How to Find Scholarships

How to Find Scholarships

Some deadlines are as early as a year before college starts, so if you're in high school now, you should be researching and applying for scholarships during the summer between your junior and senior years. But if you've missed that window, don't give up!

Students: Find the Right College for You

Students: Find the Right College for You

Finding your college fit doesn’t have to be stressful. Both parents and students, read through these questions, tips and guidelines for students to consider. As you answer and perhaps even take notes, discuss your options with your parents and get clear on your desired college experience.

New ACT and SAT Concordance Tables - Released Summer 2018

SAT and ACT - New Concordance Chart

SAT scores versus ACT scores - concordance chart displaying how scores compare to each other. Which test is better for you to take? ACT or SAT? Find out by taking one of each test!

Concordance tables bridge the gap between the ACT and SAT scales, providing a guide to link equivalent scores. They’re not only essential for admissions staff, but also for students and families to help decide which test is the best choice. The newest concordance tables were released this summer, replacing the contested tables that were posted by the College Board, without input from ACT, in 2016.

The range of possible SAT scores that a student can achieve is much wider than the range of possible ACT scores. There are only 36 distinct score possibilities on the ACT, whereas there are 120 possibilities for the SAT, a test which increments its scores by 10 points between 400 and 1600. This means that the concordance table needs to assign a range of SAT scores that match a given ACT score.

The official 2018 ACT/SAT concordance tables can be viewed here.

How Different Are the 2016 vs. 2018 Concordance Tables?  

The truth is, when comparing the 2016 and 2018 concordances, the adjustments are not very dramatic. Yet there are some important implications for students:

·         For the highest scores on the scale, the top SAT scores have become more valuable in comparison to ACT scores. For instance, a 1540 on the SAT is now considered equal to a 35 on the ACT. Previously, concordance charts had linked the SAT’s 1540 with a 34 on the ACT.

·         For the lowest scores on the scale, the bottom SAT scale scores have become less valuable in comparison to ACT scores. A clear example of this is at the SAT score of 590. While this was previously equated to an 11 on the ACT, this score is now linked to a 9, dropping its value by two points.

·         Near the middle of the score ranges, (21-24 for ACT, 1060-1190 for SAT) the concordances did not change at all.

What Does This Mean for Students? 

The new concordances do not change much for students when it comes to college admission, so this minor adjustment will not make waves.
However, the new concordance information does have the potential to affect minimum scores for merit scholarships or programs that require clear-cut SAT or ACT score ranges. It is likely that the response will be mixed: some institutions will adjust their required ranges, while others will just stick with their established status quo.
Our advice for students starting test prep does not change: if you are deciding between the ACT and SAT, it is still important to take a full-length practice test for each. When you have completed both tests, compare your scores against the 2018 concordance chart. If your SAT and ACT scores are comparable, you should choose whichever test you preferred. If one score is significantly higher, opt for that test instead. The new concordance tables do not change the process of selecting a test; however, they do help to standardize how students, guidance counselors, and admissions committees compare test scores.
If you would like to take a practice ACT or SAT to compare the exams and assess your testing skills, Vint Hill Educational Services offers mock tests in group, individual, and at-home formats. Along with the test booklets, you will receive testing instructions and full diagnostic reports showing score breakdowns in each of the test sections. For more information, please read on, or visit our Mock Testing webpage.

Tips for Academic Success

Finding the right routine:

Allowing enough time to get ready for class, study for an exam, or complete an assignment can be tricky.  The key is to always do what must be done first. This usually involves studying, reading, projects, and weekly homework assignments. Worry about what can be done later, after completing what needs to be done now. If you’re getting ready for a test, don’t check text messages, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, or start any Google internet searches. Enjoy the entertainment side of things after the task at hand is completed.  This strategy reduces a lot of stress that comes with doing things last minute: waiting to study the night before, starting your paper the week it’s due, working on your presentation the morning of, etc. 

Try to stick to a routine or tentative schedule.  This is because time management can be tough for some students. Mainly, because students overestimate the amount of time they have for a task and underestimate how much time it will take for them to do it. All of the student's professional meetings, such as counseling or tutoring, should be pre-arranged.  Most students do well with structure, so meeting at the same time and on the same day works best.


Staying focused:

SAT Mock Practice Test-ACT Mock Practice Test-Washington DC-Northern VA Tutoring.jpg

Students usually retain more information when they study in different locations. If possible, change the studying location from time to time. There are students that do better in a busy area – think of your local public library, the school’s library, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Barnes N Noble, worship center, community center, etc.  Then, there are other students that know they must have silence. These students may prefer a bedroom, basement, home office, private study room, even their home patio, or sun-room.  In case you didn't know, the best place to study is outside. So, try to change the study location when you can!  

You can put your phone across the room or in another room and leave it there.  If you want to check your messages from your friends, you have to get up and walk to it.  Students say that this significantly limits the amount of phone distractions.  If this is too hard for you, set the timer for 15  minutes, and work as hard as you can during that time.  When the timer goes off, get up, check your messages for one minute, and then get back to work.

Playing songs by your favorite artist is fine for routine assignments that do not require too much. However, music should not be played when intensely studying for a big exam. Playing music can negatively impact long-term retrieval.  

When students are having a tough time getting started with homework, it’s always a good idea to begin with an easy task, followed by a difficult one, and then an easy assignment again.  


Being organized:

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Record all school assignments on a calendar. You can use a tablet, laptop, smart phone, desktop, or a wall calendar. Record the final due date and then set incremental due dates and associated tasks to get it done on time. By week one, perhaps your topic and introduction should be completed. Then, going into the second week, start doing research on supporting points and arguments.  When large tasks, like a final paper or studying for a mid-term, are broken down into direct, manageable chunks, they are more likely to be completed on time. For instance, if a test is coming up on Friday, the student should record tasks like “complete 1-10 review problems on page 19” and “create flashcards for math steps,” etc. on Monday or Tuesday.  Being specific with your tasks can be far superior to simply jotting down a vague reminder like “study for my math test.”

Tasks that you record should be no more than 30-35 minutes.  When tasks end up taking longer, students are far more likely to procrastinate and avoid doing it altogether.  

Every student should schedule a “binder and backpack sweep” session to help stay organized. Set aside 30 minutes each week and conduct a clean out.  Sundays are perfect for doing this. This also lets the student plan ahead for the week – what’s due and when, starting a long-term assignment, and planning what to work on.  Enter the 30-minute clean sweep on your phone calendar, monthly planner, room calendar, or make sticky notes to remind yourself.


Reading and studying:

Active reading should be utilized when preparing for an exam.  Active reading includes writing notes in the margins and highlighting pertinent information.  As reading becomes more complex, these strategies help students to understand more advanced topics. 

Read one section at a time.  After you’re done, go back and highlight the important information. The color of the highlighter does not matter at all. Yellow, blue, green, pink, or orange - just pick one!    

Use margin notes. Margin notes are another interactive way of studying. It’s better than just reading the information and moving along. In short phrases, summarize the main points in the margins of text books. Doing so, will help with retaining the information that was read.  

Engage in “self chat” at the end of each section.  The student should ask, “What did I just read here?” or “What’s the takeaway from this section?”  Self chat helps students comprehend what they are reading better.

If you are reading, try the SCAN strategy.  Simply put, before reading do the following:

S = Survey Headings and Turn Them into Questions
Find each heading, and change it into a question.
C = Capture the Captions and Visuals
Review pictures or charts and read the captions beside them.
A = Attack Boldface Words
Hone in on the terms in bold; read these words to gain an understanding of the main idea.
N = Note and Read the Chapter Questions
Check out the questions at the end of the chapter.

Looking for an Academic Coach? Contact us for in-home tutoring support! 

2017-2018 School Year: Mock ACT/SAT Class Dates

Vint Hill Educational Services offers mock testing for the ACT and SAT. These administrations are hosted in the Northern VA area and the Richmond VA area. We supply the test booklet, essay booklet, answer sheet, testing timer, extra pencils, and a proctor. Students will need to bring: a calculator, two No. 2 pencils, snacks, and a drink. 

Each student receives a 9 page diagnostic report using our test scoring software. We only use official ACT and SAT practice tests. Students that take both an ACT and SAT will receive a student scores comparison chart. This will reveal which test the student is scoring higher on, ACT or SAT.
Northern VA area: Click here to register for a mock ACT or SAT
ACT - 09/30/17, 11/11/17, 02/03/18, 03/24/18, 05/19/18
SAT - 09/16/17, 10/21/17, 01/27/18, 02/24/18, 04/28/18

Richmond VA area: Click here to register for a mock ACT or SAT
ACT - 01/13/18, 03/03/18, 04/21/18
SAT - 10/14/17, 02/17/18, 04/07/18

View our sample ACT/SAT diagnostic reports and student scores comparison chart: 
ACT report -
SAT report -
Student ACT vs. SAT chart -

For those that have only taken a PSAT or SAT, a practice ACT is a must, and we can compare the results to see which test the student is scoring higher on. 

Mock ACT/SAT Registration
Phone: 540-428-5379
$25 for 1 test (ACT or SAT) 
$40 for 2 tests (ACT and SAT)
ACT/SAT diagnostic and comparison chart will be emailed to parents. 

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the ACT or SAT. 

The FAFSA Application

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) lets students receive aid that includes loans, work-study programs, and federal or state student grants. 

Web (Online):
Print (PDF): 
Mail (Post Office): 1-800-433-3243

Attending College From
July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017: You can submit the FAFSA from January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 and use income tax data from 2015.
July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018: You can submit the FAFSA from October 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018 and use income tax data from 2015.
July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019: You can submit the FAFSA from October 1, 2017 – June 30, 2019 and use income tax data from 2016. 


Additional Information
-    You don’t have to apply to a school before listing it on your FAFSA.   
-    Choosing the renewal option allows you to carry over last year’s FAFSA information. Only the basics will carry over; thus, income and taxes will have to be re-entered.  
-    Even if your family’s income has changed, you still have to report the required year the FAFSA asks for. 
-    Some schools will make offers earlier than others. Be sure to read through all of the information. You should try and file as close to October 1st as possible. This is the first day in which you can file the FAFSA. You should also review your schools’ financial aid deadlines.  You’ll have your bases covered if you file as early as possible. 
-    The FAFSA asks for current marital status. Meaning, what is your status while you’re filling it out. Depending upon the situation, a spouse’s income may need to be updated. It may need to be removed or added. 
-    Students may complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1st every year. The FAFSA was available on January 1st in previous years. Students have been able to file since October 1, 2016. 
-    Students can use income from an earlier tax year. Starting with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students will use income from two years ago. Students will use 2015 income information instead of 2016 income information. As long as you can find your 2015 tax year data, the information should already be saved and ready to go! 
-    All 2016-2017 FAFSA applications must be submitted by midnight, June 30, 2017 (CT).


After You Apply 
-    Student Aid Report (SAR) - You’ll receive a student aid report from the U.S. Department of Education. This could come via email or postal mail. This report contains all of the data that you entered on the FAFSA. Review any errors and submit necessary corrections. 

-    Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - The student aid report will encompass an expected family contribution number. The number is representative of your family’s financial strength. It’s sent to the schools listed on your FAFSA as well as the state scholarship organization. The number is used to determine your financial aid. 

Comparing SAT Scores to ACT Scores

Students that take both the SAT and ACT can compare scores to see which test they’re scoring higher on. Some students will find that they’re actually scoring higher on one test over the other. We recommend that students take official SAT and official ACT practice tests. This means, taking a test created by the College Board or the ACT. We offer full-length mock practice tests in a group setting. Students that take both a mock SAT and ACT, with us, will receive an individualized comparison chart. This document accompanies the student’s SAT and ACT baseline reports. We determine which test is better, SAT or ACT, by comparing scores using a concordance table. We also ask the student how he or she felt about the tests: pacing, timing, comfortability, testing format, question types, ACT science versus SAT no-calculator math, essay section, etc. 

The ideal time to take full-length practice SAT and ACT tests are fall of junior year. If the family can find time during the summer months, then the summer going into junior year works well too. Juniors usually take their first official test during the winter or spring. Once a test is decided upon, SAT or ACT, a customized test prep plan is put in place, based upon the student’s strengths and weaknesses. If an action plan is put together during the fall of junior year then the student can prep for an official winter or spring test. The amount of prep needed is determined by the difference in the student’s SAT or ACT scores, compared to the interested schools’ middle 50% SAT and ACT scores. In addition, test prep programs need to be catered to the individual and his or her academic background. Is remedial work needed for math or grammar? Does the student receive standardized testing accommodations? Is the student currently enrolled in Algebra II or Trigonometry (taking a spring test might be better)?  

By using the chart below, you can decide which test is better for you. 

SAT Scores Versus ACT Scores - Concordance

Find out how we can help decide which test to prep for! 

FREE College Planning & SAT Prep Workshops

For Parents and Students

Your College Planning Coach and Vint Hill Educational Services will hold workshops on Saturday, April 1st (Richmond VA) and Saturday, April 29th (Manassas Park VA), from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Both parents and students are welcome to attend. The parent workshop will go over college planning information. The student workshop will focus on SAT prep for the math and reading/writing sections. 

FREE Parent Workshop
- Help with scholarships and financial aid
- When to start planning for college
- How school selection can save you money
- Proven tools to guide career and school choice
- How to navigate through the application process
- And much more!

FREE Student Workshop
- Learn SAT tips, tricks, and strategies
- Understand the SAT format, timing, and structure
- Introduction to the SAT math, SAT reading, and SAT writing sections
- Work through sample problems with the teacher
- Comparison to ACT

Online: Manassas VA -  Richmond VA -
Phone: 703-928-9036 / 540-428-5379
Email: / 

Determine Your Match Schools

Match schools make great choices because you'll be among peers who have academic abilities that are similar to your own. A match school is a college or university that is more than likely to admit the applicant as a student. The reason for this is because grades, along with ACT or SAT test scores, are similar to average students at the school. When applying to undergraduate institutions, it's important to choose schools wisely.  

Is the school a match for you? 
If you know your high school GPA, and you've taken either the ACT or SAT, it's simple to figure out if your GPA and ACT or SAT test scores are average for a specific school. There’s two ways for finding out this information:
Find schools that interest you and go to the admissions department page on their website. ACT and SAT data for matriculated students is usually posted. For most schools, the posted information represents the 25th and 75th percentile of students who enrolled. If your ACT or SAT scores are above the 25th percentile number, you're a possible match for the school. Though, the ultimate goal is to be at the middle 50th percentile. If you cannot find the data on the school’s website then give the admissions office a phone call. It doesn’t hurt to pick up the phone and ask! 

View a sample student body profile (Princeton University).

Your match school choices
You must understand that there is no guarantee of admission. Perhaps, many students with grades and ACT or SAT test scores similar to yours were offered a spot to attend next year. It’s very likely that students with comparable portfolios to yours were not admitted. This is a good reason to apply to safety schools. Try to have a few of these because it can be a shock to find out the spring of senior year that you've received nothing.

Top reasons for why you may not have been admitted to a match school:
•    The application was incomplete or had careless errors. 
•    You failed to show your interest in the school. 
•    The college has a holistic admissions process. Meaning, your essay or extracurricular activities weren't as impressive as other students.
•    You may have been knocked out by applicants who applied early action or early decision. 
•    Your letters of recommendation contradicted or drew suspicion compared to the rest of your application. 
•    The school wasn't able to meet family financial needs.
•    Many schools believe that a diverse student body benefits the campus environment.

Contact us if you need help determining your match schools.

Make Your College Application Essay Stand out in 5 Easy Steps!

Colleges and universities receive thousands of applications each year.  Your college application needs to impress them and sell yourself.  What is unique about you and your experiences? It is important to put across what will make YOU an excellent fit within that college’s community.

1. Select the Best Topic for You

Many colleges provide suggested topics that you can choose from. Typically, they’re broad and designed to offer some direction and guidance.  They should only be considered as a starting point and not where your application essay begins.  A top mistake students make when it comes to college application essays is not really giving careful consideration when thinking about their prompt choice.

It happens quite frequently; students jump straight to the prompt that appears the easiest. However, just because an essay seems easy to write doesn’t mean it’s the essay you should choose to write. Students should ask the following question, “Which of these essays allows for me to talk about myself in a way that the admission counselor hasn’t already heard before?” Also ask yourself, “Which one of these prompts would all of my friends choose to write on?” You may not want to write on the same prompt that every one of your friends would write on.

2. Bring on the Brainstorming  

Set aside enough time for brainstorming. Application essays that are well written and thought out take time. You cannot sit down at your computer and in three hours type up your best work. That may have worked fine in your History class, but this is a college application essay.

Once you’ve chosen a prompt, don’t just write an essay on the first idea that pops into your head. Set aside enough time and brainstorm everything. Just because you write an idea down, doesn’t mean it will end up being the topic you select. Brainstorming is an important step to writing a really engaging story. All your ideas are now down on paper and you can now spend the time reviewing each of them.

You should now have a long list of ideas. The question to ask is: Which of these ideas helps demonstrate my personality traits? Usually, the more specific you are, the more engaging your story will be.  If you are having a really hard time choosing a topic, pick your top two or three ideas and write outlines for each.

3. Develop a Clear Outline  

An outline is an important step in the essay writing process. Architects use blue prints and computer programmers use code; a good outline is like having a roadmap for your essay. Writing a successful essay is much easier once you have a clear outline.

Your essay is like telling a story. You should write your outline with a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion. When writing your outline, it is also a great time to begin thinking about some of the important parts of the essay. A hook is the most important part of the college admission essay. By the time the admissions officer gets to the end of the second line, he or she has likely decided if they are invested or if they will passively read the essay. You want something that will make the admissions department employee choose the first option.

An essay that takes a circle format is a good choice. Meaning, that where you start is where you end. This can be achieved by opening with a quote that comes in later, or by telling the ending before you get to it and backing up.

4. Writing Your Essay

Once you’ve invested in the time necessary for the first three steps, then writing the actual essay should be the easiest part of the process. Your outline will guide you through the writing part. The most important thing you can do during the writing process is to engage the reader’s imagination. Writing specific descriptions that allow the reader to visualize your story will help keep the reader’s interest.

While writing your essay, try to avoid grammatical and spelling mistakes.  But don’t worry too much, you’ve still got one final step.

5. Proof-Read Your Essay, and Then Proof-Read It Again

Students tend to want to just finish their essay and be done with it. However, proof-reading and reviewing plays a crucial role. We all know the nightmare stories that can play out due to not reviewing one’s essay before that final submission. One of the most common mistakes: sending an essay to a school with another school’s name on it. That’s what can happen when you don’t proof-read. So learn from mistakes of others and proof-read your essay. After all, you’ve put so much work into it.

If you find proof-reading to be a difficult task, try reading the essay out loud. A lot of times you’ll catch common mistakes that you may have missed by reading it silently. Then, give it to people whose opinion you trust. This may be a parent (but it doesn’t have to be), a friend, a teacher, a guidance counselor, a tutor. It never hurts to give it to someone who is really familiar with college admissions, but the most important thing is that the reader will give you honest feedback. Important questions to ask include: Does this interest you? Did you think it accurately reflected my personality? Was there anything you would change? Do you think the essay answers the original question? Did the introduction interest you?

Once you get this feedback, go back to your essay and make any changes necessary. Repeat this step until you are completely satisfied.

The last thing you need to do is have someone check your essay for grammar and spelling. The person you choose should not read your essay for content, but solely to provide feedback on the basics. Once you get any changes, make them and review one last time. 

Do you need help writing an essay? Let us know you're looking for a writing tutor! 

ACT/SAT Prep: Richmond VA – 2016-2017 Practice Dates

For the 2016-2017 school year, we will be offering mock ACT and SAT tests in the Richmond VA area. Right after our parent presentation, on the redesigned SAT at Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, we received a significant amount of inquiries about our ACT/SAT mock testing service.

In response to the successful workshop, we have ten ACT/SAT practice test dates booked for the 2016-2017 school year. There are five dates offered for each test. These will take place in a group setting at the American Legion in Mechanicsville. Local high school students from the following areas are encouraged to attend: Glen Allen, Midlothian, Short Pump, Lorraine, Bon Air, Ashland, Mechanicsville, Highland Springs, Varina, Tuckahoe, Dumbarton, Chamberlayne, Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Richmond City, and others

These practice tests are taken in a group setting to simulate the testing environment. We use official ACT and SAT practice tests. Parents receive a free student diagnostic score report that reveals strengths and weaknesses. You can view our ACT and SAT reports to see what they look like. The group practice events give students a chance to try the test out. It’s a great way to prepare for the real thing!

ACT Prep - Practice Dates:

• July 30, 2016 (Sat. 9:00am - 1:00pm)

• August 27, 2016 (Sat. 9:00am - 1:00pm)

• October 10, 2016 (Mon. 9:00am - 1:00pm)

• January 16, 2017 (Mon. 9:00am - 1:00pm)

• April 10, 2017 (Mon. 9:00am - 1:00pm)   

Sign up for an ACT practice test.

SAT Prep - Practice Dates:

• August 13, 2016 (Sat. 9:00am - 1:00pm)

• September 5, 2016 (Mon. 9:00am - 1:00pm)

• November 8, 2016 (Tues. 9:00am - 1:00pm)

• February 20, 2017 (Mon. 9:00am - 1:00pm)

• May 20, 2017 (Sat. 9:00am - 1:00pm)

Sign up for a SAT practice test.


ACT/SAT Prep – Practice
American Legion Post 175
8700 Bell Creek Rd
Mechanicsville, VA 23116


Some students will move forward and enroll in one of our customized ACT/SAT prep programs. All of our ACT/SAT tutoring services are one-to-one. Therefore, strengths and weaknesses are addressed consistently and without the competition of other students. It consists of more individual attention, less distraction, improved communication, and increased flexibility. Each one of our tutors has a bachelor's degree. In addition, over 75% of our tutors have master's level degrees and over 25% have doctoral degrees.

Can’t make a practice test date? Contact us and we will send you an in-home ACT/SAT testing packet! 

6 Tips for College Visits

College visits are extremely important. The summer is a great time to schedule college visits. Finding the right fit can't be found by browsing school websites. You can't get the "feel" of a school without visiting the campus. You'll be spending a few years of your life there and thousands of dollars as well. Here are 6 tips to ensure your college visit is successful:

1. Dine in the food hall - Is the food good? Are there healthy choices? Most admissions representatives will give prospective students tickets for free meals in the dining halls.

2. Read campus bulletin boards - Please spend a few minutes reading the bulletin boards. These boards provide an easy way to see what the campus events are. 

3. Check things out on your own - The tour guide will show you the school's top highlights. Do yourself a favor and walk around for a bit. Try to get the complete picture of campus life and how it all comes together.

4. Schedule a meeting with a professor - You can see if the department's interests match your own. Be sure to ask about graduation requirements, research and internship opportunities, and average class size.

5. Spend the night - Many schools offer overnights, and nothing will give you a better sense of dorm life than spending the night. Your host can share all sorts of information. You'll also get a chance to ask questions to other students.

6. Chat with current students - Look for other students on campus and try to ask a few questions. These random conversations can provide insight about campus life that isn't included on the official tour. 

Make sure you're prepared for college by taking a college readiness class!

Best ACT Prep & SAT Prep Northern VA: Vienna, VA - Falls Church, VA - Arlington, VA - Oakton, VA - Reston, VA - Great Falls, VA - Chantilly, VA - Centreville, VA - Fairfax, VA - Herndon, VA

Why does our program work so well? 

We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic. 

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. It is important to retest the student periodically, in order to reassess strengths and weaknesses. The ACT/SAT prep program should revolve around the student, as he or she grows throughout the prep program. When we see scores suddenly spike in the main area of focus, it means attention must be switched back to the new lowest scoring section.

Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to your home on weekdays or weekends. ACT/SAT prep is available throughout Northern VA. Vint Hill Educational Services ACT/SAT tutors reside in: Vienna, VA - Oakton, VA - Fairfax, VA - Falls Church, VA - Arlington, VA - McLean, VA - Great Falls, VA - Reston, VA - Herndon, VA - Chantilly, VA - Sterling, VA - Centreville, VA - Alexandria, VA, and many more!   

Here’s one of our ACT prep students that went up 3 ACT composite points, after only 6 sessions of one-to-one prep. English went up 2 points, math shot up 4 points, reading increased by 3 points, and science jumped up 3 points. 

Northern VA: ACT Prep, SAT Prep, ACT Tutor, SAT Tutor. Vienna, VA - Oakton, VA - Fairfax, VA - Falls Church, VA - Reston, VA - Great Falls, VA - McLean, VA - Arlington, VA - Sterling, VA - Herndon, VA - Centreville, VA - Chantilly, VA - Alexandria, VA 

Contact us to start your customized prep program today!

Average SAT Scores for 2014-2015 School Year

Here are the 2014-2015 average SAT scores for the United States. These are for the official SAT administrations held October through June.

2015 average scores: 
Average overall score: 1490 (down 7 points from 2014) 
Reading: 495 (down 2 points from 2014)
Math: 511 (down 2 points from 2014) 
Writing: 484 (down 3 points from 2014) 

2015 average scores by gender:
Males – 497
Females – 493
Males – 527
Females – 496
Males – 478
Females – 490

2015 average scores by ethnicity: 
American Indian or Alaska Native: 1423
Asian, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander: 1654
African-American: 1277
Mexican or Mexican-American: 1343
Puerto Rican: 1357
Latin-American, Central-American, South-American, or Other Latino: 1345
White: 1576
Other: 1496

In the fall of 2014, 3.8 million students took the PSAT/NMSQT, up from 3.7 million in 2013. A record 1.7 million students from the class of 2015 took the SAT, compared to 1.67 million students from the graduating class of 2014. A little over 712,000 students, which is 42% of SAT takers in the class of 2015, reached the SAT college and career readiness benchmark.

With the upcoming redesigned SAT, these numbers will look significantly different next year. Reading and writing will be combined into one section. The overall scale score will be going back to the 400-1600 point scale. 

Let us know how we can help you get ready! 


Vint Hill Educational Services Student Increases ACT Composite Score by 6 Points!

One of our ACT prep students that took the December 12th test just got her scores back. She is a current junior at Wakefield School. She went from a 24 ACT composite score to a 30 ACT composite score. That is equivalent to 350 points on the SAT (1650 to 2000)! She went up 9 points on the ACT Math section; going from a 19 to a 28! She exceeded her ACT composite score goal of a 28.

Congratulations Doria! 

Contact us today to setup a customized one-to-one prep program! 

The Best ACT and SAT Prep Program: Fredericksburg VA - Stafford VA - Spotsylvania VA

ACT and SAT test prep specialists serve the Fredericksburg VA, Stafford VA, Spotsylvania VA, Culpeper VA, Bealeton VA, and Warrenton VA areas.

The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic. 

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. It is important to retest the student periodically, in order to reassess strengths and weaknesses. The ACT/SAT prep program should revolve around the student, as he or she grows throughout the prep program. When we see scores suddenly spike in the main area of focus, it means attention must be switched back to the new lowest scoring section.

Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to your home on weekdays or weekends. ACT/SAT prep is available throughout the Fredericksburg VA area. Vint Hill Educational Services ACT/SAT tutors reside in: Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Sumerduck, Aquia Harbour, Chancellorsville, Storck, Massaponax, Leavells, and many more!   

Here’s one of our ACT prep students that went up 3 ACT composite points, after only 6 sessions of one-to-one prep. English went up 2 points, math shot up 4 points, reading increased by 3 points, and science jumped up 3 points. 

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What makes our ACT and SAT prep program unique?
•    We offer free ACT and SAT diagnostic testing
•    We don’t charge a registration fee, testing fee, or tutor finder fee
•    We only use official ACT and SAT practice tests
•    Our ACT and SAT prep program is one-to-one for customized support
•    Prep books, weekly homework assignments, and full-length practice tests are included
•    Parents receive access to our online parent portal where they can review tutor session notes
•    All of our test prep tutors take an ACT and SAT before being hired
•    Our tutors have the minimum of a bachelor’s degree 

Contact us today in order to start your ACT or SAT prep program! 



The ACT recently released a report based upon students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) college degrees. They found that 26% met or were above the STEM readiness benchmark. The STEM score on the ACT is meant to be an indicator of how a student will perform in a first-year college STEM course. More information can be found here: 

The ACT science section is comprised of data representation, research summary, and conflicting hypothesis based questions. The student gathers required information from charts, tables, and graphs. It's good for the student to know the scientific method as well. The ACT math section tests pre-algebra, algebra I, algebra II, geometry, and trigonometry. The more difficult math questions are usually toward the end and so the student must also focus on pacing. 

The Top 8 Redesigned SAT Changes

No Penalty for Wrong Answers

The decision to get rid of the penalty for wrong answers was made to encourage students to try their best on every question. The College Board figured that it wasn’t in their best interest to have students decide whether to skip or guess. Losing one quarter of a point for each incorrect answer has a negative impact!

U.S. Founding Documents and the Great Global Conversation

The founding documents of the United States include the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Today, these documents are still heavily debated in politics and throughout civic life. These important documents are discussed in culture, essays, books, lectures, etc. Vocabulary in these documents can be much harder to understand and students usually don’t see these words on a daily basis. The redesigned SAT reading section will include a passage from a founding document or from a Great Global Conversation. A Great Global Conversation could come from writings from someone of significance. This could be someone like Mahatma Gandhi or Edmund Burke. The questions following the passage will ask the student to reflect on the author’s point, choice of words, and how he or she was persuasive.

Analysis in History and Science

These questions won’t be marked clearly, but the topics will present themselves in the reading, writing and language, and math tests of the redesigned SAT. The student won’t have to know exact event dates, such as the Battle of the Bulge or the empirical formula for Chlorine gas. Instead, these questions ask the student to apply knowledge and skills acquired in history, social studies, and science courses. On the reading section, for example, the student will be given two history/social studies and two science passages to review. The student might be asked to come up with how he or she thinks the writer came up with evidence, to support a certain conclusion. Regarding the writing and language section, the student might have to edit a passage to include data from a chart, based upon the results of a certain experiment. For the math section, questions will come from a social studies or science background.

Problems Grounded in Real-World Contexts

These questions will be related to college and career work. Questions in the reading section will be comprised of graphics that may be seen in science related fields. Some of them may also focus on certain majors and workplace jobs. On the writing and language section, students will have to do more than just identify errors. There will be edits and improvements to texts that are based on career topics, science, history, and the humanities. There will be questions on the math test that are based on social science and science careers. Some will be hard to tell that they exist and others will be sectioned together. There will be questions with multiple steps and these can be based on real-world concepts. Charts and graphs that are essential to the student in college, career, and life will be included.

Focus on Math that Matters Most

The redesigned math test will focus on three main areas: The Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, and Problem Solving and Data Analysis. The Heart of Algebra will include a focus on linear equations and systems. The College Board wants the student to think in abstract terms. They want the student to master how things relate and don’t relate.  The College Board believes that problem solving in Algebra is an important element of becoming prepared to perform well in college and in the workplace.

Passport to Advanced Math will include more complex equations. The College Board tests students on topics that are important to master before prepping for advanced concepts. The questions will require students to perform procedural skill in subtracting, adding, and multiplying polynomials. Students may be tested to work with mathematical expressions involving exponentials, integer powers, radicals, and fractions with a varying denominator. The ability for the student to recognize structure is tested. Students will need to solve radical equations, quadratic equations, and rational equations. What is also important is that students may have to play with an equation that contains several variables. The goal would be to single out a quantity of interest.

Problem Solving and Data Analysis questions are based upon ordinary situations. These questions could be about tipping a waiter or waitress at a restaurant. Perhaps a student is out at a restaurant with friends and the bill needs to be split a certain number of ways. Ratios, proportions, problem solving, and data analysis is important when it comes to real-world scenarios. The goal of this section is to test the student’s understanding with regard to problem solving. Many of these questions will be set in both academic and career settings. The background will be drawn from science, including the social sciences. Some questions will present information about two relationships. Students will be provided with a table or scatterplot and asked to draw conclusions.

Essay Analyzing a Source

The essay on the redesigned SAT will be optional. It will also move to the last section of the test. Previously, the essay was the first section of the test. This will really change things for most students. Students will be presented with a passage and they must explain how the author builds an argument. The essay will double from the current 25 minute time-frame to 50 minutes! The good thing is that only the passage and one sentence in the prompt will change on each administration. This means the prompt will be pretty consistent, but the passage will vary with each administration. Two graders will score the essay, in three areas, utilizing a 1-4 point system. Each score will be on a 2-8 scale for the three areas: reading, analysis, and writing. The student will need to consider how the author uses evidence, develops ideas and claims, and how he or she uses persuasiveness. The student’s essay needs to demonstrate an understanding of how the author puts his or her writing together. This will be a rhetorical analysis dissecting how the passage works. Summarizing what the author has written is not going to work here. Instead, students will explain why the author is writing this piece and what does the individual use to persuade the reader.

Command of Evidence

Students will be required to gather evidence and demonstrate an understanding. Similar to writing a research paper, an individual is showing that he or she interprets evidence clearly. The questions may ask students what part of the text reflects a certain statement. Does the writer do a good job of including information from a chart into the passage? Can information that may not be relevant be taken out of the text? A standard way of doing this, on the reading section, will ask the student to decide on the best evidence for an answer to a prior question. Examining textual evidence will become extremely important. Students will need to identify text from a passage that gives support for the answer to the previous question.

Relevant Words in Context

The redesigned SAT will test relevant words and phrases. The College Board wants to eliminate rare vocabulary that can be used in limited contexts. Instead, they will test students on common words that are found in college and in the workplace. This is vocabulary that students will use throughout the rest of their lives. Vocabulary expands as students advance through life. This will include vocabulary used in history, literature, and science. The passages will help to provide clues to certain meanings. The redesigned SAT will test words with multiple meanings. This means they may use the word in a passage a bit different from what the student is used to seeing. The context will help to provide certain clues and students will need to be prepared to look for them.    

SAT Scores and Schools

Most colleges and universities are preparing to accept both the current SAT and new SAT. This should last for a few years. The College Board will release specific guidelines for colleges and universities to use. Since the tests are two different assessments, a new SAT score will not be the same score on the current SAT.

The College Board will unveil new concordance tables in summer 2016. This is important because it lets us compare scores from the current SAT and new SAT. We will also be able to compare new SAT scores to ACT scores. Again, this won’t occur until summer 2016. In the meantime, we can still compare current SAT scores to ACT scores. However, the new concordance tables will allow for schools to use scores from all tests in order to make admission decisions. This means that students who take the current SAT can keep their college applications current, without having to take the SAT again.

SAT Score Choice will remain as it always has. If you take the SAT multiple times, you may choose which scores to send. All section scores from a chosen test date will be reported and used. This will follow each school’s known score-use practices. In the end, students and educators will have the necessary information they need to compare scores.