The College Board has revealed the nature of long-suspected changes to the SAT. Please note that this new-format test will NOT be given until 2016. So if you're on here right now looking for SAT prep, you're probably still taking the old test. Students who are currently freshmen will be taking the new test for the first time in their junior year, assuming normal patterns of taking a first SAT in junior year. (By the way, I do not recommend the practice I've seen in some families of taking a first SAT in sophomore year. The test has content which is beyond most sophomore curricula. The PSAT is a much better diagnostic vehicle at that age than the real SAT.) This article explains the new SAT in the best way that I have seen. In short, guessing will no longer be penalized, the essay will become optional (reverting scores to the familiar 1600 range), some math questions will not have a calculator, and the reading passages will be more predictable, using civics... read more
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Yes, test stress is definitely an issue, and I don't want to be accused of adding to it. However, in the spirit of cold, hard reality, this article from the Wall Street Journal on use of SAT scores by employers deserves some attention. Whether you agree with this or not (and the HR department at Google has clearly decided to disagree, for example), there are still many big corporate employers who use the SAT as a convenient proxy for an IQ test, which relatively few Americans have ever taken. Whether IQ is a good predictor of job performance is a whole other mess that you can put in a college essay if you've researched it, but which you really can't do anything about as a high schooler (or parent of one, unless you're also a Ph.D-level researcher in psychology or management science). That said, when you break it down, the SAT has a lot in common with an IQ test, and that's worth knowing. It's best not to really think about it as a test of reading, writing and math... read more
SAT PREP! As a seasoned SAT tutor, my students have informed me of many different online resources for SAT prep. Some have been quite useful, while others are not so much. In this post, I will rank 5 resource links to SAT review websites or apps that I find helpful in preparing for the SAT. Keep in mind that these resources may be immensely helpful but are not perfect solutions for stand-alone SAT preparation. The best SAT preparation is done with a live tutor who is knowledgable about the SAT itself and about the different strategies for test-taking that work best for each individual. Top 5 SAT Prep Resources 1. CollegeBoard.com's full practice SAT exam is the very first place every student should begin. Who better to provide SAT test prep, than the makers of the SAT?! 2. INeedAPencil is a great free resource for an entire comprehensive prep program funded by the CK-12 Foundation. 3. Number2 is another free resource with an all encompassing prep... read more
When I work with students on the SAT essay, many have difficulty coming up with concrete, adequate examples. Many can't get out of the quicksand of vague and directionless ideas. Instead of ideas, let individuals from history, literature, science, and the modern era be your guides. Create a list of influential and inspiring people for each category like I've done. Focus on two or three categories you're most comfortable with and research what made these people so special and influential. Individuals such as John Proctor from "The Crucible," Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Galileo, and Nelson Mandela are just some of the examples to use when you write your essay. SAT essay questions are broad enough that you can take something that one of these individuals has done to "advance freedom" or "challenge authority." Remember, you only have 25 minutes. Keep calm and carry on with your "people strategy." It will pay dividends in the end.
You probably heard people telling you that "Oh, you can't really improve you SAT score!" That is true from one perspective. According to College Board, the national average improvement on SAT is only 40 points! That is really disappointing considering the fact that the total score is 2400. However, even though this is totally true, does that necessarily suggests that you cannot improve your SAT score? If you are bold enough for the truth, the answer is: no. Because honestly, most students who took the SAT for the second or third time, did not spent enough time and effort studying for the exam. If they did not study, how would you expect them to improve? You cannot just simply take the exam and expect the score to raise by itself. Although SAT is more of an "ability" test, that you cannot really study, you can still study it and improve your ability and hence, improve your score! Why do I say that? Because I have done it. Not only have I done it myself,... read more
I assume you already know these two exams, so how to pick which one to take? The Best Option (only apply to those who still have a lot of time to prep for the test ex. Freshmen, Sophomore, or Junior who has nothing else to do): Take both test. Do the practice tests (only the ones that are very close to real one) and see which one you score higher. And then, choose the one that you scored higher! Otherwise SAT -- if you are more into English ACT-- if you are more comfortable with math and science In addition, because SAT is more of a "reasoning" test that tests your ability, it is more tricky to most students. And for ACT, it is more a straight forward test that test you on certain required topics. But in conclusion, you have to study for it before you take the actual exam. You have no idea how many students mess with these serious exams and ruin their chances of getting into dream colleges. If you have any questions... read more
Hi! I'm Jennifer J., B.S., MEd, JD, PHD ABD WyzAnt Tutor In my blog I will tell you everything you need to know about the "start-to-finish" process of preparing and taking the SAT and ACT exams. that will get you into the college or university of your choice. Some Background About Me: I teach classes and tutor privately for the PSAT, SAT and ACT. I have taught these test preparation classes since 1999. I taught for Princeton Review, and then started my own business, Pathfinders College Preparatory. Since then, I have amassed my own collection of actual SAT tests, answer sheets, practice material, etc. I work with anywhere from one to four students at a time. I will tutor you privately in your home or at another location. Commonly Asked Q & As: Below are some commonly asked questions and answers about preparing for the SAT, the PSAT, and the ACT exams: Q: What is your greatest strength? A: I have tutored more than 200 students... read more
With the wealth of SAT prep materials out there, it can be tough to find the best resources for SAT study. I've been tutoring for the SAT for over a decade, and these are the materials I've found to be the most helpful. SAT General Study For all-around SAT preparation, nothing beats The Official SAT Study Guide, published by the College Board. With ten full practice tests, this book contains plenty of study material for all sections of the test. Because the questions are written by the College Board and, in many cases, have appeared on actual administered SATs, they accurately reflect what students will see on test day. (I've never found a test written by a third-party company that comes close to matching actual SAT questions, and I do not recommend third-party practice tests for study.) Working through the questions in this book is the best, most effective way for any student to prepare for the test. In addition to the Official Guide,... read more
Aaah...the the most feared, loathed, avoided tests of the century: the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. I am here to tell you that you should not let these tests overpower you. A bad first score is not enough to tell your potential. You are capable of improving leaps and bounds, perhaps hundreds of points. Take my younger brother, for example. He took the PSAT his freshman year with no prior exposure to the test and received a 153. He was not happy with his score, so I told him he would have to practice greatly to improve. With my help tutoring him in math and writing, he was able to improve his SAT score to 1820 his sophmore year. That is a 290 point increase! Using the big blue SAT practice book, he took many practice tests to help him get comfortable with the test format. I went over the questions he got wrong, so he could learn from his mistakes and not make the same mistake the next time. The SAT Question of the Day was another helpful tool he used that was vital... read more
Good luck to all students taking the SAT this morning! Remember: they're trying to trip you up, so watch your feet! Don't feel like you did your best? Anxious about how many questions you skipped? Don't worry, there are more test dates this year. Many people take the SAT multiple times, and if you get some tutoring in between (from yours truly!), you can dramatically increase your scores on the second time through. The remaining test dates for the current school year are: January 25 March 8 May 3 June 7 I recommend you start studying for the SAT at least one month in advance, longer if you plan on going it without a tutor. If you'd like to work with me for the January or March test cycle, send me an email ASAP. The sooner we can get to work, the higher your scores will be!
Did you take the SAT on Saturday? Are you freaking out about how confusing it was, and feeling like you had no idea what you were doing? Never fear; many people take the SAT's multiple times, and if you get a little tutoring help in between (from yours truly) you can radically improve your score on the second go-around. Here's the remaining test dates for the 2013-2014 school year: November 2 December 7 January 25 March 8 May 3 June 7 I recommend you start studying for the SAT at least one month in advance, longer if you plan on going it without a tutor. If you'd like to work with me for the November or December test cycle, send me an email ASAP. The sooner we can get to work, the higher your scores will be!
Here is an overview of my 5 BEST TIPS for realizing your highest potential on the SAT: Read and Write Daily- Do not read just fluffy stuff from internet sites or think that your emails constitute all the daily writing you need (join a writer's group and keep a journal). Most importantly, read thoughtful, intelligent articles from reputable sources (like the Wall Street Journal) on a daily basis on topics that stimulate your thinking and challenge your vocabulary. This is the best approach for long-term improvement in reading and writing. Study High-Frequency SAT Vocabulary Lists- There are many of these word lists obtainable on the Internet. The problem is that you may not retain the words using a crash-course study approach. This won't be helpful for long term unless you pace your study of the words and see words in their context. I recommend a 7 day study approach. Study 30-50 words each day for two days in a row using flash cards, review the list of... read more
One topic which can be transformational for students preparing for standardized testing, especially logical-mathematical students who are underperforming on the writing SAT, is formally learning English grammar. A large proportion of writing MC questions in particular focus on the sequence of tenses, and tense sequence errors or unintentional tense shifts can greatly harm submitted writing. The English language does not have a "past tense". It has multiple past tenses which are non-identical and which all have their uses. Working with a tutor on grammar can be a great help to the student who is not well served by whole-language and literature-centric approaches to English class (i.e. the students most likely to seek SAT verbal but not math tutoring in the first place).
Very interesting article for parents of younger students about likely changes to the SAT in line with Common Core curriculum alterations. Please note that all of this is INFORMED SPECULATION at this stage, not an absolute plan, so if you are a junior/senior or the parent of one, prepare for the SAT as expected. However, parents of younger students seeking enrichment should take note. http://www.iecaonline.com/blog/2013/09/18/preparing-students-for-a-new-era-of-admission-testing/
I find that the majority of points lost on essays seem to be for argument construction, not for basic writing skills. My opinion is that if a test taker spends enough time crafting his or her argument, the essay score will be higher. So to help my students prepare for the writing portion of the SAT we spend most of our time outlining arguments, rather than actually writing essays. Most SAT help books suggest 5 mins for outlines, then 20 mins for writing. I encourage my students to do closer to 10 mins for outlining, in order to solidify their arguments. How to prepare for the SAT essay? Here's a fun, interactive way to "get set" to write. Estimate 10 minutes per question. Choose a writing prompt (use an old test, or look up prompts online). 1 min: Have the student write out his or her opinion (yes or no), thesis sentence, counter argument, and general outcome (progress, societal good, etc). Minutes 2-10: Have the student number... read more
The SAT messes with your head. Don't feel embarrassed, it messes with everyone's head. It's designed to. The SAT is a test of your critical reasoning skills, meaning it's actually far more about logic and figuring out the correct course of action than it is about actually knowing the material. This is nowhere more evident than on the Math section. The SAT Math trips up so many students because they expect it to behave like a math test. The truth is, the SAT Math is about figuring out how to answer each problem using as little actual math as possible. It's all about working quickly, and the questions are structured such that they conceal the quick logic and context-based route behind the facade of a more complicated math question. They're trying to psych you out; to make you think the problem is harder than it is. In math class you're taught to be thorough, to show your work and not leave out any steps. On the SAT, it's not only possible but downright preferable to... read more
As the school year ramps up again, I wanted to put out a modified version of a Memo of Understanding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memo_of_understanding for parents and students. It seems each year in the rush to get through the first weeks of school parents and students forget the basic first good steps and then the spiral downwards occurs and then the need for obtaining a tutor and then the ‘wish for promises’ from a tutor. Pay attention to your child’s folder or agenda book. A student is generally not able to self regulate until well into high school. Some people never quite figure it out. Be the best person you can be by helping your child check for due dates, completeness, work turned in on time. Not only will this help your child learn to create and regulate a schedule, it prevents the following types of conversations I always disliked as a teacher ("Can you just give my child one big assignment to make up for the D/F so they can pass"; "I am going to talk to the principal... read more
My cousin once asked, "Where do you get your confidence?” Before I had time to consider the idea, the response came out, "I've made mistakes, and I'm not afraid to make mistakes in the future.” In public speaking, writing, and publishing; the speaker or writer must be confident. Confidence builders for me always include preparation. Here are ways I prepare to write and to present. Brainstorming. The first step is good old-fashioned brainstorming. I prepare by thinking about the topic. What do I know? What do I want the audience to know after I'm done? How will I go about finding information for the content I do not know? while driving is one of my favorite times to ponder a topic, the audience, and the purpose of the writing or presentation. I call it TAP. Once I've considered the topic, audience, and purpose (TAP), the majority of planning is done. The second step includes drafting. I choose to outline presentations and use paragraphing of thoughts for longer written... read more
Are you sitting by the pool with your feet up every day? Working a summer job to pay for penny candy and movie shows? (Yes, I know penny candy costs a dollar now.) The summer is closer to being over than you think. Now would be a good time to start studying for the SAT or any other test you have coming up in the fall. You do not have to study all summer long, but get into the practice of doing one hour per day of intense studying and then, when the test comes around, you will be all the more ready for it. Studying even a little bit adds up. It is like going to the gym or practicing for the big game. The more you do it, the greater your chance of success. Now is a great time to start. So what are you waiting for?
Hey everyone! I just recently graduated from Stanford University this June and I will be home in Arizona for the rest of the summer! If any of you need tutoring help in SAT, ACT, or a variety of Math, Science, and Verbal subjects feel free to contact me! I try to make our tutoring sessions as productive and fun as possible, while ensuring that you reach your academic goals! I am also open to helping you navigate your college or carer goals! Let me know if you would like to work with me! Best, Jayce