Posted by: Preston | September 1, 2014

Even more on the SAT


Now, here are some general test-taking strategies for the SAT…

  • Pace yourself and answer the easy questions first, being careful not to lose your place on the answer sheet.
  • Keep careful track of your time and do not waste it by reading instructions—be familiar with them based on having taken numerous practice tests in preparation.
  • Based on statistical analysis, it is recommended that you make an educated guess whenever you can eliminate at least one choice (although I recommend that students play the better odds and consider their own comfort level, instead guessing only when two choices can be eliminated).  Exception:  There is no penalty for guessing on the student-produced response sections of mathematics, so try them all.
  • You do not need to answer each question to do well.
  • Go with your first answer, unless you have very good reason to change it.
  • Make sure that you answer the actual question that is asked, paying careful attention to, and even underlining, words such as LEAST, NOT, NEVER, EXCEPT, etc.
  • The last questions in a section or group, especially in the mathematics sections, are more difficult.  However, do not spend an inordinate amount of time on any one question despite its location on the test, since they are all worth just one point.
  • Put question marks in the test booklet if you are uncertain of your answer or want to return to a problem if you have time at the end of completing that section.

Look for info on more specific test-taking strategies next…

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Posted by: Preston | September 1, 2014

More on the SAT


Here is part 2 about preparing for the infamous SAT:

There are many general and specific strategies for improving test scores, but I will focus on the few that I consider most important.  These suggestions either come from  my experience with tutoring or have been extracted and summarized from the Barron’s book previously mentioned in my first blog.

THE STUDY PROGRAM

  • Know and understand the purpose and format of the SAT.
  • Establish a structured program of study, devoting a set amount of time each week.
  • Do many full-length practice tests spread out over an extended period, preferably one to two months, so that you can continually assess your strengths and weaknesses.  These tests also will help you to develop the stamina needed for this rather lengthy test, as well as make the test itself go much more smoothly on the big day. (Use the following strategies when taking these practice tests.)
  • Keep a cumulative list of notes, such as common errors you make or particular mathematical formulas that trip you up, so you can review them prior to the test.

More to follow…

Posted by: Preston | October 19, 2010

even MORE on the SAT


Hello all.  Got away from this for a while–been busy tutoring.  Here are some general test-taking strategies for the SAT…

  • Pace yourself and answer the easy questions first, being careful not to lose your place on the answer sheet.
  • Keep careful track of your time and do not waste it by reading instructions—be familiar with them based on having taken numerous practice tests in preparation.
  • Based on statistical analysis, it is recommended that you make an educated guess whenever you can eliminate at least one choice (although I recommend that students play the better odds and consider their own comfort level, instead guessing only when two choices can be eliminated).  Exception:  There is no penalty for guessing on the student-produced response sections of mathematics, so try them all.
  • You do not need to answer each question to do well.
  • Go with your first answer, unless you have very good reason to change it.
  • Make sure that you answer the actual question that is asked, paying careful attention to, and even underlining, words such as LEAST, NOT, NEVER, EXCEPT, etc.
  • The last questions in a section or group, especially in the mathematics sections, are more difficult.  However, do not spend an inordinate amount of time on any one question despite its location on the test, since they are all worth just one point.
  • Put question marks in the test booklet if you are uncertain of your answer or want to return to a problem if you have time at the end of completing that section.

Look for info on more specific test-taking strategies next…

Posted by: Preston | March 19, 2010

MORE ON THE S.A.T.!!!


Okay, I am not insulted that nobody visited my first blog.  I know, it takes time.  Anyway, here is part 2 about preparing for the infamous SAT:

There are many general and specific strategies for improving test scores, but I will focus on the few that I consider most important.  These suggestions either come from  my experience with tutoring or have been extracted and summarized from the Barron’s book previously mentioned in my first blog.

THE STUDY PROGRAM

  • Know and understand the purpose and format of the SAT.
  • Establish a structured program of study, devoting a set amount of time each week.
  • Do many full-length practice tests spread out over an extended period, preferably one to two months, so that you can continually assess your strengths and weaknesses.  These tests also will help you to develop the stamina needed for this rather lengthy test, as well as make the test itself go much more smoothly on the big day. (Use the following strategies when taking these practice tests.)
  • Keep a cumulative list of notes, such as common errors you make or particular mathematical formulas that trip you up, so you can review them prior to the test.

More to follow…

Posted by: Preston | February 23, 2010

Hello world!


I’m new to this blogging thing, so please try to bear with me.  I assure you that it will be well worth your patience…

With the SATs seemingly always around the corner, I wanted to start with a series on test preparation, in which you may or may not decide to use the services of a private tutor or SAT preparation company.  Today, I will discuss how to go about determining if you need such services, or whether to just go it alone.

The easiest way to determine if you should self-study, or if you might need the services of a professional tutor or SAT preparation course, is to take a diagnostic SAT.  These are available on the College Board website for free or at the front of the most recent edition of “Barron’s How to Prepare for the SAT” book, my personal favorite for its thoroughness and test “tactics.”  After receiving your computer scores from the website or self-scoring the Barron’s test, you must then decide if those scores are acceptable or within a reasonable range of your target goals.  To help with this determination, search the websites of the universities/colleges to which you intend to apply and see their SAT score criteria.  If your scores do not meet with your satisfaction or with those criteria, or if there are several skill areas in which you are deficient, then you should consider consulting with a private tutor—a preference for those individuals who want customized 1:1 attention and require strengthening in specific areas–or enrolling in a preparation course.  If you choose to hire a private tutor, do not assume that a student who has scored close-to-perfect on an SAT will make the best tutor.  S/he must be able to convey material in an easily understandable and intelligent manner, which an experienced educator may be better qualified to do.  Before hiring that educator, be sure to check their credentials and references.  The main advantages of a private tutor are the ability to customize your study plan to best meet your needs, as well as the likelihood that private lessons actually will be more affordable than a preparation course.

I hope you find this information helpful.  I would appreciate your comments.  That’s all for now.  Bye.

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