A: The personal statement is quite important in applying to UC schools, as well as many private colleges. In fact, this essay is now pretty much the only vehicle that allows you to "sell yourself" to any of the UC campuses, which no longer accept recommendation letters. To that end, we can help you edit your personal statement with a nominal service fee. All work is conducted via emails. This includes unlimited emails on one personal statement between reviewing teacher and student.
A: Most of UCs do not like to see "Cs" on report cards (especially senior year second semester where acceptances are conditional on you achieving above a 3.0). Whenever you feel that you can't keep up with a subject, please inform your parents immediately. Best SAT Review has many tutoring classes that can help you. And if we do not have a class that exactly matches your need, we will then refer our teachers to assist you on 1-on-1 basis. Since our teachers have their own particular preferences (e.g., tutoring sites, rates, and schedules), please contact our office for details.
A: Many rumors have indicated the SAT relies on a "curve" process. It indeed seems that way when considering how ETS (Education Testing Service, the owner of these tests) constructs its raw-to-scaled scores on the conversion table. Due to varying difficulty of different questions on each test, that conversion table is adjusted accordingly. According to ETS, it employs an "equating" process, a statistical method, to assure the score you get from one test will be equivalent to another. Moreover, the score will not be affected by how many students participate in a given test.
A: In the case of most UC schools, only classes in the "A-G" categories, for which you have received a grade, are calculated in the GPA. Furthermore, honors or AP-level classes will be recognized for only up to 8 semester units. Depending on the UC campus, GPA may be capped at 4.5. Any grades received in freshman year and senior year are not included in the GPA calculation for UC admission. However, some universities do indeed require you submit a grade report for the first semester of your senior year. Finally, be aware that many UC schools reserve their rights to revoke admission if a student receives below a C in a major class in his/her senior year!
A: Early admission, or early action, is an option used by some universities to allow applicants who are specially interested in that university to gain admission by Decemeber - as opposed to March -- of their senior year. It is only suitable for those who are very serious about attending a particular university. Early admission is a binding (obligating) contract that requires you immediately commit if you are accepted. Therefore, please note that you should withdraw all other applications once been accepted. "Single choice early action" involves your applying to only ONE school during early application time. However, in this case, you have more time to commit to this school.
Currently, there is no Early Admission, no Single Choice Early Action available for any of the UCs, or Cal State campuses. A recent trend has many schools dropping Early Admission in favor of Single Choice Early action. Harvard and Princeton has discontinued their Early Action starting 2007 graduates.
A: The PSAT is a mini-version of the real SAT I. It includes every format you can find on SAT I. It measures English grammar, reading, vocabulary, math (with no Algebra II); there is no 25-min essay. Each section is scored from 20 to 80 points, making the full PSAT score to be 240. Best SAT Review recommends our students to take PSAT in both 10th and 11th grade. However, only junior students are eligible for the National Merit Scholarships. The scores you needed to become a National Merit Semifinalist vary from year to year and from state to state. You need to score in the top less than 2%. As a general reference, if a junior can score 216 or higher, he or she can be a strong candidate for becoming a National Merit Semifinalist.
A: The ACT assessment exam features an extra subject, which is science. Additionally, it measures English grammar, reading, math, and science skills acquired in high school, while the SAT I concentrates on math and critical reading and writing. That is, while the ACT is straightforward (no tricks), the SAT I can get quite "tricky," since it stresses independent "critical thinking". Then again, bear in mind that ACT time limits are ruthless, while the SAT allows more time to complete each section.
The SAT I Critial Reading section includes reading comprehension (both long and short passages), and sentence completions. The Writing section includes grammar, sentence/paragraph improvements, and a 25-minute persuasive essay that is worth approximately 1/3 of the entire Writing section score.
The ACT math topics can include up to trigonometry, while SAT I Math contains algebra I, geometry and algebra II. There is no guessing penalty on ACT. College Board reports all SAT scores if you did not cancel them. However, ACT only reports scores upon your request.
A: While colleges are able to see all your scores, courtesy of a reporting card can accommodate up to six sittings. UC schools only consider the highest combined score from a SINGLE sitting. However, Stanford and other private universities would take the highest math, critical reading, or writing scores from different sittings.
A: You may take the SAT exams as many times as you would like. However, it is not recommended that students take them too many times as this may cause the colleges to question the student's competence. Finally, the rumor that UCs average all SAT I scores is not true. They only recognize your highest total SAT I scores from one-day testing (no "superscore"). UCs will also pick the top two subject scores from different subject ares, ex. Math Level II (from Math area) or Chemistry (from Science area).
Best SAT Review has often been asked the following questions. We created this "Frequently Asked Q&A" page to address these important concerns of students and parents.