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The Zinc Blog

What to Know about the PSAT

Most 11th graders will take the PSAT in October

What is this test?
A slightly easier version of the SAT, the PSAT provides a snapshot of where students are now, with minimal or no studying. It’s good practice, introducing them to what’s on the SAT and getting them used to taking standardized tests.

Who takes it?
In October, most schools administer the PSAT/NMSQT to 11th, and sometimes 10th graders. (Check with your school to see which grades are eligible.) This year’s in-school administration date is October 13.

Do students need to prepare?
Since colleges don’t see these scores (unless they’re requested as part of a scholarship application–see below), studying isn’t required. Instead, think of the PSAT as giving you information about where your student stands and what to focus on as they prep for the actual SAT.

What about National Merit Scholarships?
The eleventh grade PSAT/NMSQT is used to select students for entry into the National Merit Scholarship Program. Note that the program is extremely competitive—and the financial aid awarded is relatively small. In general, we feel that for most students, the scholarship isn’t a significant reason to stress about the test.

Writing Contest Winners

The Winning Pieces + A New Online Literary Journal We’re thrilled to publish the winning pieces from Zinc’s 2021 Teen Writing Contest. In fact, we received so many fantastic submissions that we’re creating a new, online literary journal for teens. You can check Filament, our new journal, and read the winning entries from the contest […]

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Zinc’s Summer Book Picks

Favorite Reads from Zinc Tutors and Staff Thanks to everyone who sent in a recommendation! Scroll ahead for your next plane/beach/staycation read. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean VuongRecommended by Jeremy Weiss, Tutor, Zinc Ed “It’s a beautiful mess… and it helps remind you that the world is too.” Conversations with Friends by Sally RooneyRecommended by […]

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Applying for SAT/ACT Accommodations

Applying for SAT/ACT Accommodations Start early to ensure approval before your test date. If you’re planning to apply for SAT or ACT testing accommodations such as extra time, now’s the time to get started. The official turnaround to approve documentation is 10-14 days for the ACT (for students already approved for accommodations at their school) and up to […]

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When Should My Child Take the ISEE/SSAT?

When Should My Child Take the ISEE/SSAT? Register now to secure fall dates Most independent school deadlines are in January or February, so we recommend taking a first test in October or November. This gives you plenty of time to prepare and, if needed, time to retest before applications are due. Even with added dates for the […]

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Meet a Tutor: Henry

Henry Dickmeyer Zinc tutor Henry Dickmeyer graduated as an economics major from Occidental College in 2015 with minors in mathematics and psychology. Having grown up in Seattle and gone to Los Angeles for college, he moved across the continent to obtain a Master’s Degree in the Teaching of Social Studies in 2016 at Teachers College, […]

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SAT/ACT Boot Camps

Check out our latest video! We asked Dan Lerman, Director of Intensive Studies at Zinc and founder of Zinc’s SAT/ACT Boot Camps, about the benefits of immersive test prep and what students gain from our two-week, half day programs. Watch Dan’s video introduction to Boot Camps here:

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To Test or Not To Test?

Test Optional and the Upcoming School Year If you’ve been following the news around higher education and admissions this year, you’ve no doubt been flooded with stories about colleges going test optional. We wanted to take a moment to address the new looming question: to test or not to test?  Test optional has actually been […]

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Meet a Tutor: Beau

Beau Henson When he’s not working with students, Zinc tutor and Boot Camp instructor Beau Henson is finishing a Ph.D in Classics. His dissertation combines classical myth, languages, and culture with popular music as a way of creating new interdisciplinary pedagogical tools. As Beau explains, “Basically, it’s Weird Al for mythology.” Beau is currently spending […]

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Meet a Tutor: Nico

Nico Krell Boot Camp teacher and Zinc tutor Nico is a graduate of Princeton University, where he was the first student to major in Performance Studies–a blend of anthropology and critical theory. His research applied political accountability to American cultural practices, and for his creative work he was awarded the university’s top honor, the Lewis […]

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