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SAT Tip of the Week: How to Get Focused on the SAT

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Get Focused on the SAT

Singular focus is a lost art. Whether it’s studying for a test, preparing for the SAT, or getting a presentation together, the ability to shut everything else out and concentrate on one activity is almost impossible for most people in present day. The influx of technology, social media, and heightened obligations are culprits for this new phenomenon, which author Daniel Goleman addresses in his book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. Goleman, who is well known for his book Emotional Intelligence, is a psychologist who has spent years studying the ability to focus. Years after revolutionizing how people understood and defined someone’s “intelligence” as more than a transcript, he has also provided very interesting observations and notes on the ability to focus and concentrate.

I'm a High School Junior: What Should I Do Now for College Admission?

I'm a High School Junior: What Should I Do Now for College Admission?

As a junior, you’re actually really well positioned to get a leg up on the college admissions process.  You still have some time to complete your testing requirements and you can start to research colleges before the crunch of application season.  Here are some things you can get started on right away:

SAT Tip of the Week: 3 Habits of Highly Effective Test Takers

SAT Tip of the Week: 3 Habits of Highly Effective Test Takers

Techniques for studying for the SAT are as varied and numerous as the students who adhere to them. One student may swear that the only way to prepare for an exam is to study for six straight hours before bed once a week, while another might say the only way to succeed is to do two questions a day and then eat a grapefruit to help all the information stick. Though there are a variety of studying techniques with which many students have found success, there are a few core study practices that will create consistency and clarity within whatever practices already work for each student.

SAT Tip of the Week: Unlock Your Test Taking Powers With These 2 Factors

SAT Tip of the Week: Unlock Your Test Taking Powers With These 2 Factors

In the late 1960’s, Professor Walter Mischel at Stanford conducted a series of studies that examined the concept of delayed gratification. His research team offered preschoolers the choice of one reward immediately or two rewards if they waited for about fifteen minutes. The rewards were usually marshmallows and the study later became famous in popular culture, known as “The Marshmallow Test.”

SAT Tip of the Week: This is How You Use Vocabulary to Increase Your Score

SAT Tip of the Week: This is How You Use Vocabulary to Increase Your Score

A good grasp of advanced vocabulary can be very helpful on the SAT, but far too many students spend hours memorizing and digesting long lists of long words without seeing much benefit to their scores. Fortunately, the reasons behind this are usually pretty simple. Here are a few of them.

SAT Tip of the Week: Don't Think Abstractly With Abstract Math

SAT Tip of the Week: Don't Think Abstractly With Abstract Math

One of the more challenging classes of math problems for any aspiring SAT master is what we in the biz calls the “Abstract Problem” (it even sounds confusing). This is simply an easy and all-encompassing term to describe problems that ask for an understanding of a concept rather than an exact number answer. “But we have only been taught to arrive at a numerical answer to difficult math questions!” you might exclaim. The truth of the matter is that conceptualizing difficult math topics is very hard to do without some input of real numbers. But with the input of actual computations, even confusing concepts can become crystal clear. Let’s look at an example:

SAT Tip of the Week: Performance Makes Perfect When Prepping for the SAT

SAT Tip of the Week: Performance Makes Perfect When Prepping for the SAT

I loved martial arts growing up, but used to absolutely detest drills. My teacher always insisted on placing the most physically demanding forms at the end of each drill session, so every other evening I spent my practice time dreading the end of the hour. Today, however, I apply the same strategy to teaching SAT classes: I have my students complete an essay (for many of them the most daunting part of the SAT) at the very end of each 3-hour class. Most of them complain or groan a little, but many have told me afterwards that the practice was very helpful!

SAT Tip of the Week: Should You Take the Test in 2015 or 2016?

SAT Tip of the Week: Should You Take the Test in 2015 or 2016?

There is a new SAT debuting in 2016 by College Board. It is more progressive and will better reflect student’s intelligence and aptitude. While still very coachable, the new SAT will not be as easy to boost your score to such extreme levels as the old one.

SAT Tip of the Week: New Year, New You, New Score

SAT Tip of the Week: New Year, New You, New Score

Everyone makes a few New Year’s resolutions. Most of them are about getting in shape, reading more, and other activities that improve one’s livelihood. In 2015, if you are a high school student gearing up to take the SAT, you should start it off with a different sort of resolution. Resolve to study one hour each day until the test on Saturday, January 24th.

SAT Tip of the Week: You'll Want To Avoid These Errors On Test Day

SAT Tip of the Week: You'll Want To Avoid These Errors On Test Day

One of the most difficult things to teach students is how to avoid careless errors. Very few things are as frustrating as looking down at an answer sheet on the SAT and seeing that your process was correct for arriving at the right answer and yet some small error made you choose the wrong answer. Careless errors are in insidious blight on those who wish to achieve at the highest level on the SAT. Here are a few simple, practical steps that can be taken to ensure that you are being judged on your process not on some small arithmetic error.
1. Circle the answer choice. One of the easiest careless mistakes to make is simply answering for a variable that the question does not require. Luckily this is also one of the easiest mistakes to avoid. Simply circle of the desired variable or unknown and draw an equal sign next to it. This will ensure that you do not move on from this problem until you can complete that equation.

SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Sources to Prepare Essay Examples

SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Sources to Prepare Essay Examples

Are you struggling with finding sources for your essay? You’re not alone! It can be challenging to find current examples to help you prepare for this part of the SAT. Check out these 5 tips to help you gain ideas to craft your essay:

SAT Tip of the Week: 6 Ways to Master Academic Tone on the Essay

SAT Tip of the Week: 6 Ways to Master Academic Tone on the Essay

The SAT essay calls for a more formal and academic tone of writing than some students are comfortable with. Over my two and a half years as an SAT instructor, I’ve received an extraordinary number of questions about what formal tone should look like. Far too often, students mistake complexity for formality, misuse of advanced vocabulary or simply focus too much on tone that they forget the importance of strong content. Here are a few of the most common errors I’ve seen regarding SAT essay tone and how to avoid them.

Get Ahead With Our Winter Break SAT Course!

Get Ahead With Our Winter Break SAT Course!

Thanksgiving has come and gone, Winter Break is coming up.  The semester has flown by with quizzes, tests, memorizing odd facts about Charlemagne and imaginary numbers.  But before you can relax, you have to climb and conquer those treacherous peaks of your final examinations.  Only then will you be able to rest and sleep long hours, forget about setting your alarm, and float into nothingness (with the exception of all that fun time hanging out with your friends and listening to Taylor Swift).

Filed in: College, SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: The Best and the Worst of Online SAT Study Tools

SAT Tip of the Week: The Best and the Worst of Online SAT Study Tools

Free web resources can be useful supplements to your SAT study, but only when used correctly. Practice questions, essay hints, and sample passages vary widely in their correctness and helpfulness. At best, web resources can provide free information and explanations to aid your understanding of concepts. At worst, they can mislead and confuse students about the SATs expectations, format, and scoring system. Here are a few tips about making the most of what Google has to offer.

SAT Tip of the Week: 3 Steps To Stay Sharp During The Holidays

SAT Tip of the Week: 3 Steps To Stay Sharp During The Holidays

As the holidays ramp up and the focus of many students shifts from tests to turkey, (or a delicious vegetarian alternative) it is easy to put studying for the SAT to bed for a long winter’s nap.  It is almost certain that taking a little bit of time to not think about standardized tests is beneficial, but that does not mean that the next two months should be devoid of any work. With a work out plan, the two most important things are consistency and attitude. This is true of SAT studying as well. Students can use these three steps (which should take less than twenty minutes) four days a week to help continue the process of conquering the SAT, while still leaving you lots of time to hang out with your great aunt as she tells you how tall you’ve become.

How To Tackle Vocabulary (And Actually Remember!)

How To Tackle Vocabulary (And Actually Remember!)

The groans I hear when I ask my students to memorize a new list of vocabulary words makes it seem as if I have asked them to do some impossible task akin to carving a replica of Michelangelo’s David with a dull set of dentistry tools. “It’s so tedious!” they say. To me, it does not seem more tedious than trying to slingshot exploding birds into precariously designed structures harboring evil green pigs, but what do I know? The question remains: what is the best way to learn vocabulary?

Filed in: ACT Prep, SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: Breaking Down the Critical Reading Section

SAT Tip of the Week: Breaking Down the Critical Reading Section

Over the last two weeks, we reviewed how to break down the SAT. First, we examined the Writing Section and then we investigated Math. Today, we finish this series with Critical Reading.

SAT Tip of the Week: Breaking Down the Math Section

SAT Tip of the Week: Breaking Down the Math Section

Last week, we discussed how to break down the Writing Section of the SAT. Today, we’re focusing on Math.

SAT Tip of the Week: Breaking Down the Writing Section

SAT Tip of the Week: Breaking Down the Writing Section

For many students, the writing portion of the SAT is the easiest section to study and prepare for. There a variety of contributing factors towards this phenomenon, but most importantly is the set structure of the writing sections.

SAT Tip of the Week: Why You Should Take Our Live Online Class

SAT Tip of the Week: Why You Should Take Our Live Online Class

The future is now, and that does not simply mean that we must all Instagram pictures of puppies  wearing hats on an hourly schedule (that said, it would be a shame to keep such pictures to yourself). There has never been a greater capability of connecting with people across the globe, and this means that learning does not simply have to take place in an “in person” classroom.  Live Online classes and tutoring allows eager students to access the best educational methods for SAT prep.

SAT Tip of the Week: 7 Steps To Increase Your Speed

SAT Tip of the Week: 7 Steps To Increase Your Speed

I have been out of my formal education, and certainly out of high school for many years now but I still have stress dreams where the time is slowly running out on a standardized test. I’m stuck on a hard problem and am waffling between two answers: “What does it mean if these two points are co-linear!” I scream and wake up in a cold sweat. If this describes your own dark dreams, you are not alone. Negotiating timing on a test is tough, but there are a few great tricks that will help you to zoom through some of the tougher sections and complete the SAT without feeling that stress.

SAT Tip of the Week: Why Do You Need Our Prep Course?

SAT Tip of the Week: Why Do You Need Our Prep Course?

There are very few people whose idea of a good time includes spending hours outside of regular school poring over SAT material. With all the other constraints on a high school student’s time, is it worth it to do an SAT prep course? The honest answer is yes. The SAT is very important to the university admissions process and the skills necessary for lifting an SAT score can be learned over a much shorter period of time than it takes to dramatically change a four year GPA or achieve success in extracurricular activities. In terms of results for the time put in, success on the SAT is a lot of bang for your buck, and the skills learned in SAT prep are applicable to any standardized or multiple choice test.

SAT Tip of the Week: Here Are Your Dos and Don'ts Before Test Day

SAT Tip of the Week: Here Are Your Dos and Don'ts Before Test Day

The time has come. The SAT is finally here. After months of preparation, this Saturday, October 11, is the day to finally demonstrate your skills to the College Board. In terms of studying, the SAT is not like a midterm so there is no benefit to cramming. In fact it can have an adverse effect on your score.

SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Tips to Slay Test Anxiety

SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Tips to Slay Test Anxiety

Anxiety can often feel like an indestructible creature of mythical strength.  If it is not enough that students must learn five hundred vocabulary words, spend hours drilling algebra (everyone’s idea of a fun Friday night), and learn to identify hidden grammatical mistakes, students must also fight the dragon of anxiety which paralyzes with its powerful breath and leaves students feeling defeated before they even begin.  Anxiety is a mighty beast, but there are ways to combat this force and slay the dragon of fear so that you can focus on what really matters: answering the questions on the SAT correctly.

SAT Tip of the Week: What Is The Question Really Asking?

SAT Tip of the Week: What Is The Question Really Asking?

Have you ever had a fight with a parent, a partner, or a friend that was about one thing but was really about something else?  Maybe mom yells that she can’t believe you left the milk out when really she’s mad that you watched the new episode of Homeland without her? Things are not always what they seem, and the SAT is just as guilty of hiding what it truly wants as your Homeland watching parent. So how do we approach a problem where the true skill that is being tested is not obvious? As in life, the real trick is digging down to what is really going on and addressing the true nature of the problem.  Here is an example where this technique can be used:

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Best Approach the Superscore

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Best Approach the Superscore

The SAT test is the best way to back up your academic aptitude in the current college admissions process. While the SAT may not be reflective of your intelligence level or intellectual prowess, the fact remains that college admission officers use the test as a barometer of candidates’ academic strengths. The reason for this is simple – it’s the one standardized measure that colleges are able to use when comparing candidates. It’s impossible to compare GPA’s across the board when there are a variety of variables at play.

SAT Tip of the Week: Practice Makes Perfect When Aiming for a 2400

SAT Tip of the Week: Practice Makes Perfect When Aiming for a 2400

There is no better way to study for the SAT then taking official College Board practice tests. Just trying these problems alone will give you familiarity for the cadence, structure, and outline of the test. There are a few things you can do to maximize your effectiveness when using the practice tests.

SAT Tip of the Week: Sleep Your Way to a 2400

SAT Tip of the Week: Sleep Your Way to a 2400

Memorize Vocabulary. Take every practice test. Sleep eight hours a night.

Which one seems out of place when trying to excel on the SAT? Everyone has heard about the importance of studying vocabulary and taking practice tests – bedrock principles to succeeding on the test. However, one unique tip that can have a dramatic effect on your score is a consistent sleep routine. How awesome is that? Sleeping, something we all love, can help boost our SAT score tremendously! Sleep is the secret “X” factor that can take your scores to the next level.

How to Use Your Calculator to Boost Your SAT Score

How to Use Your Calculator to Boost Your SAT Score

A calculator is one of the most underutilized tools on the SAT. It’s the one device that the College Board permits, which actually makes problems easier. Yet, I see students consistently fail to take advantage of the technological marvel that is the calculator. It’s true that you can solve every problem without a calculator. However, it becomes more difficult and more time consuming – two things we try to mitigate on the SAT.

Your Simple Study Guide to the SAT

Your Simple Study Guide to the SAT

There are only three more SAT test dates remaining for 2014! Be sure to visit www.collegeboard.org to register and review your resources in your student account. The upcoming dates are as follows:

Filed in: College, SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: How to Embrace Your Endurance During the Exam

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Embrace Your Endurance During the Exam

There are few tasks in life that require as much concentrated, uninterrupted, and intense focus as the SAT. In its current format, the test lasts 3 hours and 45 minutes. Even with the brief breaks during the exam, it can feel like a mental marathon. Like top endurance runners, you can use certain strategies to improve your performance and prevent your focus from wavering at any point during the test.

SAT Tip of the Week: 8 Tips for Your Best Writing Score

SAT Tip of the Week: 8 Tips for Your Best Writing Score

The SAT essay is daunting for many reasons: the time limit, the fact that prompts aren’t revealed until the test begins, and the significance of the SAT Writing score. While it’s important to address all of these obstacles (and to remember not to stress too much about them!) it is equally important not to forget about the core element of the essay itself: writing well. Here are a few SAT-customized tips to keep in mind.

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Attack Passage Based Reading

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Attack Passage Based Reading

Once you’re familiar with the Passage-Based Reading section of the SAT, it’s usually easy to eliminate three out of five answer choices, even on difficult questions. Selecting the right answer from the remaining two, however, can be considerably more challenging. Many test-takers simply guess, resigning themselves to a 50% chance of picking the right answer. Fortunately, there is a better way to tackle this problem.

SAT Tip of the Week: 3 Simple Changes to Improve Your Score

SAT Tip of the Week: 3 Simple Changes to Improve Your Score

The SAT, like so much in this big beautiful world, is a complex assemblage of pieces. It is, therefore, a complex task to improve one’s score on the SAT as it involves an understanding of the different parts of the test. There are, however, a few simple steps that can help start the process of improving one’s score that many people may not even realize are necessary.  Here are three simple changes that can help to significantly improve your score and can, with the aid of other strategies, help you to rock the SAT.

The 25 Minute Time Limit: How to Conquer the SAT Writing Section

The 25 Minute Time Limit: How to Conquer the SAT Writing Section

The 25 minute limit on the SAT essay is understandably intimidating. After all, 25 minutes is about the time it would take to watch a single episode of How I Met Your Mother. The first time I took the SAT, I was barely able to complete two paragraphs. Nearly every student I’ve taught has cited this time limit as the primary obstacle in the SAT Writing section.

Filed in: SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: 6 Steps to Rock the Reading Section

SAT Tip of the Week: 6 Steps to Rock the Reading Section

When approaching a reading passage on the SAT, it can feel overwhelming to go through all of the information in the passage and extract the little tidbits that are truly useful in answering questions. While it is wonderful to read in a more lackadaisical way when sitting at the beach with a tale of vampire love affairs, this method of reading is more about following plot and big picture than about gleaning important details. If you feel like you have trouble wading through the information and finding what is important, fear not! There are a few strategies that may help you to navigate the reading section more effectively.

4 Steps to Improve Your Essay Writing for the SAT and College Applications

4 Steps to Improve Your Essay Writing for the SAT and College Applications

Introduction, body paragraph, body paragraph, body paragraph, conclusion. Once you’ve mastered the basic five-paragraph format for short essays, it quickly begins to feel tiresome and overly basic. Fortunately, though the main themes of the five-paragraph essay are important to nearly all levels of academic or professional writing beyond high school. The five-paragraph essay itself becomes less and less relevant to school and work after graduation. However, there are plenty of things you can do to make simple five-paragraph essays (like the one assigned by the SAT) more impressive, interesting, and intricate. Here are a few.

Filed in: College, SAT
Would You Pass the Very First SAT?

Would You Pass the Very First SAT?

In Spring 2016, College Board will yet again roll out a revised version of the SAT Test. It is reported to mirror the coursework a student would encounter in high school and will return to a 1600 scale and an optional essay. The test has been redesigned, revised, and reworked continuously for decades. Let’s explore the history of the SAT and pose the question, “What was the first SAT like?”

Filed in: SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: The Answer Choice Advantage

SAT Tip of the Week: The Answer Choice Advantage

One of the biggest differences between the SAT and other non-multiple choice tests is that for nearly every question on the SAT, the correct answer is right in front of you! Given that the answer is right there, the real trick is figuring out how to use this to your advantage. Let’s look at an example to show us how we can use these answer choices to our advantage.

Beyond Memorization: How to Master Advanced SAT Vocabulary

Beyond Memorization: How to Master Advanced SAT Vocabulary

Memorizing vocabulary words is a basic component of SAT test preparation. Knowing advanced vocabulary is useful in Sentence Completion questions, passage comprehension, and essay writing. Advanced vocabulary is also handy beyond standardized tests; it can be applied to both academic and professional reading and writing, and builds cultural capital. Unfortunately, many students who spend hours memorizing vocabulary words do not retain them long-term. Others gain only a patchy understanding of each definition and end up capable only of recognizing the words in context, not actually employing them in writing.

Filed in: SAT