Planning out the Application process

There are many steps and requirements in the college application process. In the beginning, you will want to be preparing for the SAT test, exploring your options, and planning for campus tours and information sessions at colleges that you want to consider. This is the time to narrow your list of colleges to a manageable pool where you will be sending applications. Once you have a list of the colleges where you will be applying, it is time to focus on completing all of the application materials for each school.

Time management and organizational skills are critical to the process. You will also hone your information-gathering skills. During your campus tour and visit with the admissions office, you may have learned about the admissions requirements. You will want to locate all of the information for each college and put together a master chart of the materials that each school will require in your application packet. Create a chart with parts that you can check off for each school and be sure to list the application deadlines for each individual college where you will be submitting an application-the deadlines will also vary between colleges. Having this master chart will help you to feel organized, manage your applications, and be confident that you are sending complete applications to each college.

Many colleges use a general application, sometimes referred to as the “common app”, but these schools may still require supplemental short-answer questions, forms, or other materials from applicants. Requirements about letters of recommendation often vary slightly as well. Other schools will have their own unique application that you will need to complete. It is important for you to have all of your information before you begin the process. This will help to avoid any problems close to the deadline. If you have questions about the requirements, you can always contact the admissions office for answers.

Your high school guidance counselor can be another source of support as you are taking the SAT test, balancing your high school course load, and completing college applications. He or she has helped many students prepare college applications and can help you to get organized and keep deadlines. Make an appointment early in the process to be sure that you are on track and ask any questions that you may have about college applications.

Planning out your college applications can be a lengthy and detailed process, but with good organization and some hard work, your applications will arrive complete and on-time. A well-planned college application is the first step towards getting into the right school for you.

Choosing a college major

As you prepare for the SAT with online practice exams, complete SAT test prep, and prepare for test day, many students begin to think seriously about college and their options for the future.

For some students, choosing a major will not be a difficult decision. If you have known what you want to do after college for awhile, you can take this knowledge into account as you are choosing a college. Knowing your major early on gives you the opportunity to speak with professors in your intended major, ask about the program and find out what alumni from that major are doing now.

For other students, choosing a major is a decision that can feel overwhelming. At most colleges, it is completely normal for students to be undecided during the first year of college. This is something that you can ask about during college visits. Many schools have required classes that will fill up your first few semesters and allow you to try courses from many different departments. This is a great way to try new things and find the major that will be the best fit for you.

When choosing a major, it is important to consider the type of job you would like to have after college. If your career path is undecided or could accommodate many different majors, your best plan is to consider your academic strengths and interests. Choosing a major that you love will ensure that you put a lot of effort into your classes and finish college with a strong academic record. This will help you as you apply for graduate school, apply for fellowships after college, or look for your first job.

It’s also important to plan your course schedule to be sure that you will graduate on time with your major. Good planning will also allow you the option of adding a second major, minor, or concentration if you would like to take courses in different areas. These are all great ways to add another interest to your academic track and a good way to set your resume apart from others.

It is also common for students to change majors during college. This is always easier to do sooner rather than later, while you still have plenty of time to complete the course load. Before changing your major, you will want to speak with your current academic adviser and a professor in the department that you are considering. Find out just what the switch will entail and then you will be able to decide if it the right choice.

How many times should I take the SAT?

There is no limit to the number of times that a high school student can take the SAT. While it will be different for everyone, most people will want to take the SAT two or three times during junior and senior year of high school. Your highest SAT score will be the one that colleges use, regardless of whether it is the first or the third time that you took the test.

Spring of junior year is a good time to take the SAT for the first time. This will allow you to have plenty of time to study both before and after this test. Having a first set of SAT scores will help you to focus in on problem areas and also set up a senior year plan to get the best SAT scores possible.

Your SAT scores will show you exactly how well you perform on the math, reading, and writing portions of the test. Many students are surprised when they receive their first scores and find that they performed significantly better or worse on certain parts of the test than they expected. When you plan ahead and take the SAT for the first time junior year, you have plenty of time to improve your scores.

The summer before senior year of high school is a great time to focus on SAT test prep. Once you have your first set of scores, you have a guide to what you will need to focus on during your next round of prep. Taking an SAT prep course, meeting with a tutor, and taking online practice exams can all be part of a comprehensive plan to raise your scores when you take the SAT for a second time.

Focus on trouble areas during this round of studying. Think back to any questions that took you a long time to solve, or areas of the SAT where you could not answer a lot of questions. This is your chance to go into your next SAT prepared to handle these areas. Having taken the SAT once also allows many students to relax about the test-taking experience.

Plan to take the SAT again at the earliest test day in the fall of senior year. Many students will be happy with this score, while some will still have time to take the test again later in the fall. Check with your top colleges to find out when they will need your scores. Most will have a deadline in December or January.

Having a plan to take the SAT multiple times is a great way to get the best score possible. Spacing out your tests between junior and senior year will allow you plenty of SAT prep time to study and improve on your earlier scores.

GMAT Analytical Writing Section

The Analytical Writing Assessment is one of the three parts of the GMAT exam. It is designed to test critical thinking skills and to measure the test taker’s ability to communicate information effectively. GMAT test prep is important to get test takers prepared to handle each of the Analytical Writing Assessment sections. Online test prep is often a particularly good option as it allows individuals to make their own schedule and complete GMAT test prep whenever they have free time.
The Analytical Writing Assessment is divided into two 30-minute essays. The first is the Analysis of an Issue and the second an Analysis of an Argument. Each essay is deigned to gauge the test taker’s ability to write analytically and present cohesive ideas. While the essay topics generally cover topics related to business, they should not require any prior knowledge of the subject. Taking GMAT practice tests is a great way to become familiar with the type of essay prompt that will appear on the exam.

The Analysis of an Issue section requires test takers to analyze an issue and form a point of view. There is no correct answer to this section and it is important to consider perspectives. The essay should express an articulate, thought-out position on the given issue. Test takers should draw from their own experiences, reading, and prior knowledge base t back up their opinion.

The Analysis of an Argument section tests the ability to read and critique an argument that is given in the prompt. Test takers should not bring their own views into this essay, but simply analyze the opinion that is given in the argument. The essay should consider what assumptions have been made in the argument and cite any information that could weaken the argument.

It is important to manage time effectively throughout the exam to be sure that you have time to complete each essay to the best of your ability. Preparing for the Analytical Writing Assessment can be challenging, but with the right GMAT test prep plan, you can enter the exam feeling ready to handle any essay prompt with ease.

Should I take the SAT II?

The SAT II is made up of subject tests that students choose to take individually. Deciding whether or not to take any SAT II tests will depend largely on your academic strengths and the colleges to which you are applying. Some colleges will have requirements about SAT II exams while others will not require them at all.
Even if you are not required to take the SAT II, strong scores will only add to your college applications. Online test prep, including plenty of practice tests to get familiar with the subject tests, will help students prepare for each SAT II exam.

The Literature subject test is designed to measure how well students can read and interpret passages of literature. The test is made up of about 60 multiple choice questions in six to eight sections. The content is approximately half poetry and half prose and approximately half British authors and half American authors. Students taking the Literature subject test should know terminology used to interpret literature.

Two history tests are given: SAT II World History and SAT II US History. The US History test is made up of approximately 90 multiple choice questions covering political, social, economic, and cultural history, as well as foreign policy.

French, Spanish, German, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese are all available as a foreign language test and as a language with listening test. Italian, Modern Hebrew, and Latin are available only as exams without a listening section. The language exams are made up of approximately 85 questions that cover reading comprehension, vocabulary, and structure. The listening exam is made up of 35 percent listening section where test takers will listen to passages and answer questions based on the information.

There are two levels of SAT II math tests available. Math I is for students who have taken at least two years of algebra and one year of geometry. Math II is for students who have also taken courses in pre-calculus and trigonometry. Each math test is made up of 50 questions.

There are three SAT II science exams. Students taking the SAT II Biology can opt on test day to take Biology Ecological or Biology Molecular based on which type of biology questions they would like to answer. 20 out of the 80 multiple choice questions on the exam will be specialized towards either ecological or molecular biology based on the selection. The SAT II Physics exam covers all basic areas of physics and has 75 questions. SAT II Chemistry is made up of 85 questions covering major topics in Chemistry. Students should be prepared to recall knowledge as well as apply knowledge and synthesize information.

Each exam takes one hour to complete and is scored on a 200-800 point scale. If you excel in one or more of the subject areas that can be tested on the SAT II, it can often be beneficial to demonstrate this knowledge by performing well on the SAT II subject tests.

2010 Business School Rankings

Choosing a good business school is an important decision for your education and career. It is important to take time to learn about various programs and review all of the information and rankings available. US News & World Report and Business Week are two reliable sources that rank the top business schools each year.

In 2010, Harvard Business School at Harvard University and Stanford University’s tied for first on the US News and World Report list. Third place went to the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and fourth to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. The University of Chicago’s Booth School and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School tied for fifth place on the list of top business schools.

Business Week also provides rankings of the best business schools in the United States, as well as the top international programs and part-time options. Business week ranked University of Chicago’s Booth School first, Harvard Business School second and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School third. Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania came in fourth on Business Week’s list and the University of Michigan’s Ross School placed fifth.

The Queen’s School of Business in Kingston, Ontario ranked first in Business Week’s list of top international business schools. Business Week also ranked the best part-time MBA programs with Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts coming out on top. Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School placed first on this list in 2009. There are many excellent part-time programs that are designed to fit into each student’s unique situation and schedule. Through these programs, it is possible for students to continue to work or have a family while they are earning their MBA.

Admissions for the top business schools are extremely competitive. It is important to prepare an application that sets you apart from the pool of applicants. For business school applications it is important to highlight your unique experiences in work, education, and even travel. These are things that will shape how you perceive business and how your MBA will fit into your career plan.

Performing well on the GMAT is key for people who want to attend a top business school. The GMAT, in combination with the undergraduate transcript and work experience, will help to determine where you will be accepted. A solid GMAT test prep program will prepare you to excel on the GMAT. When preparing for the test, online test prep programs are a great option for people with full time jobs and hectic schedules. GMAT practice exams will help test takers to prepare for the unique format of the GMAT.

GMAT prep: No calculator? No problem!

One big difference between the GMAT and other standardized tests is that calculators are not allowed on test day. For many test takers, it can be intimidating to go into the GMAT without a calculator. It is important to put away your calculator from the beginning and get comfortable doing all of the necessary math for the GMAT on your own. With a comprehensive GMAT test prep plan, including plenty of time spent brushing up on basic math skills; it is possible to do well on the GMAT math section.
One of the best things you can do early on is to review basic math skills during your GMAT test prep. This is particularly critical if it has been a few years since you have taken a math course and even longer since you have worked without a calculator. Being able to manipulate fractions and decimals will be helpful on test day. You should also be sure that you are comfortable performing long division and other tasks that are typically done with a calculator. Reviewing the basics can make a big difference on the GMAT.

Once you have gotten familiar with your basic math skills again, you should work through online test prep and GMAT prep books. Take as many GMAT practice exams as possible and go over sample math questions until you can quickly decide how to attack a problem and move through the necessary steps. The more comfortable you are with the questions, the quicker you will be able to move through each problem on test day. It is important to work quickly, but carefully, as you are not able to go back and check your work or change answers on the GMAT.

It is also important to remember that the GMAT is designed to be completed without a calculator. You can use this to your advantage when completing math problems and always consider the simplest way to do your work. If you cannot complete a problem or come out with numbers that are difficult to work with, you may want to go back and check your work again. You should always look for the simplest and smartest way to complete the problem. With some critical thinking, there will not be any math problem on the GMAT that cannot be completed without a calculator.

Changing your frame of mind

Moving from summer back into school mode can be a challenge for even the best student. Adapting your schedule and making time for all of your responsibilities will be particularly important in the back-to-school transition. Building a good structure early in the school year can help set the tone for a successful year.

For students whose summer schedules have had different hours, it can be difficult to readjust to a school schedule. It will help to start make the adjustment the week before school starts instead of waiting until the first day of school. Set your alarm for the time you will need to wake up for school and start getting to sleep earlier. This will help your body adjust to your new hours.

It is also a good idea to have your backpack or bag ready to go the night before so that everything you need for the school day is in one place. This will prevent things from being forgotten in the morning. Be sure that you have a few easy options for breakfast on hand so that mornings will run smoothly and you’ll be able to get off to school having eaten a good breakfast. For some students, protein shakes or nutrition bars can offer a good option for days when you’re in a hurry or have to eat on the go.

For some high school students, back to school means time to begin serious preparations for the SAT. Establishing an SAT test prep schedule early on can help you to plan other activities around it and maintain your ideal study schedule. An online test prep course can be a good choice for students who want a more flexible schedule that can fit around schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Be sure to choose an organizational method that works for you. Having an agenda, day planner, or personal organizer that works for you will help you to keep track of your time. Keep your calendar up to date, especially while you are still adjusting to your new class schedule. This will also help you plan after-school activities and keep track of homework assignments. Getting in the habit of writing things down will help you continue to keep on top of assignments and schedules throughout the year.

Setting aside time for homework and study time is especially important early in the school year. Oftentimes the schedule that you set from the beginning will help you to maintain good study habits throughout the school year. For many students, getting homework done immediately after school or during a specific time in the evening can help. This will allow you to complete your work and also make time for hobbies, friends, and other priorities.

Moving from summer back into school mode can be a challenge for even the best student. Adapting your schedule and making time for all of your responsibilities will be particularly important in the back-to-school transition. Building a good structure early in the school year can help set the tone for a successful year.

For students whose summer schedules have had different hours, it can be difficult to readjust to a school schedule. It will help to start make the adjustment the week before school starts instead of waiting until the first day of school. Set your alarm for the time you will need to wake up for school and start getting to sleep earlier. This will help your body adjust to your new hours.

It is also a good idea to have your backpack or bag ready to go the night before so that everything you need for the school day is in one place. This will prevent things from being forgotten in the morning. Be sure that you have a few easy options for breakfast on hand so that mornings will run smoothly and you’ll be able to get off to school having eaten a good breakfast. For some students, protein shakes or nutrition bars can offer a good option for days when you’re in a hurry or have to eat on the go.

For some high school students, back to school means time to begin serious preparations for the SAT. Establishing an SAT test prep schedule early on can help you to plan other activities around it and maintain your ideal study schedule. An online test prep course can be a good choice for students who want a more flexible schedule that can fit around schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Be sure to choose an organizational method that works for you. Having an agenda, day planner, or personal organizer that works for you will help you to keep track of your time. Keep your calendar up to date, especially while you are still adjusting to your new class schedule. This will also help you plan after-school activities and keep track of homework assignments. Getting in the habit of writing things down will help you continue to keep on top of assignments and schedules throughout the year.

Setting aside time for homework and study time is especially important early in the school year. Oftentimes the schedule that you set from the beginning will help you to maintain good study habits throughout the school year. For many students, getting homework done immediately after school or during a specific time in the evening can help. This will allow you to complete your work and also make time for hobbies, friends, and other priorities.

Online test prep vs one-on-one tutoring: which is right for you?

There are many options available to prepare for the SAT. One of the big decisions that students will need to make is to decide between one-on-one tutoring and an online test prep course. Both options provide many benefits and can be a good choice for the right student.

Online test prep can allow students to work at their own pace and review material on their own schedule. Students who choose online test prep can have the option to go back and review challenging material multiple times or skip over sections that they are already comfortable completing. Students can plan when they will work on their SAT test prep, studying at any hour of the day and whenever they have the free time. This can make online test prep a great choice for high school students with hectic schedules.  Online test prep is also a good choice for students who are self-motivated and already have basic knowledge of the SAT. These students will be able to work on their time and complete practice tests to gauge their progress. Online practice tests are one of the most important parts of SAT test prep as they allow students to experience the format of the SAT and get familiar with taking the test.

One-on-one tutoring for the SAT can be a good option for students who prefer to have in-person communication and will benefit from having someone there to push them to complete their test prep. Students who struggle in a certain area of the SAT such as math skills or the fundamentals of writing an essay may be able to use one-on-one test prep as a way to build up these skills and prepare for them on the test.

Students will need to schedule SAT prep sessions in advance and stick to their schedule in order to accommodate a tutor. A good tutor will be able to provide students with tips, build their confidence, and give them practice tests to access their skills. In-person tutors are often a good choice for students who like to have a set schedule and a live person at the desk for questions.

The choice between one-on-one tutoring and online SAT test prep is an important decision and one that is very reliant on each student’s individual study habits and skills. With the right program, students will gain invaluable preparation, test taking skills, and confidence to perform their best on the SAT.

Designing a GMAT Test Prep Schedule

Designing a solid GMAT test prep schedule is essential to success on the exam. Most test takers plan to spend three to six months studying for the GMAT, but this is dependent on your personal study habits. All test prep schedules should consist of individual study time, GMAT courses, and taking online practice exams. The GMAT tests verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills, similar skill sets to the ones you studied when you were preparing for the SAT in high school. Yet this time around, the material will likely be more challenging and the test format will be significantly different.
One critical factor in deciding how long to study for the GMAT is how long you can devote to studying each day. For people who have full time jobs or are in school full time, it is best to set aside specific hours each day to fit study time into a busy schedule. In these cases, a six month GMAT test prep schedule is likely to be best. For people who can devote larger amounts of time to study, three to four months may be enough. Enrolling in a GMAT course is often a good way to stay motivated and be sure that you stay on track during your test prep.

The quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT are given in a computer adaptive format. This means that you will be provided one question at a time on a computer. After answering the first question, the computer will generate another. The difficultly level will depend on how well you score on previous questions. This format is likely different from anything test takers have faced before. For this reason, starting practice tests early in your test prep, or at least two months before the exam, will help you become familiar with the format. There are 37 quantitative questions and 41 verbal questions on the GMAT. Practice exams will also help you learn to pace yourself as you work through each section of the exam.

The analytical writing section of the GMAT contains two parts: an analysis of an issue essay and an analysis of an argument essay. Test takers are permitted 30 minutes to complete each essay. Reading sample essay prompts and practicing writing a solid essay within the time constraint will help you prepare for test day. There is no single correct answer to either writing sections. Piecing together a coherent analysis is more important than having prior knowledge of the topic.

By sticking to a test prep schedule, GMAT test takers can ensure that they are prepared for the test and familiar with the format. By this point in their academic career, they will benefit from a strong knowledge base and a high degree of self-awareness about their skills and study habits.


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