By the time you’ve taken your last SAT, you may be ready to defenestrate the nearest standardized test. I’m here to advise you to resist throwing either an SAT test or the habits you picked up while studying under Veritas Prep – such as learning new vocabulary – out the window. In all seriousness, you really have learned valuable habits through the Veritas Prep SAT course that I personally regret not employing during my freshman year of college.
Freshman year of college was an especially rough year for me. My sleep cycle was off-balance, I was constantly cramming at the last minute, and I was consistent only in being late to class. While it’s possible to get through high school with a completely dysfunctional schedule, in college, it will not only sink your grades, but it will interfere with your social life and generally lead you into an unnecessary but extremely detrimental state of anxiety. I bounced back during my sophomore year, but I can’t help wishing that I’d known the following the strategies before I set foot on campus.
1. Keep Track
Veritas Prep gave you prepared notebooks to keep track of your scores, difficult problems, difficult vocabulary, and important practice problems. Make your own version for your toughest college classes so that you can quickly become aware of your performance (are your homework and test scores decreasing or increasing?) and identify how to solve tricky problems.
I can’t tell you how many times, my freshman year, I never really set about understanding a problem that had been confusing me all semester, and lost major points on test day as a result. It seems slightly absurd in retrospect, but in college, you won’t have the same supervision from parents or teachers that you did in high school. In college, a professor teaching a class of 200 students won’t say a word to you if you consistently miss a particular problem on your homework. It’s up to you to keep track.
2. Be a Critical Reader
In college, you are going to have to read an insane amount of material. One way to make sure that you actually understand what you are reading is to use the SAT Reading Strategies you’ve learned from Veritas Prep to your advantage. By the time you’ve finished the introduction, try to write down the main idea of the article. As you read, make occasional summaries, and pay attention to the particular claims the author makes.
You’ll rarely see a set of questions at the end of the article the way you often do in high school. While this may be a relief for some, it also means that you are responsible for making sure you understand what the article is about. Just because you aren’t instantly quizzed on it, doesn’t mean you won’t have to answer questions on it during finals. It doesn’t hurt to look up words you don’t know – and add them to a list of vocabulary words – either.
3. Incorporate Your SAT Vocabulary into Your College Life
Regardless of how bored you felt while learning new vocabulary words, try to realize that you’ve been given an invaluable gift. Being able to describe your ideas with more precision is one of the greatest advantages of having a large vocabulary. You’ll not only impress your college professors with your papers, but you’ll be able to communicate with them more accurately and deeply than your classmates who cannot describe the world with the same precision as you. Finally, regardless of your ambitions, realize that the usage and meaning of a word are inseparable; if you don’t use the words in your real life, you will surely forget their meaning.
Plan on taking the SAT soon? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Here’s another article by Rita on scoring a perfect 2400.
By Rita Pearson