When beginning to tutor a student preparing for the SAT, there are a couple steps that will lead to greater student success than just working through practice problems.
1. Explain what types of questions will be asked on the exam
The SAT is an exam that works by using the same certain types of questions. For example, in the Reading section there will be types of questions that focus on the main idea of a passage or others that ask the reader to compare and contrast two shorter paragraphs.
Getting your student familiar with the types of questions that will be used on the exam is a very effective way to practice and avoid any test-day surprises.
2. Identify which questions your student struggles with the most
Once you cover what types of common questions are on the exam, you can determine which your student finds the easiest and which need some work. It isn’t helpful to study questions that aren’t difficult for your student, so find the types...
1. Repeating themselves.
In high school (and sometime beyond) there are unhelpful rules from teachers relating to number of paragraphs, minimum lines per paragraph, and number of quotes per paragraph. Page length, word count, and more fit under this heading as well. Too many times
I've seen students try to say the same thing in a different way in order to puff up their writing to hit a word count. It's easier to just think some more about the subject matter!
2. Trying to sound academic (or something).
Many a time I'll talk to a student and ask their opinion about some topic or relevant subject. They'll explain themselves clearly and concisely, and sometimes even with some with and humor. Then, when it's time to write, they start saying things like:
"This subject is truly fascinating, as I believe that it is truly relevant for children in our society to become educated about many of these diverse and sundry topics"...
Q1 is an Attitude/Tone Question
Q2 is a Vocab.-in-Context Question
Q3 is a Purpose Question
Q4 is a Detail Question
Q5 is a Vocab.-in-Context Question
Q6 is a Suggest/Infer/Imply/Agree Question
Q7 is a Suggest/Infer/Imply/Agree Question
Q8 is a Detail Question
1. The author’s tone can best be described as:
2. As used in line 6, “blasphemous” most nearly means:
(A) Someone who is deeply religious & a devoted follower
(B) An individual who is highly respectable
(C) Cheap and abusive
(D) Someone who does not show reverence or respect for the holy or sacred
3. The author mentions “Costello, Lennon, Can, & the Cure” (lines 25-26) in order to:
(A) Diminish the importance of They Want my Soul
(B) Assert that Spoon will never be as great a band as these.
(C) Give the reader a reference for the album’s sound.
(D) Illustrate a contrast
4. According to the author, They Want My Soul is:
(A) Better than Girls Can Tell, Kill the Moonlight, & Transference
(B) Trying too hard to be something it’s not
(C) Highbrow, and therefore too difficult to understand and enjoy
(D) A bitter...
Here is the body of the Pitchfork article, copied and pasted from: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/19514-spoon-they-want-my-soul/
They Want My Soul
Loma Vista; 2014
; August 4, 2014
BEST NEW MUSIC
All these soulsuckers, they're among us. They're stealing our privacy, our convictions, the very essence of our being, and leaving behind little more than a "for sale" sign and some vague, constant hollowness. In music, a dwindling whirlpool of funds only spurs
on these parasites as they scavenge
5 for scraps of humanity wherever ears can hear. Their thirst is real. And artists—those blasphemous and holy conduits for truth, liberty, and whatever else is missing from our lives—can't help but succumb. To last more than 20 years in rock'n'roll without
sacrificing a lethal amount of one's soul requires a certain vigilance; to navigate around the pitfalls of
10 both punk and...
In all of my lessons, I like to ask my students about their interests, and then I tailor the lessons to them! Yesterday my student and I went over Princeton Review's "5 types of Reading Comprehension Questions." These are:
1. Detail, 2.Purpose, 3. Suggest/Infer/Imply/Agree, 4. Vocabulary-in-Context, and 5. Tone/Attitude.
We did one of the drills from the book, but I didn't think it would be sufficient practice. Since this particular student loves music, I copied and pasted a music review from Pitchfork.com into a Word document, then wrote my own SAT Prep questions! It went
over well; the student said that it was a good exercise because it actually held his interest. He's not a big reader in general, but music reviews are something that he "actually likes to read."
So, if you have a student who really loves music, then here's a copy of the Pitchfork article and my questions!
Some basic tips for students preparing for the SAT exams.
If your goal is to score high on the exams (and who doesn't want to score high) then you must start preparing early and spend the time. The preparation must be organized into a daily study schedule with a detailed list of tasks. A high score on the SAT
translates directly into money in your financial aid package in college.
How to organize the preparation:
1. Study time should be scheduled for the time when you are most alert. For most people, this is the morning hours and it is entirely possible to study an hour before the start of the school day - if you go to sleep early.
2. Cut back or eliminate other social activities to properly prepare for the SAT
3. Purchase a preparatory book (used from Amazon is ideal) and use that book to organize a daily schedule for studying
4. Read printed material that you DON'T like - especially newspapers like the New York Times, Washington...
1. Encourage students to read the newspaper daily-If you meet once a week, assign 2-3 articles from a difficult paper.
2. Rather than memorizing thousands of vocabulary words on index cards, re-teach the basics[I.E. the root word, pre-fix, suffix, etc.]. Many of the level five questions include difficult vocabulary and this skill set will offer an alternative to guessing.
3. If you're not sure of a word, allow yourself to be vulnerable and show them that no one's perfect. Then, break down the word or phrase and walk them through your thought process. Students respect a teacher/tutor who admits that they don't know every
vocabulary word on the exam.
This strategy has yielded immediate results. Of course, the student must be willing to do the work and you'd need about two weeks of focused study.
Hope this is useful.
Schedule for SAT Crash Course:
Lesson 1: Test Basics, Sentence Completions (singles and doubles), Short Paragraphs
Lesson 2: Long Passages (Narrative, Expository, Persuasive)
Lesson 3: Double Passages, Difficult Passages, Essay
Lesson 4: Grammar Basics (Voice, Parallelism, Continuity, Conciseness)
Lesson 5: Verb and Pronoun Errors
Lesson 6: Modifier, Comparative, Idiom, Confused Word Errors
SAT English Basics
Reading Section: (70 minutes)
Sentence Completions 19 Questions Worth 30%
Reading Passages 48 Questions Worth 70%
Writing Section: (60 minutes)
Grammar: Worth 70%
Identifying Sentence Errors 18 Questions
Improving Sentences 25 Questions
Improving Paragraphs 6 Questions
Essay (25 minutes) Graded from 2-12 Worth 30%
1 point given for each question answered correctly. -¼ point for each question answered incorrectly. No points for unanswered questions.
I remember how nervous I was during every major test in my life. The SAT, AP Tests before undergraduate school. Then there was the dreaded GRE required for admission to graduate school.
Fast forward: my master's degree test involved a full day of writing (with no notes or books). My doctoral exams involved a full day of writing, three times a week for one week (also with no notes or books). Talk about torture! And then there was the faculty
review ... whew!
But you know what? I needn't have been nervous and neither should you, because "testing" begins the minute you walk into the classroom door. If you pay attention in class, do your homework, stay focused (you can always "play" later), take good care of your
mind and body -- exercise a little to relieve stress and stay healthy -- and create a peaceful environment in which to study a little bit every day during the school week, you should be able to retain information and write to the best...
Well, the new school year has started, and that means SAT test dates are fast approaching. In fact, the first one is this coming weekend. To anyone taking the SAT on Saturday, good luck! Remember to get a good night's sleep on Friday!
If you are thinking about applying to college in the next few years, it might be time to schedule an SAT date! Remember, you can retake the test as many times as you need to, so don't be afraid to schedule an early date.
Also, remember that the big SAT Redesign will be kicking into effect in the Spring of 2016, so if you are in the class of 2016 you may want to start your testing early, to make sure you have time to retake the current style of test and not have to relearn everything
for a completely new test the following year.
This semester's SAT test dates and registration deadlines are as follows:
October 11th – Registration ends September 12th
November 8th – Registration ends October 9th
Test anxiety can impact everyone. However, with a few strategies, you can overcome these anxieties and excel on your next standardized assessment.
Should you guess?
This is a choice you will need to make based on the assessment you are taking. For certain tests, such as the Praxis, you are scored based only on your correct answers. However, keep the guessing to a minimum. On the SAT, you lose 1/4 of a point for an
incorrect answer, but if you leave it blank, you lose 1 point. So guessing should be used as a last resort. Obviously, you should not guess on too many questions. Which leads me to...
Should you omit questions?
Only skip questions you find extremely difficult. Use other strategies to help you determine if you can, in fact, answer these questions before omitting them. However, do not spend too much time using these
strategies, as time is limited.
In my experience tutoring students in both essay writing and test prep, one of the most difficult and tiresome challenges for both student and tutor is vocabulary improvement. Because the ideal way to improve one's vocabulary includes reading a variety
of sources over a long period of time, the optimal strategy for vocabulary improvement is often not available to students who have a very compressed schedule in which they must improve. Many of my students have needed to show marked improvement in vocabulary
within 2 weeks to a month, due to a looming deadline, so I have had to get creative to find efficient, effective techniques in vocabulary training.
One of the most important lessons when it comes to vocabulary is that multiple approaches are key. Students should engage with the material using as many senses as possible. This means not only reading a word and its definition silently, but also reading
them aloud, hearing them read by...
Practice is the key to SAT mastery. No matter what preparatory course you take, what tutor you hire, or what study guides you purchase, all of your resources are for naught if you don’t devote significant time and effort towards practice exams.
Knocking out a healthy load of practice tests is particularly important for standardized exams. Why? Because standardization means that the test makers (a.k.a. the College Board) are bound by an obligatory adherence to consistency. As such, from year to year,
while the precise questions vary, the core subjects and concepts are constant. Moreover, the style of questions is uniform. Translation: the more questions you see, the fewer curve balls can be hurled your way. With enough practice, you can familiarize yourself
with the majority of possible question types, which will (1) improve your test taking abilities and (2) bolster your confidence come test day.
Another reason why practice tests are so important is that they...
Many of my students second guess themselves or tend to speculate. So I devised the
Beth Cof strategy to help students eliminate wrong answers.
There are five possible answer choices on the SAT; four on the ACT. Therefore, it's crucial to be comfortable when choosing the right answer.
B stands for too broad. E stands for extreme answers.
T stands for true for the passage as a whole but not for the lines in question, and
H stands for half-right, half-wrong.
C stands for could be true but not enough info. O is off-topic, and
F is factually true but not stated in the passage.
Students who applied this strategy tended to get the answer right. The only downside is it can be time-consuming, so don't use it for every single Critical Reading question. Be selective - and be right!
Hey folks, I am sure many of you have plans of going to college or finishing up that last hectic year of school. Well with these endeavors comes not only tests and quizzes created by books and your professors/teachers, but you also have to take nation
and statewide test in order to pass and/or qualify for a position in a higher learning institute. Such tests include the SAT, ACT, MCAT, etc. What you want to remember about taking these tests is that these tests are testing you ability to locate small mistakes
and easy to miss information. They also want you to understand this material. You have to be prepared for these easy to miss situations. For example, I am sure you all have done a math question, felt like you did it perfectly correct only to find out that
you actually got it incorrect. Furthermore, the answer you got appeared as one of the answer choices! Or you were on the right track to answering correctly, but made...
The news broke recently that the College Board is once again changing the SAT. These new changes, scheduled to be implemented in spring 2016, represent a pretty large departure from the SAT of the past. The College Board states that this new SAT will “ask
students to apply a deep understanding of the few things shown by current research to matter most for college readiness and success.” Here are the changes that will have the biggest effect on test preparation, as I see them:
An Increased Focus on Evidence-Based Analysis
The new SAT will place a higher priority on analysis based on evidence. In the critical reading and writing sections students will now be asked to support their answers with evidence, including citing portions of the passages. In effect, the new SAT will require
students not only to know the correct answer, but to be able to explain why the answer is correct, and point to specific evidence in the passage that supports their choice. The essay...
On standardized tests and in your general academic life, you are going to run into long reading passages that at first may seem like a lot to tackle. Let's face it - a long block of unbroken text on a standardized test is not the most inspiring sight in
An effective strategy for digging into these passages with the gusto required for high scoring is to underline and note-take with intensity. Underline the first sentence to get you going, then underline, circle, and mark up the passage to your heart's
delight. Let the pencil be your anchor to the text.
In my many years of experience as a tutor, I've found that students don't mark up SAT Reading passages nearly enough. Marking up the text not only keeps you on task and prevents your mind from wandering, but also gives you a personal little "road map"
to the text when it comes time to answer questions about what you've just read.
And hey, while we're here...
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
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...