It's the fall season, which means students are back in school! Don't let the rush of new classes and uniting with friends stop you from preparing for upcoming college entrance exams. Seniors, this is your last chance to improve
your scores if you want to start college next fall, and, Juniors, get a jump start on some awesome scores with test prep tutoring and at-home practice tests.
Helpful Hint: Set aside 10 - 15 minutes a day for SAT and ACT words and definition quizzes -- it will pay off in a big way!
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
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.
Number2 is another free resource with...
A website I like to use with my SAT students is freerice.com. This website has a vocabulary section which asks students to pick a synonym from a list of 4. For every correct answer, the website donates 10 grains of rice to the World Hunger Programme. It's
a great way to study vocabulary and do good at the same time! You can create a profile and the website will track your progress with the vocabulary. For every 5 consecutive correct answers at a given level, the difficulty is then increased, so it is also a
good way to challenge yourself. Encourage students to look up words that they have never heard of and create a list of their own of vocab words to study.
I've found this to be much more effective than simply using flashcards as it is less repetitive and more fun.
This is also a great resource for those learning English! Additionally, there are minimal vocabulary games for other languages, but the website is constantly improving, so in the future...
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...
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.
I just picked up (and started reading!) a book I would recommend for vocab study: "Hot Words for the SAT." The author is Linda Carnevale, M.A. The book is published by Barrons; I got my copy from Barnes and Noble.
Briefly, the author advocates learning new vocabulary words by clusters which have similar meanings to one another. So for example, under "Words Relating to Friendly and Agreeable," she puts "affable, amiable, amicable, congenial, convivial, cordial,
gregarious, jocular, levity." This is a great way to teach and to learn new things! I briefly tried this approach in the past with New Testament studies (I am agnostic today:) in attempting to learn clusters of Greek words. Yes, I think I'm better with
English:) For students of religion who are interested though, I do recommend Louw and (Eugene A.) Nida, "Greek Words According to Semantic Domains," and (Bishop) Richard C. Trench,...
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...
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.