TOEFL Changes

Good news for English-Language test candidates! Starting from August 1, 2019, all TOEFL iBT test takers will benefit from changes to the test format and score reporting, as well as easier registration. In brief, these changes are as follows:

  1. Superscoring has been introduced!

As ETS explains: “The new MyBest™ scores feature will combine test takers’ best scores for each section from all valid TOEFL iBT scores from the previous two years. MyBest scores allow test takers to show their best overall test performance to institutions making important admissions decisions. All TOEFL iBT score reports sent after August 1, 2019, regardless of the test administration date, will automatically include MyBest scores along with the traditional scores from the test taker’s selected test date.”

2. The test has been shortened by 30 minutes — to three hours — with no changes to the overall test format or question types. There are simply fewer questions in the Reading, Listening and Speaking sections now.

Our test experience with students seems to be showing it is now easier to gain a high score on the TOEFL iBT, although it is still early days to draw definitive conclusions.

Back to School

So you’ve packed away your beach bag, dusted down your school bag and you’re waiting outside on the street for the school bus to pick you up. It’s back to school time …

A few thoughts though – work very hard in class, keep up your school average, find time for SAT practice, read Scientific American (regularly!),  do sports … and, most importantly, be happy.

Wishing you all a successful academic year 2019/20.

Undergraduate applications: The Common App and AUB

AUB has announced you can apply for admission on the Common App. What does this mean for you?

  • If you’re applying to mainland USA universities, but think there is a possibility you might go to AUB, use the common app.
  • If you’re sure you’re going to AUB, you can apply directly with the AUB online link. It’s quicker.

Good luck with either path and remember if you need Common App support we’re here to help.

The SAT and Your Mind-set

You all know by now that the SAT is a stressful test – you’re under pressure to complete questions within the time allowed and without making any mistakes.

The single most important thing during the test is to stay positive – don’t allow yourself to become tired or fed up. Stop thinking you want to go home,  to the bathroom, or anywhere that isn’t that desk where you are coloring in bubbles. Negative thoughts will affect your score.

The test is designed to check how you perform under pressure – so one way of remaining positive is to become comfortable with the demands of the test. Complete to time as many tests as you can find. Let your mind become accustomed to the rhythm of the test – know you will hit high points and low points in the course of the test, and ride through the low moments. If you’re losing focus, lift your eyes towards the end of the room, take six deep breaths … and return to the questions.

And remember – this too will pass 🙂

Registering for the SAT

Please do this on your laptop – it’s easier.

Note the following dates and last day of registration.

SEP 6, 2019 OCT 5, 2019
NOV 8, 2019 DEC7, 2019
FEB 14, 2020 MAR 14, 2020
APR 3, 2020 MAY 2, 2020

Open an account on

Select a user name and password and keep a record of these in a safe place.

On the first two pages, you have to enter personal details and a student profile. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR BIRTHDATE.

Answer every question that has a red asterisk. If there is a slight possibility you will study in the USA, answer all the questions that follow, even if there is no asterisk. Universities will use the information you give to decide if you are a fit for them and may contact you directly. There are some questions that ask you about your parents’ income and their highest level of education. If you are staying in Lebanon, you will see they have a drop down menu and one of the responses is “I do not want to respond.” You can select this. If you might be going to the USA put the correct figure in. The telephone number requires 10 digits – the only way we can do this in Lebanon is to write your mobile number which has 8 digits and then add 00 to the final digit. ie. 0312345600. (The 00 will not make a difference if someone wants to call you. They are simply disregarded.)

Tick the Student Search Service if you want to go to the USA. Tick No to AP credit – you’re probably not doing AP in Lebanon

There are then a number of pages on GPA rank, (select your school average) and the math, English, Science, Social Science and Language courses you’ve completed; then pages on High School Activities (Art, Music); College activities you might be interested in: College plans. You do not have to fill these in if you are going to stay in Lebanon. If you are going to study overseas, fill them all in carefully.

Finally, you will get to Terms and Conditions. Tick the box on the bottom left hand side to accept them and move to the next page.

NB If you seem to be stuck on any one page, scroll up and check if you’ve filled in a box incorrectly. (It will be in red.) Correct it and you can move on.

On next page, select testing region (outside the USA); select SAT test and select test date. Select the essay – you need it!

Select yes if you have an accommodation i.e. acceptance by the College Board of a letter from a doctor that states you have a medical condition that will allow you extra time for the test; select no fee waiver.

You don’t need the answer service but if you want to spend another $13.50, go ahead.

On the next page, select your test center – there are many tables of centers so scroll through with the arrows until you find the nearest one to your home or the one you want to go to because it’s your own school.

Now take a photograph of yourself, upload to the site and move on. Don’t bother with the SAT subject study book and move on. Check the admission ticket on screen – is everything correct?

For payment use a credit card – make sure the details are all correct (SAT test, International Registration and Essay) and submit. Press the Submit button ONCE – sometimes it takes time – otherwise your money will be taken twice. The cost is $111.5

Finally print your admission ticket and check out the score reports – do you want them sending on directly to the university of your choice? If you’ve got the score you want, send them. Otherwise, hold off till next time.

One other thing and this is really important:

When you go for the test, you need a photo ID. The photo has to resemble you as you are now on your admission ticket, not when you were four years old. You could be refused admission if the photos do not tally.

Don’t Waste Your Time: SAT words

We’re here to make your life easier…

If you want to make the best use of travel time in the car, refresh your memory with words that will help you on the SAT. For example, do you know what these words mean?

Obsolescence; Convey; Curtail; Dismal; Widespread; Entrench; Burrow; Gloomy; Facetious; Feign.

They’re all words that have appeared on past tests. So how best to increase your vocabulary? Read, read, read. Find some articles in scientific/economics magazines that interest you and learn the new vocabulary you come across – and slowly you will build up a new bank of words that you’ll use in your everyday life. One word at a time, that’s all it takes.

Our Summer SAT Courses

We’re very proud to share our exciting news!

Hampshire Academy will be giving SAT courses in the following schools over the summer: Brummana High School, College Notre Dame de Jamhour, College Notre Dame de Nazareth Beirut, St. Joseph School Cornet Chahwan, and Wellspring Learning Community.

We believe this is recognition of the strength and integrity of our courses.

You too can profit from our expertise in our centers in Horsh Tabet, Kaslik and Deir Al Kalaa Country Club. Call us on 71 793757 for further details.

Tough SAT test in October?

SAT Essay Writing