3 Quick Thoughts on the Coming Changes to the SAT in 2016

ACT and SAT Test Prep, SAT Prep
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1.  The SAT recognizes that the current system is not transparent and fair and they are taking measures to address it.  Why?  Many test prep companies acquire copies of previous SATs through the Question and Answer Service and make copies of them to administer to their students.  Also, many foreign websites illegally make copies of previously administered SATs and make them available.  Students who do not have the money or the knowledge to access these resources are currently at a disadvantage.  Making far more tests available should help level the playing field. 


2.  The parts of the SAT that I least enjoy teaching are the ones that are changing the most.  It’s nice to be able to tell a student that what he or she is learning to prepare for the SAT will help him or her in college and beyond.  I currently feel that when I teach the Math and the Reading Comprehension, I am teaching students skills that will give them lasting benefits.  When I am currently teaching the vocab, the essay and the grammar, I don’t have the same confidence.  I am glad to see that these areas will be significantly revised so that when I teach these parts of the test, I will be doing more than just “teaching to the test.” 


3.  There will be a significant need for new practice test material.  The Official SAT Study Guide in its current version will become obsolete.  Same with all the other major SAT prep books on the market.  Those who are able to quickly create lots of high quality practice materials will be in demand.  

Fictional School Rankings

College Admissions, College Applications, Test Anxiety, Uncategorized
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Number 1:  Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Somewhere, Scotland

Tuition and fees: $42,752

Enrollment:  about 300

Setting: Rural

While many Muggles will only see ruins and warnings of danger, the Hogwarts castle has been on the Daily Prophet’s most beautiful campus list since its founding in the 10th century. Hogwarts offers a wide variety of challenging classes to give every witch or wizard the best possible magical education.

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Number 2:  Xavier’s Gifted School for Youngsters - New York, USA

Tuition and fees: Unknown

Enrollment:  Varies, first class was 8

Setting: Suburban

Mutatis Mutandis. Located on historic grounds, Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters has long been an institution that promotes equality between mutants and humans. Class sizes are very small and students have the unique opportunity to learn from teachers just like them.
*Note: Pre-req for admissions – must be a mutant

X Men


Number 3:  Jedi Academy - Coruscant, A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Tuition and fees: Unknown

Enrollment:  First post-war class – 12

Setting: Urban

Jedis have suffered from persecution throughout the history of the galaxy. While Jedi Academies were banned and destroyed during the Great Jedi Purge, since the Galactic Civil War many locations have re-opened to provide young Jedi quality instruction in the ways of the Force.

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Number 4:  I.F. Battle School - Space Station, Orbiting Earth

Tuition and fees: Unknown

Enrollment:  about 650

Setting: Galactic

The Battle School not only gives students a top notch education but also trains them for war with the Formics. At the Battle School students learn military strategy and tactics as well as mathematics and science. Before graduation students must also pass  mock battle simulations. Graduates of the Battle School also stand a very good chance of later acceptance to the Command School.

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Number 5:  Starfleet Academy - San Francisco, California, U.S.A., Earth

Tuition and fees: Money does not exist in this time period

Enrollment: High

Setting: Urban

Founded in 2161, Starfleet Academy has an excellent reputation for training Starfleet officer corps. It’s stellar reputation is upheld by a rigorous entrance exam. Notable alumni include Jean-Luc Picard and Kathryn Janeway. Ex astris, scientia; From the stars, knowledge!

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Number 6:  Empire State University - New York, United States

Tuition and fees: about $34,000

Enrollment:  about 22,000

Setting: Urban

ESU has been compared to both NYU and Columbia University.  Empire State has a policy of integration, making sure all types of students feel welcome – human and mutant alike. Given this history, ESU has many notable alumni including Peter Parker, Johnny Storm, Gwen Stacy and Emma Frost.

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Number 7:  Camp Half-Blood - Long Island, New York, U.S.A.  

Tuition and fees: Free (must be half-blood)

Enrollment:  37

Setting: Rural

While Camp Half-Blood has had some reputation issues as a party school (being run by Dionysus), there is no better school for demi-gods in the world! Camp Half-Blood is a safe environment in which demi-gods can grow and mature amongst their peers while  maintaining ties to the outside world.

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Number 8:  Pennbrook University - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Tuition and fees: about $43,000

Enrollment: about 9,250

Setting: Suburban

One Pennbrook University student chose to attend PU over an acceptance to Yale. She told people this was because of the friends and community she was sure to find while attending Pennbrook. With world class professors like Mr. Feeny, who could say no to Pennbrook? Go Penguins!

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Number 9:  Greendale Community College - Colorado, United States

Tuition and fees: $64 per credit hour

Enrollment:  about 21,000

Setting: Suburban

GCC may not be at the top academically, but it’s definitely an affordable option! With over 80 fields of study including air conditioning repair school, all headed up by a very colorful dean, Greendale is a fun place to obtain a degree. Notable alumni of GCC include Luiz Guzman! Greendale also features many options for getting involved on campus and even features an annual paintball tournament.  



Number 10:  Hudson University - New York, New York, U.S.A.

Tuition and fees: unknown

Enrollment: mid-range

Setting: Urban

Hudson University has long been described as a campus having a very high crime rate.  However, the University has a very close relationship with the NYPD and most cases are solved relatively quickly. If you choose to attend Hudson University be sure to have the NYPD SVU unit on speed dial.

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We hope that this list has given you a welcome break from the stress of the U.S. News College Rankings.  Be sure you go to the college that is best for you — rankings are very, very subjective.  

–Brian Stewart

College Board SAT Book Solutions Manual

ACT and SAT Test Prep, SAT Prep
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For students preparing for the SAT, the College Board Official SAT Study Guide is an excellent resource because it provides 10 previously administered SAT tests.  One thing it lacks is a good solutions manual.  One of my college classmates, Ted Dorsey, put together a great book that fills this need:

Ted is a top SAT tutor in Los Angeles, and has scored a 2400 on the test – he knows what he is doing.  The solutions are thorough yet concise — you won’t waste any time but you will get the information you need.  Put together, the SAT Study Guide and Ted’s guide make for a great combination for long-term intensive SAT review.  

Sample Ivy League Essays

College Admissions, College Application Essays
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Here is a collection of college application essays that students successfully used to earn admission to the eight Ivy League Universities.  Read them to see what students did to set themselves apart in their college applications.  

Brown University

  1. BU Admissions Essay
  2. “Significant Influence” Essay for Brown University
  3. Brown University “Person of Influence” Essay
  4. Sample Essay for Brown University
  5. Brown University Common App Essay
  6. Application Essay for Brown University
Columbia University
  1. Sample Essay from Columbia University
  2. Admissions Essay from Columbia University
  3. Columbia University Common App Essay
  4. Application Essay for Columbia University
  5. Columbia University Common Application Essay

Cornell University

  1. “World You Come From” Essay for Cornell University
  2. Cornell University Common Applicaiton Essay
  3. Admissions Essay for Cornell University
  4. Cornell Application Essay
  5. “Engineering” Essay for Cornell University
  6. Common App Essay for Cornell University
  7. Cornell University “Selected Major” Essay
  8. Sample Essay for Cornell University
  9. Cornell University Essay
  10. “Topic of Choice” Essay for Cornell University
  11. Cornell University Common Applicaiton Essay
  12. Admissions Essay for Cornell University
Dartmouth College
  1. DC Admissions Essay
  2. Common App Essay for Dartmouth College
  3. Darthmouth College “Favorite Quotation” Essay
  4. Application Essay for Dartmouth
  5. Dartmouth College Common App Essay
Harvard University
  1. Harvard College “Significant Experience” Essay
  2. “Background” Essay for Harvard University

Princeton University

  1. Princeton University Common App Essay
  2. Princeton University Application Essay
  3. Admissions Essay for Princeton University
  4. Common App Essay for Princeton University
  5. “Quote” Essay for Princeton University
  6. Princeton University Common Application Essay

University of Pennsylvania

  1. University of Pennsylvania Common App Essay
  2. “Topic of Choice” Essay for University of Pennsylvania
  3. UPenn Essay
  4. University of Pennsylvania “Significant Experience” Essay
  5. Personal Essay for UPenn
  6. “Academic Interests” Essay for University of Pennsylvania

Yale University

  1. Sample Essay Yale University
  2. Example Essay Yale University
  3. Yale University Application Essay
  4. “Personal and Educational Goals” Essay for Yale University
  5. Yale University Engineering Essay
  6. Admissions Essay for Yale University
  7. “Background” Essay for Yale University
  8. Yale University “Personal and Financial Obstacles” Essay

Guest Post from Jennifer Karan, Executive Director of the College Board

Guest Posts
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Many thanks to Jennifer Karan for sharing a great piece she wrote about the Freshman Year in College:

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