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Back to the Basics

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12 Deadly Grammatical Errors

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SAT Tips from 100 Points

2011 is almost over and there are no more SAT test dates to worry about until next year.  But it’s never too early to get your SAT study and test plans in order for 2012. The CEE Blog introduces you to 100 Points Educational Services, an SAT training program based in Los Angeles, California, that will help you prepare for the SAT and master the exam, no matter where in the world you live. 100 points Educational Services offers the College Essay Editor community a lucky preview of their very valuable services.

100 POINTS Educational Services specializes in boosting your scores easily and efficiently. Here are FIVE handy-dandy tips to help you on your way to a big SAT boost:

SAT Tip #1: Don’t Sweat the Hard Stuff

Did you know that you can leave almost every hard question blank on the SAT and still score at or better than a 600 per section? Yeah, it’s true! (If you don’t believe us, check out our book, where we prove it.)  Every question on the SAT is worth the same amount of points, so it’s imperative that you answer as many easy and medium questions correctly before you move on to the hard ones.  Remember, hard problems are classified as “hard” because they are difficult to solve. Even attempting too many may actually hurt your score.

SAT Tip #2: Write What You Know

A lot of students get thrown by the SAT Essay and for good reason!  It’s the first section in the test and if you don’t know how to approach it, you may be costing yourself valuable points.  One easy way to prepare for the SAT Essay is to write about topics that you know well. Don’t try to remember obscure facts or dates like you would for an AP Essay.  You can also even pre-plan your essay to an extent. In fact, it’s a technique that works well and one we cover extensively in our SAT WRITING Study Guide.

SAT Tip #3: Skip the Shorties

Two of the Critical Reading sections have two short passages after the initial Sentence Completions.  These short passages are tempting because they are “short” in length, but the content can often be very confusing!  In total, there are only four questions to answer and many students spend too much time struggling with the short passages and don’t leave themselves enough time for the longer passages.  Not cool, dudes. It’s more important to go after the questions in the longer passages because you get more bang for you buck that way, and the questions on the longer passages tend to be more straightforward.  So skip the short passages and come back to them after you’ve completed the longer passages.

SAT Tip #4: Give ‘Em What They Want to Know

So often we see this error on the SAT MATH: A student reads the question, does all the work correctly and then still gets the question wrong. What gives!?  Usually, that means the student didn’t give the test the answer they wanted. For example, the question may have been asking for “the value of 4x” and the student solved the problem correctly but chose the answer that was only the “value of x”.  This mistake is subtle and easy to make, so stay on guard and ALWAYS give them what they want to know!

SAT Tip #5: Pack for the Day

Raise your hand if you thought the SAT was only 3 hours and 45 minutes long? Well, technically you’re right (go ahead and put your hand down now), but you’ll actually be at the testing center for closer to FIVE HOURS!  Hey, we’re not happy about it either…we take these tests, too!  Counting the time it takes to get you to your testing room, the reading of directions, the 60+ bubbles to fill in before you start, breaks in between sections, and copying the “I will not cheat” statement by hand…the SAT is a full day event.  Bring snacks, water, and a jacket in case the environment is chilly (they don’t always heat classrooms on the weekends).  If your testing center has their act together, you may get out by 12:30pm, but if your testing center has a lot of students or is just the least bit disorganized, you’ll probably be there past 1pm. Yikes!

So there you have it! Five friendly SAT tips to give you a head-start on your test preparation!  We wish you the best of luck, and if you need further insight into achieving your highest potential SAT score, visit to sign up for study guides and more tips.

Have a great end of 2011, College Essay Editor community, and may you catch your dream SAT score in 2012!


100 POINTS is a new SAT prep company founded by two tutors, Josh and Ryan, who not only have over 20 years of SAT tutoring experience, but also still take the tests to stay informed!  The 100 POINTS philosophy focuses on solid, fundamental strategies that can boost an SAT score by 100 points or more per section.  The best part is that 100 Points is committed to providing all the best SAT strategies in a way that is affordable, accessible and… dare we say, fun!

ALL COLLEGE ESSAY EDITOR customers receive a 20% discount off purchases from 100 POINT EDUCATIONALS SERVICES. Receive your 20% discount code when you order your essay edit, resume or coverletter with

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U.S. News Best Colleges 2012

U.S. News & World Report released their latest rankings of educational institutions across the globe. Massachusett’s Harvard University ranked number two, while the United Kingdom’s University of Cambridge was awarded the number one slot.

“Six distinct indicators were evaluated to rank the top 400 universities worldwide: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, proportion of international faculty, proportion of international students, and citations per faculty. The gap between Cambridge and Harvard was incredibly small–a difference of about 0.7 points in their overall scores–and can be attributed to Cambridge’s more impressive faculty-student ratio.”

Listings also include ratings specific to Latin America, as well as topics of study, including: 1) Arts and Humanities; 2) Engineering and Technology; 3) Life Sciences; 4) Natural Sciences; and 5) Social Sciences. “The individual subject rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and citations per paper.”

The overall top ten rankings were reported, as follows:

1. University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)

2. Harvard University (United States)

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)

4. Yale University (United States)

5. University of Oxford (United Kingdom)

6. Imperial College London (United Kingdom)

7. UCL (University College London) (United Kingdom)

8. University of Chicago (United States)

9. University of Pennsylvania (United States)

10. Columbia University (United States)

To read the full coverage of the World’s Best Universities, which includes rankings, photos, and more, click here.

Become a fan of Best Colleges on Facebook.

X Marks The Spot: Selecting your Target Schools

A “target school” is a term used in college preparatory services to identify academic programs that a student either qualifies for, or nearly qualifies for, and will apply to, either for college, graduate school or a post-graduate program.

Target schools may either be a “safety”, “reach” or “super-reach” school for the applicant, once all program requirements and program characteristics are taken into consideration, and compared with the test scores, grades, coursework, degrees earned, and other qualifications of the applying student.

Consider your future unknown school as Pirate Treasure (“X Marks the Spot!”), and the most-important map to discover that valuable treasure is the planning process you will undergo when selecting the best possible schools for you.

Build your treasure map to your golden school by considering all of the factors in the list below. Selecting your target schools is the first and most important step in achieving your educational goals and achieving your life treasure: your education.

Evaluating each school or academic program for the following factors will allow you to:

1) fine-tune your goals;

2) minimize application costs; and

3) help you devise the most realistic and informed plan when applying for an academic program.

The Golden Education Checklist

Admissions Requirements
Fully understand all minimum requirements for the school, including grade point average (GPA), standard and advanced test scores, coursework, degree requirements, and more.

Consider the geographic location of the school, including distance from your family, weather, housing options, and distance from job opportunities. Many educational programs have established relationships with local firms and other employment opportunities.

For example, Harvard may be a far-reach school for you, but unless you can receive a scholarship for attendance, consider the loans you will need to take out to attend the university. Follow your dreams and understand that you education will very likely allow you to increase your salary once you are employed, but take cost into consideration for the sake of your financial security. Consider loan options, scholarship and fellowship opportunities, and more.

Length of Program
Is the program a 4-year program, 2-year program or less? How many months out of the year will you be required to attend the program? How many hours a week? Taking all of these time factors into consideration will allow you to consider your own goals. Do you seek a full-time school or part-time program that will allow you to work full-time or part-time? Take time into consideration so that you can make a well-informed plan as to how your education will play into your “life calendar.”

What classes make up the degree curriculum? Does the program focus on theory or practice? Does the program tend to lean more towards engineering and less towards science? Understand all of the complexities of the degree you might receive and consider how that knowledge will affect your future profession. What skills and knowledge do you hope to master? Considering program coursework will help you leave the program as the master you initially hoped to become.

Faculty & Advisors
Professors are perhaps you greatest resource in an academic program. Who are the professors that will be teaching you? Who are the men and women that will pass along to you the knowledge you will receive in your field of study? Are you informed on their work? Students often find that they will attend a particular academic program for the reason of working with a resident professor.

Depending on your topic of study, research can play a great part in your future potential as a professional in the field. What research programs does the program provide alongside or after the curriculum? What centers are affiliated with the program?

Program Prestige
Your alma mater could land you that future job: A school’s name may be worth your attendance, as some schools maintain a tight-knit “honor code” for graduates. Research a school’s reputation not only to discover how it can help you, but also how it can hurt you. Some schools are known nationwide to be “party schools”. You may think a school is cool, but do your research to ensure that’s a generally accepted opinion. Some school’s tainted reputations could affect your ability to land a job.

While you may have already evaluated the cost, also make sure to research scholarship opportunities. Scholarships and fellowships not only can possibly save a student money, but they can strengthen your post-school résumé. Fellowships from university departments can add prestige to your CV and increase your opportunities for networking outside of a program’s department.

Are you an athlete? Is sports an activity that you require to stay happy and healthy while you are attending an educational program? Consider a school’s athletic departments in your sport of choice. Your team might just be the “make-it-or-break-it” factor for you when selecting your future school.

Clubs & Program Community
Extra-curricular activities, clubs and your school community are valid considerations when looking at academic programs. Some clubs or activities, such as the school paper, could be vital for your success after school. Consider what activities and clubs are important to you, and then research what a school offers in that realm. Some university community-run organizations have worldwide prestige that could really muscle up your chances for professional success.

Student Population
Do you prefer a school with smaller class sizes, or would you rather be a member of a 6,000-person freshman class? Take into consideration the size of a university and how it may affect your education, including the ability to work directly with professors.

Degree Qualifications & Accreditation
Does the program meet your country’s requirements for teaching? Does the program allow you to enter graduate or post-graduate school? Is it a Bachelors Degree program or only a certification program? Make sure you know what degree you will receive from a particular academic program, and ensure that it will meet your requirements for your future professional plans.

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