SAT Free Help Area

Welcome to our Free SAT Help and Self Study area.

Here you will find articles, free materials, advice and other information designed to increase your understanding of the SAT and the college admissions process.

Good luck preparing for the SAT!

What is the SAT?

The SAT is one of the standardized tests the colleges use to help determine an applicant's admission. In addition to submission requirements such as teacher recommendations, grade point average, and class rank, the SAT is used to predict how well a student will perform in college. The test measures critical thinking skills in reading, mathematics, and writing- elements that are considered essential for success at colleges and universities. The test takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete and includes three scored sections:

  • Critical Reading: 19 Sentence Completion questions (fill-in-the-blank vocabulary) and 48 reading comprehension questions from short and long passages.
  • Mathematics: 44 multiple-choice and 10 student-produced response questions covering arithmetic, algebra I and II, geometry, data analysis, and statistics.
  • Writing: 1 persuasive essay and 49 multiple choice grammar questions.
  • Each of these three sections is scored on a scale of 200 to 800, so your total score will range between 600 and a perfect 2400. The Writing section has two subscores- a multiple-choice scaled score from 20 to 80 and an essay subscore of 2 to 12 - which are combined to yield a final scaled score from 200 to 800.

    When should my child/ I take the SAT?

    We recommend that most students first take the SAT in the spring of their junior year. Nearly all students will take the test again in October after studying over the summer. You can take the SAT as many times as you would like, although most experts agree that you should not take the exam more than three times.

    What does it cost to take the SAT?

    You can find the current test cost on the College Board website. Various services dealing with score reports, late registration, and test changes are available for an additional fee.

    How do I sign up for the SAT?

    All registration must be done through the College Board, the makers of the SAT. You can register for the test online at the College Board website. or by mail using the packet from your guidance counselor.

    Is there a deadline to sign up for the PowerScore SAT course?

    There is no official deadline to sign up for our courses, but classes do close due to size limitations. For classes starting in April, students who enroll in the course by mid-March should be able to reserve a space without a problem. If you know you are going to sign up for a class but you have not yet sent in your payment, you can always give us a call and we will place a courtesy hold on a space for you. The hold will ensure that a space in the class is still available for you when your payment arrives.

    Do I have to pay in full for my class when I enroll?

    We offer students enrolled in Full-Length or Live Online Courses the opportunity to make a deposit of $350.00 to reserve their seat in the course, and make payment(s) until 3 business days prior to the course start.

    Additionally, in certain situations we can arrange extended payment plans for those Full-Length or Live Online Course students who need more time to complete their payment. For more information please call our offices at 800-545-1750.

    Will I lose my payment if I withdraw from the course before it starts or if I decide to take the SAT later?

    No. The payment for our SAT course is fully refundable minus a small processing fee if you notify us in writing at least ten (10) business days prior to the start of your first meeting.

    Is financial aid available for PowerScore's SAT course?

    We have various payment plans so that you do not have the burden of paying the full amount at one time. Please call 800-545-1750 for details.

    Can I switch PowerScore course locations?

    Yes. If you need to begin classes at one location and finish at another location, you can transfer between courses. All we require is adequate notice of your transfer so we can have class materials for you at the new location.

    Will your courses help me prepare for the PSAT?

    Yes. Because the PSAT and the SAT are so similar, students can attend the PowerScore SAT classes to prepare for the PSAT. The content in the SAT class that is not tested on the PSAT- Algebra II and essay-writing- is still extremely valuable; the grammar, usage, and structure taught in the essay portion of the class is tested in the multiple choice writing questions, and the basic Algebra II concepts discussed in class reinforce many math fundamentals needed to master the test.

    What is the difference between the SAT and the PSAT?

     

    PSAT

    SAT

     Math Sections

    Two 25-minute sections

    Two 25-minute sections
    One 20-minute section

     Math Concepts

    Arithmetic, Algebra I, Geometry, Data Interpretation

    Arithmetic, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Data Interpretation

     Math Questions

    28 multiple choice
    10 grid-ins

    44 multiple choice
    10 grid-ins

     Reading Sections

    Two 25-minute sections

    Two 25-minute sections
    One 20-minute section

     Reading Concepts

    Sentence Completion, Passage-Based Reading

    Sentence Completion, Passage-Based Reading

     Reading Questions

    48 multiple choice

    67 multiple choice

     Writing Sections

    One 25-minute section

    Two 25-minute sections
    One 10-minute section

     Writing Concepts

    Identifying Sentence Errors, Improving Sentences & Paragraphs

    Identifying Sentence Errors, Improving Sentences & Paragraphs

     Writing Questions

    35 multiple choice

    49 multiple choice}
    1 essay

    Can I really increase my previous SAT score?

    PowerScore guarantees a 300 point increase if you take the Full-Length Course, a 200 point increase for students in the Live Online Course, and a 150 point increase for the Weekend Course. You can absolutely expect to achieve these score increases provided you attend all of the classes and complete the homework. You cannot master a skill without practice, and the homework in PowerScore courses is designed to help you recognize and attack common SAT patterns. For more about the Score Increase Guarantees, please visit the Full-Length, Live Online, and Weekend Course pages.

    Who teaches PowerScore courses?

    PowerScore instructors are drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds and include current teachers, educational administrators, attorneys, and teaching assistants. Although all PowerScore instructors have scored in the 95th percentile, receiving this score is simply a prerequisite for gaining an interview. We select instructors for their friendliness and enthusiasm, their ability to communicate ideas, and their passion for teaching. In short, we want teachers who love to teach the SAT and who enjoy the process of helping students achieve their college admissions goals. Our competitors with lower instructor standards often claim that teachers with high scores do not necessarily make the best instructors. We couldn't agree more, and that is why we do not hire many of the qualified applicants we interview. We also look for people who can patiently, effectively, and humorously explain the ideas of our course, people who can interact well with others in a classroom setting, and those who truly enjoy leading a group. Finding instructors like this is not easy, and that's why we offer one of the highest starting salaries in the industry. In addition, we put our instructors through a rigorous training program before they ever set foot in a real class.

    We expend a tremendous amount of time and energy training our instructors because they are the conduit for all the institutional knowledge we possess about the SAT. We recognize that the instructor will have a tremendous effect on the class and we take instructor preparation very seriously. Every day students come to our instructors and say, "I want to score in the 2000s." With our hiring standards and extensive training, our instructors can confidently say, "All right, here's what it takes and here's how you can do it."

    Should I choose a long course, a short course, an online course, or private tutoring? Or should I study on my own?

    Only you can determine the type of help that is most beneficial and the extent you need to study in order to master the SAT. Some students benefit from the structure of a classroom and others need the personal guidance of one-on-one tutoring. Students who have major time constraints or have previously studied find the Weekend Course a viable option. And self-directed learners may profit most from publications and self-study packages. You are most familiar with your abilities and study habits, and you should pick a preparation package based on this knowledge.

    If you have not yet taken an official SAT, we strongly recommend taking the free test available on the College Board website and scoring it using the online template provided there. Be sure to simulate the true testing experience by taking it under timed conditions. This will give you a strong sense of your strengths and weaknesses and may ultimately help you decide which study option to pursue. If you choose to go with a course or with tutoring, your practice test score will provide your instructor or tutor with valuable information about which topics are most important to your preparation.

    "My instructor was great! She really made a difference in my understanding and she sincerely cared about the students. I definitely feel a lot more prepared. I know what to expect and have reduced apprehension. Thanks!"
    Tyler Williams
    Hilton Head, SC
    "PowerScore gives students effective tips and shortcuts towards answering the SAT math problems with basic logic that some of my school textbooks did not even show me! "
    Destiny Jackson
    SAT Full-Length Course Student
    "The instructor made class fun and I looked forward to going to classes. Small class size made a more comfortable learning atmosphere!"
    Alison H.
    Los Angeles, CA
    "The class really helped a ton. I would highly recommend this course to any fellow students. It wasn't even hard to pay attention, slightly entertaining, and full of learning!"
    Nate E.
    Los Angeles, CA
    "I believe that this class has helped me so much, making me understand what and how to study, and showing me new techniques to help. I highly recommend this program and I highly enjoyed the class myself!"
    Taylor F.
    San Francisco, CA
    "The course definitely familiarized me with the SAT, and I felt a million times more confident going into the SAT with Powerscore's training than I did going into previous SAT tests that I had not prepared for. Thanks!"
    Karina S.
    New York, NY