The PSAT, no matter what you have heard, is very important. Although the PSAT does not count for admission to college, it is a great indication of where you are in terms of the SAT. Those that score highly may need less tutoring, while those with lower scores may need to seek out tutoring or additional studying.
A common misconception among parents and students is that high GPAs equate to high SAT scores. For example, people may believe a student with a 4.4 GPA is guaranteed to get a 1500 on the SAT, but this is not exactly the case. Students with 4.5 GPA are not guaranteed in the 1500s and they may not be guaranteed to be in the 1200s. Also, this is perfectly fine. The world is not over if a student with a 4.3 GPA gets an 1130 on the PSAT. It just means the student either needs to study or get tutoring for the test. With effort, no matter the student, your score will raise. Below, we have posted the links to three different PSAT practice tests with the answers and scoring scale.
Collegeboard 2015 PSAT Practice Test 1
Practice Test 1 Answers and Scoring
Practice Test 1 Answer Explanations
Collegeboard 2016 PSAT Practice Test 2
Practice Test 2 Answers and Scoring
Practice Test 2 Answer Explanations
Ivy Global Practice PSAT (with answers and scoring included)
Two of these tests are from the Collegeboard, the company in charge of administering the SAT. The other is from Ivy Global, a credible source with tests very similar to those produced by the Collegeboard. Anyone can take these tests for free and get their scores using the Scoring Sheet provided. If you need help generating a score from 200-1520 from your student’s answers, call us at 732 903 8740 or email email@example.com. If your score is not where you want it to be or you are struggling with the test, call Dugan Prep at 732-903-8740. We can teach you how useful hints and tactics that will make the PSAT and SAT much easier.
Should You Take the SAT Essay?
The SAT is undoubtedly a vital part of any college application. The highest scores can see a prospective student flying through the admissions process (provided you already have a good GPA), whereas a poor score can automatically resign an application to the discard pile.
Many parents are confused when it comes to taking the SAT essay. Even though the essay is now an optional portion of the test, many schools still require students to submit an SAT essay in order to gain entry to their respective colleges.
This post aims to clear up the confusion by revealing which schools require the SAT essay and when exactly you want to take the essay.
What is the SAT Essay?
The SAT essay is one section of the SAT exam. Initially, this was a required portion of the test. However, it has now been designated optional by the Collegeboard, making this standardized test the same as the ACT, which has always had an optional writing portion.
Students are given 50 minutes to analyze a passage of an author’s text. The student’s job is to then to determine, through their essay, how the author came to build his or her argument.
The score received on the essay is separate from the rest of the scores given on the SAT. The main SAT is scored out of 1600, whereas the essay is graded from 2-8, with three categories evaluated: Reading, Writing and Analysis.
Do Universities Require the SAT Essay Now That It’s Optional?
Universities remain divided on the subject of the SAT essay and their admissions requirements. Even prestigious groups such as the Ivy League cannot agree with their stance on the optional essay.
For example, almost every Ivy League University indeed requires the SAT essay. However, Brown and Cornell no longer ask for it as part of their admissions requirements.
Additionally, there are some public schools who vehemently stick to their requirements for the SAT essay, particularly in California, where all applicants to the University of California campuses will need to submit their SAT essay scores to successfully gain entry.
The full list of US colleges that currently require the SAT essay can be found below:
• Benedictine University
• California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
• Claremont McKenna College
• CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
• Dartmouth College
• Delaware State University
• DeSales University
• Dominican University of California
• Duke University
• Harvard College
• High Point University
• Jewish Theological Seminary of America
• John Wesley University
• Kentucky State University
• Martin Luther College
• Princeton University
• Rhode Island College
• Schreiner University
• Soka University of America
• Southern California Institute of Architecture
• Stanford University
• Texas A&M University—Galveston
• United States Military Academy (West Point)
• University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
• University of California, Davis (UC Davis)
• University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine)
• University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
• University of California, Merced
• University of California, Riverside
• University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
• University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
• University of California, Santa Cruz
• University of Miami
• University of Michigan
• University of Minnesota (Morris)
• University of North Texas
• Villanova University
• West Virginia University
• West Virginia University Institute of Technology
• Western Carolina University
• Yale University
Benefits of the Essay
There are many benefits to taking the SAT essay, even if the schools that a student is applying to do not actually require it for admission.
Firstly, completing this segment of the exam covers a student for all colleges’ requirements, and it means that they won’t have their choices narrowed based on any specific SAT requirements.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, a good SAT essay score can boost your application chances, even if it is not required. If a college is particularly competitive, going above and beyond by completing this optional portion of the exam will make an application stand out over others who have decided to skip it.
This is especially the case if you are applying for either an English-based or essay-based subject such as Literature or History.
SAT Essay Misconceptions
Many students have incorrect assumptions about taking the SAT essay, and therefore choose to skip it, rather than take it and gain the benefits laid out above.
Many feel that the essay is another section of the SAT that will require a serious amount of dedicated additional studying.
This is not actually the case. Even a few hours of committed essay practice can dramatically improve overall scores. 6-8 hours of study should be plenty, and with that amount of time dedicated to essay practice, students should expect to be receiving marks on the higher end of the scale.
Next, the section of the exam requires an extra 50 minutes at the end of an already 3-hour long exam. Many students feel that they will struggle to stay focused for this amount of time, and therefore skip the essay in order to achieve the best possible score on the main SAT segments.
This is an incorrect assumption. Firstly, the essay has no bearing on the SAT’s overall score out of 1600, it is assessed independently on a scale of 2-8. Secondly, whilst students will indeed have to sit for almost 4 hours, it is more important to complete the essay and receive a grade, than not complete it at all.
This leads onto the final misconception. Many feel that they don’t want to attempt the essay for fear of receiving a bad grade and tarnishing their SAT exam results.
Although many schools require you to take the test, only the supremely prestigious and competitive schools will analyze the grade. For the majority of schools that require the essay, the actual score is not terribly important in the admissions process.
Students are well-advised to take the SAT essay. First and foremost, it gives prospective students the ability to apply to any school in the country, instead of narrowing their choices to colleges that have made it an optional requirement. If there is a 25% chance (or above) that a student will apply to a school with the essay requirement, then completing this additional section of the SAT is a must.
Finally, and perhaps crucially, the SAT essay provides an opportunity for students to gain an edge over other applicants at competitive schools. Pupils who complete the SAT essay will demonstrate to admissions staff that they are willing to go above and beyond in order to gain entry to their school.
Parents would be sensible to register their child for the SAT with essay, allowing their child a better shot at gaining entry to their preferred college.
When taking a standardized test like the ACT, you are guaranteed access to official ACTs. These practice tests consist of official questions from past ACTs, as well as answers to check your work. The real test will have questions similar to these previous tests.
Attached are some practice ACTs released by ACT, Inc. Some test years are missing because ACT, Inc. will use one test and duplicate it to use for the next couple of years. These tests, as mentioned above, are official ACT tests with official ACT questions. They are posted below:
ACT, INC. has also released an official ACT prep book, The Official ACT Prep Guide, 2018-19 Edition. This book offers four full length practice tests; however, only one of them is unique to the tests listed above. As a result, we recommend buying the third edition which offers 5 unique ACT practice tests.
We will also offer tips for ACT and would like to mention one more time: these tests will not guarantee a good grade. If there are some things you do not understand, make sure to study and learn them for the test. As mentioned, studying one test is a bad idea. Make sure to expose yourself to as much content as possible and learn the key concepts of that content. That will help you a lot more than just studying one test.
“We’re the honest way to get ahead,” says founder Tim Dugan.
United States federal prosecutors have recently indicted parents on charges bribing officials to secure illegal college admissions for their children. These parents spent widely varying amounts of money to have people take the SAT for their children or change their scores upon completion of the SAT. People were also paid to fake athletic scholarships to help their children get into college. These students were then granted admission to some of the top colleges in the nation and in the world. However, these parents and even their children will now face the repercussions of their actions.
To highlight some of these cases:
-In one case, the suspect is still unknown, but this parent had paid $6.5 million to William Springer, the head of the cheating ring. As a result, their child was granted admission to the University of Southern California, one of the most prestigious institutions in the U.S.
-Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to help their children, Olivia Jade and Isabella Giannulli, get into the University of Southern California. Their money was spent to have both children touted as crew recruits to USC, even though they had never rowed in their lives. Both of their children were granted admission and are still at the school.
-William Rick Singer, the CEO of a college admissions prep company, was a linchpin of the fake SAT operation. Singer labeled payments as charitable donations to The Key Worldwide Foundation, a supposed non-profit organizatoin, which he used to launder the bribe money he received from parents.
-Mark Riddell, the Director of College Entrance Exam Preparation at IMG Academy, will plead guilty for his crimes. Since 2012, Riddell was paid $10,000 per test to take the SAT or ACT for students. It is unknown how many tests he had taken. Riddell would also change the answers for students after they had completed the standardized test. His crimes are especially important to us at Dugan Prep because it would be very simple for us to take the easy way out and write papers for students, write colleges essays for students, and take exams in place of students. But that runs entirely contrary to the ideals of learning, enlightenment, and bettering of our students. So at every turn, we will refuse to participate in these actions and we are disappointed in Riddell’s choices.
-Here are a list of schools who have responded to and may be linked to these scandals: University of Texas Austin, Wake Forest, Yale, University of Southern California, University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, Georgetown University, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania. These are schools have made firings of coaches/staff members connected to the scandal, expelled students in a connection to the scandal, or are investigating admitted students who may have fraudulent SAT scores.
At Dugan Prep, we pride ourselves on teaching an entirely honest and forthright method to help your children achieve success on the SAT. Not only will students receive expert academic instruction, but they will also learn important traits like dedication and quick thinking. Success here comes with hours of tutoring, homework, and practice tests. Unlike the get-rich-quick schemes peddled by unscrupulous companies, our programs require hard work, but when students achieve their goals, they got there honestly and without cheating.
Dugan Prep will be offering free AP US History Seminars in preparation for the May 10th AP exam in American History. Classes will take place each Friday 3-4pm at Dugan Prep in Red Bank. Founder Tim Dugan, who holds a degree in History from the University of Pennsylvania, will be teaching. Each class will be entirely free of charge and open to an unlimited amount of students. There is no deadline to sign up, and students may join at any time.
The first lecture will take place Friday March 29th and cover the period 1450-1750 in Colonial and American History.
Dugan Prep will be bringing back group SAT tutoring, albeit in a small pilot program. Founder Tim Dugan will be teaching group SAT classes each Wednesday from 4-5pm. Classes cost $80/hr and will be limited to students with SAT scores below a 1300. The score restriction has been put in place to ensure that most students are at similar levels for the group sessions. The pilot class will be capped at 5 students each, and spots will open up on March 19th, 2019.
In the dreaded career search, students are always asked, “Well what do you like?” This question is confusing, not least because they have had little time to try different types of work. Here I lay out the 7 Types of Liking Work so students can easily categorize the reasons why they feel positively toward certain types of work. Hopefully it can be useful in helping students pick careers.
1. Liking the Status of a Job
Often when we ask if we would “like” a certain job, we instinctively react to the status of that job. Jobs like banker, manager, doctor, and developer are all high-status jobs. If you catch yourself “liking” these jobs, ask yourself, “Do I like these jobs because other people respect them?” If yes, then it is partially status that attracts you to a job. Status is cool, but mostly visible from the outside. People without those jobs may envy you, but once you get a job in that field, your new coworkers become your peers. Therefore, all of your “new peers” have already accomplished getting this high-status job, and you hold no status advantage over them, so you may not feel the happiness of having a high-status job. In short, you get used to it and the cool factor wears off after you get the job.
2. Liking the Compensation of a Job
One driver of status is money, and one of the biggest reasons people choose jobs is money. Recognize if this is one of your main motivations, and there is nothing wrong with that.
3. Liking the Topic of a Job
Do you love a certain topic, be it history, music, or math? You may like a job in that topic, but you also might want to work a different job and study your topics as hobbies. That way, you can have fun with them, instead of worrying about making your hobby pay the bills. Either way, if your great love is numbers, you will likely dislike a job where you deal with words all day. Likewise for word-lovers; a number-crunching job may crush your soul.
4. Liking the Experience of a Job
This is how you feel after attempting a certain kind of work for 4-8 hours. Are you bored? Or are your interested? This is regardless of the topic. For example, you may love history. You may find writing and researching history papers quite boring, while you may love teaching history to other people. In that case, you enjoy the topic, but don’t enjoy the experience of working alone; you far prefer the company of others.
5. Liking a Type of Interaction with People
Are you energized by working with others, yet tired when you work alone? You may love a job where you interact with people. Teaching is a type of job where you interact with people constantly. In a job like software developer or business analyst, you work alone much more often. It's important to understand this before you get into a career path.
6. Liking the Lack of Bad Aspects
Many jobs bring negative aspects with them. For example, waking up early might be a negative, so you might like a job because it lets you sleep late. Starting your own business allows you to avoid negative things like waking up early or taking orders from a boss. Working a regular job subjects you to these negative aspects, but it also brings positive feelings, like our last category.
7. Liking the Camaraderie of a Job
Serving as a member part of a work crew, like on a farm on in a landscaping crew, can bring tremendous camaraderie, or a sense of togetherness from the shared work. Working with a group of people your own age who get off work at the same time can bring camaraderie as well. You will likely hang out after work and that may become your favorite part. Entrepreneurs beware, however: starting your own business does not provide much camaraderie, since you are usually alone in your responsibilities and may have different hours from most people.
Hopefully this can help you or your student figure out the reason they like certain careers, so they can make better choices for their futures.
Tim Dugan is the Founder of Dugan Prep.
On Saturday January 26th, Dugan Prep will be hosting a free practice SAT to the public. We will be offering time management tips for the SAT and will have students take the test in a simulated test day environment. By taking the test in a simulated environment, students can get the feel for what the actual test will be like. Students scores will be graded within the 2 days after the test and scores will be reported back to the students with score reports from each section. New clients will receive a $50 coupon for $50 off their first tutoring session.
The test will be held at 7 Peters Place, Red Bank 07701.
Feel free to call us with any questions about the test at 732-903-8740.
You may RSVP below or simply show up.
The SAT is an extremely important factor in college admissions, but admissions are so complicated that it’s difficult to tell how the SAT influences an application. An SAT score can make or break a college application and we want to display the true importance of the SAT. After extensive research, we have found data on some of the most applied-to schools for students from the Northeast. We saw that GPA had a large influence- below a certain minimum, each college rejected most students.
But above that minimum, it was students’ SAT scores that determined admission or rejection. From data on yearly admissions, we have compiled a table of information that compares two representative students who are both applying to the same school- one represents the group that will be rejected, and the other stands for the accepted group.
Now, GPA matters as well. For some of these schools, a certain high GPA will virtually guarantee you admittance. On the negative side, there is always a “floor” GPA; below that GPA, the school will not consider you unless you have extraordinary circumstances (e.g. you’re a star athlete). Universities will un-weight the GPA you receive from your high school- some schools use wild weighting systems and the examination must be fair. Schools also consider course difficulty and high school prestige as important factors in admission. For each of these universities, we will lay out the “ceiling” GPA and “floor” GPA. Most students will fall between them, and we will show if they will be admitted based on differences in their SAT score.
Let’s begin with Boston College. At BC, the admissions office will probably reject any application with a GPA below 3.5. That is the “floor” GPA. (A career as a star athlete, legacy status at BC, or 1st-generation college status all may be exceptions to this rule.) Even a perfect 4.0 GPA is not enough to guarantee admission to BC; the college rejects applicants with 4.0 GPAs if their SAT scores fall short.
These results are based on admissions data from BC over the past few years and represent what is likely to occur. We found that students with a 1200 and below were rejected, whereas students with a 1350 or above were accepted. Between those two scores, students have a medium chance of gaining acceptance, and many in that group were waitlisted by BC.
Next, we will review Villanova. At Villanova, a 3.9 GPA seemed to be the “ceiling” GPA and students above that GPA were granted acceptance into Villanova. The “floor” GPA was a 3.5 and students below that GPA found it extremely challenging to be admitted into the school. (Once again, there are exceptions to this, e.g a star basketball player or legacy student.)
These results are based on admissions data from Villanova over the last couple years and provided a good representation of what is likely to occur. We found that students below 1200 on the SAT struggled to be admitted to Villanova while students with above a 1300 were accepted. Students who had in between a 1200 and 1300 SAT were generally waitlisted by Villanova and had a hard time gaining admission into the school.
Examining the Ohio State University, we found that students above a 3.8 GPA were admitted no matter what. Those below a 2.8 GPA were not admitted unless they lived in Ohio or were recruited for varsity sports. But between the 2.8 and 3.8 GPA marks, the SAT score made a significant difference.
Just 100 extra points on the SAT was enough to push most students to acceptance- or keep them rejected from the school. Students below a 1250 usually did not gain admission (excepting athletes and Ohio residents), and students at a 1350 or above usually were admitted. Those between a 1250 and 1350 sometimes were admitted.
We also reviewed Clemson University. At Clemson, a potential student will need at least a 2.8 GPA, as students below the 2.8 mark were mostly rejected. Any GPA above a 3.7 almost guarantees admission into Clemson.
After reviewing Clemson, we noticed that the SAT is very important in the admissions process. Students with below an 1100 were almost always denied and students with above a 1350 were almost always accepted. Students who fell between an 1100 and a 1350 struggled to gain acceptance into the university.
Lastly, we will examine Penn State University. Our research into yearly admissions data found that a 3.5 GPA almost guarantees admission into Penn State. On the other hand, a GPA below a 2.5 nearly ensures rejection, except for Pennsylvania residents and recruited athletes. But for students between a 2.5 and 3.5, we can see what they need for admission.
Again 100 points makes the difference- most students below 1000 were rejected and most at an 1100 or above were accepted. Students between 1000 and 1100 were usually placed on the wait-list.
These are just five of the most popular schools for students coming out of the Northeast. We saw that GPAs act as gatekeepers for most schools; without a certain minimum GPA, one cannot get in. But once a student meets that threshold, it is the SAT that earns them acceptance or rejection from a school. In most cases, 100 points were enough to determine acceptance or rejection.
Our business is raising SAT scores so you or your student can gain admission to the school you want. The average student here improves their SAT score by 160 points, enough to put an application over the top.
Call us at 732 903 8740 today.
The 2019 February ACT is approaching and it is time to start studying. Come in for 1 on 1 tutoring at Dugan Prep, where you will have access to our quizlets and ACT tactics that have everything you need to achieve a great score on the ACT. We also offer free practice tests to help students practice taking the ACT. The CollegeBoard no longer offers a January SAT, so the next chance at a standardized test is the February 9th, 2019 ACT.
The Dugan Prep Advantage:
-The benefits of ACT tutoring far outweigh the costs. Spending money on tutoring will lead to score improvement, which can help students earn scholarships for hitting certain ACT scores. For example, at Ohio State University, you can earn a full scholarship, 100% tuition free, with a 34 on the ACT along with good grades. Higher ACT scores allow students to attend more prestigious universities. This will improve job prospects and give them name recognition from those prestigious universities for the rest of their lives.
-1 on 1 tutoring. In some class settings, a student could be behind or ahead of what the class is learning, which in no way benefits the student. A 1 on 1 ACT tutoring session allows our tutors to cater their lessons and practice around the student, not the class. The tutor can then assist a student with their biggest weaknesses or sections that they need practice on, not what the class as a whole needs.
-The Socratic Method. At Dugan Prep, we pride ourselves on teaching students to learn and understand everything they are being taught as opposed to having our students just memorize information. We put this into practice by using the Socratic method, where instead of just giving students answers, we ask the students questions to lead them through the problem and understand how the problem works. After we teach a lesson, we require students to require explain how they arrived at their solution and we frequently quiz them on topics that they have already learned. This is far more effective than lecturing or explaining alone.