College Compass Welcomes New Writer, James

College Compass is very happy to welcome new writer James! James recently graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a B.F.A. in Musical Theater with an Honors Program concentration. A former Test Masters student, James now teaches the same test-tackling strategies that helped him achieve a 2280 on the SAT in 2009 (and, by extension, earn a Presidential Scholarship at a prestigious private university). Having been on over twenty college campus tours, he understands how baffling the college admissions process can be and is eager to help students find the colleges that are the right fit for them.

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If you guys have any questions for James, be sure to Ask Test Masters!

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HBCU Spotlight – Tuskegee University

Tuskegee_University_sealHistorically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have served a vital and transformative role in the history of America. Many of this country’s most prominent civil rights activists, politicians, actors, scientists, scholars, and public figures attended or taught at HBCUs, and for students of all backgrounds who want to connect with and be inspired by this history, HBCUs can provide an excellent education and a sense of pride in the extraordinary accomplishments of the many students who have gone before them.

There is, however, another potential benefit of attending an HBCU. Many of the top HBCUs offer generous merit-based scholarships to students who have met certain GPA and test score requirements. In this series, we have profiled some of the top HBCUs in the country to show you the kinds of opportunities that exist at these historic institutions. Continue reading “HBCU Spotlight – Tuskegee University” »

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What is the ISEE?

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So, you’re gearing up for applying to private schools, you know that you’re going to have to take some kind of entry-level test, and you come across this thing called the “ISEE,” now what? Well before I get into the approach and specifics of the test, I have to get a little boring and talk about the technicalities first (so bear with me).

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is a standardized admissions test administered to students aspiring to attend independent educational institutions. It is offered in three varying levels of difficulty: Lower Level, Middle Level, and Upper Level (below is a breakdown). Continue reading “What is the ISEE?” »

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Ask Test Masters: International Student Applying to the Ivy League

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Have a question? Ask the college admission experts at Test Masters!

Ask Test Masters is a free educational service offered by the college admission experts at Test Masters. College Compass readers Arman and Mandy have a question about applying to competitive US schools as an international student. They write,

“We are from Sydney Australia and my goal/dream is for my son to be accepted to a very good US university, preferably with a bit of scholarship if possible. My son is 16 turning 17 in October, and currently in Year 10 and will start Year 11 in Term 4. He will graduate in Year 12 in 2015 and we are hoping to go to university in the US in August 2016. He goes to a Government Selective School and is currently their number 1 player in Division 1 Tennis. I need some guidance, please, on how do I go about it for him to have a better chance? Thank you in advance.” Continue reading “Ask Test Masters: International Student Applying to the Ivy League” »

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Extra SAT Vocabulary – Coagulate

co·ag·u·late kōˈagyəˌlāt/ verb

Coagulate is a verb that means to change from a liquid to a solid or semisolid state. It is often used to describe the way blood thickens into a clot.

Sample Sentence:

I left a can of soda on my desk for a few weeks, and when I finally got around to pouring it out, it had coagulated into a goopy, slimy blob.

In this sentence, “coagulate” is being used to describe the drink’s transformation from a liquid into a semisolid glob. The meaning of the word can be deduced by noticing the description of the drink’s final form (a goopy, slimy blob).

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A Straightforward, Simple SAT Math Problem

SAT Math Reference InformationSometimes, math problems on the SAT really are as straightforward as they seem. Here’s an example of a problem that should be fairly easy to solve.

In a sequence of numbers, the first number is 6, and each number after the first number is 2 more than 3 times the preceding number. What is the third number in the sequence?

(A) 16
(B) 20
(C) 54
(D) 62
(E) 80

Continue reading “A Straightforward, Simple SAT Math Problem” »

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Reminder – UPCOMING SAT & ACT TEST DATES

Hello All!

Don’t forget that you have to actually register for the SAT & ACT in order to take them! Below you will find the test dates and registration (and late registration) deadlines for the fall, spring, and summer test dates. Continue reading “Reminder – UPCOMING SAT & ACT TEST DATES” »

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National Merit Scholarship Cutoff Scores by State

Students who took the PSAT in October of this year 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
…..and are graduating (graduated) in this year. 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Alabama 211 209 211 210 208 209 209
Alaska 212 204 212 214 211 212 213
Arizona 214 212 213 209 210 209 211
Arkansas 205 202 205 203 203 204 201
California 223 220 221 219 218 217 218
Colorado 215 212 215 212 213 213 213
Connecticut 221 218 220 219 218 218 217
Delaware 218 215 217 215 219 219 219
District of Columbia 224 221 223 223 221 221 223
Florida 214 211 214 210 211 211 212
Georgia 217 214 218 215 214 215 214
Hawaii 215 211 216 215 214 216 213
Idaho 211 207 211 208 209 208 204
Illinois 216 213 216 214 214 214 213
Indiana 215 211 214 212 211 213 213
Iowa 210 207 210 209 209 210 209
Kansas 216 212 214 211 211 211 212
Kentucky 211 208 212 208 209 209 208
Louisiana 209 209 209 210 207 208 206
Maine 215 210 212 213 213 212 211
Maryland 223 219 221 220 221 220 221
Massachusetts 224 221 223 223 221 221 223
Michigan 210 207 210 209 209 209 209
Minnesota 215 213 215 213 215 214 213
Mississippi 207 204 205 205 203 201 202
Missouri 213 210 213 210 211 213 211
Montana 207 203 209 208 204 208 207
Nebraska 209 207 209 210 207 206 207
Nevada 212 208 209 208 202 206 208
New Hampshire 214 211 216 214 213 211 215
New Jersey 224 221 223 221 221 220 221
New Mexico 210 208 210 206 208 209 208
New York 219 215 219 217 218 216 219
North Carolina 215 213 217 214 214 215 214
North Dakota 204 200 204 202 202 201 202
Ohio 215 212 214 212 211 213 211
Oklahoma 210 206 209 206 207 208 207
Oregon 218 213 216 215 213 213 213
Pennsylvania 217 214 215 216 214 213 214
Rhode Island 216 211 213 211 217 213 212
South Carolina 210 208 211 208 211 212 210
South Dakota 206 204 206 205 205 205 203
Tennessee 212 210 214 212 213 213 213
Texas 219 216 219 215 216 215 215
Utah 208 205 208 203 206 203 202
Vermont 217 214 217 212 213 213 216
Virginia 222 217 220 218 218 219 217
Washington 220 216 220 218 217 217 215
West Virginia 203 200 204 202 203 203 200
Wisconsin 210 207 209 209 207 210 208
Wyoming 203 200 204 202 201 201 200
International 224 221 223 223 221 221 223

 

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Extra SAT Vocabulary — Dichotomy

di·chot·o·my dīˈkätəmē/ noun

Dichotomy is a word that is used to represent the division between two things that are completely different. The implication in using this word is that two things are in direct contrast to each other, almost like opposite pairs

Sample Sentence:

There is a strong dichotomy between intuition and logic — one is an inherently unprovable feeling, and the other is a philosophical science rooted in deductive reasoning.

In this sentence, “dichotomy” is describing the opposing relationship between intuition and logic. If you already know what intuition and logic are, then it should be pretty clear what “dichotomy” means, because you already know that intuition and logic are opposites. If you don’t, then you can use the descriptions at the end of the sentence to figure out that “dichotomy” is being used to represent the opposing relationship.

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Improve Your SAT Score – Multiple Choice Writing

GrammarMany students struggle with the SAT Multiple Choice Writing section, which is surprising given how coachable this section of the exam really is. The SAT Multiple Choice Writing section is nothing more than a basic test of your English grammar comprehension. In an effort to elucidate this theory, we have compiled a list of 14 example problems that highlight some of the more common grammatical mistakes students are expected to recognize on test day. Join us over the next several weeks as we review these fourteen questions, one-by-one, to help you improve your SAT score. Continue reading “Improve Your SAT Score – Multiple Choice Writing” »

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