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What are the SAT Question and Answer Service and ACT Test Information Release?

From time to time students will be confused by their performance on their SAT or ACT.  They will say: “I don’t understand why my English score dropped”, or “I thought I aced the math, what happened”?

To better understand test performance, both College Board and ACT provide a service that allows you to purchase a copy of the test you took.  This service is not available for all test dates, but in 2020-21, SAT is releasing the tests for October, March and May, and ACT is releasing the tests for December, April, and June.

Both services provide you a clean copy of the test, your answers, and the correct answers.  I highly recommend you order the test if you wish to do further test preparation.  This can be done when you register for your test or after you get your scores.  You have up to five months after your test date to order the SAT; you have six months to order the ACT.

The name of College Board’s service is the Question and Answer Service.  (Do not confuse this with the Answer Verification Service available for all test dates and described on the same page).  Click here to find out more.

The equivalent product from ACT is called the Test Information Release.  To order your ACT test, click this link for further instructions.

For insight on why scores can fluctuate, read this article that discusses variability in the ACT Science scores.

For questions, write Kate Dalby at kvs@katedalby.com

2021-03-04T20:34:36-05:00

Summer SALE! Convenient 1-on-1 Online Prep – BONUSES

Summer Prep 2021 SALE! Registration deadline is May 31, 2021.  Early sign-up improves chances of scheduling appointments that work for YOU.  Purchase Flex Prep package at the regular price and get an extra hour of tutoring in addition to the two (2) bonus half-hours.  That’s eight hours of prep – a $1,600 value – for the price of six hours.  Save BIG!

Yes.  We are online for business.


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2021-06-02T16:40:20-04:00

New! Virtual Fireside Chat with Dr. Sybil Gohari, Founder of Admissions Company

Join Dr. Sybil Gohari, founder of Admissions Company, for a virtual Fireside Chat on College Admissions on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 at 7 pm. This event is sponsored by Kate Dalby, owner of Inspiring Test Preparation. Contact Dr. Gohari directly to sign up at info@admissions.company. Seating is limited.

Dr. Gohari brings over a decade of experience as an educator and entrepreneur; she spends her time at the intersection of academia and technology. She has taught at the University of Maryland, College Park; American University; George Washington University; and Georgetown University.

She founded Admissions Company to harness the proprietary method rooted in data and analytics, to not only help students significantly increase their chances of gaining admission to competitive schools but to determine the optimal schools for their individual needs and interests. Admissions Company complements its use of big data with a deep reservoir of expertise to guide students from an early point in the admissions process.

Dr. Gohari graduated from the American University Magna Cum Laude, with a degree in Art History, where she was also a division I lacrosse player. She went on to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

2020-12-08T18:58:58-05:00

At Home TJ Math Drills

When clients call for advice to get into TJ, the first thing I do is have them take a one hour at-home math test to see how strong the student’s problem solving skills are.  My test is extremely predictive: a poor score means acceptance to TJ is nil unless the student takes action to improve basic math skills.

To address the deficit, we conduct math drills for 7th graders on Tuesday evenings during the spring and summer.  The students come in, sit for a timed 25 question test, and then we review the problems that gave them difficulty.  This is an excellent method for improving math test taking skills and over the years it has made a dramatic difference, in conjunction with our comprehensive TJ prep class and SIS workshop, in enhancing their admissions outcomes.

Unfortunately hurdles abound for parents trying to get to our drill classes.

> I can’t get there on a weekday evening.
> It is too far.
> There is too much traffic.
> I’m too busy.
> The drill class is at dinner time.
> She has sports conflicts.
> He has a test.
> He has after school activities.

Fortunately we are working on a solution.  We have started math drills at home project and have launched our first drill.

We have four drills scheduled so far.

Drill #1 average difficulty
Drill #2 higher difficulty – recommended if you did well on drill #1
Drill #3 average difficult – recommended if you did poorly on drill #1
Drill #4 higher difficulty – recommended if you did poorly on drill #2

We will continue making drills if there is a demand for the videos.

To find out more, click here.

2019-05-04T16:28:40-04:00

Just Be Yourself

“Just be yourself” – arguably the most cliché, most useless, and most frustrating piece of “advice” handed out on a day-to-day basis. But if it’s so useless, why do we hear it constantly when setting out for first dates, readying for interviews, or sitting down to start that all-important college essay?

A majority of college applicants know that the amount of time a reviewer spends poring over college applications is infinitesimal, so why bother? Regardless of the impressive awards you’ve spent your high school career amassing, to the person reviewing your file, you’re nothing more than a slip of paper – that is, until you differentiate yourself.

But is there such a thing as going too far – sure, every great joke can be ruined with poor delivery, but can every terrible joke be redeemed with a hilarious rendition? Are there experiences that are just so flat out boring and unimportant that, even with the proper storytelling, fall flat in a college essay setting?

My freshman year of high school, an admissions officer came to our school to do a presentation on how to write a college essay. After some basic tips and what to include, he ended the presentation by reading a few examples of his favorite essays. While I can’t recall the exact topics of the first two essays he read, they were wonderfully written and both told compelling stories. The third one, which left a permanent imprint on my mind, was about a three-year-old boy on a quest for his lost shoe. Despite the ridiculous pretense, I was hooked. By the time the lector was finished, the child-like and colorful layers of the essay had fallen away to reveal a surprisingly deep message. Not only did the essay demonstrate the applicant’s eagerness to explore and problem-solve, but its novelty and presentation kept me entertained. It was simultaneously the most fun and most meaningful essay I had heard in my life.

The college essay is the chance to show to the college admissions officer not only that you’ve done the preparation for college, but also how it has impacted you as a person and how you’ve grown and benefitted from having that experience. The college essay is an opportunity to tell that story from a personal lens. For example, loads of people have been skydiving, but not everyone conquered their fear of heights and have used that experience to challenge their fears, break new ground, and etc… (you get the idea). Even though people may experience similar circumstances, the way that they approach the situation and what they take away makes them stand out – and that’s exactly what the college officers want to see.

2018-08-01T19:05:10-04:00