WOOP – 4 steps to set your goals for the best school year ever!

WOOP – 4 steps to set your goals for the best school year ever!

It’s that time of year – for newly purchased textbooks, sharpened pencils all accounted for, washed desks awaiting handprints and chairs awaiting new friends.  The time of year that is crisp with newness. The time of year can feel like New Year’s Eve: filled with hope, promise, and resolutions.  

As the first day of school draws near, it’s a great time to envision your goals for the coming year.  Setting meaningful and actionable goals for school will help you get where you want to go. For parents, teaching your children to set goals is a valuable life skill. Through goal setting, students gain self awareness, self-efficacy, and resilience or “Growth Mindset.” 

In this article, we introduce WOOP – an easy-to-follow but effective goal setting framework to get you started.  We also include a blank planning template that students can use for themselves, or allow parents to have their child complete it as they set their own learning goals.

With all your energy recharged, let’s start thinking about what you want to do differently in this next school year.

What is WOOP?

Standing for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan, WOOP is a practical, accessible, evidence-based mental strategy that people can use to find and fulfill their wishes and change their habits.

“WOOP” is based on 20 years of research in the science of motivation by Dr. Grabiele Oettingen — a professor at New York University and the University of Hamburg — and her colleagues.  It presents a unique and surprising idea: The obstacles that we think most impede us from fulfilling our wishes can actually help us to realize them.  WOOP instructs us to dream our future dreams but then to identify and imagine what inner obstacles or hindrances of reality prevent us from achieving these dreams.  When you WOOP, you think about your ultimate goal, the best possible outcome, the personal obstacle(s) that stand in the way, and the plan for getting around those roadblocks.

Why WOOP matters?

A common mistake when setting a goal is to indulge in fantasies about how great life will be after accomplishing it—without considering what’s currently holding us back. This is also the most intriguing part of WOOP – it often requires us to mentally contrast our hoped for outcome with an obstacle that stands in our path.  WOOP also reminds us to step away from a particular goal if it conflicts with one another. WOOP works because it guides students through those in-between and oft-forgotten steps. Rather than pursuing goals that feel imposed by others, WOOP taps into a student’s intrinsic interests.

In schools, WOOP significantly improves effort, attendance, homework completion, and GPA.  WOOP develops self-control so that students can earn better grades, develop physical fitness, and build stronger relationships.  WOOP can help with any kind of wish, whether it’s something large (“I want to start a school newspaper”) or comparatively small (“I want to get an A in Science this quarter”). When used regularly, WOOP builds up what educators call “student agency” or the drive and motivation for students to take control over their own learning.  

The 4 steps of WOOP 

WOOP works in a simple 4-step process: students develop their own goals, they envision what the goal would feel like, they think about why they might not meet their goals, and then they plan ahead on how to deal with these problems. 

Step 1: Wish

Something you really want to accomplish. A wish that is exciting, challenging, and realistic.

First off, think about this school year, what is your one dearest wish that you would like to fulfil and that you also think you could fulfil during this time frame?  Fulfilling your wish should be challenging for you, but you should feel that it is possible. For best results, make it SMART:

  • Specific
  • Manageable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-sensitive 

For example: “read three books over each month”, or “finish at least one SAT practice test each week”, or increase my GPA to a 3.0 before end-of-term exams”. 

If you have several wishes, select the one that is most important to you.  The wish can be about your school, relationships, your health, a job, or anything else that is important to you.  Find this one specific wish, summarize it in 3 to 6 words, and keep it in front of your mind. 

Step 2: Outcome

The best outcome that would result from accomplishing your goal. 

Now, identify your best outcome and take a moment to imagine it as fully as you can.  What is the best thing, the best outcome that you associate with fulfilling your wish?  If your wish is fulfilled, where would that leave you?  What would be the best, most positive outcome? How would fulfilling your wish make you feel?  Find the best outcome, summarize it in 3 to 6 words, and keep it in front of your mind. 

For example: “I have more energy and feel better about myself”, or “My GPA is good enough to apply to top colleges”

Step 3: Obstacle

The personal obstacles that prevent you from accomplishing your goal. 

Next, let your mind go and imagine any potential inner obstacle.  What is your main inner obstacle? What is it within you that holds you back from fulfilling your wish?  It might be an emotion, an irrational belief, or a bad habit. Think more deeply—what is it really?

For example: “I’m tired when I get home from work and just don’t feel like reading.” or “I procrastinate and get distracted by Facebook”

When it comes to Obstacle, some students may ask: “What if I cannot control the obstacle?”  However, remember that we’re searching for internal obstacles.  When we look for obstacles within us, we are better able to control and to overcome them.  We often have limited power to change our environment. What we can change is how we respond to and deal with our environment.  If you have trouble identifying an obstacle that feels surmountable, take the obstacle you have thought of and see if you can break it down into several smaller, more surmountable obstacles. 

Step 4: Plan

Finally, we get really practical.  How are you going to make your Wish happen?  Let’s create a simple If-Then plan.

What can you do to overcome your obstacle? Identify one action you can take or one thought you can think to overcome your obstacle. Make the following plan for yourself: If / When _________ (obstacle), then I will __________ (action to overcome obstacle).

For example: “If I get up in the morning, then I immediately put on my sneakers and go for a run even if I don’t feel like it.”, or “If I get distracted during my work, then I will block all distracting websites and get back to work.”


WOOP is a scientifically proven tool that helps us change our behaviors and achieve our goals.  It’s the combination of mental contrasting and implementation intentions. In short, WOOP is just about this simple but powerful question:

“What is it that holding you back from fulfilling your wish?”

We highly recommend you to make WOOP a habit.  The more you do it, the more comfortable and successful they will be with the process.  Pick a goal that’s meaningful to you, and work through the WOOP process.

Last but not least, we also include a blank WOOP template below to guide you through this process.  

Let’s use WOOP to excel at school, learn more, achieve more, and enjoy each day at school more.  We wish you the best school year ever! 


What’s a Good SAT Score for YOU?

What’s a Good SAT Score for YOU?

If you’re wondering what a good SAT score is, you’re not alone. It’s one of the top questions we often get from both students and parents.

As you might already know, a perfect SAT score is 1600.  The minimum score is 400. And the average for the class of 2018 was 1068.  But what is a “good” score? The answer is simply short: It depends on who you are and what you want to do with your score.

What’s Considered a Good SAT Score?

A 1060 is about average, so anything above that is above average, and might be considered a good score.  A good score will be different for each student.  A good score for you is based on the schools you want to go to. Generally, the higher ranked a school is, the better score you need to get in.  It also depends on the other pieces of your application. If you have a near perfect GPA, your SAT score can be a little lower to still be competitive.  Schools also look at your letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, background, and admissions essays.

For most colleges, a score of 1300 (88th percentile) and up will make you a competitive applicant.  And a 1500 or higher pretty much opens the door to any institution in the country.  But, what really makes a “good” SAT score is an SAT score that makes you competitive at the schools you are interested in attending.

For instance, iIf you’re a junior taking the SAT for the first time, any score is a good score because it gives you valuable information about the academic areas you need to work on. Then you can focus on improving those areas and take the SAT again.  If you’re a senior applying to college, a good score depends on where you’re applying and what the rest of your application says about you.

Putting SAT scores in perspectives

Now, let’s look at the 25th and 75th percentile SAT/ACT scores for MIT, Stanford and all Ivy League schools:

If you’re scoring lower than the 25th percentile on either the SAT or ACT, you’ll have a really tough time getting accepted to an Ivy League school. Unfortunately, you just won’t measure up to all the other highly qualified applicants who have extremely impressive SAT/ACT scores.

Clearly, these are very high standards. In fact, all 75th percentile scores for Ivy League schools are in the 99th percentile nationwide. To be at the top of the Ivy League application pool, you will need to be one of the top 1% of test takers in the country!

While these SAT/ACT scores for the Ivy League can be used as standard guidelines, everyone has a different target score. This means that you’ll need to know the SAT/ACT score target that’s right for you. But how do you figure this out?

Again, your target SAT/ACT score will be based on the colleges you’re applying to. You’ll need to find the average SAT/ACT scores of admitted students for all the schools you’re interested in attending, specifically their 75th percentile scores. Aiming for the 75th percentile will give you the best chance of getting into all the schools on your list.

5 Steps to Finding Your Goal Score

For most students, getting a good SAT score is an attainable goal, with the right amount of preparation, strategy, and experience.

Below 5 simple steps will be the key to help you define a near perfect SAT score (or at least one that will get you into your dream school) 

To sum up, a good SAT score is a score that makes you competitive for the schools you want to attend. So find out your baseline, and then see how it compares to typical scores at your target schools . While colleges consider a lot of factors when they make admissions decisions, standardized test scores like SAT are still important pieces of your college application. Higher scores mean more college options for you.

College Board
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      Our free ebook will provide you with everything you need to know about the SAT test, how to set the right target and define your good study plan.

      Register to grab Everest Education’s complete guide to the new SAT and achieve your dream score here 💯

Understanding SAT Score Percentiles

Understanding SAT Score Percentiles

College and university admissions officers also focus on SAT score percentiles. Therefore, knowing your SAT percentiles is an important aspect of the preparation process. Do you really know what SAT percentiles mean?

This article will explore percentiles in an effort to shed some light on a sometimes confusing topic. Hopefully, you will understand the way percentiles come into play with undergraduate admission and should you have a projected SAT score of your own handy you will probably be able to determine your own percentile.

What Are SAT Score Percentiles?

In addition to the composite score you get on the SAT (i.e., that number between 400 and 1600), you’ll get a percentile ranking, ranging from 1 to 99. The SAT gives you a percentile ranking for your overall composite score as well as for each of the two section scores: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math.

Your percentile tells you how you did on the SAT compared with everyone else who took the test.  

Your percentile score is not like a grade out of 100. For instance, if you get a percentile of 90, this doesn’t mean you got exactly 90% of the questions right. It just means that compared with everyone who took the SAT, you scored higher than 90% of them. 

How are Percentiles useful?

The National Percentile statistic helps you:

Colleges use percentiles to compare you with other students. If you got, say, an SAT score in the 90th percentile, this would make you competitive for many schools since you scored better than 90% of students nationwide.

Paying attention to your percentile ranking, as well as your composite score, can give you the best idea of your performance and help you make strategic choices about which colleges to apply to.

What Are the Percentile Ranges for the SAT?

OK, so you get that percentile rankings are important. But if you haven’t taken the SAT yet or have taken it and plan to retake it, what composite SAT score should you shoot for in order to get a certain percentile ranking?

Luckily, the College Board releases data about composite scores and matching percentile rankings to help you figure this out. These numbers change slightly from year to year, but we have the most recent info from 2018. We’ve summarized the SAT percentile ranges here in a percentile chart. Just find your score to see your estimated percentile.

In the end, raising your percentile is dependent on a higher score. So instead of worrying about where you may line up in terms of a percentage, try instead to focus on effective test day strategies and techniques that will increase and expand your already impressive score. Study hard, stay the course, and don’t forget that knowledge is power. Knowing your percentile and checking in with it every so often as you take mock SAT exams will help bring you insight and clarity into your path forward.




      Our free ebook will provide you with everything you need to know about the SAT test, how to set the right target and define your good study plan.

      Register to grab Everest Education’s complete guide to the new SAT and achieve your dream score here 💯

10 reasons you should take the SAT

10 reasons you should take the SAT

The SAT is a daunting exam.  Plus, it’s not a direct part of your schooling, so why take the SAT? Well, as it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons.

On of the most significant reasons is how the test affects your college options, though there are other considerations, too. In this article, we’ll talk about all the reasons to take the SAT, including why it might be a better test for you than the ACT.

#1. Most Colleges Require SAT Scores

If you’re applying to college in the USA, you will almost certainly need to submit SAT (or ACT) scores. Now, any college that requires these scores will accept the SAT or the ACT (or both, if you’re so inspired). 

You should also be aware that there’s a growing number of test-optional and test-blind schools out there—schools that either don’t require or else don’t even want your test scores.  

However—and we really want to stress this point—these schools remain the exception, not the rule. For the most part, schools want (and even demand) to see those SAT or ACT scores.  Taking the SAT or ACT thus means keeping a considerable number of options open that would otherwise be closed to you.

#2. Some Jobs Require or Expect SAT Scores

This doesn’t apply just to jobs in the test prep arena, either; a surprising range of companies ask job-seekers from entry-level consulting applicants to senior-level banking applicants, to cough up old SAT or ACT scores.

It may not be standard practice, but you don’t want to pass on the perfect job because an employer wants test scores and you don’t have them. 

#3. The SAT Does Not Have a Science Section

So far, we’ve focused on reasons you should take a standardized test, but this is one of the big reasons you might prefer the SAT specifically: it doesn’t include a dedicated science section—while the ACT does. Granted, the SAT does include some scientific reading passages and a little bit of data to interpret, but if every science class is your own personal nightmare, it might be wise to skip the ACT’s 40-question, 35-minute Science section and take the SAT instead. For those who are not scientifically inclined, it’s definitely the lesser of two evils.

#4. The SAT Is Taken at a Slower Pace

Now, the SAT is a little bit (and I do mean a little bit) longer than the ACT: five minutes longer without the essay, fifteen minutes longer with the essay. Given that, though, consider the following data on how many minutes and seconds are allocated to each question on either test. What you’ll see is that the ACT is much more rushed.

If you get nervous or overly stressed under time constraints, the SAT is the test for you. You’ll still have to compete with the clock, but it won’t be as frantic as the ACT.


#5. The SAT Organizes Its Reading Questions

SAT Reading questions come in the order of the progression of each passage, complete with line numbers to help you find the point of reference. The ACT is lacking these features; it involves a lot more scrambling to situate what the questions are even discussing. If the extra help that the SAT provides is important to you, consider taking the SAT rather than the ACT.

#6. The SAT Is Heavy on Algebra, Light on Geometry and Trig

Geometry and trigonometry are present on the SAT, but they are not as prevalent as they are on the ACT. Algebra, on the other hand, takes center stage on the SAT.

Almost everyone has some preference between algebra and geometry; if algebra is your favored subsection of math, the SAT will let you shine.

#7. The SAT Doesn’t Cover As Many Math Concepts

For instance, logarithms, matrices, and graphs of trigonometric functions are all absent from the SAT (but present on the ACT). If you struggle with a few nitty-gritty topics like these but have mastered algebra reasonably well, the SAT might be the perfect test to take.

#8. The SAT Essay Is a Literary Analysis Task

You don’t have to argue a personal opinion or pass a judgment about any argumentative case’s moral superiority on the SAT essay. Instead, you’re producing commentary on a piece of source text. With the ACT, on the other hand, you have to argue the relative merits of solutions to complex issues. If you excel at literary analysis but shy away from debates, the SAT may just be the way to go.

#9. A good SAT can balance a low GPA

After your first two years, it can be rather difficult to change or boost your GPA, especially if it was lower than you would have liked during your freshman and sophomore years. Scoring high on the SAT  offers you another opportunity to show the college or university how far you’ve come academically, even if your GPA is a little lower than expect or want. It’s your opportunity to show you can work under pressure, study hard, and perform well. 

#10. There are far more testing locations for the SAT than for the ACT in Asia

The ACT organizers have been working to expand the number of testing centers over the past few years, but it is still far easier to find a convenient location to take the SAT than the ACT.




      Our free ebook will provide you with everything you need to know about the SAT test, how to set the right target and define your good study plan.

      Register to grab Everest Education’s complete guide to the new SAT and achieve your dream score here 💯

A brief introduction to the SAT

A brief introduction to the SAT

SAT score plays a significant role in U.S. College Admission process, especially with those aiming for Ivy League.  But have you really understood all the basics about the SAT test? Do you know how the new SAT’s organized and measured?  This article will walk you through all the basic you need to know before taking the exam.

What is the SAT?

The SAT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions.  It is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by the College Board.

The purpose of the SAT is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college, and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants.  College admissions officers will review standardized test scores alongside your high school GPA, the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays. How important SAT scores are in the college application process varies from school to school.  

For international students, like those from Vietnam, the SAT score is extremely important.  It is often difficult for admissions committee members to understand what grades from a Vietnamese school mean, so they put more emphasis on standardized tests like the SAT.

Overall, the higher you score on the SAT and/or ACT, the more options for attending and paying for college will be available to you. The ACT is an alternative to the SAT exam, but the SAT is far more popular internationally and specifically in Vietnam. 

What does the SAT measure?

The SAT is focused on the skills and knowledge at the heart of an international college prep education. It measures:
– What you learn in high school
– What you need to succeed in college and career training

Remember: The SAT isn’t designed to assess how well you’ve memorized a large set of facts; rather, the SAT assesses your ability to apply the knowledge and skills you’ll need in college and career.

The world needs more people who can use their thinking skills to solve problems, communicate clearly, and understand complex relationships. The best high school courses promote thinking skills, and colleges are looking for students who are skilled thinkers.  The SAT is designed to measure the thinking skills you’ll need to succeed in college and career.  Unlike other tests, you cannot prepare for the SAT just by cramming knowledge.  The students who score the highest points on the SAT prepare with a real understanding of critical reading, analytical writing, and applied mathematics fundamentals. 

How is the SAT Organized?

The SAT has  four components, three of which are mandatory and one of which (the Essay) is optional.  However, for any student aspiring to apply to any competitive university, the Essay section is not truly optional, and admissions officers are likely to look down upon students lacking an Essay score.  The three mandatory sections are (1) the Reading Test, (2) the Writing and Language Test, and (3) the Math Test. The timing and number of questions are as follows:

The Essay is optional, but some high schools and colleges require it.  Depending on your high school and your college choices, you may already know whether or not you’ll take the Essay.  If you have any uncertainty — for instance, if you can imagine that you might transfer from a school that doesn’t require it to one that does — consider taking the SAT with Essay.

How is the SAT scored?

All multiple-choice questions are scored the same way: one point for each correct answer and zero points for incorrect answers. No points are subtracted for incorrect answers or answers left blank. The table below shows all the scores you’ll receive on the SAT.

Total Score and Section Scores
The total score is the number most commonly associated with the SAT.  The total score ranges from 400 to 1600.  This score is the sum of the scores on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (which includes the Reading, Writing and Language Tests) and the Math section.

Test Scores
Test scores are reported on a scale of 10 to 40 for each of the three required tests: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math.

Cross-Test Scores
Cross-test scores — one for Analysis in History/Social Studies and one for Analysis in Science — are reported on a scale of 10 to 40 and are based on selected questions in the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Tests that reflect the application of reading, writing, language, and math skills in history/social studies and science contexts.

Subscores are reported on a scale of 1 to 15. They provide more detailed information about how you’re doing in specific areas of literacy and math.

Essay Scores

The scores for the optional SAT Essay are reported separately and aren’t factored into any other scores. The Essay yields three scores, one each on three dimensions:

Typically international students understand that they need to be able to summarize a reading passage for the essay.  However, they normally do poorly to analyze the author’s writing techniques and arguments.  This is an example of one of the critical skills that need to be developed in college prep English Language Arts classes, as this is an advanced skill.




         Our free ebook will provide you with everything you need to know about the SAT test, how to set the right target and define your good study plan.

         Register to grab Everest Education’s complete guide to the new SAT and achieve your dream score here 💯

Top 3 apps that help you achieve IELTS 7+

Top 3 apps that help you achieve IELTS 7+

IELTS is one of the hardest exams, but still possible to pass. Once you pass it, the doors of big opportunities will always open for you.  Although we have many English learning centers around the city offering IELTS course, if you want to get the IELTS training without paying any fees, using IELTS test preparation apps would be the best choice for you. 

In this article, we have gathered for you the top 3 mobile apps that help you prepare for the IELTS test.  We find these IELTS test preparation apps reputable, user-friendly, helpful and of course, don’t cost you a thing.  Let’s have a quick look.

 1. IELTS Prep

This app is developed by the British Council with all IELTS modules including: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking.  Each module contains 3 standardized practice tests provided by the British Council, which helps prepare you with confidence for the upcoming IELTS Academic or General test.

IELTS Prep also assists you in your self-study process with a daily reminder.  Besides, you can easily book a test date for yourself with a few clicks on the app.

– Developed by the British Council with standardized practice tests
– Clean design, easy to navigate through the app
– User can book an IELTS test for themselves through the app

– Content takes quite some time to load
– In the listening section, you can’t write the answer directly into the app
– The app only provides 3 practice tests in each section

Rating: 4.6/5.0
IELTS Prep has been given 4.6 stars out of 5 by 10,229 users until now.

This app helps me know what to expect and to evaluate myself so that I can improve on certain aspects before my test.  It is very user-friendly and covers just about everything that is necessary for the IELTS. It also provides an easy way to prepare for these tests” – Klarika Keyter

Link download for Android and iOS

 2. BBC Learning English

The app created by BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) can help you learn and improve English day by day with fun and topical lessons, transcripts, and quizzes.  It’s split into programs based on business English, everyday English, grammar, learn with the news (topical subjects), pronunciation and vocabulary. Each lesson is bite-sized from around 2 to 6 minutes.  This series contains daily podcast with a transcript for you to listen on the way to work or school. The scripts are great and often light-hearted. That way you can get familiar and comfortable with English while improving your listening skill.   The lessons are rated by difficulty. The program will keep playing in the background even if the screen is turned off. So you can be on the bus, traveling by train, flying, walking, running or even swimming and still have the perfect lesson in your ear. 

– A diverse source of news, grammar, and listening practice
– Easy to navigate through the app, clean design
– Provide standardized self-study materials
– New lessons are updated daily
– Users can share their favorite programs with their friends and social network 

– Lessons can not be downloaded
– Sometimes errors can occur and make it impossible to study with the app

Rating: 4.5/5.0
BBC Learning English has been given 4.5 stars out of 5 by 3,869 users as of now.

I am writing this review to express my warm feeling about this app, it is really outstanding where it contains all the needed stuff for English proficiency from videos, to vocab tips, English accents in addition to authentic English contexts…” – Elias P. Aoun

Link download for Android and iOS.

 3. Complete IELTS

This is another great app with every module in it such as writing, speaking or listening.

In the writing section, you will find different topics such as equality, hobbies and many more and while reading these topics if you find any word difficult to understand, then you just need to click on them, and the meaning will be shown to you.

In the listening section, you can choose the type of difficulty level and this app also displays transcript so that you can learn better.

– Provide many Speaking samples with solutions
– IELTS Listening can run on two modes: online and offline
– Support downloading audio and listen at offline mode
– IELTS Listening has irregular verbs table. It will support listeners while doing exercise or simply check irregular verb.

– Complete IELTS contains ads
– Some advanced lessons are not free
– Only available on Android phones

Rating: 4.6/5.0
Complete IELTS has been given 4.6 stars out of 5 by 6,651 users as of now.

“I was looking for an app which is free. This app has some of the best content for free and has helped me improve my IELTS score. I am very happy that I was able to find this app amongst all the other apps that are out there. The developer has taken effort to make this app as beneficial as possible for IELTS candidates.” – Safdarali Khan

Link download for Android