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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.

What kind of calculator can you bring to the ACT?


What kind of Calculator resized 600If you're taking the ACT this Saturday, make sure you know exactly what kind of calculator you can bring. Not all of them are accepted!

According to ACT (the makers and administrators of the ACT), here's the deal with calculators:

“WARNING: You are responsible for knowing if your calculator is permitted. If testing staff find that you are using a prohibited calculator or are using a calculator on any test other than the Mathematics Test, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. If ACT determines later that you used a prohibited calculator or that you used a calculator on a test other than the Mathematics Test, your scores will be cancelled.”

So what's an "acceptable calculator"? 

  • Graphing calculators, unless it has prohibited features listed below
  • Scientific calculators, unless it has prohibited features listed below
  • Four-function calculators

Some calculators are permitted with modification to the calculator itself:

  • Calculators with paper tape must have the tape removed.
  • Calculators that make noise must have the sound turned off.
  • Calculators with an infrared port, such as HP 38G, 39G, and 48G series, must have the port covered with duct tape or electrician’s tape.
  • Calculators with power cords must have the cords removed.

What kind of calculators aren't allowed?

  • Laptop, tablet, or a portable/handheld computer
  • Calculator that has QWERTY (keyboard-like) keypad
  • Electronic writing pad or pen-input/stylus-driven device (Note: The Sharp EL 9600 IS permitted)
  • Cell phone calculator
  • Calculators with built-in computer algebra systems, including the following:
    • All Texas Instrucments beginning with TI-89, TI-92, and TI-Nspire CAS (the TI-Nspire, non-CAS, IS permitted).
    • All Hewlett Packard models beginning with HP 48GII, HP 40G, HP 49G, and HP 50G.
    • All Casios beginning with CFX-9970G, Algebra fx 2.0, ClassPad300, and ClassPad 330.

Please note that the TI-89 is NOT permitted. Use of this calculator is the most common reason students are dismissed during the test!

Although all of the math problems on the ACT can be solved without a calculator (really, they can!), we still recommend that you bring one, just in case. Even the biggest math whiz kids need some help sometimes, and the speed and accuracy of a calculator can help you when you're running out of time.


SAT Word of the Day - Resilient



(adj.) easily recovering or rebounding

(pronounced "ri-ZIL-yuhnt")



Example Sentence:

  • Fire ants are resilient pests; even if you destroy their mound, they'll quickly rebuild just a few feet away.

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!



Positive Thinking and the ACT


BrainAs an ACT instructor, I have heard negative comments in every ACT class I have ever taught:“I am terrible at taking tests.” “I am bad at math.” “I am going to fail miserably.” These words are toxic and quite often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you are bad at math, how can you ever improve? You’ve set such low standards for yourself that you not only accept poor performance, but also expect it. I’ve never met someone who was “bad” at something and suddenly produced amazing results. But I’ve taught plenty of students who were confident in their abilities and in their preparation and who believed in themselves that went on to achieve excellent scores on the ACT.

This idea of positive thinking is nothing new. Mahatma Gandhi said, “A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.” Henry Ford agreed. He claimed “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.” In fact, so many famous leaders, philosophers, writers, inventors, actors, athletes, and other celebrities have provided quotations about positive thinking that after reading them, you start realizing these people know something that us non-famous people do not: you must believe in yourself in order to achieve greatness.

The same is true of your ACT success. You must believe that you will do well. If you slip and think “I am terrible at taking tests,” you must quickly correct yourself and add “but I am great at taking the ACT.” You need to repeat and believe three mantras in the weeks leading up to the test:

    • “I am great at taking the ACT.”
    • “I am great at Math, English, Reading, and/or Science.”
    • “I will do well on the ACT.”

Still need inspiration? Below is a sampling of just a few of the quotations about positive thinking. Print them on index cards and hang them where you can read them every day. Put one on your bathroom mirror and another in your locker. Hang some from the ceiling above your bed. Leave a few on the kitchen table. Read them until you believe them and your scores are sure to increase.

"You create your own universe as you go along." 
Winston Churchill

"Everyone visualizes whether he knows it or not. Visualizing is the great secret of success."
Genevieve Behrend

"Whatever the mind can conceive it can achieve."
W. Clement Stone

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.”
Willie Nelson

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
Zig Zigler

“Man is what he believes.”
Anton Chekhov

“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”
Frank Lloyd Wright

“In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.”
John Lilly

“They can conquer who believe they can.”

“If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
Colin Powell

"It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always."
Oprah Winfrey


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