UC and you

Published Monday, May 24, 2010 by Dave

University of California schools are among the most popular with Excel students (and a lot of other students, too). Some 134,000 high school seniors and transfer students applied for Fall 2010 admission. Freshman applicants applied to an average of 3.5 campuses. What does it take to get accepted at one? UC provides a snapshot (pdf) of some of the more important factors, including a breakdown of SAT scores. Since that’s the reason you’re reading this blog, I’ve clipped in that information below. GPA rankings follow it. While test scores are of course important, they’re not… Continue Reading

Study help ‘at hand’

Published Saturday, May 22, 2010 by Dave

Here’s something to do with your smartphone that will make you smarter. There are a number of apps that make excellent study aids. I’ve road tested several and found a few that are great for memorizing vocabulary and more. For iPhone or iPod Touch users, Flashcard Touch is a study game-changer. This simple application allows you to create your own flashcards or, even better, download sets of flashcards from Quizlet, the online flashcard-sharing community. Imagine being able to carry Excel’s list of SAT vocabulary words everywhere you go! Now you can.* It costs $4.99 and… Continue Reading

Create a College Board account

Published Thursday, May 20, 2010 by Dave

It takes three minutes. Do it now! Here’s why… By creating an account at collegeboard.org, you can get all  kinds of things to help with the SAT. You know that big blue book you haven’t looked at yet? With a collegeboard.org account you can get answers to all the 10 tests at the back of the book — not just the correct answers but explanations for all the answer choices. You’ll need to have your blue book on hand. You’ll be asked to turn to a page and answer a secret question in order to… Continue Reading

Even pros make mistakes

Published Tuesday, May 18, 2010 by Dave

If you’ve sat through the three fun-filled hours that is Excel’s grammar class, you’ve heard me mention After Deadline, the New York Times’ blog of its own grammatical snafus. (If you didn’t hear it mentioned you weren’t paying attention!) I’ll link to it here because I think reading it is a great way to keep the rules of grammar fresh long past grammar school. Plowing cover to cover through a reference manual like Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, which I also mention in grammar class, can be mind-numbingly boring. But reading grammar rules in… Continue Reading

A perfect score

Published Sunday, May 16, 2010 by Dave

It’s a real honor (just plain awesome, really) to be able to start this blog with with news that an Excel alum has earned a perfect score on the SAT. Andrew Kau, of Monte Vista High School, sat for the test last October and was told in November that he scored 2400. Needless to say, the staff at Excel are thrilled for Andrew. And Andrew seemed pretty thrilled to receive a $1,000 scholarship check from Excel for his effort. (Yes, current students, earn a 2400 and you’ll earn $1,000, too!) But Andrew isn’t the first… Continue Reading


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