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Summer is here for many Bay Area families, and for those with kids entering high school or even middle school, now can be a great time to get a head start on SAT practice. OK, sure, it's also a good time for water slides, beaches, friends, and all the things that make summer wonderful, but an hour or two spent getting familiar with test question format now can give your student an extra boost when it comes time for the real thing. It is this tutor's opinion that the PSAT is being given far too late to identify weaknesses and make appreciable differences in many students' scores. With increasing pressure to take APs and make good grades while being a stellar athlete or drama superstar, it becomes harder with each year of high school for kids to devote the proper amount of time to SAT practice. And, that's what doing well on the SAT boils down to: pattern recognition. With each completed practice test, problem set, and sample essay question answered, your child will "have seen... read more

One question I'm often asked about SAT I Math test results is: "Why did my son/daughter miss so many easy questions and get the majority of hard questions right?" For me, this was the most difficult obstacle to overcome when it came to peak performance on test day. After drilling countless practice problems and tests, it is a natural inclination to race through the first "easy" math questions and spend more time on the "hard" ones. The blame is often assigned to "careless errors"--as if students didn't care enough to go back and check the answers. Sometimes dyslexia or ADD/ADHD is blamed. In reality, the test makers are teaching students an important lesson on pacing and discipline. Initially, I had thought that the key to the best scores was pattern recognition. That is, work enough problems, and you'll have seen it all. This actually isn't so far from the truth; however, the devil lies in the details. The problems I was getting wrong the... read more

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