Search

Blogs Blogs

SAT Math Blogs

Newest Most Active

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...

One of the biggest successes you can endeavor during your tutoring career is expanding your academic reach. Two years ago my student asked me to help her begin preparing for the PSATs. I have never taught that material but she enjoyed my English and reading approach that she was confident I could help her. After reviewing the materials, we began to take apart the test and work through the English sections. Over time I became comfortable and I started to spend time at home studying to increase my knowledge. Fast forward to two years later I am now teaching tips, tricks and strategies for conquering the SATs. This has opened the door for more opportunities that I would have never had if I didn't take the initial plunge into unfamilar water. You can also take that plunge I believe in you.  One of the best ways to approach tutoring the SATs is not just arriving at the answer but teaching strategies to ace the test and avoid tricks. Boosting a student's confidence is also key.... read more

Summary: Alas, to get that perfect score, you have to reconsider everything you have been taught at school.   My system of preparation for the standardized tests in mathematics (ACT, SAT, SAT2, GRE, etc.) is somewhat unique and unconventional. In fact, it goes against the grain of most of what you have been taught in school... and likely even in a test-prep class, if you have taken one. Sound a bit unnerving? Perhaps. But consider this: those same math teachers who tell you what to do, had most certainly not scored well themselves when they were your age. What is more, chances are good that they cannot score that well now, either. That's because their ways are... well, unduly complicated. What is a better approach? First of all, I will teach you how to solve 95% of all questions mentally, without writing a thing. Why bother, you may ask. Several reasons. One, it will teach you—anew—what you once knew but have since forgotten: the mathematical imagination... read more

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

Ellen's Rules for Effective Time Management, Part 2 3. Know when it’s time to take breaks. Spending a good chunk of time on one subject is good; it helps you settle into a rhythm and lets your brain get into the correct frame of reference for the subject. But there exists a horizon beyond which no progress can or will be made. It’s the point at which your brain has become over-saturated with the current material, and if you continue on you’ll just end up working yourself into circles of frustration. In paper writing, it’s the point at which anything you wrote would make sense to you regardless because you’ve been reading the same few paragraphs to yourself for hours. In math, it’s the point at which you will just end up confusing yourself more and more as you try desperately to work it out. When that moment arrives, you know it’s time to take your break. 4. TAKE BREAKS. I don’t care how much work you have, there’s always enough time for a fifteen-minute break... read more

I mentioned this problem from one of my earliest blog posts with one of my students last week, so I thought I'd bring it back as this week's Math Journey.  Enjoy!   ~   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... read more

Okay, we have all made a math mistake, but for one reason or another we never took advantage of that opportunity to commit the correct step to memory. I have news for you. You can still remedy the situation. Here is how you achieve it. 1. For every time that you’ve made a wrong step in solving a problem, repeat the correct step three times. 2. If it is a multi-step problem, WRITE all the steps in the correct order at least three times. 3. READ out all the correct steps to yourself at least three times so that you HEAR the correct steps. Here is the rationale for this strategy. We have multiple ways of learning for a reason and we need to make use of multiple intelligences in order to maximize our ability to understand and memorize the correct steps. Once we commit the correct procedure into long-term memory, we are essentially freeing our short-term memory to work on other tasks. This way we won't get stumped months later when we come across the problem. So this strategy is a win!... read more

Over the last few years, the SAT has lost a tremendous amount of market share to the ACT. Over 1.84 million high school graduates sat for the ACT in 2014, while only 1.67 million took the SAT. The College Board changed the SAT to look more like its competitor. Both exams now feature: *An optional essay *Longer sections – The old SAT had 10 sections. Each was around 20 minutes in length. Both the new SAT and the ACT have four sections (the exact number depends on how you count), which average around 45 minutes. *More science related content. The ACT has a Science section. The new SAT will not, but includes these concepts in the Reading and Math sections). *No penalty for guessing. *No esoteric vocabulary. Gone are the days when people described five dollar words as SAT words!

summer vacation is the perfect time for starting to study for the fall college admissions tests.  It's also a great time to keep those math skills up so that you don't lose any of the skills that you learned last year.  So many students lose so much of the skills that they have gained in the past year, and math is just like anything else, don't practice and you'll lose all that you learned.

Almost every college or university requires students to submit an ACT or SAT score.  This score affects not only your admission application but also scholarship opportunities and which classes you will be able to enroll in.  The vast majority of students do little to no preparation work before taking these exams.  They may feel that all their hard work in high school should have prepared them already.  Although this is partially true, it is actually quite easy to raise your score a significant amount by just putting in a little bit more work.  Students can see composite ACT scores raise 5 or more points and SAT scores raise 300 or more points.  Why is this?   1)  Both the ACT and SAT test many of the same concepts repeatedly and by learning these core concepts, you will easily get a higher score.     2)  You will get more familiar with the format of the test and start to see patterns in how they ask questions.  Once... read more

Standardized test math doesn't behave like normal math. On a normal math test, your knowledge of the concepts and material is being tested, using (hopefully) fair test questions. On a standardized test, though, they're looking for you to think outside the box, to apply math concepts and algorithms to unusual situations, and to really understand what they're looking for and find the quickest way to go about it. Let's take a question from a recent GRE student's lesson: If 4x – 5y = 10 and 6y – 3x = 22, then what is x + y? Now, this is a set of two equations with two variables each, so it looks to me like a perfect candidate for solving as a system. If I were solving this one on a regular math test, I'd start off trying the substitution method, since I'm more comfortable with that one. So let's explore that one first: I'll start by solving the first equation for y: 4x – 5y = 10 - 5y = 10 – 4x y = (-10/5) – (4/-5)x y = -2 + (4/5)x Then... read more

Quickly after beginning work as a tutor, I came to realize that parents are the black belts of scheduling. They not only have to keep up with a number of annoying adult responsibilities, but they also have to keep up with their children's calendars. Parents' organizational skills (and possibly their sanity) are put to a very difficult test daily. So, to all my expertly organized parents out there, in this post I hope to let you in on a scheduling detail that often slips through the cracks but can make a big difference in a student's SAT or ACT scores.   One of the biggest obstacles I face when preparing a student for the SAT or ACT is the student's test schedule. Far too often, my student is signed up for two tests that are only a month apart. For example, a couple of my past students have been signed up for an SAT in May and then another in June. This short turnaround gives me very little time to receive the student's scores and prep the student in the areas he or... read more

During the school year, my students balance classes, sports, social lives, and sleep. Their schedules are hectic. During tutoring lessons, students often only have time to focus on the immediate assignments at hand in their classes. We usually have little time for test prep unless the student and parent has specifically requested that we focus solely on the SAT or ACT. So, when is the best time to study for the SAT or ACT? You guessed it. Summer vacation.    Many of my students have a summer schedule that gives their school year calendar a run for it's money. However, their busy summers do not contain nearly as many academic activities as their school year schedules. Most have summer sports, camp, or jobs. This is the perfect time to balance those physical and social activities with test prep. In addition, students can learn the ropes of the SAT or ACT better when they are not juggling other classes and tests. Every kind of standardized test is unique and it takes... read more

My top tips for 'outside the box' - 1. If possible 'interview' the student by phone before the first lesson to establish a bit of a rapport, and to show that you are there as the student's tutor, not the parents' ally.   2. Bring chocolate if you are having a long session, once you have asked if your student likes chocolate. I believe in rewards for hard work, and a 90 minute plus session is hard work!   3. I give students some tools for instant relaxation, which they all enjoy learning.   4. Often, especially with anxious students, I help them with visualization of a  successful test report coming in the mail!   5. I make sure that the last 2-3 minutes are used to record the homework, and to note what pages we left off, if we were in the middle of a review section.   Re how I tutor for math:     My approach is to individualize the lessons - first do a diagnostic assessment of what areas... read more

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...

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 December... read more

For many students in the surrounding Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties welcome back to the classrooms! if you have any difficulties in class, do not hesitate to let your teachers or your parents know so that they can find you the most appropriate level of help before it is later in the school year and you end up being in failure of being promoted! I can't wait to see how I am able to help this school year!

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.   Should you... read more

Summary:  Mental math teaches students to see short, efficient solutions—rather than to blindly follow the brute-force, cookie-cutter, one-size-fit-all, show-all-your-work procedures taught at school.   To my youngest students, I lie—by omission—that vertical arithmetic does not exist.  I can usually get away with it for about a year. Until the school shows them the light.  Say, how to add 25 and 8 vertically, with the carry-over 1 carefully written on top of the 2.  By that time, my students are proficient in mental addition and subtraction of 3-digit numbers: carrying, borrowing, and all.  My goal though is by no means to turn them into human calculators.  So then, why bother? Vertical arithmetic is a convenient method for computing numerical answers.  Especially when the numbers to manipulate are multidigit.  But it is a procedure, requiring—once learned—little thought.  The entire process is delegated to the... read more

1 2 3 4 5

SAT Math Blogs RSS feed