ACT Reports a sad state…but not our students. Check it out.

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Which score is better? My ACT or my SAT?

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Many students wonder about this. My philosophy is simple – you should concentrate on one test or the other, since both are treated equally by admissions counselors. However, if you have taken both, and wish to know how they compare, here is a simple chart for you to use as a reference.


                ACT Composite Score                    Corresponding SAT Score














































*21 is the average composite score as of 2012.

**1500 is the average SAT score as of 2012.

Professor Dave writes…A novel???

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Yes, my first novel has been published and is now available. I would love to know what you think!


Give it a try.


The Whining Mill

Grab a copy of Professor Dave’s Owner’s Manual for the SAT and ACT Essays — On Sale! At Amazon this week

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Professor Dave’s Owner’s Manual for the SAT and ACT Essays is enjoying a special discount this month at Amazon, grab it while it’s at its lowest price ever!

All owners of the manual receive free unlimited essay grading.

Link to Book

SAT IIs? Yes or no? Do I need them?

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If you’re like most people, you don’t give much thought to the SAT IIs.  They seem like pesky little annoyances that don’t matter much to your application…until the day comes when you realize you need to take two of them in three weeks or else your application won’t be accepted.

Do You Need to Take the SAT IIs?

As with most college questions, “it depends.”

First, know this:

The majority of colleges do not require SAT IIs, and an even larger majority don’t expect them.

HOWEVER, a large majority of the most competitive colleges DO expect them, and weigh them pretty heavily in their overall application picture.  

EVERY college accepts the SAT and ACT with equal gravity.  Anyone who tells you that colleges “prefer” one test to the other is wrong.  Don’t listen to them. A quote from William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions at Harvard University: “We treat the SAT and the ACT on an absolutely equal basis.” Enough said?

HOWEVER, depending on the school you apply to, taking the ACT might make you EXEMPT from taking the SAT II, whereas taking the SAT might not make you exempt at all.

So here’s how it goes:

1. Many schools don’t require SAT IIs at all.

2. Those schools that do are split between:

A) Schools that accept the ACT in place of the SAT and SAT IIs

B) Schools that require SAT IIs regardless of whether you’ve taken the SAT or the ACT

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of schools that accept, review, require, and exempt from all SAT IIs, look no further than Compass Prep’s list here:

Notice that most of these schools are extremely competitive.  As I said, the SAT II is largely an expectation of the nation’s most challenging schools.  However, don’t trust a list to make all your college decisions for you, at the end of the day, there’s one golden rule:

CALL the admissions offices of EVERY college on your list and figure out their SAT II rules IMMEDIATELY.  Find out if it’s required, if you can avoid the SAT II by taking the ACT, etc.  Get the full scoop – only you know which schools you’re applying to and are interested in, so it’s your job to get the most up to date information possible on the issue.

As far as requirements are concerned, that’s all there is to it.  I’d like to bring up one extremely important issue:

SAT 2s can show that you’re “Ivy Caliber.”

SAT IIs can help you to show colleges your expertise in a certain area, and it can also show them that you’re “up to snuff.”

For instance, if you’re trying to apply to a pre-med program, you should really consider studying for and taking the Biology SAT II.  Even if your dream school doesn’t require it, don’t you want to do everything you can to show them that you care passionately about your area of interest, and to demonstrate your expertise?

If you’re applying to be a math major, and you don’t take a math SAT II……it just looks sort of weird.

Even if there’s no particular subject you’re “showing off” for, taking a few SAT IIs and getting  incredible grades shows that you’re “Ivy Caliber.”  As you saw, only the nation’s most competitive schools require SAT IIs.  If you show other schools that you can get 700+ scores on tests they don’t even require – they notice, even if they say they don’t.

Quick Note: many schools allow you to switch out AP grades for SAT 2 scores.  Again, to find out which ones allow this, CALL THE SCHOOLS ON YOUR LIST AND FIND OUT.  As far as I’m concerned, high AP scores perform the same function as great SAT 2 scores – they show that you’re an expert within a given field.  If a school accepts either test interchangeably, or doesn’t require either one, then both accomplish the same feat.

Do your research!

Summer SAT and ACT Classes Forming – Start week of July 2nd

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Greetings those in the New York City/Nassau County area!

I will be holding summer SAT and ACT classes in Bayside starting the week of July 2nd. If you are interested, write to and inquire. Each intensive course will cover each exam in its entirety. The course includes four full practice exams as well as 40 hours of classroom instruction. As always, vacationing students will have makeup classes scheduled.

Limited space is available for these classes, so register early.

To the top!

Fall 2012 ACT Test Dates Announced

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The test dates for the ACT for the fall of 2012 have been posted.

You can visit to register.

September 8, 2012 August 17, 2012 August 18 – 24, 2012
October 27, 2012 September 21, 2012 September 22 – October 5, 2012
December 8, 2012 November 2, 2012 November 3 – 16, 2012