College Board

AP Gothic
  • You open the test booklet. The first page is formulas. The second page is formulas. They’re all formulas. You can’t find the questions. Everyone around you is diligently working. You flip through the booklet but all of it is formulas. They consume you.
  • “Close your booklet and stop working.” Pencils sound as they hit the desk. Time is called. Time doesn’t answer. Where is it? It is lost. You are all lost.
  • You are told to seal the multiple choice question booklet. The white labels don’t fit properly in the designated sections. None of this fits. You may never discuss these questions. They no longer exist. They never existed. Ryan tried to fight back. They drag him away. Ryan never existed either.
  • The test references AP students in it. Haha. The test is very funny. Laugh. College Board wants you to laugh. College Board just wants to be friends. College Board is very friendly. College Board beckons you closer. Closer. They are very funny. L A U G H
  • You may only use black or blue ink. Your pen breaks. The ink spills everywhere. Milky black liquid falls over everything you knew and loved. The College Board confiscates it. “How can we accurately assess your skills without gathering all your materials?” They smile. You never noticed they had so many teeth before. 
  • The proctor reads the instructions and you begin writing. The proctors circle you. They lean over your test and make disapproving noises. They are hunting. They pick out the weak. You will be next. 

Since AP scores come out this week I just wanted to remind all of you that a bad score is not the end of the world. There’s a million reasons it could have not gone well from a bad teacher to just a bad day. One test does not define you at all. You don’t have to send this score to colleges and you can just retake the course in college and do better then. AP classes are difficult and the tests are just as hard.

DIY Straight A's

I feel like this is a very important topic, and I have a VERY intensive approach to schoolwork than other people. I’m currently a junior in high school taking really difficult courses and this method has continued to hold up. I’m currently taking: AP US History, Precalculus, AP Composition and Literature, Honors Chemistry, Street Law (its just a super easy and fun elective; no school work really), and AP Biology. This method of studying really morphs into a lifestyle and kind of takes over your life. That being said, it is VERY time consuming. This may not work for everyone but I thought I would share my method…..take what you will from this post and feel free to message me feedback!

 

NOTE TAKING/CLASS WORK

For in class, I carry around ONE notebook everyday that I take notes in plain black pen or pencil for Precalculus, AP Bio, and Honors Chem (I have all these courses in the same day). Just a cheap $1 notebook from Staples. During class, rather than focus on pretty colors or highlights and neat handwriting, I just like to scribble notes and try and listen as much as possible. During class, I also sometimes get handouts with notes on them from my teachers so I’ll annotate those as well.

 

When I get home everyday, I use a three subject notebook (one for every subject; Precalc, AP Bio, and Honors Chem) and use a combination of the notes, classwork, textbook, and handouts to re-write my notes. I do this first when I get home so I can review what I learned that day before beginning my homework. Being home gives me more time and materials to be able to write my notes more neatly. This comes in super handy as memorization as well for future reference.

 

For APUSH, we are required to take notes on a chapter a week. In this class, we don’t really do much formal notetaking; more discussions and activities. I take the notes for the week the weekend before, and if I get additional important information during class I will annotate my notes by adding post-its and writing in the margins. I also like to do a list of the key terms and if I have time make flashcards.

 

For AP Comp, I have a notebook and folder that I bring to class everyday. The notebook is kind of a catch-all; we write a lot of essays and do exercise. I use the folder for handouts. Since the class is taught through reading and writing essays, we don’t have much note taking.

 

HOMEWORK

I like to do my homework after I finish re-doing my notes. It helps me to review and re-learn everything.

 

PLANNER

I am a crazy planner lady. I use a Lilly Pulitzer large planner, and I have since my freshman year of high school. I use one color for every subject and a color for all my extra curriculars. I use red to draw attention to tests. The planner includes a monthly overview, where I write down big due-dates and test dates for a better overview of the month. The planner then has a weekly overview that is divided up into days (below). Here I put day-to-day assignments as well as big dates. After I’ve completed a task I highlight it with yellow highlighter.

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STUDYING FOR TESTS AND QUIZZES

I’m going to break this up into subjects because studying completely changes depending on what subject.

History:

For history I like to re-read my notes, make flashcards, and annotate chapter outlines. The textbook I use for APUSH has online chapter outlines that I’ll annotate with my own personal notes and stick into a huge binder full of annotated chapter outlines. I also always use my crash course (its my bible). Additionally, John Green has a bunch of great history videos on youtube that are super easy to watch.

Science:

For science classes I always make a digital study guide. This makes it easy to find good diagrams and pictures. If its a math-ish test (like Chemistry) then I’ll do practice problems. I also like to make flashcards if I need to recognize certain molecules, concepts, or terms that I have trouble with. I also really love my crash courses.

Math:

For math, I like to make a practice test that I make and do over and over again until I get 100%. I also like re-read my notes. For math, practice problems are the best.

English:

I don’t really have english tests but we do have in class essays. For in class essays, having a thesis and taking time to plan is really important.

 

REFERENCES/RESOURCES:

  • Khan Academy Videos

  • Crash Course Videos By John Green

  • Best Essay Formula EVER: http://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2013/05/how-to-write-a-great-essay-about-anything/

  • 30/30 App: It sets timers that you can set to go off and assign a certain task to. Best app ever, hands down.

  • Crashcourse Books; buying books at Barnes and Noble or Amazon, can be a bit expensive but buying books that can be written in are very helpful. I would definitely go look at the books before blindly buying them off amazon though.


Please feel free to message me and I hope this helps! Also would this be helpful in video form? Please let me know if you want a specific post/video on one particular topic!

timetravelingowl’s Guide to SAT Prep

Hello, lovelies! I know that many of you are planning on taking the SAT within the next few months. The SAT can be is very stressful, and oftentimes the struggle isn’t so much knowing the material as it is knowing how to prepare.

Before we begin, consider this disclaimer: I am only an 11th grader. While I have taken the SAT 10 times (through unofficial programs not related to the College Board) and the PSAT 4 times, I am by no means an expert; this list is meant to serve as a suggestion, not a fail-proof method for success. 

Breakdown:

The SAT is comprised of 10 sections. Three of these sections are devoted to Critical Reading; 3 are devoted to Math; two are devoted to Writing; one contains the essay portion of the test, and the final is not counted in your final score. This section could be devoted to any of the aforementioned subjects (with the exception of the essay), and is used to determine the difficulty of future test problems.

The SAT is scored a 2400 point scale. You can receive a maximum of 800 points in Math, Critical Reading, and Writing, respectively. Your essay is included in your Writing score.

The essay is scored on a 12 point scale. It is determined by two scorers, who rate your essay from 1-6. The sum of the two scores is your essay score.

Preparing for the SAT:

  • Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make improvement. You should take the SAT unofficially one or two times before you sit for the real test.
  • Remember that the SAT is NOT the same as the PSAT. Different levels of comprehension and ability are required on the SAT. 
  • Make sure you are aware of the test’s requirements before you take it. For example, you should know the level of mathematics required, the general difficulty of the vocabulary, and the formulaic structure to the essay.
  • This is the official SAT prep book. It’s distributed by the College Board, and it contains multiple practice tests as well as study materials and test tips.

Tips for studying:

  • Take breaks. After two hours of intense activity, your brain simply cannot retain anymore information. You’re wasting your time. Take 10 minute breaks ever hour or 30 minute breaks every two hours.
  • Stay hydrated. Water will help you preform better and feel better.
  • Eat foods high in protein. Your brain needs the excess energy provided by protein-rich foods.
  • Study in a different room every day. The change of scenery helps your memory.
  • Keep the room slightly cooler than normal. Cool air keeps you awake and increases brain activity.
  • From time to time, stretch, jog in place, or preform some other physical activity. This increases the circulation of your blood and results in a higher concentration of oxygen deposited to your brain.

Critical Reading:

  • Read. That’s the best way to raise your Critical Reading score. The books don’t have to be classics; it’s the act of reading and comprehending that matters. Go to the library, collect any book that looks interesting, and check out the whole pile. Read at school, at doctor’s offices, while you’re waiting for someone or something. Read constantly. And more importantly, understand what you’re reading.
  • Vocabulary is an essential part of the SAT Critical Reading section. Use this website to access word lists; try to memorize one set a night. In order to insure long-term retention, use any of these digital flashcards or download a similar app. 
  • Use practice tests to test your comprehensive ability.
  • Read each passage thoroughly. With the exception of “tone” questions, each question is fairly straightforward, and the answer will probably be directly taken from the passage.

Math:

  • This is an amazing resource for SAT prep. While all three subjects are available, I primarily use Testive for the math section. While there is a hefty fee for infinite daily problem sets, the site is free to use for a limited amount each day. It’s easily customizable, and the staff is interactive and friendly–I’ve emailed them quips about including Doctor Who monologues in their Short Passage section, and they replied promptly, telling me that this was their favorite request they had ever received. The cool thing about Testive is that it’s entirely at your pace, and it’s designed to help you reach your personal goal.
  • This is a great resource for understanding the SAT math section.
  • Pinpoint your troublesome areas. For me, it’s geometry; thus, I must concentrate more on geometry than, say, ratios, which I understand much better.
  • If you can afford the yearly fee, this site is excellent for math prep.
  • Remember: certain formulas are given to you within the SAT booklet. The rest you must memorize. ALWAYS make sure your calculator is fully charged before the test. You can read the College Board’s calculator policy here.

Writing:

  • Memorize grammatical rules; they’ll be your best friends.
  • Watch out for tricks; false equivalencies are especially favored by the College Board.
  • Just because a sentence sounds right doesn’t mean it is right. Conversely, a correct answer might sound clumsy; if it is grammatically correct and the most succinct and clear answer, however, it is the right answer.
  • This website contains a fantastic guide to the Writing section of the SAT.

The Essay:

  • Read this.
  • Remember: the essay is formulaic. You need a strong, decisive thesis, two or three arguments/examples, and an effective conclusion.
  • The topic will be extremely broad. Your job is to make it specific. You must take a definitive stance and argue convincingly. Details are key.
  • Commentary is essential! The best example is totally worthless if you don’t explain what it means. Don’t assume that anything is self-evident; remember, books belong to their readers, and you perceive an example in a different way than your grader will.
  • That being said, don’t story-tell. Don’t rehash the whole book/film/event. You only have 25 minutes to write this essay; you don’t have time to describe each act of Julius Caesar.
  • Have a clear “path.” Insure that your transitions are clear and consistent. 
  • Personal experiences are just as valuable as literary or historical examples.
  • Don’t feel pressured to cite “real” literature; this essay is not testing your knowledge of classic texts, it’s testing your ability to connect examples to a broader context.
  • HOWEVER, there are some examples you should try to avoid. They are overused to the point of tedium, and you must remember that your essay graders are human. They’ll get bored. It’s not the end of the world if you use these examples, and there are fair cases to be made for all of them in the right context, but try to avoid:
  • Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Hitler

  •  The Great Gatsby

  • The Scarlet Letter

  • Charles Dickens

  • Romeo and Juliet

  • et cetera…

  • Being a voracious reader will aid you in this section, too. You need a large pool of examples to pull from; additionally, reading will present new ideas to you and will help to improve your writing abilities. Consider checking out any of these titles.

Additional:

  • If you’re looking for books to read for pleasure, here is one of my “recommendations” lists.
  • This website allows you to answer questions and donate to impoverished families at the same time.
  • This website is just fantastic in general.
  • I’ll be posting additional tips and links at satsavior.tumblr.com, so feel free to check out the blog! You can send me your essays for critique and advice; additionally, feel free to shoot me an ask if you have any general questions!

  • (Enlightenment, American Revolution, Jefferson, Jacksonian Democracy, 2nd Great Awakening, States' Rights, Civil War, 13th Amendment, Railroads, Progressives, Industrial Revolution, Harlem Renaissance, Great Depression, FDR, New Deal, WWI/WWII, Baby Boom, Kennedy, Civil Rights Movement, Watergate, Vietnam War, Space Race...) :hey
  • College Board:new phone who dis