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The Value of the SAT Subject Tests

Considering taking an SAT Subject Test but can’t quite figure out why? Taking the AP exam for a subject and curious about whether an SAT Subject Test would be redundant?

SAT Subject Tests can be valuable if your university choice recommends them. The most important thing about the SAT Subject Tests is to find out whether or not the schools you would like to attend want you to take them! Unlike APs, the Subject Tests do not count for university credit but, rather, are used by universities to decide what level of understanding you have of a particular subject and where to place you in university courses.

Here’s a great overview of the SAT Subject Tests and how they might be useful to you.

Curious to learn more? Contact RLG today to find out whether and which SAT Subject Tests might be valuable for you!





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SSAT Scoring Breakdown

Even for the experts, SSAT scoring and reporting can be a bit of a mystery. There is no sure answer to the question, “How much does my SSAT score effect my chance for admission?”

Fortunately, educational consultants, like Rasul Learning Group, can provide insight and experienced advice about how to most effectively use the SSAT for independent and private school admissions.

Please see this article for a great breakdown of the importance of the scaled score vs. percentile rank.

Still confused? Interested in talking about how to best use the SSAT for admissions? Contact RLG today!

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Take Your Interview Prep to the Next Level!

Rasul Learning Group
360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™

Congratulations! You got to the MMI stage of your application to medical school. Or you were selected to interview for your dream internship in a hospitality co-op program in Switzerland. Perhaps you were selected to interview for a CaRMS residency or fellowship. Or maybe you are about to interview for the promotion that will make your career.

How will you go about prepping for what might arguably be one of the most important interviews of your career?

Rasul Learning Group’s 360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™ was designed to make sure that you are absolutely ready when you enter the room for your interview. Zahra Rasul and the expert consultants at RLG have 15 years experience and a 99% success rate getting our clients the jobs they want and getting them into their first choice educational programs. This program is proprietary and RLG consultants take pride in providing the most thorough and exclusive interview prep in town!

Our system helps you to focus where it matters most— technique, content, and strategy.

1) Technique-360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™ focuses on building and strengthening foundational interview skills, such as appropriate eye contact, voice intonation, personal presentation, etc. We can help you craft a flawless résumé or C.V. On this firm foundation, we build your interview confidence so that you can create rapport with your interviewer.

2) Content-We pay special attention to the relevant issues related to the field or position to which you are applying. Our highly knowledgeable consultants can help you to develop and express ideas about yourself and about contemporary issues that may apply to your interview. Our 360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™ draws on the shared knowledge and proven success of our entire team to ensure that your interview prep is a dynamic and collaborative process that precisely fits your needs.

3) Strategy-At RLG, our interview preparation strategies are designed to prepare you for even the most unexpected interview scenarios. Our team makes certain that you are able to generate relevant and engaging answers to difficult, on-the-spot questions. Many of our consultants are particularly passionate about helping you to shape your personal narrative and tell compelling stories. We also make sure that you can effectively communicate the great ideas and competency in high-level skills that got you the interview in the first place!

Please contact us today to start your 360° Comprehensive Interview Preparation™

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Huffington Post’s 6 College Admissions Myths

Take a look through last week’s Huffington Post article about the six myths you shouldn’t fall for during the college admissions process. You may tell yourself that you may have a good chance of getting in on standardized test scores alone, but think again.

As our US College Admissions specialists will tell you, you can’t wait until your Grade 11 or Grade 12 year to start the application process:

“Your application process begins when you start high school, not when you begin your senior year. In your first year, you should develop an academic plan with tangible goals, as well as the appropriate strategies necessary to succeed. You will need to use all four years of high school to become an applicant who is well-rounded and well-matched to the schools you choose.”

Take a look at the article here to learn more about very common mistakes made during the process.

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Selectivity in US Schools not always based on accurate stats

We recently included a post on the Rasul Learning Group blog about how the official university and college rankings list can leave some questions unanswered. In this article by the Washington Post, it is clear that schools can even manipulate their rankings. By including certain metrics such as unfinished applications, US universities and colleges can appear to be more selective. While colleges are becoming more and more accountable for “scrubbing” their stats, it is still an issue in the US system.

It is important to keep these things in mind when looking at all official lists, since acceptance rate is a largely used metric in ranking schools.

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SAT results June 21

It’s that time of the month again: SAT results from the June 2 test date will come out this week!

When you get up at the crack of dawn to check your scores, keep in mind:

1. Your section break down is more important than your composite score; don’t be discouraged if you didn’t get to your goal score on the first try.

2. (Relatedly), Super Score is your friend! Keep in mind that you will be target-studying a different section for the October test, so rejoice in the best scores you achieved in this setting and don’t dwell on the ones that didn’t go as well as planned!

3. Celebrate, take a break, and regroup for your Fall studying. You have the whole summer to prep for the October exam, so take your time to plan out your study schedule effectively. It’s a lot easier to study for the SATs when you don’t have school exams, tests, and projects to worry about…

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For those preparing for SAT Math and Random Science News

The Let’s Talk Science program is an outreach program for getting a wider variety of science education into schools and the community.  The have a beta website called CurioCity which has posted an interesting article on vectors in NHL hockey.  Kind of a neat way to see how it all comes together.

In other science news, scientists have accidentally stumbled on what could be a cure for male pattern hair loss. They were studying the function of the digestive track and their mice regrew their hair. Goes to show that mistakes can be important too! See the article here.

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SAT Tips – 1 week to go!

The May SAT is fast-approaching. Here are a few tips we like our students to remember in the last couple of weeks:

1) Practice, practice, practice! The SAT is not a measure of your intelligence. It measures your ability to take the  test. The only way to get there is to be prepared by working diligently towards your goal.

2) Time every practice you do in these last couple of weeks. Make sure you mimic testing conditions as closely as possible in order to achieve the most accurate and best results.

3)  Maintain a positive attitude. Don’t let the test get the best of you. The best way to power through is to remember your ultimate goal of a U.S. college and that very soon, the SAT will be a distant memory!

4) When Friday arrives – STOP STUDYING. You won’t learn anything new the day before the test; it is a strategy test, not a content test. Relax, watch a movie, sleep early.

5) You get out of this experience what you put into it. Our most successful students are determined, dedicated, and passionate about their U.S College goals. Those are the students whose efforts always pay off!


Good luck!


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SAT season

As our Grade 11 students prepare for the May 5 and June 2 SATs, College Board (the company that administers the SAT) is making news!

Apparently, the non-profit organization is making a serious profit these days with the push for more students in the States to apply to college. This has raised new and old conversations about how accurate a measure the SAT can be of students’ college readiness.

At RLG, we DO NOT believe that the SAT is a measure of your intelligence, or even your aptitude. We think that it measures how well you take the test.

Is that a fair way of determining admission to US colleges? Not at all! (This is part of the reason that we love the progressive SAT-optional liberal arts colleges so much).

It should be interesting to follow the debate as more and more students take the test.

Here’s the article from Huff Po on the rise of College Board’s profitability:


In Push For More College Grads, ‘Very Profitable Nonprofit’ Cashes In

The national push to increase the number of Americans with college degrees is enriching at least one key beneficiary: the College Board, the nonprofit organization best known for administering the SAT.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have each agreed to pay the College Board anywhere from several hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million a year to test students in hopes of boosting their college-enrollment numbers, and the College Board is actively promoting its products in other states.

These deals are likely to further increase the College Board’s net revenues, which hit $65.6 million in 2010–the last year for which the figure was available from tax filings–up from $53 million the year before. The test supplier pays a quarter of its employees at least $230,000 a year, while its president, Gaston Caperton, earns more than $1 million annually–almost double what he made in 2005–and has a $125,000 expense account.

“They’re a very profitable nonprofit organization,” said Brad MacGowan, college counselor at Newton North High School in Newton, Mass., a Boston suburb. “They always seem to be coming up with a new product or service to push testing into younger grades or make states give the SAT to every student.”

Ten states and the District of Columbia also pay for the College Board’s PSAT test to be given at no cost to their students. Three–Delaware and Idaho since last year and Maine since 2005–require and pay for all high-school students to take the SAT. Last school year, Texas also required school districts to pay for the college-readiness exam for every student who wanted to take it, although it eliminated the program this year due to budget cuts.

Officials in both Delaware and Idaho said the legislation requiring all students to take the test was passed with no input from the College Board. But documents show the group has a lobbying presence in a number of other states.

In Massachusetts, the College Board paid a lobbying firm $24,000 last year to support “general outreach on education issues, specifically Advanced Placement, PSAT and college-readiness matters,” according to lobbyist disclosure forms. Also last year, in Indiana, a College Board lobbyist pushed for a bill to allocate $500,000 for ACT/SAT test preparation. And the College Board, which also administers Advanced-Placement exams, has tried to make AP classes mandatory in every California high school.

The other states that pay the College Board for PSAT services are Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas.

“They’re out there freewheeling, doing whatever they want, doing it however they want to do it, and no one is telling them ‘no,’ ” said Kenneth LaValle, a Republican in the New York State Senate and chair of the state’s Higher Education Committee.

The College Board acknowledged that it often talks with policymakers.

“We regularly speak with state education officials and district administrators about how our programs and services can help them increase college readiness,” College Board spokeswoman Kathleen Steinberg said.

Nationally, in the Class of 2011, more than 1.6 million high-school seniors had taken the SAT, a 30 percent increase from a decade ago. The test costs $49. Sending SAT scores to up to four colleges is free, after which it costs students $10.50 for every additional college. Rush delivery is an additional $30 per school. AP exams cost $87 each, and students took 3.1 million of these tests in the 2009-10 school year.

Caperton’s salary increase since 2005 alone could have paid for the PSAT to be given for free to almost 34,000 students. And the College Board’s revenues in excess of expenditures last year were enough to have provided a refund to every student who paid full price to take the SAT.

The College Board said it puts its earnings toward new products, services and advocacy. Last year, for instance, it spent $54.2 million on fee waivers for low-income students who take its tests.

Some higher-education officials have criticized the SAT, calling it a narrow measure of college readiness. Others have said it favors students from wealthy school districts. A small but growing number of colleges are moving away from requiring standardized test-scores for admission.

Legislators, though, hope that offering the SAT and PSAT for free will improve college-going rates.

“I think those programs can be really valuable in that they emphasize a college-going culture,” said Robert Laird, former undergraduate admissions director for the University of California at Berkeley. But Laird added that if a student is required to take one of the exams and does poorly, such programs also can backfire and discourage students.

“To maintain their true nonprofit status, they do advocate for certain programs,” MacGowan said of the College Board. “That’s ironic in a lot of ways. Here’s an organization that has a test that definitely favors higher-income students and disadvantages lower-income students, and they come out with all this rhetoric that tries to make them look like an organization that advocates for the poor and oppressed. They’re one of the biggest gatekeepers [in college admissions].”



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