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How to Register for the ACT®

act phase 3 test prep Nov 18, 2021

Okay, so I know this may sound straightforward, but I frequently have students ask about how to register for the ACT®.

In some cases the ACT® is offered through your school (if you attend a public or private school). In these cases the ACT® date does not correlate with the typical 7 days a year the ACT is offered, and registration is usually completed by your guidance counselor.

If you are homeschooled or planning on taking a regularly scheduled ACT®, here is what you should do:

First off, you should ask the question should I register for this upcoming ACT® test date? I talk about choosing dates for the ACT here, so if you are unsure check out that post! You want to give some evaluation to whether you have time to adequately prepare for this test. I recommend 4+ weeks of active prep before each exam, preferably 8-16 weeks for your first test (check out my FREE 10-page ACT prep guide here or my online ACT prep course here).

Once you have decided that you...

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4 Keys to ACT and SAT Success

act exam prep phase 3 sat Oct 28, 2021

The 4 Keys to ACT and SAT Success

I’ve been working to help students prepare for the ACT and SAT for 14 years, and over that time I’ve determined there are four key factors to test prep success:

  1. Content
  2. Strategy
  3. Practice
  4. Review

All four of these elements MUST be in place for you to be successful! You could even consider these to all relate like a math equation:

CONTENT x STRATEGY (PRACTICE + REVIEW) = SUCCESS

OR

C S ( P + R ) = SUCCESS

For you to hit the target score you need for admission to your top choice schools AND to open doors for scholarships that make college affordable you need a plan for each of these four factors, so that’s what we’ll tackle in this post!

1. CONTENT

  •  The first key to ACT/SAT success is CONTENT. There are some things you just need to know. Primarily this is centered around the English and Math tests.
  • Remember that these are standardized exams. That means they don’t test everything, but rather have a limited...
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A Virtual Guidance Counselor

 

If you’re a parent looking for help getting your teen prepared for college (or maybe a non-college path)  while still keeping the peace at home then you already know that there are a ton of decisions and options ahead.

You want to see your child succeed after high-school. You have researched and talked with friends, but there is so much conflicting college prep advice. Which exams should your high-school student take? When should they start preparing? Do you need to sign up for dual enrollment or AP tests? And how can you start preparing for college if your teen doesn't even know what he or she wants to do? What if they want to pursue a career path you don't know anything about? What then? If this sounds familiar then you are in the right place! 

I was paid to go to college because I had a clear plan for a career path, and I created UniversityReady to help families be strategic in their approach to career and college preparation!

My heart is to help...

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Should a senior fill a light school year with Dual Enrollment?

 

My senior doesn't have many credits left for his senior year and is doing Dual Enrollment, how many Dual Enrollment credits should he take so his transcript doesn't look weak that year?

If your teen is starting credits early in junior high, or if they end up taking very full semesters or a super senior year, it's very easy to end up in a situation where there just aren't many credits left their senior year.

That is normal.

Don't stress out over trying to pad their schedule with a bunch of extra courses. You don't need busywork to get into college. Here are a few considerations when trying to determine how much to take on that senior year:

Is your teen applying to a college that has a holistic application process?

We refer to a college as having a "holistic" application process if they are looking at all angles of the student, not just transcripts and ACT/SAT scores. Many lower tier and state schools are not holistic, so having a bunch of DE course might help some, but not as...

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What books should you buy for ACT prep?

act phase 3 test prep Oct 20, 2021
 

Whenever I travel to speak, I am frequently asked about my recommendations for ACT Prep Books. While I do offer an online ACT Prep Course, I wanted to go through and talk about the print resources I recommend. 

NOTE: Grab my FREE 10-page ACT Prep Guide here!

Practice/Review Books vs Strategy/Content Books

First, it's important to differentiate between the differences between the purposes of your books, and for that I want to highlight the four components that are essential for ACT Prep:

  • STRATEGY
  • CONTENT
  • PRACTICE
  • REVIEW

PRACTICE/REVIEW: The ACT is a paper test, so you need to practice it that way-you need paper copies of official exams. Only one free ACT exam is released officially online, so if you don't get any other book, you need to own an Official Guide to the ACT.

Why the Official Guide? The ACT is copyrighted, so while Princeton Review, Barrons, Kaplan and other publishers sell books touting practice questions or practice tests, they are real exams and can actually...

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Does Dual Enrollment Count as 1 Credit or .5 for High School?

 

For dual enrollment, does each college semester class count as 1 credit or .5 credits for high school?

Great question! So when you are looking at the content that is covered in a Dual Enrollment course, a one-semester college class is typically considered to be the equivalency of a year of high school. So what you would normally cover in a whole year of high school Spanish 1 will be covered in one semester of Spanish at a college, a year of biology in high school will be equivalent to the first semester of biology in college, etc (should definitely take that into consideration when evaluating if your teen is ready for Dual Enrollment!).

How does that count when it comes to your transcript? When you take a Dual Enrollment course through a college (whether online, at the college campus, or at your high school through a DE arrangement), you will typically receive 3 hours of college credit (which will be on a transcript from that college that you will send to the school you...

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Is Dual Enrollment a Better Option than AP Classes?

 

I received the following question on Facebook:

Is Dual Enrollment a better option than AP classes?

Great question! There is a growing trend to earn college credit early, but we should always step back and ask ourselves which tools best fits our circumstances (or if early credit even makes sense for your situation).

To best understand this question I want to quickly summarize what each of these tools are:

Dual Enrollment: Where you take a college course while still in high school, with the goal of earning both high school and college credit.

AP Classes: An advanced, college-level high school course created by College Board that is designed to prepare you to take an AP exam and possibly earn college credit.

AP Exams: A test that is designed to be taken at the end of

It's important to realize that while both of these tools have become increasingly popular, they still are very specialized college prep tools that are not required and do not make sense for...

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AP or CLEP Tests (or neither)?

ap clep phase 3 Jul 06, 2021
 

There is a growing trend to utilize credit by examination, whether that's AP exams or CLEP tests or other tools like DSST exams.

But just because something is a trend doesn't mean it makes sense for you

Here we'll take a look at the difference between the two exams and then some criteria for you to determine if these tools make sense for you:

 

AP Exams

 

CLEP Tests

  • Not as widely accepted as AP exams, but are generally considered easier.
  • You can schedule to test whenever works for you and your local testing facility (often community colleges).
  • Exams are 90 minutes long, computer administered,...
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Pros and Cons of Pursuing an Associate Degree During High School

 

I received the following question this week: What are the pros and cons of earning an associate degree during high school?

There are more and more opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school, even leading up to a full Associate Degree. The person who asked the question lived in one of the growing number of states that offer a free or drastically reduced option for dual enrollment. This sounds great, get a whole Associate Degree while still in high school, but you should carefully consider the pros and cons first!

Pros:

  • Students can develop the study habits needed to excel at college while still in high school and with their high school resources and support team.
  • Completing an Associate Degree in high school can allow a student to jump right in to their major after graduation (rather than having to focus on general studies).
  • There are a growing number of well-paying jobs that only require an Associate Degree, providing more options for the student...
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ACT or SAT - Which Exam is Right for You?

act exam prep phase 3 sat Apr 28, 2021
 

Where Do I Start?

So first off when deciding whether to take the ACT or the SAT, it's important to note that since 2007 every college in the country accepts both the ACT and the SAT exam for admissions.

This means that students no longer have a college-motivated reason to take one exam over the other, but instead should take whichever exam they perform better on.

How do you determine that? Well we'll talk you through that, but first let's take a look at the basic structure of each test:

 

ACT Format

  • LENGTH: 2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay), 3 hours, 40 minutes (with essay)
  • SECTIONS: English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, Essay (Optional)
  • MATH: 60 minutes, 25% of your composite score, heavier on geometry than SAT, more math concepts than SAT, requires memorization of formulas, can use calculator on all questions, all questions are multiple choice
  • SCIENCE: Contains a Science Reasoning section
  • TIME PER QUESTION: Less time per question on every section than...
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