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Breaking Down the New SAT

Breaking Down the New SAT

In 2016 the SAT will undergo major changes for the first time in over a decade. Test takers can expect a less obscure vocabulary, more focused math sections, and a shorter test overall. Our own Shaan Patel was quoted in an article from U.S. News: “My opinion is this test will be easier than the current SAT and the College Board is betting on more students taking the SAT because of that.”

Filed in: SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: How to Identify Agreement Errors in the Writing Section

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Identify Agreement Errors in the Writing Section

In grammar, as in life, agreement can be tricky. Subjects and verbs have to agree, verb tenses have to agree, sentence structures have to agree, and pronouns have to agree.  Much agreement is necessary for a sentence to function properly, but one of the trickiest of the many agreement issues that can pop up on an SAT is the hidden agreement issue between some non-pronoun and its referent. This can be particularly tricky to spot, but with a little practice it will be easier than buying a pie (making a pie is actually pretty tough to do well).

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Find What Isn't There

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Find What Isn't There

Sometimes the most difficult thing to do on an SAT question is to see something that isn’t there. The SAT provides test takers with enough information to solve the questions, but sometimes the information is not stated explicitly.  The easiest way for the makers of the SAT to disguise information is to give written description rather than a picture.  Luckily, it doesn’t require Picasso’s eye for line to translate words into pictures.  Here is an example:

SAT Tip of the Week: 3 Things You Need to STOP Doing While Studying for the SAT

SAT Tip of the Week: 3 Things You Need to STOP Doing While Studying for the SAT

Studying for the SAT is a fantastic idea and really the only way to ensure that you will succeed on the SAT, but not all studying is created equal. I have encountered a number of mistakes students make while studying from watching “Sex In The City” because they think it is a good place to look for essay ideas, to studying non-Euclidean geometry to study for the math.

SAT Tip of the Week: 4 Ways You Can Increase Your Reading Score Right Now

SAT Tip of the Week: 4 Ways You Can Increase Your Reading Score Right Now

In my tenure as an SAT teacher I have heard all explanations imaginable as to why the reading on the SAT is the most boring and awful reading in the known universe.  Students tell me the reading is too dense, too dry, too descriptive, too hard.

There is no arguing with the fact that some of the passages on the SAT are less than thrilling, but in order to score at the highest level on the SAT, students must find a way to stay present and actively consume the material.  There are a couple of techniques that can help with this process and allow students to answer questions about the passage effectively.

Let Order of Difficulty be Your Guide on the SAT

Let Order of Difficulty be Your Guide on the SAT

As trembling hands turn the first page of the SAT, the heart of students drops like a rock.  This first problem is a WORD problem and word problems are IMPOSSIBLE! The student drops his or her head.  How can the test begin with such a hard problem?  Be of good cheer young test taker, not all word problems are created equal.

3 Ways to Use Your SAT Study Habits in College

3 Ways to Use Your SAT Study Habits in College

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.

Filed in: College, SAT
3 Reasons We're Excited for the New SAT: Part II

3 Reasons We're Excited for the New SAT: Part II

As we wrote yesterday, the Next-Generation SAT is set for 2016, and there are several reasons that we at Veritas Prep are looking forward to the new exam.  Here are two more things we’re excited about:

Filed in: SAT
3 Reasons We're Excited for the Redesigned SAT

3 Reasons We're Excited for the Redesigned SAT

The SAT’s upcoming redesign has some interesting elements – the return to the 1600 scale, the elimination of obscure-for-obscure’s-sake vocabulary, etc. – but perhaps the most noteworthy facet of the announcement is its continuation of a positive trend in standardized tests: a push for more “authentic” material.

Filed in: SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: Essential Skills for the Test

SAT Tip of the Week: Essential Skills for the Test

So much time and energy is spent in preparing for the SAT. Many consider it the gate keeper to their college acceptence. It is a way to distinguish oneself on a level playing field from all others who are attempting to gain admission to college, but what is the SAT really?  Is it an IQ test? Is it a college prep test?  Does one really have to succeed on the SAT to do well in college?

11 Tips for Success on SAT Test Day

11 Tips for Success on SAT Test Day

One of the most common (and frustrating) questions SAT instructors hear from their enthusiastic but sometimes misguided students is this:  is there a secret to dominating the SAT? As nice as it would be if there were some long guarded secret word or ritual that a student could invoke to dominate this test, there simply is no single secret.  The SAT is a skills test and requires students to practice the skills it values.  There are, however, a few tools that are useful on all tests which take the form of the SAT and use it to gain advantage. Here are 11 tips to help you on test day.

Filed in: SAT
New SAT Coming in 2016: What Will Change?

New SAT Coming in 2016: What Will Change?

Today the College Board, the organization behind the SAT, announced sweeping changes to the standardized exam that will launch in the spring of 2016. As College Board president David Coleman promised last year when he announced that a new SAT was coming, the changes are meant to make the SAT less “coachable” and to make it more relevant to what is taught in high school classrooms. The changes also make the SAT much more like the ACT (the SAT’s chief competitor), although you won’t see any mention of that in the College Board’s publicity announcements for the new SAT.

What Are the SAT Subject Tests and When Should You Take Them?

What Are the SAT Subject Tests and When Should You Take Them?

Hey all you Juniors!  June 7th, 2014 is probably the best time for you to take SAT Subject Tests on the subjects you are taking this school year.  Why wait until the fall, when you will have had all summer to forget the chemistry, biology, US History, or whatever other classes you are taking right now?

Filed in: SAT
How My Love of Music Helped Me Get into College

How My Love of Music Helped Me Get into College

Ever since I saw their first concert freshman year, I wanted to join my high school jazz band.  I loved the sound and the energy the band had on stage; they looked like they were having a great time.  However, I was a classic AP track student with a packed schedule; I managed to squeeze in marching/concert band first period, but for my first two years I just had to watch them play from the balcony where the concert band sat.

Filed in: College, SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: 4 Ways to Score Above 2200

SAT Tip of the Week: 4 Ways to Score Above 2200

Picture in your mind the kind of person that gets a 2200 or above score on the SAT.  You are probably picturing some Harvard bound wunderkind who attended the finest prep schools and excelled at all of them, or perhaps a bookish recluse whose entire life has been spent pursuing academia.

Friends, I am not those people, but I still managed to score in the 99th percentile on the SAT.  I’m not a genius (ask the neighbors whose mailbox I destroyed because I was in reverse when I thought I was in drive), and I had a relatively normal upbringing in the public schools of North Carolina. I also did not do particularly well on the PSAT, which is generally an indicator of strength on the SAT.

5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for the SAT

5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for the SAT

The majority of your work should be finished a week leading up to the exam. You’ve already poured over mountains of vocabulary, towers of practice exams, and piles of practice problems (I love alliteration!).  You know your triangles, you know the answer is always in the passage, and you know to check your pronouns for a clear and appropriate referent.  Now, the only thing left is to take the actual exam and apply all the knowledge you have spent the last months cultivating. So what should be done the week of the exam to make sure that you apply all your knowledge effectively?

Filed in: SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: Simplify Hard Questions in the Reading Section

SAT Tip of the Week: Simplify Hard Questions in the Reading Section

The Reading Section is often considered the most difficult section of the SAT. Here’s a game-changing tip from a SAT 2400 tutor that’s guaranteed to boost your score.

Often, students find the Reading Section to be the trickiest section of the SAT because of the sheer amount of information they have to remember. In an earlier blog post, I discussed how making targeted summaries can help students process the information in a passage. Although this strategy is a lifesaver for many, questions that reference specific details from the passages can still throw students off. These include questions that ask what the author of one passage would think of a quoted line from the other passage, such as the one below:

7 Ways to Score Above 700 on the SAT Reading Section

7 Ways to Score Above 700 on the SAT Reading Section

“NOT READING!”  I can hear the cries of thousands of young SAT test takers as they get to this section of their SAT.  “This section is impossible! And subjective! And you can’t study for it!”  Dear student, you are wrong on all accounts!  Not only is this section as objective as any other section of the SAT, but it can also be dominated like the other sections by taking into advisement a few simple steps:

5 Ways to Score Above 700 on the SAT Writing Section

5 Ways to Score Above 700 on the SAT Writing Section

Last week, we talked about 5 ways to score higher in math, and this week we’ll take a look at how to do that in the writing section. It’s actually easier than it sounds! I used to personally loathe (hate) this section of the SAT.  I would have anxiety dreams about it: a giant semicolon would be trying to eat me and my children (I don’t have children). As time went by, however, I found that there is no need to fear as there are concrete steps that you can take to ace this section of the SAT. Here are 5 tips to help you succeed on the writing section of the SAT:

5 Ways to Score Above 700 on the SAT Math Section

5 Ways to Score Above 700 on the SAT Math Section

The SAT, one of the most loathed and feared tests for high school students, can feel impossible to conquer.  For many ambitious young people, above 700 on math is the holy grail of scores: you hear that it can be achieved but actually reaching it seems impossible.  Dear friend: fear not!  The grail has been found and there are concrete steps that can be taken to help you achieve above a 700 on the math portion of SAT.

What Is a Valid Form of Identification for the SAT?

What Is a Valid Form of Identification for the SAT?

Imagine arriving to take the SAT only to find that you didn’t bring a valid form of ID. As crazy as it sounds, it happens all the time. Yes, students do forget their identification, and YES, you will be denied entrance if you don’t have a valid form of identification on you. If you think you’ll be able to sweet talk the proctor into letting you sit for the SAT, just read up on some of the cheating scandals of the past few years. They need to know that you’re who you say you are, period.

Filed in: SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: How to Strengthen your Approach to Passage-Based Questions

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Strengthen your Approach to Passage-Based Questions

The Reading Section is often considered the most difficult section of the SAT. Here’s a game-changing tip from a Veritas Prep SAT 2400 tutor that’s guaranteed to boost your score.

At Veritas Prep, we’ve made it our mission to teach students how to simplify their approach to the Reading Section. In particular, students struggle with the passage-based questions because of the sheer amount of information they have to process, as well as the difficulty they face in choosing the most ‘logical ‘answer choice. After all, a passage-based question isn’t like a math question with only one possible answer, right?

Do I Need to Score a Perfect 2400 on the SAT to Get into My Dream College?

Do I Need to Score a Perfect 2400 on the SAT to Get into My Dream College?

The answer to this question (which, by the way, I’m asked more frequently than any other question when I’m teaching SAT prep) is no.

No.

NO.

Instantly, I’m always asked, “Well, do I need to score in the 99th percentile to get into  (Harvard, Princeton, Yale)?

Filed in: College, SAT
5 Predictions for 2014 in the MBA and College Spaces

5 Predictions for 2014 in the MBA and College Spaces

One thing that we love to do around Veritas Prep HQ is declare our opinions. Whether it’s about football, health food, traffic etiquette, dancing, or stand-up comedy, everyone here has an opinion. Even more fun is when we stick our necks out and make some predictions about where we see test preparation and admissions going in the coming year. We’re often right, and we’re always entertaining.

SAT Tip of the Week: Use Your Gut and Your Brain to Get a High Score

SAT Tip of the Week: Use Your Gut and Your Brain to Get a High Score

You’ve always been a person who trusts your gut.  You’ve got good instincts, everyone says so.  It’s why you were such an early adopter on Instagramming pictures of your dog dressed as different fruits and why you knew not to eat the “cold noodles” at the sketchy Chinese food place on the corner that sent your friends into an abdominal abyss for days, so it’s no wonder you’re so good at tests.  You just pick the answer that feels right, and most of the time, your feeling is right! Great, right? WRONG!

SAT Tip of the Week: Be Specific in Your Answer Choices

SAT Tip of the Week: Be Specific in Your Answer Choices

Once again there are two answer choices that seem equally alluring and dangerous.  You know your stuff: the answer is always in the passage, but as you look at the two choices with growing unease you remember both statements being discussed.  Which one is it? Which one is supreme!

This is a common situation that many students face during the reading comprehension section of the SAT.  The first and golden rule of the SAT reading section is that the answer is always in the passage.  If the passage doesn’t mention it, or accomplish the task that the question indicates, it is NOT the correct answer.  However, our understanding cannot stop here!  It is not just mentioning something in the passage that makes an answer choice correct, it is the presence of evidence to support that the answer choice is 100% true in the section being referenced.

Our 2013 Predictions: How Did We Do?

Our 2013 Predictions: How Did We Do?

And just like that, a whole year has flown by again! Last January, we posted four predictions for the world of test prep and admissions. As fun as it is to make predictions, and it’s even more rewarding to look back at some point and see how we did. (“Oh my… We predicted THAT would happen?”) If you predict enough things, some of them will eventually happen, right?

Test Prep and Admissions: The Best of 2013

Test Prep and Admissions: The Best of 2013

There goes another year. Faster than you can say “99th-percentile instructors,” 2013 has come and gone, leaving in its wake a trail of excellent Veritas Prep blog articles. As we start to wrap up the year here at Veritas Prep HQ, wrap our Secret Santa gifts, and prepare to break in the new hires at our annual holiday party, we thought this would be a good time to share some of our biggest news and most popular articles from the past year.

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Improve Your Timing When You're Stuck on a Hard Question

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Improve Your Timing When You're Stuck on a Hard Question

Before getting into test prep, I was a classical music composer.  I worked pretty long hours composing pieces for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and symphony orchestras.  Sometimes I would run into writer’s blocks at very specific places in a composition.  I couldn’t decide which motive the oboe should play, or whether or not to double the counterpoint on the harp.  How I found my way out of such binds is also how I later found my way out of tough questions on standardized tests like the SAT.

3 Tips to Score Well on the ACT from a 2340 SAT Scorer

3 Tips to Score Well on the ACT from a 2340 SAT Scorer

My name is Courtney Tran and I’m no stranger to academic rigor.  I’m a second year at UC Berkeley with senior standing, pursuing a double major and a minor. I’ve gotten straight A’s in all my classes so far. I’ve taught SAT classes for Veritas Prep for a year and a half, scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT, scored a 5 on the AP Calculus BC test in high school, and have tutored others in every core high school academic subject.  In spite of all my academic success, I made a few mistakes preparing to take the ACT test a few months ago (I took the ACT for “fun” just to see what I might get).  I’d like to share some of things I learned along the way and pass on a few tips!

Filed in: SAT
SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Ways to Write a Better Essay

SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Ways to Write a Better Essay

Twenty-five minutes to complete the essay portion of the SAT seems like an impossible feat, but with the right preparation you can tackle this task with ease. Writing an essay usually requires a great deal of time, information gathering, planning, and drafting, but you can still pull off a well-written essay that will give you the score you are yearning for.

SAT Tip of the Week: Beware of Tricky Wording in SAT Math Questions

SAT Tip of the Week: Beware of Tricky Wording in SAT Math Questions

Many times, our talented and accomplished students report that they know all of the math concepts on the SAT and are fully capable of solving all of the problems.  However, they frequently complain that they make “dumb” or “careless” mistakes on the SAT and lose points.  While some of these mistakes seem silly in hindsight, many of the questions on the SAT are designed to lure students into tricks and traps or force errors if the students are not paying close attention to the wording.

How to Effectively Study for the SAT

How to Effectively Study for the SAT

6:45 pm. It has been a long day, but you have a big test in history, a biology quiz to study for, and you are three days behind on your SAT vocabulary, so you sit down to begin your studying.  You start by opening your computer, just in case you need to do any research, and quickly check Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail, as well as looking at activity on your blog.

Filed in: SAT
A Quick and Easy Adjustment for SAT Passage Questions

A Quick and Easy Adjustment for SAT Passage Questions

What is your typical method for solving SAT Passage-Based Reading questions?  You probably read through the passage, try to comprehend as much as possible while reading for speed and then when you get to the question, you try to read the question and find which answer looks the best, right?  Well, what if we told you that the method of “trying to find the correct” answer is actually very error prone and will lead you to be unsure of your selection and result in quite a few incorrect answers?

Filed in: SAT
Biggest Discounts of the Year on GMAT & SAT Prep and MBA & College Admissions Consulting Services!

Biggest Discounts of the Year on GMAT & SAT Prep and MBA & College Admissions Consulting Services!

Here at Veritas Prep, we have a long list of reasons to be thankful this year!  From our students, to our incredible teachers and admissions consultants, it’s truly been an amazing year.

We are excited to announce that starting today through Monday, December 2nd we are making available our biggest discounts of the year on all of our services (discounts on MBA admissions consulting services will be available through  Wednesday, December 4)! Whether you are trying to hit Round 2 business school deadlines or are planning on taking the SAT next year, make sure to take a look at our discounts and register before these prices are no longer available.

SAT Tip of the Week: Avoid Traps in Sentence Correction

SAT Tip of the Week: Avoid Traps in Sentence Correction

The SAT is a standardized test, which means that it aims to be an objective measure of performance for test-takers regardless of whether the test is taken in October or May and regardless of which version of the test is taken.  The actual questions on the test might change, but the SAT needs to allow college admissions officer to confidently compare the score of a student who took the October SAT to the score of a student who takes the May SAT even though the two students will see different questions on the tests.

A Surprisingly Easy Way to Choose Between the ACT and SAT

A Surprisingly Easy Way to Choose Between the ACT and SAT

“Should I take the ACT or the SAT?”  This question occupies the minds of high school students everywhere.  The ACT and SAT are standardized tests used in college admissions and almost every school will accept either one.  However, the tests are pretty different when it comes to format, content, structure and strategy.

Filed in: SAT
The 4 Most Effective Ways to Learn SAT Vocabulary

The 4 Most Effective Ways to Learn SAT Vocabulary

The S.A.T.s are a longstanding rite of passage from high school. They offer the proof that you have what it takes to go to college. Being well prepared with good study techniques will better your chances of doing well on the tests.

The vocabulary portion of the test is perhaps the most confounding to students, primarily because they study the wrong thing. Their focus is on memorization of definitions, but the test goes beyond that to measure the application of that knowledge. Memorizing and knowing a word are two entirely different levels of understanding. The most effective ways of learning vocabulary go beyond memorization.

Filed in: SAT
The Correct Use of Lists and Parallelism on the SAT

The Correct Use of Lists and Parallelism on the SAT

If you’ve been reading our articles, you already know that there are only so many techniques and tricks that the SAT can use to make questions difficult.  On the writing multiple-choice section, there about only a dozen grammar and style rules that you need to know in order to get a perfect Writing score.  On the SAT, it is particularly important to pay attention to one specific punctuation mark:  the comma.

Filed in: SAT
Breaking Down Sentences on the SAT

Breaking Down Sentences on the SAT

As you stare at the particularly confounding and convoluted sentence pattern you feel your mind start to wander.  You know the rules that you must apply, you know the subject and verb must agree, and you are a pro at identifying unidentified pronouns, but the sentence is just too confusing to dissect and examine for these errors.  It’s alright friend; the key to unblocking your brain is to block off the sentence into its component parts. The key is getting rid of prepositional and descriptive phrases to look at the heart of the sentence.

Filed in: SAT