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A sophisticated Pedagogy

A systematic approach to mastering the tests

By design, the SAT and ACT are tests of the skills that a student has learned through his or her junior year of high school. Essentially, the tests are a review of what students have done every weekday since kindergarten. So why is it such a challenge for nearly everyone? While for some it is a case of “I didn’t know that,” more often than not it’s a case of “I didn’t know what to DO.” And in others, the problem is that students just ran out of time.

the three-step process that leads to high scores

Use the nature of the tests to your advantage

The Veritas Prep SAT and ACT courses put the majority of its emphasis on application: what to do, and how to quickly recognize what to do. Students will master SAT and ACT knowledge and, more importantly, the recognition and application of that knowledge, through three distinct phases of pedagogy: Skillbuilder (what you need to know); Skills Meet Strategy (what you need to do); and Think Like the Testmaker (what you need to look out for). This philosophy comes from the acclaimed “Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives,” a prevailing educational theory that deconstructs the goals of quality education.



Learn the underlying facts and rules

Naturally, to solve any problem a student must first be fluent with the underlying content tested. But too often, content-based test prep is either far too boring (“let’s list all the rules of triangles”) or too different from what students already know (“the Kaplan 7-step process for long division”). Effective SAT preparation builds upon what students are already learning in school and helps them effectively implement those skills. Veritas Prep classes teach fundamental skills through “Learning By Doing,” leading with challenging problems and helping students rediscover the knowledge that they need to solve those problems.


Skills meet strategies

Use the right strategy every time

Once students know the fundamental information the test is based on, the most important step is knowing what to do with that knowledge. The Veritas Prep curriculum strategy is to teach in action items, providing students with steps to take and things to try based on the type of problem or content that they see. And because there are usually multiple ways to solve any one problem, students learn skills and strategies as part of a “toolkit” and not as cumbersome etched-in-stone processes. By test day, each student will have multiple strategies on any given problem, and the confidence to play to his or her own strengths with the proper tool.


Think like the testmaker

Become a test taking expert

The SAT and ACT are fundamentally different from the tests that students take every day in school. Without the need to “show your work,” many seemingly hard problems can be gamed by testing small numbers or using answer choices. Other times, the authors of questions embed valuable clues in the question or answer choice, and quick recognition will save time and minimize error. And, of course, there are the tempting “trap answers” that students need to be wary of. By learning to Think Like the Testmaker, students will build quick recognition of clues, traps, and shortcuts, saving valuable time and maximizing accuracy.

In the classroom

Learning by doing

In most test prep classes, high-achieving students face a fundamental challenge: they know that something in that session will help improve their score, but they have to sit through too much tedious review to stay focused for those few “eureka” moments that matter to them. The Veritas Prep classroom is geared toward those high achievers, teaching from challenging problems to review (and reteach as necessary) fundamental skills. The problems engage all students, so that everyone has something to work on while the necessary content is reviewed through the lens of those problems.

On test day

The toolkit method

High achievers are at a similar disadvantage when test preparation is overly prescriptive. Terminology like “The 6-step method for…” and “The Princeton Review process for…” markets and sells well, but those rigid procedures often result in students learning skills they already know – long division; factoring polynomials – like they’re learning a foreign language. That time isn’t just wasted, it’s counterproductive.

The Veritas Prep curriculum offers skills and strategies as tools in a toolkit, allowing the algebraically-inclined to jump straight to their strong suit and those who would rather test answer choices to play to their strengths. The goal is to build on the decade-plus of classroom instruction and homework that each student has already invested in SAT success, helping students get questions right that they would have gotten wrong, and get questions right more quickly than they would have otherwise. High achieving students are not blank canvases when it comes to the SAT! But they can build on their considerable abilities to boost their scores even higher, and that comes from adding more tools to their toolkit and to better recognizing which tools will work best in which situations.

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