SAT Vocab—Altruistic

Vampire bats can actually be quite altruistic: healthy bats have been known to care for sickly ones by regurgitating blood for those too weak to feed themselves.

Vampire bats can actually be quite altruistic: healthy bats have been known to care for sickly ones by regurgitating blood for those too weak to feed themselves.

This Week’s Word: Altruistic adj.

[al-troo-is-tik]   /ˌæl truˈɪs tɪk/

Altruistic can either describe someone who is unselfishly concerned for the welfare of others or a behavior that exhibits this quality. The noun form, altruism, is also an SAT favorite.

Synonyms: Selfless/selflessness, charitable

Antonyms: egotistic/egoism, self-centered

Origin: While the connection may not be immediately apparent, altruism and altruistic share a root with “alter” and “alternate.” All of these words come from the same Latin root, alter, meaning “the other (of two).” Altruism came into English in the latter half of the 19th century from the French altruisme, which was coined by 19th century philosopher Auguste Comte. Comte borrowed the term either from the French phrase l’autrui or the Italian altrui, meaning “others.”

Sample 1: Ms. Barrett praised Raj for his altruism, finding it refreshing to see a kindergartener so eager to share his school supplies.

Sample 2: In spite of his previous egoism, Tripp’s motives for funding the project appear to be completely altruistic; after all, there will certainly be little if any return on his investment.

Miss the last vocabulary word? Click here to find out what puerile means. Or study up on other Test Masters vocab.

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Texas Schools’ Application Deadlines

Don’t forget, college application deadlines are right around the corner! You’ve worked so hard to study for exams, write a killer college essay (or essays), and fill out tedious forms that it would be a shame to miss the deadline for admissions. So your friends at College Compass and Test Masters have come up with a nifty table that includes the registration deadlines for some popular Texas universities:

Texas application deadlines

Keep in mind, the application deadline typically means that you need to submit all the necessary application materials as well as your application fee by this date; however, universities still may accept additional test scores or other supporting materials—such as the FAFSA—after this date. You will need to check with universities on an individual basis to confirm the deadline for supporting materials.

ALSO REMEMBER some universities may have an earlier deadline to be considered for merit scholarships. The deadlines listed above are final deadlines for admissions.

Good luck! And if you have any questions about applications, don’t forget to ask Test Masters.

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SAT Vocab—Puerile

This week’s word: Puerile

/ˈpyʊər aɪl/ [pyoo r-ahyl]

Puerile describes something childish or relating to childhood.

Synonyms: Infantile, juvenile

The puerile drawing hanging on the fridge was the only indicator that a child lived in the house.

The puerile drawing hanging on the fridge was the only indicator that a child lived in the house.

Word Origin: Puerile was adopted from the French puéril, “like a boy,” in the late 16th century. It comes from the Latin puer, which means “boy.” Overtime, however, its denotation has broadened from “boyish” to “childish.”

Sample 1: After their verbal altercation, which quickly devolved into childish name calling, the two men were reprimanded by their boss for their puerile behavior in the workplace.

Sample 2: Violet read the underwhelming story with resentment; she couldn’t believe a student as smart as Jasmine would turn in such a puerile work of fiction.

Sample 3: Sterling often wondered what would have happened had he not given up his puerile dream of becoming an astronaut.

Miss the last vocabulary word? Click here to find out what ephemeral means. Or study up on other Test Masters vocab.


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What is Financial Aid? Pt. I: Scholarships vs. Grants vs. Loans

Graduation_capWith the Common Application’s deadline behind us and ApplyTexas’ shortly ahead, you might be thinking that the college admissions process is over and that now it’s just a waiting game. This is true to a certain extent, but there is one more hoop to jump through before deciding on  what college you’ll go to —financial aid. This four part series will hopefully illuminate what is a murky financial aid system. Continue reading “What is Financial Aid? Pt. I: Scholarships vs. Grants vs. Loans” »

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What does it mean to be Pre-Law? Part I: Majors

However, being a good lawyer may ultimately depend upon tipping these scales on way or the other. Pre-Law is a designation applied to college students who are completing a bachelor’s degree specifically in preparation to attend Law School. While most universities will not have a formal “Pre-Law” major (although some will), almost every four-year university will offer some type of degree path that may be considered Pre-Law. In fact, almost any degree path may be considered Pre-Law. In this series, we will discuss what is typically required and expected of law school applicants, starting with College Majors. Continue reading “What does it mean to be Pre-Law? Part I: Majors” »

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Multiple Choice Writing Tips–Avoid Passive Voice

Don't let your sentences be passive couch potatoes!

Don’t let your sentences be passive couch potatoes!

Perhaps you’re familiar with this scenario: finally, after you’d forgotten you’d even turned it in, your teacher passes back the paper you slaved over (maybe for weeks, maybe until 4:57 the night before), and there, at the top of the page, is a score ONE POINT below the letter grade that wanted. What could she possibly have found wrong? The thesis? BRILLIANT. The organization? MASTERFUL. Citations? CLEAN AND CORRECT. But there, as you flip through, just one or two sentences are underlined in red accompanied by teacher scrawl in the margins that reads, “Passive Voice!”

WHAT voice? Continue reading “Multiple Choice Writing Tips–Avoid Passive Voice” »

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Get a Perfect Score – Like Michelle Xie

Michelle Xie has joined the ranks of elite Test Masters students who have captured a perfect score on the SAT. Xie, a senior at Clements High School, took the full length Test Masters SAT classroom course the summer before her sophomore year of high school. Xie spent the intervening years between the end of her course and her Perfect SAT Score, achieved on the June 2015 SAT, keeping her test taking skills sharp through Test Masters’ Exam Club. In fact, Xie attributes part of her success to the wide range of resources available through Test Masters, which made it “easier to focus on studying instead of finding things to study.”

Like many Test Masters perfect score students, Xie is proof that you don’t have to devote your life to test prep to achieve a perfect score on the SAT. Although Xie spent a fair amount of time during her high school career preparing for the SAT, she also found time to dabble in filmmaking, practice violin, and learn “enough Spanish to watch telenovelas without subtitles.” Xie also joined a string ensemble, called the “Happy Christmas Kids,” that dedicates themselves to performing at nursing homes, museums, hospitals, and town centers during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.

Xie hopes her perfect score will help her get into the Writing for Screen and Television Program at the University of Southern California, which is part of her larger goal to secure a job as a staff writer “on a decent TV show.” Though her goals are ambitious, Xie is familiar with the kind of tenacity it requires to make her dreams a reality, and her advice for students looking to match her perfect score is to “be realistic with what you need to do to score well, and do it.”

Xie feels that Test Masters improved the efficiency and effectiveness of her practice in an invaluable way. She was pleased with not only her access to previous exams via Exam Club, which helped her improve her scores by repeatedly exposing her to the test, but also the engaging manner in which her classes were taught.


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College Profile – Tulane University

Tulane UniversityTulane University, located “five miles by streetcar” from the heart of downtown New Orleans, is one of the nation’s premiere educational and research institutions. From 1847 to 1884, Tulane operated as the Medical College of the University of Louisiana. In 1884, following the generous donation of over $1 million in “land, cash, and securities” by Paul Tulane (equivalent to $1.4 billion in 2015 dollars), the Medical College was renamed Tulane University of Louisiana and declared a private, nonsectarian university. Continue reading “College Profile – Tulane University” »

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I missed the PSAT! Am I doomed?

Too sick to take the PSAT? Don't worry!

Too sick to take the PSAT? Don’t worry!

To those of you who are at home fighting illness and frantically combing the internet to find out if you’ll ever be a National Merit Scholar, TAKE A DEEP BREATH! You can makeup the exam! Yes, if you had to miss today’s PSAT exam due to illness, emergency, or other extenuating circumstances (alien abduction, mauled by tiger, etc.), you haven’t missed your only chance to be a National Merit semifinalist.

The National Merit Scholarship is a highly prestigious $2,500 scholarship prize given to 2,500 students around the US every year. The PSAT (also known as the NMSQT — National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is used as the preliminary decider in who qualifies for the test. If a junior in high school takes the PSAT and scores above the cutoff score for his or her state, he or she has a chance to receive the scholarship. Even being a semifinalist or finalist can open doors in terms of other scholarships and college admissions—some colleges will even grant a finalist full tuition! Continue reading “I missed the PSAT! Am I doomed?” »

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Get a Perfect Score- Like Karen Yang

Karen Yang, a Test Masters student and frequent exam club attendee, has joined the top one percent of test takers nationwide by achieving a perfect score on the June 2015 administration of the SAT. Yang attributes much of her success to Test Masters, particularly the exam club, which provided her with “an endless amount of SAT questions to master.”

Like many students, Yang appreciated her Test Masters course that she completed in conjunction with Exam Club. While she felt that the instructors were “lighthearted and ‘chill,’” she found the course content “rigorous and informative.” Yang thought it was particularly helpful that both the course and the exam club rely on real SAT questions to help students prepare for the test, and would advise other students seeking a perfect score to only use real College Board material as well.

The group of Test Masters alumni who have made a perfect score on either the SAT or ACT is made up of students of many backgrounds and varied talents and interests completely unrelated to their test-taking expertise, and Yang is no exception. Yang is trilingual (English, Mandarin, and Spanish), and she enjoys dancing (both Chinese and ballet), modeling, competing in pageants, and drawing. While her hobbies may be on the artistic side, Yang hopes to put her creative energy into a career in business or entrepreneurship.

Yang, who plans to major in economics, hopes to be making the transition from Dulles High School to a prestigious Ivy League university next fall, leaving the heat and humidity of her lifelong home in Houston, TX for a cooler Northeastern climate. While getting admitted to an Ivy League school isn’t easy for anyone, Yang’s perfect score, which she feels confident she would not have achieved without the help of Test Masters, will hopefully help her application find its way to the top of the stack.

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