Pencils (make sure they're sharpened No. 2 pencils!) and an eraser (make sure it erases well!). Mechanical pencils are not permitted.
  • Calculator (make sure it's one that's allowed) with fresh batteries -- you might not use it, but it's better to be prepared.
  • ID Card resized 600Identification. This one is the most important! Make sure you bring the right form of ID with you. Here are some types of ID that are accepted for the ACT: Current state-issued driver's license, state-issued nondriver ID, school identification card with photo, passport, government-issued ID, Student ID Letter and photo prepared by your school, or a notorized statement with your photo. Note that your name on the ID must match the name you provided when you registered for the ACT. The following forms of ID are not accepted: Social security card, credit card (including one with a photo), parent's driver's license, birth certificate, expired passport, yearbook, written physical description of the student (without photo), even if written on school stationery and signed by a counselor or principal. For a complete list of unacceptable identification, visit the ACT Website.

What you SHOULD bring

Consider bringing the following:

  • A watch (make sure it doesn't have an audible alarm--that can get you kicked out of the testing center!).
  • A backpack (to put everything in).
  • Extra batteries (for your calculator).
  • Something to eat and/or drink during your break outside of the test room.

What you CAN'T bring

  • Scratch paper
  • Notes or cheat sheets
  • Books or a dictionary
  • Cell phone
  • Pager
  • PDA
  • iPod or any other type of MP3 player
  • Highlighters or colored pencils
  • Compass, protractor, ruler, or any other kind of math aid
  • Separate timer or any kind of watch with an audible alarm
  • Camera or any other type of photographic, listening, or recording device

Make sure to go over your day-of necessities the night before, so that you're prepared and ready to go. Don't forget any of the items on your "MUST" list! Good luck!


SAT Word of the Day - Prudent



(adj.) careful and sensible

(pronounced "PROOD-nt")



Example Sentence:

  • Perry made a prudent decision when he chose not to ride home with his friend who had been drinking.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.


* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!



SAT Word of the Day - Reprehensible



(adj.) deserving of punishment

(pronounced "rep-ri-HEN-suh-buhl")



Example Sentence:

  • It's a harsh punishment, but I do not feel sorry for you; stealing from a charity is a reprehensible crime.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.


* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!



Tips & Tricks: Using Foreign Language to Decode Vocabulary Words


Are you currently taking language classes for Spanish, French, or Italian? Foreign LanguageIf so, you may have an edge on the SAT. Since these languages have many words with Greek and Latin roots, you can often apply translations to English word counterparts.

 For example, take the English word friend. In French, it’s ami. In Spanish, it’s amigo. And in Italian, it’s amico. Two common SAT words, amiable and amicable, share the root ami and both mean friendly.

 Foreign words for good and bad can also help you decode SAT words:

      English: good       Spanish: bueno       French: bien       Italian: bene

      Related Words: benevolent (charitable), benefactor (a person who helps),

         benediction (good wishes), beneficial (helpful), benign (favorable)


      English: bad       Spanish: malo       French: mal       Italian: male           

      Related Words: malevolent (evil), malefactor (a person who does harm),

          malediction (a curse), maleficent (evil), maladroit (unskillful),

          malignant (harmful), malfeasance (harmful act), malcontent

          (dissatisfaction), malodorous (having a bad smell), malnutrition (lack of

          nutrition), malaise (illness)


These are just a sampling of the roots and affixes that translate from foreign languages to SAT roots. Can you think of others? If so, list them in the comments below.

 It’s important to remember that you are always taking a guess when selecting a word that you do not know, but by using your knowledge of foreign translations, you are making an educated guess that is much more likely to earn you points on the SAT. It’s also essential to note that these connections should take you mere seconds to make. If you spend 15 seconds or more decoding a word, you are wasting too much time and will be unable to finish the reading passages. If you cannot decode a word, you cannot eliminate it, and you must leave it as a contender. But if you quickly decode its meaning, you can either eliminate it or select it as the correct answer.

Photo: "Get down and speak in tongues," courtesy of Jes.

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