Brains and Brawn Blog

Posts by:

Nandita Dey

Vanderbilt 2023, Molecular & Cellular Biology

How to Show Demonstrated Interest to Prospective Colleges

Most students and families are aware that they need to have good grades, be involved in extracurriculars, and get good test scores to go to their choice college. However, one often overlooked factor is showing demonstrated interest. Demonstrated interest is essentially showing colleges you’re enthusiastic or have an interest in their school before you even send in your application. As college admissions get more competitive each year, particularly at selective universities, it’s in your best interest to do everything you can to increase your chances of getting into your dream school. The following are some ways that you can start showing demonstrated interest:

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Guessing on the SAT and ACT

No matter how much you study, you’re going to come across some questions on the SAT and ACT that you just can’t figure out in a timely manner. In situations like these, it’s good to have a game plan on how to guess. Neither test penalizes you for guessing, so it’s always recommended to bubble in something! You never know, it may be your lucky day. Here are three guessing strategies that can increase your chances of getting questions correct.

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AP vs Honors Courses

The main thing that colleges look at is grades! It's important to choose the right classes and that you do very best in them. When you sign up for classes, your counselor might throw terms like “honors” and “AP” around. Both class types are more rigorous than the average high school curriculum, but there are some important differences. 

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Why is the ACT the right test for you?

The ACT and SAT are two of the most common standardized tests for college admissions. One of the things we stress at Brains and Brawn is choosing the right test for you! Everyone’s different, so some students may do better on one test than the other. The best way to figure which one works best for you is to take a practice test from each test and then compare your scores and how you felt about each one. However, the information below can be helpful if you’re in crunch for time or are just curious about what makes the ACT unique. 

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The ACT and SAT are both timed standardized tests used for college admissions, so it’s really important to know how long you can afford to spend per question. Knowing the timing differences between the two tests can also be one factor you consider when choosing the right one for you. Additionally, make sure you do timed practice tests so you can work on time management and managing stress on the actual exam.   

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Can I take APs Exams Not Offered at My School?

Advanced Placement (AP) classes are college-level courses that you can complete during high school. There are several perks to taking APs, such as boosting your GPA, showing colleges you can tackle rigorous coursework, and earning college credit that could save you thousands in tuition! Typically, you enroll and take AP classes that are offered at your school and then sit for the AP exams in May. However, some schools don’t offer the APs you want, you may not have room in your schedule, your school might not offer AP at all, or you may be homeschooled. Many students wonder whether they can take AP exams if they can't take the class, and the answer is yes!

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Read or Skim the SAT/ACT Reading?

The Reading sections on the ACT and SAT can be daunting. You have to read and comprehend several passages, understand the questions, watch out for trick answers, make sure your answer is supported by the passage, and also keep an eye on the time! The last part, time, often gives many students trouble. One reason for this is that they don’t know the difference between “reading” and “skimming.” It’s important to figure out which method works best for you so that you can finish in time and get the right answer. 

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ACT vs SAT Math

The SAT and ACT are both accepted standardized tests for admission to every college in the US, so we highly recommend that you figure out which test is best for you! One way to do that is to compare the math sections and figure out which one complements your strengths the most. You could take practice tests from each test and try to figure it out on your own. Or you can read on to find out some of the major differences between the SAT math and ACT math!

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5 Types of Wrong Answers on SAT Reading

Did you know that the SAT Reading is super predictable? That’s because the tastemakers use the same tricks in every single test. Once you know what those tricks are, the Reading will be a breeze. Read on to see how!

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