SAT Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the SAT?
  2. Who creates the SAT?
  3. When is the SAT given?
  4. When should I register for the SAT?
  5. How do I register?
  6. How much does it cost to take the SAT?
  7. How long does it take to get my scores back?
  8. What if I take the SAT and mess up?
  9. What is Score Choice?
  10. How many times can I take the SAT?
  11. What is a good score on the SAT?
  12. When should I start preparing for the SAT?
  13. Where can I get a sample SAT to practice on?
  14. How much high school math do I need before I can start preparing for the SAT?
  15. How do extra-curricular activities, majors, recommendations, essays, and factors come into play in college admissions?
  16. Should I use an educational consultant?
  17. How do I find out about scholarships?
  18. Does having a summer job help or hurt me?
  19. Should I go to a public or private college?
  20. What are Dual Degree Programs?
  21. Why should I consider a Dual Degree Program?

Frequently Asked Questions about Excel Test Prep

  1. What do your SAT courses cover?
  2. Why is there a day off?
  3. What are the instructors' qualifications?
  4. Do they review the exams in-class?
  5. How does Exam Club work?
  6. What is the difference between the 4-week and the 8-week?
  7. How does the referral discount work?
  8. Can I use more than one referral code?
  9. Why is Excel Test the best choice for SAT preparation?

 

  1. What is the SAT?
    The SAT Reasoning Test is a test students usually take for college admissions. The test has two sections: Math and Evidence Based Reading/Writing is three hours plus an optional 50-minute essay. Most people agree that the SAT is the single most important test students can take in high school.

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  2. Who creates the SAT?
    The SAT is created by Educational Testing Service (ETS). ETS is paid by the College Board to create the exam. Both of these companies are private.

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  3. When is the SAT given?
    The SAT is given seven times per year in the following months: August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. The test dates vary by year. To view specific dates visit Collegeboard.com.

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  4. When should I register for the SAT?
    Registration deadlines are approximately 5 weeks before each test date. You may want to register at least 6 - 8 weeks ahead of time to avoid late fees and ensure that you can take the SAT at your preferred test center. The test center may fill up, in which case you would have to consider alternate options, such as testing at a different test center or moving your exam date to the next SAT Exam.

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  5. How do I register?
    To register online, visit www.collegeboard.com.
    To register by mail, you need The Paper Registration Guide for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests, which is available from your school counselor. The Guide includes a registration form and return envelope.

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  6. How much does it cost to take the SAT?
    The SAT Reasoning Test costs $46.00 (regular registration) or $60 (SAT with Essay) For more SAT-related fees, click on the following link: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/fees

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  7. How long does it take to get my scores back?
    The scores are usually mailed out 4 - 6 weeks after you take the test. You may also look up your scores online through the College Board website two weeks after your exam at www.collegeboard.com

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  8. What if I take the SAT and mess up?
    On the day of your test if you want to cancel your score during or after finishing your exam, you should ask the test supervisor for a "Request to Cancel Test Scores" form. You can submit the completed form immediately at the testing center.
    If you've already left the testing center, you can mail or fax your form. However, College Board must receive your request form no later than 11:59 pm (Eastern Time) the Thursday after the test date.
    Download and print the SAT Request to Cancel Test Scores form or write your request. You must provide the following information to cancel your scores:
    -Test date
    -Test center number
    -Name of test you are canceling — either the SAT or SAT Subject Test(s)
    -Name, address, sex, birth date and registration number
    -Signature (required or the cancellation will not be processed)
    Label your request "Attention: SAT Score Cancellation" and send it via one of the following methods:

    Fax: 610-290-8978

    Overnight delivery via U.S. Postal Service Express Mail (U.S. only):
    SAT Score Cancellation
    P.O. Box 6228
    Princeton, NJ 08541-6228

    Other overnight mail service or courier (U.S. or international):
    SAT Score Cancellation
    225 Phillips Boulevard
    Ewing, NJ 08618
    USA

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  9. What is Score Choice?
    Score choice allows you to choose which SAT and SAT Subject Test scores you would like to send to colleges, at no additional cost. Different universities and colleges now have different score choice practices. Some schools require only the single highest test date score, some schools state that they combine the highest scores from different sections across test dates, and some schools require you to send all of your scores. View the score-choice practices of different schools. Always check with the schools you plan to apply to as well before sending your scores.


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  10. How many times can I take the SAT?
    You can take the SAT Test as many times as you want; however, every time you take the SAT, the score is put on your permanent record. Your score report shows your current test score, in addition to scores for up to six SAT and six Subject Test administrations. Many of the more competitive colleges say they do not want you taking the SAT more than two or three times.

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  11.  What is a good score on the SAT?
    A good score is one that will get you into the college of your choice, so the answer depends on where you want to go to college. The average score on the 2005 revision of the SAT is about a 1540. While class rank, extra-curricular activities, major, recommendations, essays, and other factors also come into play in college admissions, below is an estimate of what score is needed on the SAT for various colleges:

    University Name Score Required
    Harvard University 1550+
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)  1540+
    New York University (NYU) 1430+
    Carnegie Mellon 1500+
    Princeton University 1550+
    Stanford 1540+
    University of California: Los Angeles (UCLA) 1450+
    University of California: Berkeley 1450+
    University of California: Irvine 1320+
    University of Southern California (USC) 1450+
    San Jose State 1170+

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  12. When should I start preparing for the SAT?
    Because the SAT is the most important test for college admissions, it is always best to start preparing as early as possible. This allows more preparation time to achieve score goals. For students who have the goal of becoming a National Merit Semi-finalist, it is best to start by June before 10th grade. Otherwise, a student should start by the summer before their 11th grade, to maximize the effectiveness of our program because there are no distractions such as school homework, projects, exams or any other school activities. Students should start preparing for the SAT no later then the summer before their 12th grade.

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  13. Where can I get a sample SAT to practice on?
    You can download this sample test from the College Board to practice on a Real SAT exam. If you would like to take an essay and have it scored for free by one of our graders please Login to our website and create a free account.

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  14. How much high school math do I need before I can start preparing for the SAT?
    Once you have completed high school algebra and geometry, you are ready to take the SAT. Although the SAT does include Algebra II, it is only a small fraction of the math section, about 10%.

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  15. How do extra-curricular activities, majors, recommendations, essays, and factors come into play in college admissions
    College admissions in the United States are not standardized in any way, which means that each undergraduate college develops its own system. Some of the most important factors in college admissions are high school grades, difficulty of a student's high school course selection, and scores on the SAT. The reputation of the high school is also important. Extracurricular activities such as membership to clubs, service activities, and athletic or musical talents are important during the admissions process and it is very damaging to a student's application for him or her to have no extracurricular involvement. The typical breakdown of college admissions is your class rank is 50%, the SAT is 25%, and the rest of the 25% is extra-curricular activities and recommendations. Private schools tend to rely more on extra-curricular activities for admissions then public schools.

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  16. Should I use an educational consultant?
    Educational consultants counsel students and their families in the selection of educational programs, based on the student's individual needs and talents. The need for an educational consultant can vary based on the students; we recommend starting with arranging a meeting with your counselor as a research base, they can give you some general information as a starting point for your research. If your school counselors spend many hours counseling the students through the admission process and they have received special training through workshops or if you have access to information through a college career center, then you may not need an educational consultant. You can also approach the career services or counseling departments within the institutions that you are considering applying to. You may want to find out ahead of time, if they charge, if so, how much before committing to a service.

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  17. How do I find out about scholarships?
    To find out more about scholarships, their availability and requirements, visit www.fastweb.com, you can also visit www.finaid.org for information on financial aid. You should also ask the companies that your parents are employed at for any scholarship opportunities.

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  18. Does having a summer job help or hurt me?
    Summer jobs are a great way to earn some money and work experience. Work experience demonstrates your ability manage your time and shoulder responsibilities, and clues college admissions officers into your character and leadership potential. Work experience can be anything from paid or volunteer work, after-school or summer program participation, to internships. Internships, whether paid or not, give you a first-hand look at specific careers as a way to identify career interests. In whatever programs you participate in, whether in a job, an internship, or helping out at home, your experience is an important way to demonstrate key qualities. The participation in the various activities may even help you find a topic for your college essays.

    Whatever qualities that you develop by this experience will help you build your resume and enhance your college applications. The summer before your 12th grade is the best time for summer employment, which is why we recommend Excel Test after 10th grade, if possible. You may want to start looking for a summer job in the spring of your 11th grade, which is when most employers start hiring for the summer. Ask your parents, teachers, school administrators, or any other mentors if they know of any internships or summer job openings.

    Remember, the quality of your experience is much more important than the number of dollars you can earn at any job!

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  19. Should I go to a public or private college?
    State and community colleges, also known as public colleges, are generally less expensive than private colleges. Public colleges receive funding from their respective states in order to make the cost of education affordable to the greatest number of people. Most states offer in-state residents a significantly lower tuition price. At community colleges, your tuition rate is based on your district. If you live within a particular community-college district, you can take courses for a lower price than students who live outside of the district.

    Private colleges, on the other hand, do not receive the same type of funding, so they rely more heavily on tuition, endowments and other private sources of revenue. Private colleges are usually more expensive than public colleges, but may offer smaller class sizes, or additional scholarships and grants that are not available at public schools.

    Your decision on which school to attend or even to narrow down your search generally depend on the following two criteria: Money (scholarships and financial aid) and your choice of major(s). If you know your major then you should apply to the best school for that major that you can get into. If you are unsure of your major, then you should apply to a very well-rounded school, where you can explore the different career options and field of studies. Only you can decide which institutions are right for you, based on your specifications and the programs that you are interested in. Remember to do as much research as possible to make a well informed choice.

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  20. What are Dual Degree Programs?
    Dual Degree Programs differ from university to university. In general terms, universities offer a Bachelors Degree and Masters Degree in your field of studies in a shorter amount of time versus if you pursued the two degrees independently (varies by university). They also offer different variations such as offering an Associate Degree and Bachelors Degree or two different Masters Degrees.

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  21. Why should I consider a Dual Degree Program?
    Students successfully completing the program earn two degrees: Associate and Bachelor, Bachelor and Masters, or Masters and Masters (depending on which degrees you pursue and what options the school offers). With the Dual Degree Program one year of school and its financial costs are saved, also having two degrees will give you an edge in the interview process when applying for employment over other candidates.

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 Excel Test Prep Answers

  1. What do your SAT courses cover?
    Our courses cover all of the topics that appear on the SAT.
      SAT Evidence Based Reading/Writing Topics
    • SAT Reading Test
    • SAT Writing Test
    • SAT Reading Workshop
    • SAT Essay Writing

    • SAT Math Topics
    • SAT Geometry
    • SAT Word Problems
    • SAT Advanced Math
    • SAT Math Workshop

    All of our course options come with 8 lectures, each focusing on a different topic.

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  2. Why does the course schedule include a day off?
    We schedule a day off in every classroom course schedule to provide some flexibility in scheduling.  It allows us to easily reschedule a class in case of an emergency.  We want to make sure you get your full money's worth, even if something goes wrong.  Regardless of the No Class days, there will always still be 8 lecture classes per course.

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  3. What are the instructors' qualifications?
    Each Excel Test instructor has at least a Bachelor's; many have a Master's degree. They scored high on the SAT while applying and continue to regularly retake the exams they teach to stay current and fresh.
    We rigorously train our instructors to know test-taking strategies and tips. We also choose instructors who are very friendly, well-spoken, and dedicated to helping students learn. Our instructors are a powerhouse combo of high qualifications and incredible instruction and communication skills.

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  4. Do instructors review the practice exams in-class?
    The students do not review exams in the Core Classroom Course. The practice exams are meant to give students much-needed practice for test day and to give them an idea of how they are improving in the course. The class time is instead used to teach test-taking strategies and concepts that the students can apply to their practice exams.   In the Summer Intensive, however, the students will review each of their in-class exams in a subsequent class.  In addition, in both courses, students are provided detailed solutions to all in-class exams for them to use at home to review their mistakes.
    If, after using the written solutions provided, a student would still like to go over his/her practice exam with an instructor, the student is welcome to schedule a tutoring session by calling the main office.

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  5. How does Exam Club work?
    Exam Club is one of our most unique and advantageous programs. Members of Exam Club can return to our Fremont, Cupertino, or San Ramon locations and take as many practice exams as they want. Our Exam Club library has over 30 SAT exams, over 20 PSAT exams, over 60 ACT exams as well as plenty of SAT Subject Exams and AP Exams available for practice.
    Any student who takes an SAT or ACT course gets 6 months of access to Exam Club starting at the end of their course. A more enhanced program called the Platinum Exam Club is also available. For an extra charge, Platinum Exam Club Members enjoy access to the Exam Club Library and discounted rates on 1-on-1 tutoring all until they finish high school as well as 6 additional free Group Tutorials.

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  6. What is the difference between the 4-week Core Classroom and the 6-week Summer Intensive course?
    Our Summer Intensive (SIT) program is a longer, more intense version of our Core Classroom Course.  The SIT covers everything from our Core Classroom Course plus many more hours of exams, drills, and review.  The main differences can be summed up as follows:
    • More material and more time to go in-depth in the SIT program
    • More practice exams; 9 instead of 3 in the SIT program
    • In-Class Review of Exams in the SIT program
    • 300 point Score Increase Guarantee for SIT course students
    In general, we recommend the SIT option for students who have time to commit to the course (i.e. are not planning any vacations) and are extremely dedicated to scoring high on the SAT.

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  7. How does the referral discount work?
    Use your referrer's student ID number in the coupon code during online checkout. If you register in person or over the phone, you can just mention the student's full name/ You will receive $25 off your registration and your referrer will receive a check for $25.
    The person who referred you must already have finished any course here at Excel. This discount does not apply to any SAT Subject Prep Courses or AP Workshops.

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  8. Can I use more than one referral code?
    No, sorry! However, if you have at least 3 people signing up all at once for a course that starts on the same week, you may be eligible for a group discount.  

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  9. Why is Excel Test the best choice for SAT preparation?
    Excel Test Courses offer unique and extremely effective strategies not taught anywhere else, by highly experienced, dynamic instructors. We also offer many different course formats, from our in-class Core Classroom Course to our Online Course. All of our courses cover the same material and have the same extras and advantages:
    Highest Score Increase Guarantee - if you do not improve by at least 200 points, we will provide you with an extra-help course free of charge.
    Course materials are heavily researched original material as well as official SAT guides. That includes our Excel Test SAT Course Manual with tricks and tips to do well on the SAT and the complete Excel Test produced solutions to each SAT exam from The Official SAT Study Guide, and a copy of The Official SAT Study Guide by College Board.
    We offer a $1000 college scholarship to any Excel student who receives perfect score of 1600. We love to see our students succeed!

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