January 25th Newsletter

Note From Laura

Last week, I sent you a great ACT math tip that instructed students to concentrate on the first 30 questions of the test, because those questions are the easiest. My math tutors would like me to qualify this with an even better tip! Questions 31-59 do get increasingly more difficult, BUT question #60 is often a very easy question! Students should complete the first 30 questions, jump to question #60, and then go back to question #31.

How to Tackle the Test Like a Pro:

Taking the ACTs and SATs is like playing in the Superbowl: You need extreme focus, you can’t let your opponent psych you out, and your future is riding on your performance. To emerge victorious, you must be physically and mentally prepared to crush your opponent. In order to win the championship ring – that college acceptance letter – you need to outsmart, outperform, and out-tackle the toughest questions on the test. Here’s how to do it:

Wear a Watch: Timing is essential on the SAT and ACT, yet many classrooms don’t have clocks (or at least working ones!) Pacing can make or break your score, so keep an eye on the time.

Bubble in Properly: Filling in a circle seems so simple – but machines make mistakes! Don’t let sloppy writing cost you precious points. Fill in the circle completely, darkly, and within the lines so that the Scantron machine correctly interprets your answer. Don’t forget to erase completely. And whatever you do, don’t use a mechanical pencil!

Do Not Hit a Wall: Frustration and anxiety arise when you come to a tough question you cannot answer. It is important to SKIP this question and come back to it a few minutes later. As you take the test the brain develops a natural rhythm and what seemed impossible a few minutes ago might not be so hard now.  Answer the questions in the order you want to answer them!   Also, engage in Process of Elimination (POE): narrow the answer down to 2 or 3 choices (from 5) and make an educated guess.

Don’t Get Stumped: The SAT contains 10 sections, but one of these sections is the experimental section.   This section doesn’t count in your overall score. The experimental section can be math, reading, or writing (but not the essay). If you find a very difficult section, do not panic! This might be the experimental section. Take a deep breath and just do your best. The SAT can be a mind game but don’t let the test win! Still, make sure you complete every section even if you’re sure it’s the experimental one, just in case you’re wrong. (Better safe than sorry, right?)

Question of the Week:

Directions: Pick the BEST answer choice:

Suzie is taking Section 3 (10 sections total on the exam) and she can’t answer question #3 (25 questions total in this section).   She should do the following:

1.  Put her head down and cry.
2.  Twirl her pencil and pick the answer the point lands on.
3.  Try to eliminate the extreme answers and make an educated guess.
4.  Give up on the exam and spend the next 3 hours thinking about her new career as a pizza delivery girl.

Answer – Choice #3.  There is no need for explanation!


Quixotic: (adj.) romantic; impulsive; unrealistic and impractical

Suzie had the most quixotic ideas of what her life would be like if she married Prince Andrew.

College Spotlight
Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania

More than football and passionate school spirit, Penn State is known for its diverse academic degrees as well as its diverse student body. Penn State has a world renown Meteorology Department and the Food Sciences Program teaches students how to make ice cream – yum!  The school is the size of a small city and thus has much to offer socially.  Greek life is prevalent but not necessarily the only option given the vast student body and diverse social life.

Total Enrollment: 41,959
SAT CR: 530-630/Math: 570-670
ACT: 26-30
Strongest Programs: Earth Sciences, Engineering, Agricultural Sciences, Life Sciences, Nutrition, Family Studies

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