Six Secrets Hidden By SAT & ACT Test Makers

six-secrets-hidden-by-sat-act-test-makersSix Secrets Hidden By SAT and ACT Test Makers by Jean Burk

Podcast #58

Do you want to know six secrets that the test makers don’t want you to know? In this episode, Jean Burk shares her insights after years of successful teaching the SAT and ACT test prep to thousands of students. Her techniques successfully raise scores as much as 600 points! This is part three of an ongoing series on a total of twenty-three insider’s tips and hidden secrets that test makers hope you won’t learn.  Listen to podcast one here and podcast two in the series here.

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Show Notes: Six Secrets Hidden By SAT & ACT Test Makers

  1. You really need to know how to interpret the percentiles of the SAT score – what does that mean – where does that fall? Students can find out the percentiles – official chart from the National Merit Corporation – pages 6-9

If you don’t know your starting point you don’t know where to begin or how to improve.

  1. Your state can miss out on a scholarship opportunity. Some states only promote the ACT they don’t promote the SAT – which means the PSAT which is designed by the SAT When they redesigned the new SAT – 1600 ACT – 36

Depending on what state you live in and how student’s do will determine the percentile for your particular state – – you can find the predicted scores for every state that will give you ranking sin your state.

  1. You may not want to take so many standardized tests but taking both tests can pay dividends! If you take both the SAT and the ACT – you may have an advantage scoring well on both formats – can mean better opportunities – can elevate your chances of admittance as well as scholarship money. If you get high scores on both – they may give more money on the SAT or more money on the ACT

Give you the idea of the scoring for both – there is an optimal rate

There are 13 opportunities 6 times for ACT and 7 times for the SAT

Overview of the tests – Knowledge Based are on

  1. Little known secrets – SAT essay judge confesses he spends 20 seconds grading the essays – papers are scanned and sent to judges all over the nation – they only have time to 5-6 key points they are looking for … they are going to skim it in 20-30 seconds. They have a college degree and have taught reading. They use an objective grading system that is standardized. Some read 3 per minute – it is a matter of how well you can answer questions under pressure. has a proven template the students can use – this new analytical essay from the SAT –not asking for opinion – you have to take their info and put it back on the paper and find concrete points to use in your essay. THREE examples – look for numbers – survey or statistic or report with a date –


  1. If you are in the know there is another secret chance to take a test – the residual ACT – a secret chance to take the test in non-conventional time s in the year. Most SAT are taken on a Saturday – so it can be a hindrance. It is given on the campus of most colleges it is offered weekly or monthly. These include the ability to pay at the college, you can receive your score back quickly – a day or a week. It can only be used for that school. These are official ACT – advantage, just one point on ACT – increase you another 20K in some campuses.


  1. Removed the guessing penalty – ACT and SAT are both the same. You may want to reconsider advice from companies if you are not sure about an answer, just guess. Look at this logically – SAT has 4 options – ACT has 5 options. SAT 75% wrong or ACT – 80% wrong. Don’t be quick to guess on a question. Learn how to answer the questions correctly. Time is not their friend. Most students take too long on the questions, can’t get through the test. – strategy go through 2-3 times. Key is if you come across a question and you can’t answer it quickly – skip – star and move on… get to as many as you can and come back to the ones that you skipped. Your subconscious is working on it so you can see the answer later. You will have answered way more questions than you could ever have answered. You saved so much time now you can spend a couple of minutes on the questions you don’t know.


Six SAT and ACT Secrets Revealed

six SAT ACT Secrets RevealedSix SAT and ACT Secrets Revealed Episode # 57 with Jean Burk

Here we go another fast-paced series. When completed there will be 23 total. Be sure to

We have an insider’s perspective to the truth about the SAT and ACT, popular belief is that it tests what you know. However, Jean Burk debunks this and shares with you the information you know.

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Show Notes: Six SAT and ACT Secrets Revealed

  1. Score choice – super score
  • Score choice – you get to pick the scores you want to send to the colleges – the scores will sit there until you send them into a college
  • Super score – most colleges take the highest scores from separate tests
  • Score choice – what Math great score time one time – and Reading another time
  • Start taking the test early in middle school  — need to practice  to figure out what they need
  • Colleges do not care how many times you take the SAT or ACT – colleges get their rankings based on scores – should never been a one shot deal – with your scores can massively increase your chance to receive college. Colleges want your overall highest scores





  1. ACT – no big deal made to changes with ACT
  • Subtle ACT change that flew under the radar that can benefit the students. Sept 2016 changed ACT – changed allotted time for essay – 40min long –  adopted a new grading system that mimics the SAT scoring perfect 12 – persuasive essay before it is written before the test date

Great info on ACT Essay changes on the test.

  1. Every college takes ACT or SAT – why that is important to know – there is pushback that sometimes you are told that one college takes one or the only. Twenty years ago that was the truth, but no longer. Now there is no difference, they have a formula they use. If the college prefers one over the other they will convert the score
  • Certain areas promote only one test over the other – PSAT – is so important for scholarships as well

Good easy overview of both tests

Knowledge Based –

  1. Why you should always write the SAT essay even though it is optional… why even do it? There are 5 reasons why
  • When you write the essay you submit a more complete profile –since most people don’t take it. Can open more doors
  • There are colleges that will exempt a student from writing classes if they write the essay and do well.
  • Admissions counselor will use the essay on the positive deciding factor – you have written the essay and the other student has not – your essay counts in your favor
  • When you sign up for the SAT online – you can opt out of the essay – IF a college requires the essay you have to sit for the entire SAT again – you can still opt in for the essay – if they have enough room you can still write the essay –
  • SAT essay is standardized – proven template to get a perfect score 25 minutes


Write you essay in a short time – you have time left over, I can leave early you get a zero for working out early. You must stay the entire time.


  1. The ACT essay is also optional – for the same reasons you should write
  • The ACT essay is a separate cost
  • One for ACT and one for the essay


  1. Colleges are looking to brag about you – you make the colleges look good and they can
  • To improve their reputations
  • Look into merit scholarship awards. Important PSAT – Preliminary SAT (page 20-22)

Minimum number of National Merit scholars they are looking for – gives you the opportunity to talk to them. They list the kids who do well in their brochure.

Make sure you check reputable sources – well-meaning friends, you get the wrong information. If they give you the wrong advice.



5 Secret Revealed – SAT and ACT

5 Secrets Revealed SAT ACT5 Insider’s Top Secret Tips About the SAT and ACT

College Prep – #56 with Jean Burk

Are you ready for a series of podcasts that crack wide open the SAT and ACT myth. No, these tests do not evaluate what you know, they are standardized LOGIC tests. Do you understand what to look for? Can you answer some sections in less then one minute a question? In this series, podcast 56, 57, 58 and 59 Jean shares the information you need to crack open the code and score well. This information is something the test makers do not want you to know!

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Show Notes: 5 Secrets Revealed SAT – ACT

  1. Redesigned SAT is designed by ACT writers

One third rule – did better on ACT one better to SAT and one third do equally well on both.

The difference in the tests have been changed.

Some students didn’t like to sit longer – or on some tests they couldn’t switch their brain fast enough or found it more difficult

SAT changing began with – David Colman – he was the architect of common core – he was put in charge of testing and he decided he didn’t like the fact that more student s were taking the ACT over the SAT – the difference was close approx. 1.8 million vs. 1..7 million

David Colman hired the best ACT writer’s to improve the SAT and they did – they set up– patterns similar on both tests almost 99 percent the same

4-long sections on both test – students of any age common strategies now – on both tests

12 states including Texas – pulled out of Common Core – private and homeschoolers have not adopted CC – college board isn’t going to get sued…

influences and philosophies – testing reading, writing and math …. More on the podcast.

  1. There is now an August SAT – rising Junior – extra practice before PSAT before it counts for national merit scholar –26

College board – profile – links –College Board


  1. SAT – costs six figures to write – that alone tells you that when the college board writes this test – they have to follow the same rules all the time. Once you learn the patterns you can study those.

Change had to do with money – they wanted more people to take the SAT –

XYZ company got sued by college board – this particular company got caught cheating had the real tests and used those tests to teach their students

This is a beatable test – learning the patterns is the key –– cost to write each SAT – 625K for one test…


  1. SAT and ACT makers use similar misleading remarks – it is so discouraging and wrong advice… these tests do use high school content – these are filled with logic, and reasoning… but that alone is not enough. You have to approach it with a critical eye.

You can not study for the content –but you can study for how the questions are written. The only fair way to compare is with a standardized tests…


  1. You can get your SAT and ACT detailed scores back – you can determine your weaknesses and how to combat these

There are 3 times a year you can get your test back for a small fee – clean test booklet…

Gives you very specific results –



Test Taking Encouragement

test taking encouragementTest Taking Encouragement with Jean Burk

What is the best news? A great score on a test! In this podcast Jean discusses test taking encouragement that YOU can do it! Success is around the corner and with Jean’s tips your student will benefit tremendously.

Episode 55

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Jean Burk is a Fox News Contributor – she was recently a guest on Fox and Family with Lisa Brady!

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  • This course teaches itself, if the parent did not go to college it will not affect their ability to teach the college readiness program to their student
  • 2 day boot-camp hosts have their child attend free!
  • Boot-camp costs 249 (at the time of this podcast) to attend with a FREE online course included
  • Material is eligible for 6th graders to 12th graders, earlier is better!
  • Average increase is 200, the higher percent is 600 points
  • Have the student take the SAT or ACT first before the class to see the improvement

Must Know College Checklist

must know college checklistMust Know College Checklist with Jean Burk

When you are ready to visit a college do you know what to look for?  Here is the must know college checklist of important information to find the very best college for your child.

Celebrate with us! Jean Burk is a Fox News Contributor – she was recently a guest on Fox and Family with Lisa Brady!

Visit our sponsor – College Prep Genius 

Podcast #54


Must Know College Checklist Show Notes

  • Visit top two schools,
  • Ask yourself questions; Am I comfortable walking around? Can I be friends with these people?
  • Make a checklist to compare colleges
  • Apply to 5-6 schools, safe schools, reach schools, and dream schools

Links we disucssed:


  • Remember there is no perfect college
  1. Check the school website for visit dates
  2. Contact admissions counselor for personal date
  3. Go on a weekday to get a feel for the campus
  4. Try to schedule an interview while you are there
  5. Ask if the school offers reimbursement for travel fees
  6. Make travel arrangements as soon as you can
  7. Arrange for an excused absence to take college visits
  8. Try to talk to the dean or professors
  9. Sit in on one or more classes
  10. Take a tour of the campus
  11. Visit the bookstore student center or library
  12. Spend the night in a dorm to get a feel for the housing
  13. Eat in the cafeteria to see if you like it
  14. Meet with the admissions counselor face to face
  15. Wander around the campus by yourself
  16. Talk to students at the college and ask about their experience
  17. Visit around the school to get a feel of the area

Questions to Ask Academic Advisor –

  1. What is the average class size for the freshman
  2. How many of those students returned the following year
  3. What makes this college program special
  4. How easy is it to switch majors
  5. How does the school help the student adjust to college life
  6. Is there Greek life or social groups at this school
  7. Is the Greek System important to this school
  8. What organizations are the school partnered with
  9. What does the tuition cover
  10. Are there hidden fees
  11. Work study jobs
  12. How safe is the campus
  13. What does the housing scene look life
  14. Are freshman allowed to live off campus
  15. Are freshman allowed to have their own car
  16. Campus parking situation
  17. Does the school offer campus wide tutoring
  18. How big is the average class size

Things to ask the students at the college

  1. Thing they like most about the college
  2. The worst thing about this college
  3. Why did they pick this college
  4. Would you pick this school again if you had the chance
  5. If I need help how acceptable are the professors here
  6. Are the professors down to earth
  7. What do you like about your department
  8. Do you like the professors
  9. Are the professors teaching the classes themselves or is it done by a TA
  10. How diverse is the student body
  11. How is the cafeteria
  12. What do you do for fun here
  13. How close are the shopping center
  14. How are the dorms
  15. Which dorm is best
  16. Are the dorms nice
  17. What is the one thing you wish you knew ahead of time



All About Mandatory Testing

mandatory testingMandatory Testing — Episode 52 with Jean Burk

Want to know all about mandatory testing? Or is testing even mandatory? Want to know all about mandatory testing? Or is testing even mandatory? In this podcast with author, Jean Burk you’ll learn what is expected for college entrance and the standard – as of now, that yes, testing is mandatory for college entrance. Learn more in this podcast.

Jean Burk is a contributor on Fox News – featured on Fox & Family with Lisa Brady

Sign up for Jean’s ezine to receive her free eBook: Goodbye student loans – visit her website here. Give Jean’s show a “star” rating on iTunes! Click iTunes above! Or listen on your favorite podcast app. – download free ebook from Jean Burk








Show Notes: Mandatory Testing

  1. What is a standardized test?
  2. Will people stop using standardized tests?
  3. Standardized tests are required for typical college entrance.
  4. SAT and ACT tests level the playing field
  5. 0 differs from high school to high school
  6. 85% percent of colleges admit and give scholarships on test scores alone.
  7. Use reliable sources, don’t believe just anyone who says students no longer need to take standardized tests
  8. Standardized tests level the playing field.
  9. Homeschoolers typically score higher on SAT or ACT
  10. Prep books don’t help as well as understanding strategies
  11. Roadmap to studying for tests – see Jean’s site at
  12. As homeschoolers, you can incorporate test prep in your homeschool curriculum
  13. Not understanding the test can be more stressful
  14. Once you understand the recurring patterns and standardization of the test you can answer the questions in thirty seconds or less.

Important information for college entrance – includes mandatory testing

  1. GPA
  2. Rankings – not as important but a factor
  3. Community Service, Sports, clubs, part-time jobs
  4. Test score

College Selection Checklist

college selection checklistCollege Selection Checklist with Jean Burk and Felice Gerwitz

Podcast #53

Jean Burk explains the importance and gives a detailed college selection checklist for students looking for the ideal college. She explains the college search, the type of school to consider, where to look, large vs. small school and criteria to consider. This college selection checlist also contains a list to some amazing website recommendations to help you make your own custom spreadsheet using the criteria you want to select the perfect school for you.

Celebrate with us! Jean Burk is a Fox News Contributor – she was recently a guest on Fox and Family with Lisa Brady!

Visit our sponsor – College Prep Genius 


Podcast by Jean on Transcripts

Show Notes: College Selection Checklist

  1. College Search
    1. Personal Criteria –make a list.
    2. Location
    3. Cost
    4. Size of the school
  2. Type of School
    1. Community College
    2. 4-Year University
    3. Technical / Military School
  3. Where to Look –Nearly 5,000 Colleges in USA
    1. Internet sites
      1. Start at a school
        1. College Board – great resource
        2. Accreditation Search 
        3. College Navigator
        4. – creates a profile
        5. Best College Rankings
      2. Talking to family and friends
      3. Visit College
        1. Safe school
        2. Reach school
        3. Dream school
  1. Large vs Small schools:
    1. Large: more courses, anonymity, greater ranges of activities and organizations, larger libraries, graduate departments.
    2. Small school, more personal atmosphere, meet professors and students, individual participation and interaction, flexible programs
  2. Request Information via mail
  3. School criteria:
    1. Scores
    2. Size – depends on personality
      1. 5000
      2. 10000
      3. 30000 or more
  1. College worksheet and college selection application checklist
    1. High school Prep Genius Book by Jean Burk – 50 things to look for
      1. Downloadable Worksheet
      2. Location
      3. Size – not only physical size, enrollment of students
      4. Cost – not only tuition –
        1. Fees
        2. Room and Board
        3. Transportation
        4. Application Fees
        5. More expensive schools have more money to give out
        6. Tuition Tracker -online
        7. Affiliation –public, private, proprietary school
        8. Urban or rural locations
        9. Religious Affiliation
        10. Diversity – looking for this and will “pay”
          1. protestant look for a Catholic school – schools look for diversity
        11. Facilities on Campus –
          1. Campus security
          2. Recreation –gym on site
          3. Medical or Clinic facilities
        12. Majors and academic requirements
          1. School requirements – have way lower than your score they will
          2. Some broad majors
          3. Specific majors
          4. Undecided
          5. Want a 4-year major and be done or…
          6. Some majors don’t lend themselves into jobs afterward

Photo Credit: All Rights Reserved, Copyright leungchopan

The Perfect College For You Is…

the perfect college for youThe Perfect College For You is.. with Jean Burk

Podcast #51

There are nearly 5K colleges across our nation and there are so many to choose from. Which college is right for you? What is the best fit for you? Jean Burk explores this question.

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The best fit for you is the one that FITS you! The more info you write down is the best.

  1. The college search:
    1. Local? Where your parents went to school? Your friends are going?
    2. Size? Larger vs. Small School
    3. Location? How far is the college from my home?
    4. Special classes you want to take.
    5. Research
    6. of Education
    7. College by rankings:
    8. Think about your own personality, career goals
    9. What type of activities does this college offer
    10. Does it have your major
    11. Do you play sports? Does it offer that sport?
    12. Admissions requirement

Use the acronym GREAT 

G – Grades – GPA

R – Rankings

E – Extra curricula activities – clubs and associations, leadership skills

A – Activities – community service

T – Test scores -85% colleges admit and give money based on test scores


Is College Right For You

is college right for youIs College Right For You? And Lame Excuses That Keep You From Going

Episode #50

Is college right for you? Often many students have reasons or excuses for not going. In this podcast, Jean Burk explains how some of these excuses can be overcome with some serious thought.

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Five reasons to go to college

  1. Give you the opportunity to continue your education experience; some jobs require a degree
  2. College opens doors to exciting opportunities like college abroad
  3. Change careers – because of extra courses, college experience
  4. Allows you to have freedom with little responsibility
  5. Allows you to meet new people of different cultures


Five reasons to postpone college

  1. Not motivated enough to do the work that is required
  2. Career focus does not require college
  3. If you have previous family obligations that require immediate attention
  4. Take time off to pursue another a passion. A gap year, take time off to go on the mission field or work for a time-period. Explore various job professions. Time off to do internships. Get pilots license.
  5. Once in a lifetime opportunity right after high school

The recommendation is to take your SAT while you are in high school – your scores will be held for you.

Seven lame reasons not to go

  1. Too expensive
  2. Too hard
  3. Grades are not good enough
  4. Don’t know what to study –
  5. I have something better to do
  6. No one in my family went to college
  7. My friends are not going to college

Caution – Career Path Ahead

caution career choice aheadAfter High School-Caution, Career Path Ahead with Jean Burk

Podcast #49

It’s time to think about college and now is the time to think about the different career paths. While there are many different paths, the main ones will be covered in this podcast with Jean Burk – “Caution – Career Path Ahead.”

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Three main career paths after high school are discussed in this podcast on selecting a career path and planning.

  1. College
    • Internships – opportunities before high school
    • Costs can vary a few thousand to several hundred thousand for four years
    • Basic degree- BA in Business you should take on another degree.
    • Two Year Degree –Jr. College
    • Different types of jobs requiring 4-Year Degrees
    • Different types of jobs requiring a Master’s Degrees
  2.  Workforce: Vocational Degrees
    • Costs approx.: – $1 to 12-15K
    • After high school may have a job lined up.
  3.  Military: Different branches in the armed forces
    • GI Bill – pay college
    • Officers – for law or medical
    • Top Military school – West Point or Annapolis
    • Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines
    • Enter ROTC program in college |

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