How a common myth can hurt your college application

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on March 17, 2017 at 11:03 AM


There's a very strong feeling among college applicants that you "have to do everything and do it well" in order to be accepted into college--and this goes doubly strong if you're aiming for one of the nation's elite universities.

Invariably, this leads to high school students joining as many clubs as possible, participating in as many extracurriculars as they can cram into their schedule, playing as many sports as they are able, and volunteering at as many places as they can find, all in the quest to become the quintessential Well-Rounded Student that they believe all colleges want to see, and that will guarantee them admission to the college of their choice.

Here's the deal, though: Although well-rounded students were once sought after by admissions officers, they're no longer what colleges covet for their freshman class. Admissions committees instead try to create a class of dedicated and passionate specialists.

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Topics: College Admissions

ACT and SAT Writing Tips: Misplaced Modifiers

Posted by Vicki Wood on March 10, 2017 at 1:24 PM

Today’s blog focuses on a great time-saving secret in the ACT English and SAT Writing section: misplaced modifiers in introductory clauses. Once you learn how to spot these frequent errors, you can quickly pinpoint the correct answer choice.

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Writing, ACT English

How NOT to choose a college

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on March 3, 2017 at 10:43 AM

It's almost here! That wondrous time when you start getting fat letters and congratulatory emails from colleges, and you finally get to pick where you want to go to college. It's exciting, it's exhilarating, it's awesome--and it needs to be something you take  seriously, lest you end up selecting a college for all the wrong reasons.

If you're trying to choose between schools, make sure you're not using these as your deciding factor for one college over another.

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Topics: College Admissions

ACT and SAT Math Tips: Sequences

Posted by Vicki Wood on February 17, 2017 at 11:06 AM

There are three main types of sequence questions on the ACT and SAT:

  1. Those that require the use of formulas to solve arithmetic or geometric sequences.
  2. Those that ask you to compute a small-numbered term (such as the 8th term or less).
  3. Those that assess your ability to discover a repetitive pattern in order to find a higher-numbered term (such as the 51st term).

It is this third type of sequence--often considered the most difficult by unprepared test takers--that we will address today. Like many ACT and SAT math questions, there is a trick that makes these sequence questions quite easy to solve.

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Math, ACT Math

Five ways to build a great high school résumé

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on February 10, 2017 at 11:50 AM

You’ve heard it before,Community Service.jpg and you’ll hear it again—colleges like to see their applicants do more than just excel in academics. They like to see involvement in extracurriculars, participation in the community, an active volunteering streak…maybe even a combination of all three! It can get exhausting to try to get all of these bases covered, but it also can—and should—be fun! Try these five steps to make pumping up your résumé not only a productive endeavor, but also an enjoyable experience. 

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Topics: College Admissions

ACT English and SAT Writing Tips: Parallel Prepositions

Posted by Vicki Wood on January 27, 2017 at 9:25 AM

The use of prepositions in a series must either be used by all members of a series or by only the first member of the series in order to be considered parallel.

Both of the following sentences are correct:

You can succeed on the SAT by reading, by studying, and by taking a prep class.    [Correct]

You can succeed on the SAT by reading, studying, and taking a prep class.    [Correct]

In the first sentence, the preposition by is used by all three items in the list: by reading, by studying, and by taking. In the second example, the preposition by is only used by the first item: by reading, studying, and taking.

This sentence, however, is incorrect:

You can succeed on the SAT by reading, by studying, and taking a prep class.    [Incorrect]

Only two of the items in the series use the preposition by, making the sentence ungrammatical.

A series using prepositions does not have to repeat the same preposition:

We have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Just ensure that all of the objects receive a preposition. This sentence is incorrect:

You can travel to the town on a plane, in a car, or a boat.    [Incorrect]

The nouns plane and car are the objects of the prepositions on and in. Because the noun boat is in the same series, it must also be the object of a preposition:

You can travel to the town on a plane, in a car, or by a boat.    [Correct]

Examine a question type that might appear on the ACT or SAT using unparallel prepositions:

In the relative phrase, there are three groups of people for whom the toys are being collected: for children, parents, and for babies. Notice that the second group, parents, is missing a preposition. Either all three of the groups must use a preposition:

for children in the shelter,

for parents who are unemployed over the holidays, and

for babies in the hospital

Or just the first group:

for children in the shelter,

parents who are unemployed over the holidays, and

babies in the hospital

Choice (B) is correct, as it deletes the preposition for  from the third group, babies:

The toy drive—which collects new toys for children in the shelter, parents who are unemployed over the holidays, and babies in the hospital—is slated to start the last week in November.    [Correct]

Now the sentence is parallel.

 

Did you find this helpful? If so, check out our ACT courses.

 

Photo: Today's repeating pattern, courtesty of Kevin Dooley

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Writing, ACT English

How to Set a (Realistic) Target ACT or SAT Score

Posted by Vicki Wood on January 13, 2017 at 10:26 AM

When we teach courses, we hand out a student profile which asks students about their testing experience and expectations. One of the questions prompts them to list their target score. So many of the responses are the same: 25 on the ACT and 1200 on the SAT. When we ask why they want these scores, their answer is simple: “Because that’s a good score.”

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep

How to ask for more financial aid for college

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on January 6, 2017 at 3:08 PM


When it comes to college, the most stressful thing you're likely going to go through is figuring out how to pay for it. Filling out form after form, completing the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE, submitting tax returns, getting everything sent off and certified--it can be quite the experience.

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Topics: College Admissions

ACT and SAT Math Tips: Holiday Dilemmas

Posted by Jon Denning on December 23, 2016 at 10:11 AM

We have a special SAT Math and ACT Math post today from our senior curriculum developer (and VP!), Jon Denning. He'll help you get into the test prep spirit with a little winter break math.

Everyone at PowerScore wishes you a happy holiday! 

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Math, ACT Math

Top 5 tasks if you are waitlisted for college

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on December 16, 2016 at 12:22 PM


If you're like most college applicants, you would almost rather see a rejection letter than a waitlist letter. While the rejection letter may hurt more, you at least have closure. With a waitlist letter, you have...well, not closure. And a whole lot of waiting, to boot. So what should you do if you're waitlisted at one of your top college choices?

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Topics: College Admissions