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One of the leading questions parents ask when inquring about tutoring services is "how long should my student study for the SATs?"  This answer varies depending upon the student's current academic progress, whether they've taken the test previously and what areas they need to invest more time in.  The short answer is at least 40 hours.  Also, it is not a bad idea to take the test more than once to improve your score and become more familiar with the time structure and layout of the test. Retaking the test is not a sign of failure or falling short of your goals, it is simply a benefit toward improving yourself for your future academic ambitions. Not many opportunities present themselves more than once, so take advantage of improving your academic health and increasing your chances of getting accepted to the college of your choice.  If you need study tips or a SAT workshop program please feel free to reach out to me to schedule a session...

Getting Started I took the exam at Irvine Valley College. Unlike most schools, whose administrators post classroom assignments on a billboard, IVC showed up around 8:15, had students stand in the quad, and verbally had students split into separate groups like cattle. Then students ended up having to walk down a confusing pathway to a classroom, where we had to have our IDs checked one-by-one. You can tell which schools have the check-in process down, and which schools need to work on it. IVC is definitely a school that can stand to be more efficient. Once in the room, the proctor had difficulty with the test set-up process. She was unaware of the fact that there were now three components that come with the exam. It used to be that there was just a test booklet and an answer sheet. Now, with the revised exam, there is an essay booklet as well. I don’t think that she was supposed to hand out the essay booklet at the beginning of the administration, especially because... read more

As of March 5, 2016, the new SAT is being offered. This means that those who took the old 2400-point SAT may want to know what their new 1600-point SAT score would have been, and vice versa. This information is critical for when you research and apply to scholarships and colleges that use a different version of the SAT than the one you took. Here, we give a more accurate formula and way of switching between old SAT scores and new SAT scores. Many conversion tables available online use a single multiplier to scale between the new 1600 SAT and the old 2400 SAT. This just means you multiply by 3/2 to go from new SAT to old SAT and divide to go in the other direction. This is a fine method for a rough estimate, but the new SAT and old SAT weight math-type skills and verbal-type skills differently. Therefore, a more accurate conversion will convert the section scores separately, which we present below. We'll explain the reasons below, and why you would want to use conversions in... read more

There are many great texts, blog posts and other resources to help students prepare for the SAT, ACT and similar examinations. For my own part, when working with a student who is trying to prepare for a test of this nature, we approach the battle from two fronts; test-taking strategy and subject skill.   The first thing to do -- and this should be done at least a year in advance -- is to visit the website of whichever test one is taking and learn about the test, itself. The testing organization sites contain important information about the test content, sample questions, as well as general advice for successful testing. Many either contain or at least link to complete (and free) practice tests.   When preparing for a test of nearly any kind, the preparation should mimic -- and, if possible, exceed the difficulty of -- the anticipated test. Time yourself strictly, working through sample tests with realistic questions. That is, do the practice sessions as if... read more

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 of... read more

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!

The first thing you should know about studying for the SAT is: You can’t. You don’t know exactly what material is going to be on the test until the day you sit down and open your booklet. You will never be able to predict exactly which questions will be asked and precisely what you must know in order to get all of the questions correct. So if you can’t study for the SAT, how are you supposed to do well on it? Practice. You can learn the types of questions that you’ll be tested on, and you can practice answering questions from past exams. The SAT isn’t designed to trick you; its purpose is to determine your aptitude for (“a natural ability for”) reading, math, and writing. The test is scoring how good you are at these crucial subjects on a scale from 200 to 800. This test is more about knowing how to answer the questions than the answers themselves. Whether you’re narrowing down choices for a reading sentence completion, setting up a math equation,... read more

You may have heard that the Scholastic Aptitude Test is being redesigned, with a new version being introduced in 2016.  The testing company that creates the SAT has said that they will strive to make the test more relevant and more reflective of the content that high school students cover in their classwork. Therefore, there will be a reduced need to learn obscure words that are rarely ever used in speech or even in writing, like the word "tyro."  I doubt whether anyone uses that word other than in learning it for the SAT.    One might ask, why after all these years, has the SAT administrators and developers decided to change the test?  Didn't they know that they were asking the "wrong" questions 20 years ago?  Didn't they consider how they were causing undue stress and anxiety among students taking the test over the years (and we are talking about a huge number of students)! How many?  About 3,000,000 each year. ... 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... read more

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