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FAQs- Test Preparation

Test Preparation F.A.Q.


Improving SAT/ACT/CLT and PSAT/NMSQT Scores
Practicing for the Real Tests
Study Materials
SAT Vocabulary Words
Computer Test Prep
Preparing Younger Children


Can College Prep Genius help a student prepare for standardized tests and improve their score?

Every SAT/ACT/CLT is made up of recurring patterns throughout the test. College Prep Genius materials break down these methods and teach students to unveil the secrets of the SAT/ACT/CLT. Through clever ACRONYMS students can not only grasp these innovative concepts, but also can readily recall them to memory while taking the actual test. It’s like walking in with an answer key stored in your head. On average, students have raised their scores from 300-500 points by using these materials. See our testimonials!

Is it true that the only way to improve your SAT/ACT/CLT score is by enrolling in one of those expensive prep courses?

Definitely not! Usually prep courses are very expensive; they can cost between $2000-$5000 and only boast an average raise in test scores of 200 points. But why spend money to study material that may not be on the real tests? Only the creators of the test (College Board) know what will be on the test. It is better to learn to decode the hidden schemes and recurring patterns that the College Board likes to use on their tests so you can learn to answer their questions. College Prep Genius cleverly teaches students, through ACRONYMS, how to remember steps to these revealed patterns found on the SAT/ACT/CLT and PSAT/NMQST. Click Here to order now!

What if I am a bad test-taker?

Many students consider themselves “bad test-takers” because they tend to do poorly on standardized tests (even though they usually have good grades). Truthfully, these students are not bad test-takers! They just don’t understand the logic behind the test questions. Getting familiar with the recurring patterns, learning test-taking strategies and lowering test anxiety is the key to help students gain confidence in their test-taking abilities and raise their scores.

Is it better to wait to take a prep course (“Master the SAT/ACT/CLT Class” or College Prep Genius eCourse) until closer to the time of the real test so the information will be fresh on a student’s mind?

That would make sense if the SAT/ACT/CLT and PSAT/NMSQT were tests of content, but since they are tests of logic using recurring patterns and hidden tricks, the best way to be successful is to take the class/use the DVD as soon as possible. The longer a student waits, the less time there is to improve. Starting early is the key. Ideally, a student should learn test prep in 9th grade (7th if they are doing the Duke TIP). With so much time to prepare, students can eliminate the stress of test anxiety when they reach the upper grades.


Since your course is considerably less than most prep courses, does it work and do you have any guarantees?

My goal is to free families from the enormous cost of test preparation. (We didn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a prep class and I don’t believe in overcharging others for a program that can change their life.) If you are of the belief that a test prep class is worth more because it costs more, then here are some considerations to think about when looking for a class:

1. What is the reputation of the company?

Have you investigated their background and read reviews about their claims as well as the overall satisfaction from those who attended. Independent studies have shown that overall, most students do not raise their test scores because they do not attend all the labs and/or finish all the work that is assigned.

2. Who are the teachers?

Don’t just believe what they advertise, be willing to ask them what college they attended and what test score did they receive? (Some companies boast of their teachers coming from top colleges when in fact, this may be very untrue.)

3. What materials are they using for the students to practice with?

Most prep classes use fake tests that are irrelevant to the real SAT/ACT/CLT and PSAT/NMSQT. Make-believe tests are not like the real test and students will not be able to learn the recurring patterns that can only be found on College Board (the real test-maker) materials.

4. Have you read their guarantee in detail?

Many of the expensive courses may give a money-back guarantee if a student doesn’t raise his or her score by a certain point range. While this sounds like you can’t lose, read the fine print because it is designed so they don’t lose money. It may say that the student must attend every single class and turn in every single bit of homework (which is usually so much that most students are unable to complete because of their busy schedules). There are also prep schools that give the student an initial diagnostic test and then have them retake another test when they are finished with the course. Again, be aware because these are often their own tests and they may grade on a curve to reflect an increased score. Also, some high schools that contract with these schools are given special versions of the course and often don’t offer a guarantee.

5. Why do some students receive free classes while most parents pay the big bucks for the class?

Some expensive schools will purchase the PSAT/NMSQT scores of certain zip codes to find the students who are already scoring high as sophomores on this test. They will then offer them free classes at their school. While this is great for those students, it leaves out a lot of students who will have to pay the full price for the class. Besides, if those students score high on their next tests, it is difficult to tell if they did so based on the school or if they would have scored high anyway. This can inflate the overall statistics of the prep course. Some high schools will partner with some prep schools and will pay a portion of the tuition to them. Where is that money coming from and why are they only offering it to an elite group of students?

If you are considering spending a lot of money on a test prep course, just be informed and keep in mind that even if you have the money to invest in one, it is like a gym membership; if it is not used–it is money wasted! While there is no way to guarantee a student’s score will raise (although it is not unusual to see a score increase of 300 points), we do offer a 30 day money-back guarantee of our DVD set.  Students MUST follow the “Checklist for Success” to help ensure an increase in their score. If a student doesn’t practice the correct way, it will be difficult for them to succeed.  To excel in sports, an athlete must practice to win a game. The SAT/ACT/CLT and PSAT/NMSQT are really games, and if a student learns to play the College Board way–they can win!



What is the best way to practice for the real SAT/ACT/CLT test?

No one wants to waste their time or money when it comes to preparing for the SAT/ACT/CLT and PSAT/NMSQT. After students have learned the recurring patterns, shortcuts and test-taking techniques from the “Master the SAT/ACT/CLT Class” (Order Now!), it is extremely important that they continue preparing for the real test. (Just like in sports, athletes MUST practice in order to win a game.) I highly recommend that students ONLY practice with College Board materials. This is the company who makes the tests, and students need to become familiar with their questions, hidden patterns and schemes.

What about practicing for the PSAT/NMSQT?

All students should take the PSAT/NMSQT in ninth and tenth grade BEFORE it counts for big scholarships. This allows students to get familiar with the test, and they will receive their test booklet back so they can review it. All students should definitely take the PSAT/NMSQT in their junior year (offered in October) because this will qualify them for the National Merit competition.

There are only two differences between the SAT/ACT/CLT and PSAT/NMSQT: the SAT has Algebra 2 and an essay section which are not found on the PSAT. This means that as students are preparing for the PSAT/NMSQT, they are also preparing for the SAT/ACT/CLT. One of the best ways to practice for the PSAT/NMSQT is to purchase retired test booklets from The College Board’s online store. They will be listed under PSAT/NMSQT, and the answers will be emailed to you. Many of these resources are listed in College Prep Genius (Order Now!).

Why do I need to journal my missed questions and how do I fill out the journal pages?

By writing down your missed questions and the correct answers, you can learn how to identify types of problems that are hard for you, and hopefully why they trip you up. When you are faced with a similar question in the future, your journal work will prove useful. Make sure to periodically go back over your journal entries. See College Prep Genius for optimal ideas for the “Journal for Success.” Here’s some sample pages for you to see: collegeprepgenius.com/journal



What is the best way to learn your clever ACRONYMS?

I suggest that you use index cards at first. At the top, write horizontally the section. Along the left side, write the ACRONYM vertically and big. Next to each letter, write the long version. On the flipside, do the same but write the shorter version. In the beginning, refer to the longer side as you are learning the ACRONYM. Then switch to the shorter version. After you have memorized each ACRONYM, start writing the word(s) at the top of the appropriate page. There is a section on the teaching DVD that contains the ACRONYMS for easy memorizing. Click here to order now!

What type of logic curriculum should I use?

Choose book(s) or course(s) that will strengthen your critical thinking skills and help you to reason logically.

How do I get more practice questions for the SAT/ACT?

To get the Question Of The Day, more practice questions and a free practice SAT/ACT/CLT, go to:


Do you have a list of classic books for my student to read?

Yes, included in High School Prep Genius. However, you can make your own list by using these criteria: well-known author, interesting subject-matter, has withstood time, high standard, unabridged. (Type “classic books” in search engine for starters.)



Why does your material not include a list of most often used vocabulary words on the SAT/ACT/CLT?

Learning a lot of vocabulary words is not necessarily the key to scoring higher on the Critical Reading Section. The College Board is the only one who knows what words will be on the test. You could learn 4,000 vocabulary words and not one of them be on the test. Since the SAT/ACT/CLT is a logic test, there are ways to figure out the words without knowing them. College Prep Genius gives you exclusive inside information to help with unknown words on the SAT/ACT/CLT.

Learning difficult vocabulary words that may be on the SAT/ACT/CLT can be painlessly mastered in a fun way by the new VocabCafe Book Series. Click Here to order now!



Do you recommend using computer training software for preparing for the SAT/ACT?

No. Since the real test is in a booklet and answers are derived by using a pencil, it is best to practice just like the real test. Test questions are designed to throw students off, so a pencil should be used to decipher the questions by circling, underlining, drawing arrows, etc. This cannot be done through a computer screen. I highly recommend that any SAT/ACT/CLT questions that are on the computer should be printed out and worked with a pencil.



How do I prepare my younger children?

Younger children should read good books, learn a basic logic curriculum, begin volunteer work/community service, look at future colleges, and prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT (to take for practice) in ninth grade. They should also have had Algebra 1, and Geometry before entering eleventh grade. If that’s not possible, then have them take Algebra 1 in ninth grade and Geometry in tenth. Then, start them in Algebra 2 as soon as possible. (Algebra 2 is on the SAT but not on the PSAT.)

What is the Duke Talent Identification Program?

The Duke TIP is for seventh graders in participating states who take the SAT or ACT. Go to https://www.tip.duke.edu/ for more information. Register at information@tip.duke.edu or call the Duke TIP office at (919) 668-9100, Monday-Friday 8-5 p.m., EST. Benefits could include: testing experience, college guides, merit certificate, Duke Gifted Letter and much more. This is open to students from public, private and homeschool backgrounds.

Students who are unable to participate in the annual 7th grade talent search can register for the “TIP Option” program. Students must meet at least one of the following criteria:
• Seventh graders who want to be involved with Duke TIP but do not qualify for the 7th Grade Talent Search;
• Seventh graders who qualify for the 7th Grade Talent Search but missed the deadline or test dates;
• Students in grades 7, 8, or 9 living outside the Duke TIP 16-state Talent Search Region;
• Students in grades 8 and 9 who want to take the SAT or ACT and report their scores to Duke TIP.


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