My SAT and ACT Experience: Advice from a Brown University student

July 05, 2014

The SAT and ACT are intimidating - believe us, we know!  But getting advice from students who have already been through it can help you to prepare better and most of all, to prepare smarter.  Zach attends Brown University and told us about his experience with the SAT and ACT, including his advice for you.


I took the SAT twice and the ACT once.  The first time I took the SAT was in the fall of my junior year. I didn’t have any tutoring but I wanted to take the real test to get a feel for it and see what my baseline was. I did very well and my reading and writing scores from that test were the ones I sent to colleges. I then used a private tutor just for the math section. With two months of tutoring and practice work my math score went up 100 points.

I took the ACT right after I took the SAT for the second time. Many people do significantly better on one test than another so I wanted to try both out. The content of the ACT is similar enough that my studying consisted of just a few practice tests to get a feel for the very different format. I ended up getting a similar score, percentile wise, and submitted both tests.

I found the tutoring for the math section extremely helpful. My tutor was able to pinpoint the few concepts I was really struggling with, and help me figure them out. The biggest thing that helped me though was staying calm under pressure. I didn’t freak out before the tests or try to cram. The relaxed state of mine helped me focus and improve my scores.


Browse Successful Application Files

Harvard ‘20

Accepted to Harvard, Yale, MIT, Columbia, UVA

Lover of physics, math, and chess. Football player and bass player. California born and raised.
Harvard ‘22

Accepted to Harvard, CalTech, Duke, WashU, UVA, VA Tech, UToronto, Alabama

Advice more down-to-earth than my profile pic.
UPenn ‘20

Accepted to UPenn

Hello! I'm a senior at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, and I am concentrating in finance and statistics.
UCSB ‘22

Accepted to UCSB, Emory, BC, Tulane, UC Irvine, Santa Clara, UCSC, SDSU

I'm a first generation college student starting a physics major at UCSB this fall.

New Posts

Education, Access and Systemic Racism
Education, Access and Systemic Racism
June 07, 2020

The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among so many others in the Black community who have been robbed of their lives over the years by the brutal and fatal use...

How to Get Off the College Waitlist (5 Go-To Strategies)
How to Get Off the College Waitlist (5 Go-To Strategies)
March 31, 2020

Getting waitlisted is undoubtedly disappointing, but it's not the end of the road. Here are 4 ways aside from a letter of continued interest to turn your "Waitlisted" status into an "Acceptance."1) Updates to your applicationIf...

College admissions prep during the Coronavirus
College admissions prep during the Coronavirus
March 18, 2020

5 ways you can college prep while self isolating. Schools may be closed and standardized SAT and ACT tests may be postponed as entire communities attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19, but that doesn’t...

Load More Posts