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One way you can be very well prepared to tackle your exam is by taking practice tests. You probably already knew this. However, here is something you might not have known. The best way to do the practice tests is to replicate real testing conditions as much as possible. In other words, wherever you take a practice test, try to make that space feel like the testing environment. This is very much the same philosophy as the "train as you fight" theory used by the military. it does them no good to practice their combat techniques in ideal conditions because they will not have those ideal conditions when they have to implement the techniques. In the same way, taking long breaks and doing only one section per day will not prepare you for the real testing environment. Here are some tips to help you create your own test-taking environment at home: *Get your parents to assist by planning with them when you need your home to be quiet. Make sure siblings are all in agreement... read more

One key to success when you are preparing for your standardized test - or any test, for that matter - is to use visualization exercises. This may seem unscientific, and perhaps it is, but it is a techniques used by athletes, business professionals and successful test takers the world over. Many of my students have benefited from this type of exercise, saying it helped them settle their minds and focus on the test. The technique is to imagine how good it will feel after the test, knowing that you did your very best. Think about walking out of the test center, your head held high, with the knowledge that you did your best. That is a great feeling to imagine, no? In addition, make plans to do something fun after the test. This could be having lunch with friends, going to see a movie, maybe playing a pick-up soccer game, or even just relaxing. Whatever it is you do to celebrate, make concrete plans to do that after the test. This way, you will be looking forward to the test day... read more

Now is the time I receive a lot of questions from prospective students and current students about the SAT. So here are my steps to achieve success with the SAT. 1. With any goal, you want to look at goal completion and move backward. With that I mean, say you want to take the SAT test on May 4, 2013, move back at least 3 months and that is the time you should start prepping for the test. In this example, you will need to commence your studying by February 1. 2. Go to, create a profile and sign up to take the test. Take a tour within the collegeboard website, as they have some great resources. 3. Did you purchase the official SAT study guide? You can purchase at Amazon or through the collegeboard website. 4. Take one of the practice tests in the back of the SAT book. That will give you a baseline idea... read more

How do you decide? Well there is a KEY piece of information that most students/parents don't consider because: (1) they don't know about it, and (2) it's definitely counter-intuitive, if not downright irrational. And what is this critical, missing nugget of knowledge? Why it's "SUPER SCORING," also known as "SAT® Score-Use Practices." Super scoring comes in six delectable flavors: 1. Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates — Version 1 (Highest M, CR, W) 2. Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates — Version 2 (Highest M, CR, W) 3. Single Highest Test Date — Version 1 (Sum of M+CR+W) 4. Single Highest Test Date — Version 2 (Sum of M+CR+W) 5. All SAT® Scores Required for Review and the ever popular 6. Contact Institution for Information What does all of this gobbledygook mean? It means that a student applying to my Alma Mater (Columbia University), which uses "Highest Section Scores Across Test Dates — Version... read more

What a way to start off the New Year! First I met with a student for US History and Living Environment. She is taking the Regents exams in three weeks. When I first met with her, Cee had a fear of taking exams, and was very nervous. She struggled with understanding both subjects; the Historical Events and dates, as well as the vocabulary words for Biology. Her next struggles were understanding and answering the document based questions for US History and the short responses for LE. Now she answers them much more confidently and accurately, and has even improved in writing her document based and thematic essays for US History. I am so proud of her and is certain that she will pass both Regents exams. Then I met with my grade 4 student for Math, English Language Art and Science. He has gone from scoring 31% to 83% on his practice science exam. He is much more confident with doing Math and ELA assignments. I am so proud of him. Then it was on to my grade 6 Math student. When I... read more

Preparing for any major exam can be grueling and sometimes intimidating. There's a lot of pressure to get the best score possible because of the fact that you are competing with thousands of your peers to get into your dream college. You've spent countless hours studying and maybe you've attended a professional study session or two. Maybe you have even taken a few practice tests to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Therefore my advice for preparing for an exam 24 hours before is to watch your favorite TV show, eat your favorite meal and relax. Chances are if you study 24 hours prior to that major exam, you're going to run across something that you may not be familiar with and it will shake your confidence. That's the last thing you want or need that close to such a major exam. Trust what you've studied, what you've learned and in your own abilities. Know that you have done all that you possibly could have done to prepare for that exam. Eliminate as much pressure... read more

My last post spoke about willpower, specifically noting that your supply of willpower is finite and that it is used up for all different kinds of things requiring self-control. There are many ways that this relates to test-taking, but I would like to clearly state some very important truths right here: 1. If you are low on sleep, your willpower will be depleted and energy that could be fueling your brain to answer test questions will be spent keeping you awake and fighting the urge to sleep. 2. If you are hungry, your willpower will be depleted and the energy that could be fueling your brain to attack test questions with dogged persistence will be gone. Study after study have shown these two facts to be true, yet “get enough sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and bring a snack to the test” merit only a passing mention at the beginning of most test prep manuals. Please do not overlook these test preparation exercises – they might just give you the boost you need!!! Be fearless... read more

Q. Where will we meet for tutoring? A. We will try to find a suitable place that is convenient for both of us. Though I do travel to meet you, time and distance are important factors in making this work feasible and profitable for me, so I try to find locations that minimize my travel time, while also providing convenience to you. Q. How will we decide on a time to meet? A. We will try to find a suitable time that is convenient for both of us. Q. When are you available to tutor? A. It varies from week to week, but my general availability begins at 10:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and ends at 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at 3:00 pm Saturday. Please contact me for my current availability. Q. How long will each session be? A. The session length can vary, depending on the subject, the student, and the schedule. Unless otherwise agreed, the session times will be two (2) hours each. Q. Why do you recommend two (2) hours per session? A. Through... read more

As you may know, I am a big fan of the well-known author and brain specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen. He mentions in several of his books that Physical Exercise is good for the brain. I have read of research studies that showed a clear correlation between IMPROVEMENT in students' test scores in math and science, and their level of physical activity (for example, when math class followed PE class, the students had significantly higher scores). Maybe we should schedule PE before all math classes in our schools. What do you think about that idea? This morning I read an online article on the myhealthnewsdaily site, entitled "6 Foods That Are Good for Your Brain," and another article about how Physical Exercise helps maintain healthy brain in older adults too. The second article, "For a Healthy Brain, Physical Exercise Trumps Mental Workout" was found under Yahoo News. The remainder of this note is quoted from that article: Regular physical exercise appears to... read more

I used to be a great math student. It would come naturally me, I never really had to "study" for the tests to get my A's. This all took a turn when I took PreCalculus in Highschool. I remember getting my first test back and seeing a 67/100. I was horrified! I was in shock! When my mother found out, she repeated her famous line "Practice makes Perfect!" She made me sit down with my textbook. She made me start from page 1 of the textbook. She told me to read every single word on the page including the captions under the pictures. She also made sure I did every single example problem and all the practice problems, yes all 97 of them (that was just for one section of the chapter). After doing this for 2 days. I took my next math test. When my teacher was handing back the test I prayed I at least would get a B! But I was in for a surprise...I received 93/100. My teacher was so happy with my improvement she had put smiley faces all over the page! I couldn't believe... read more

On September 17, 2012, Morning Edition (on National Public Radio, or "NPR") shared this article: "Teachers' Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform." I recommend it. Here's the link: So, what are my expectations? That all can succeed, given sufficient support and guidance. 1. Students who believe they can't do something, after being shown and walked through examples, often can, when the tables are turned. Just ask an Algebra II student of mine who had to teach me quadratic equations to finally appreciate that he got it. 2. Students so afraid of failing that their minds freeze up and feel empty often suddenly know their subjects, when the tension and fear are broken by the surprise of a good laugh. 3. Perhaps most important of all, as suggested in the article, students are encouraged by the reflection of their own potential in... read more

Over the past couple of years, I have found myself more and more often recommending graphing calculators for Algebra 1 students. This wizard instrument, capable of far more than I myself know how to tap into, works well with my tutoring style. However, I have seen firsthand what the consequences can be when students learn to use them without guidance. So many times, I have worked with high school upperclassmen and college students who cannot perform basic operations with fractions, graph by hand, evaluate an expression by hand, or perform addition and subtract with positive and negative integers because they became reliant on their calculators before ever properly learning the skills. These students usually lack the time or motivation to go back and learn how to do the skills by hand. Their courses move along rapidly and they need to spend their tutoring time keeping pace with the more advanced ideas. This is particularly unfortunate because these are the same skills they are most... read more

Playing a math game. Following a recipe. Building a science project, robot, or electronic kit... These are some ways to use hands-on learning activities to make science and math more interesting. This summer, for example, I have been using some new modules that include electronics/science of electricity, automotive engine technology, solar energy labs, etc. for "gifted", "average", and "special needs" students. And everybody loved the new study lessons. Even the ADD/ADHD students (myself included) stayed interested during entire lessons. I think we need more of this sort of thing in the schools. What do you think? If hands-on learning can keep the attention of ADD/ADHD students, it can work for other students too! I enjoy watching students learn through interactive games that utilize technology. For example, we like to race the clock and fill in math and science puzzles. There are many active ways to make learning more interesting, and before you know... read more

The best way to learn and study for tests is to use technology. Websites like StudyIsland give you a chance to run through subject matter sample questions, at 10 or 15 or 20 at a time. Studies show that repeated scores averaging say 80%, result in a most probable 70% on the actual quiz, test, exam taken. The good news is you can practice online until you have command of the topic. As your average goes up so does your probable quiz, test, exam score go up. The bad news is that it costs to use Websites like StudyIsland. As a tutor I have my own access which I will let you use while I am tutoring you.

Hi, I'm a new tutor to this site. Within the past few days, I've been working on getting certified in as many subjects as possible. These are all of the subjects I'm certified to tutor in on the website. Most of the subjects are in math or science. Some are in English topics as well like in reading and writing, etc. I also am certified to tutor to prepare for a lot of standardized tests and a few common computer software programs people use. Please read my profile if you need a new tutor in the Hillsboro or Portland area! -Ann

I was not taught how to practice piano until college. The time spent alone practicing is just as important as the lesson itself, as it connects one lesson to the next. Practicing without much of a plan, I found myself less prepared than I thought I was when I walked onstage for my recitals. Including practicing strategies in the lesson gives students the confidence they need to work on their own between lessons. From techniques I learned in college and my own research, I have developed a method that is adaptable for many subjects. While there are many effective methods of practicing, this one has been quite successful for my students and me, as it covers multiple problems that typically arise. I will use piano and test preparation as examples. Pre-Test Some form of baseline data reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the student and determines the focus of preparation and practice. Piano: Play through at a steady tempo, taking notes as soon as the section is finished... read more

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