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?
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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.
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:
“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:
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:
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next time you’re doing a practice SAT math problem, you might just find that it could be helpful to channel a little Missy Elliott from her classic hit song “Work It” and ask yourself “Is it worth it? Let me work it. I put my thing down flip it and reverse it.” Let’s explain.
The SAT is primarily a reasoning test as opposed to a test you might see in high school. On the math section, although the SAT tests some math, it primarily tests reasoning skills and students abilities to think critically with math as the common language. SAT math questions will rarely be the straightforward type that you see on high school math tests.
Once again you find yourself staring at an “Identifying Sentence Error” problem. You are prepared! You have in your arsenal all the common errors that occur on the SAT. You know to avoid the common indicators of awkward phrasing and you can identify a subject and verb disagreement with both eyes closed and two hands and a foot tied behind your back.
It’s easy to jump an extra point on the SAT essay when you’ve got specific, relevant examples. Good logical reasoning can definitely help you get a better score, but if you can combine your solid logic with powerful, concrete, real-world examples, you’ll be well on your way to a 12!
To do this, create an “Example Chart” like the one pictured below, and add at least 3-5 items to each category. Choose things that you are an expert in, not ones that necessarily sound the most scholarly.
One benefit to the Reading Comprehension questions on the SAT test is that not every passage is nine paragraphs long. You’ll come across short passages – alone, and in pairs. Less reading time leaves more time for analysis and careful study of the questions posed. Remember that you can complete the questions within any SAT section in any order, so if the longer passages stress you out, you might want to tackle the shorter ones to get your brain “warmed up.”
The most common way verbs are tested on the SAT is in subject-verb agreement, however sometimes Identifying Sentence Errors will contain other verb errors. While it’s important to make sure that verbs always agree with their subject in number, it is also important to check to make sure that the verb tense makes logical sense in the context of the sentence.
Studying for the SAT may feel daunting, but remember that this test has been around in one form or another since 1926, and its latest format was introduced back in 2005. That means millions of students have taken the exam, gotten high scores, and gone on to attend their dream school. Here’s what you can do to be among those high-scoring students:
While our SAT program is called SAT 2400 and trains students to successfully get perfect scores on the SAT, in the wider world of all SAT test-takers, only a small percentage of test takers can get close to a perfect 2400.
Depending on your college goals, you may not be targeting a perfect 2400 and may just need a certain score to qualify to get recruited to a sports team or another special program at a college. As a result, if you’re scoring under 1500 on the SAT and want a quick and easy boost to you score, it might be advantageous for you to use the “Punt Strategy” on the SAT.
The SAT Math section is guaranteed to have some Data Analysis questions. These questions can take several forms: tables, graphs, charts, etc. These figures may look intimidating, but most of the questions that follow them require relatively easy algebra skills: setting up equations, finding percentages or averages, and using substitution. To do well on Pie Chart (also called Circle Graph) questions, follow these basic tips:
The SAT is often the first major standardized exam that many students take. It is their first footstep into the world of higher education. Because of the horror stories of the infamous SAT that circle around high school lunchrooms across the nation, fledgling juniors and seniors who haven’t taken the exam can feel a lot of pressure on test day. Here are 5 ways to get rid of that unnecessary stress:
The word “antecedent” in grammar refers to a noun that a pronoun takes the place of, and since we see a lot of pronouns on the SAT Writing questions, we see a lot of antecedents. There are three main ways antecedents can make an Improving Sentences or Identifying Sentence Error statement wrong: by not agreeing in number with its pronoun, by offering more than one possible antecedent, or by not being present in the sentence at all! Let’s brush up on our antecedent knowledge, then we’ll examine these errors:
Scientific Notation is not a heavily-tested concept on the SAT (whew!) – and you might not see it at all! But it’s definitely useful to review, and it’s a concept that goes hand-in-hand with understanding exponents.
Large numbers and very small decimals are often expressed with exponents using scientific notation. Scientific notation means expressing a number as a product of a decimal and the number 10 raised to a certain power. The reason scientific notation is used is that is saves space. Who would want to write .000000000000000000547, when 5.47 x 1019 saves us a lot more room?
The SAT Math sections test three distinct categories of measurement: Perimeter, Area, and Volume. Luckily, many formulas are provided for you at the front of each Math section, but if you do enough practice problems, you’ll soon have these need-to-know formulas committed to memory, and won’t waste valuable test-time flipping pages. Memorizing these formulas is also great practice for the ACT if you plan to take it, since unlike the SAT, the ACT exam does NOT provide them for you!
In March of 2006, I took the SAT for the first and only time and scored a 2350. I was very excited to score so well, and would like to share some of my study tips with you! So, without further ado…
1.) My Number One tip: Practice! Take lots of practice tests – and not just any practice tests, but tests that are written by the College Board. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend buying a copy of the Official SAT Study Guide, so you can practice using material that’s actually written by the makers of the SAT. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful practice tests are: the more you practice, the more you’ll get used to the pacing of a four-hour test, the timing element of the test, the strange and SAT-specific question types that tend to pop up, etc. So, practice, practice, practice!
Algebra problems on the SAT may take several forms, but they generally involve some variation on solving for a variable or expression. In this article, I will break down the process of working through a few variations of those lovely “solve for x” or “what is the value of x?” types of problems.
It’s important to keep in mind for all SAT Reading Comprehension questions that just because an SAT answer choice is reasonable, true, or mentioned in the SAT reading passage, does not mean it is automatically correct. Always ask yourself: which answer choice in this SAT question best addresses this specific question being asked? To be able to answer “Main Idea” questions, try to adopt these quick tips:
Many students find that prepositional phrases are the bane of their existence on the writing section of the SAT. This is because the SAT likes to use propositional phrases to confuse the test-taker’s ear by adding a bunch of words in between the subject and verb or the pronoun and the antecedent. The good news is that, armed with foreknowledge, you can catch the test-writers at their game and never get fooled again. Here’s what you need to know…
Today we’ll finish up our 5-part series on SAT math tips for smart students who are struggling to keep their SAT math scores high. In Part I we learned that the result is rewarded, not the effort. Part II taught us that SAT math problems can be very tricky, Part III showed us why the SAT math section is unlike what you’ve seen before, and in Part IV we saw how perfectionism can hurt you on test day. Today, we’ll take a closer look into overconfidence.
Today we continue a 5-part series on SAT math tips for smart students who are struggling to keep their SAT math scores high. In Part I we learned that the result is rewarded, not the effort. Part II taught us that SAT math problems can be very tricky, and in Part III we looked at why the SAT math section is unlike what you’ve seen before. Today, we’ll see how perfectionism can hurt you on test day.
Today we continue a 5-part series on SAT math tips for smart students who are struggling to keep their SAT math scores high. In Part I we learned that the result is rewarded, not the effort. Part II taught us that SAT math problems can be very tricky. Today, we’ll look at why the SAT math section is unlike anything you’ve ever come across.
In context, which of the following is the best way to combine sentences 1 and 2 (reproduced below)?
Marriage was once a sacred religious institution authorized only by sacred establishments. In contemporary times the concept of marriage has become more of a state convention and less of a holy bond.
As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect”. It is true. Human beings are designed to improve, learn, and excel through rigorous and mindful practice. In addition to teaching, I also dance. When I was younger, dance class was simply a fun activity to do after school. I have come to learn now that I need to practice consciously every single day if I want to excel at dance and succeed.
Your outlook on test day is probably something like this: Oh no; it’s here. The test is this weekend. That big test. The one I’ve been partially dreading and partially waiting for just so I can get it over with. I’m a little nervous, no, a lot nervous. Isn’t this test supposed to decide my life or something? Isn’t this the test that determines whether or not I’ll get into a good college?
On the SAT, you’ll see a handful of permutation questions. Permutation questions deal with the rearranging of existing elements. Let’s look at an example problem. The problem goes something like this “A northeastern (museum/school/restaurant) has four (displays/desks/seats) all in a row. How many different combinations of six (paintings/students/diners) can be made?”
Avoiding Assumptions is probably the best strategy period on SAT Reading. But it will take a long time before you master this strategy. You will need to practice the art of avoiding assumptions over and over on SAT passages until you perfect it.
Remember that an assumption is an induction that is not based on textual evidence from the passage. So how can you avoid making assumptions on the SAT? Well, you can ask yourself one magic question:
So here we are, the moment of truth. We have been feverishly studying for the last six months. We don’t blink when we see capricious and capacious sitting next to each other in the completing sentences portion, knowing that we are looking for a synonym to whimsical (caprice means whim) not roomy or spacious (capa, like capacity).