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SAT Math Resources

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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...

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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