I never realized how awkward it is to stand up and take this picture in a filled coffee shop. I did it anyway! I’m studying for my chemistry placement test, so I took out my past prep book and started from the beginning (because I forgot everything). My plan is just to make flashcards to review for the plane rides to and back from China!
Use your local library! Many have SAT/ACT prep books that you can borrow like normal books instead of buying. You can also ask to see if they have online prep resources.
Start practicing well in advance.To maximize your success on the exam, you’ll want to start pretty early, and not just in the month beforehand, so that you can build on your skills and do plenty of practice.
Take advantage of practice tests. They’re almost always the best way to practice, and they’ll help you learn from your mistakes. Simulate an authentic testing environment, and get yourself accustomed to what it’ll be like on the day.
Do your best! It’s the cheesiest and most generic advice ever, but it’s completely accurate. Work hard, and if something doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, don’t give up! Keep trying and your effort will pay off. Best of luck!
Tips for the SATs: Things Prep Books Won’t Tell You
I took the SATs twice. First time I got 2080. Second time I got 2390. It’s a bullshit test that isn’t correlated with future success or grades, and it has several weak spots. So here’s a guide of unconventional hacks, tips, and tricks that you won’t learn in most test prep books. This is specifically for people taking the SAT before March 2016. OKAY HERE WE GO:
Pick a side. Don’t try to be all smart and argue both. You think you can, and you’re probably right, but your argument will be a lot more nuanced and well-supported (which is a chunk of the mark) if you choose one side
You don’t need to worry about actually forming an argument supported by evidence. Spend 2 minutes planning and come up with exactly 3 points. In each paragraph, make your point and then bam, you’re good to go. You know why? Because you make up examples. Whatever you want- Make up dates! Make up people! Make up absolute shit that the grader knows isn’t true! I mean, try not to write 500 words on how Shakespeare’s most famous play, ‘Roly-poly Ollie and Julianne Moore’, changed your life, but. Make up books, plays, personal anecdotes, whatever. It does not matter. You can do that. They’re marking you on whether or not you have examples, not whether or not they happen to be true.
Listen up, because this is the most important: write a lot. Write two pages, or more, and if you can’t, write bullshit but write two pages as long as it’s semi-coherent.
There is a direct and strong correlation between length of essay and mark assigned. What does this mean? You write shit, you get a higher mark. Collegeboard says it ain’t so, but the facts disprove it.
Memorize a couple of big words like “deluge”, “guile”, and “plethora”, and make sure you know how to use them. Then just shove ‘em in when you’re sure you’ve used them right. Preferably in the first page, and the conclusion.
Do not try to cram vocabulary two weeks in advance. The words aren’t obscure enough to justify that.
Read. Read books, read newspapers, read articles, read journals. If you read voraciously the year before you take the SAT, I guarantee you’ll ace the vocab section without studying.
But. If you don’t have a year and you gotta hit the vocab lists, here’s how to do it:
Get a list of a certain number of words to memorize, depending on how long you have: like this, for 100 words, or this one, for 500 words. Use the good/medium/bad system. Every day, do the words in the bad pile. If you can do them after 4 days, move them to the medium pile. Those are words you do every 3 or 4 days. The good pile is words you go over every week. If you fail at a word in the good or medium pile, move it down to bad.
Learn the meanings of some prefixes and suffixes, and several or more common roots of words (again, depending on time). This means if you come across words you don’t know, you can make a good guess.
Seriously though, just read
Memorize the grammar rules. There’s about 10 that they always re-use and they’re not complicated
Miscellaneous (important!) tips: Math
During the SATs you’re allowed to bring in a calculator with programs. DO NOT WASTE THIS OPPORTUNITY. But don’t waste precious time using a program when you could use your head and be faster
A program isn’t there to do hard math; it’s there to save time. You need time.
You also don’t need to memorize formulas for anything because you can get a program that’ll do anything with formulas for you
I highly 150% recommend getting your hands on a graphing calculator if you don’t have one. Get one off your friend or rent one or something, but get one
Miscellaneous (important!) tips: Critical Reading
In my opinion, the most bullshit part of the whole test. And the essay is a thing that exists, so.
Don’t read the text first. That’s ridiculous. Skim the text, just the first bit of every paragraph. Then close your eyes and in less than 10 seconds, think of a summary. What’s the author’s main point? A line or two, like ‘Technology is helping restaurants. The food is cheaper which is benefitting consumers.’ It sounds stupid but do it.
Read the question and go to that part of the text (it goes in order). Knock off any that are obviously wrong. Now you’re looking for the ‘most correct’ one which, what the fuck, should not be a thing! But anyways, most times, from the remaining options one will be in-line with your little summary from before, and one won’t.
There will never be two right answers. If two answers seem right to you, it’s because you’re thinking ‘oh, but this sentence suggests that-’ stop. Don’t overthink these questions. Often, people will be trying to think of the implications, themes, etc. and you don’t need to. This section is superficial as fuck.
If y’all have any specific questions you want to send me to get advice on how to tackle them, feel free.
General Advice for the Day Before/On the Day
Get a good night’s sleep! You got this. But if you can’t sleep, don’t worry! You still got this.
Get there early if you can, so you’re not adding anxiety to yourself
Don’t spend longer than a minute on a question. If you haven’t got it in that time, come back to it at the end. You’ll be more relaxed after having finished the ones you do know.
Once You’re Done
Yay! I’m proud of you
Don’t look up the answers. And if you do, don’t stress about any that you got wrong
Go have lunch or dinner with your friends or family and rant about how you just spent 6 hours in a stuffy room and stuff your face with cheesy pizza and chips bc you deserve it
Important Final Points
No matter what CollegeBoard says, the SATs are not an IQ test. It is very possible to boost your scores by 300 points
Your score does not define you. All it does is tell you how you did on that one day, but that’s not all you are. That’s not even 0.0001% of who you are
If a college doesn’t accept you because your score isn’t as high as they’d like, even after going over the rest of your application, then you don’t want to be there anyways
You will get in somewhere, and you’ll have a great time
Any juniors/seniors/college freshmen, feel free to hmu for general or specific advice on college, SATs, or studying
Direct Hits Vocabulary (Volume 1) // Direct Hits Vocabulary (Volume 2) – What makes these books stand out from other SAT vocab books is the use of pop culture references to explain definitions. For example, the first word in Volume 1, ambivalent, is given the sentence: “In The Avengers, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, and Thor are initially ambivalent about joining S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Avengers Initiative.”
Barrons SAT 2400 – Fabulous book, helpful strategies. I didn’t read the whole thing or do all the practice problems; I only used it for extra help on the sections I struggled with.
Grubers SAT 2400 – Didn’t personally use it myself, but it was recommended by a lot of my friends.
Analyzed two poems for AP Lit earlier. Today I finished a practice reading section from the new SAT and scored a 45 out of 52. I took it untimed and throughout the day because my schedule was crazy, so I may have done better than I would have if I had taken it in one go (although I was extremely tired so??) who even knows. All I know for sure is that I have a month to improve!
Last night on twitter, admittedly founder Jess Brondo shared her last minute tips and tricks for prepping for the SAT. In case you missed it, we’re sharing the tips here so you are nice and prepared for Saturday.
Tip 1: If you are unsure on a question on the SAT, NEVER blindly guess. OMIT it. Only guess if you can eliminate 2 choices.
Tip 2: Don’t waste your time trying to memorize vocabulary words this week since it’s last minute. Instead, focus on latin roots. For a list of the roots you’ll need to know, email email@example.com (also like us on facebook to always see prep materials we share).
Tip 4: If your practice test scores in the math are less than 600, SKIP the last 5 ?s of the section. They ALWAYS have “traps" that will make it much more likely for you to make careless errors.
Tip 5: You can get 5 days of free access to The SAT/ACT Edge online that has 1000 practice problems and videos of admittedly’s founder Jess Brondo (who got a perfect score) teaching https://edgeincollegeprep.com/enroll/cart/
Tip 6: Always try to practice with timing yourself. You should make sure you leave more time towards the end of each section because the math and grammar sections go in order of easy to hard so make sure you leave some time at the end of the section for the harder questions.
Tip 7: Bring extra pencils, check your batteries in your calculator, bring a watch (because you can’t have your phone on the table), and bring water and snacks.
As always, let us know if you have any more questions by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck on Saturday!
Two more chapters of AP Environmental, chapters 1-4 of The Great Gatsby, and WWI review tonight. Chapter 29 of APWH, AP Psych reading, and AP Lang essay tomorrow (along w/ chapters 5-9 of the Great Gatsby). This is what happens when you procrastinate, folks 😪✨
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.
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.
Thisis 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.
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.
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, thissite 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.
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.
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.
The Great Gatsby
The Scarlet Letter
Romeo and Juliet
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 thesetitles.
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.
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!
Hello! You’ve probably heard of both, one, or perhaps neither of these standardized tests. They are important if you want to go to college and are usually taken at the end of your junior year and again at the beginning of senior year.
So the real question is: SAT or ACT?
I hope with this guide I can provide insight to help you choose a test and give you the proper resources you need for success! Even if you’ve already taken the test, this is perfect if you want to take it again and try and score even higher. TIME FOR… RUNNINGSTARTSTUDENT’S SAT OR ACT GUIDE + RESOURCES!
I’ve written a guide on how to study for the SATs before and much of this is derived from that guide. I know that the old SAT will soon be obsolete, however I think that these study methods and materials can be adopted for the new test to an extent. I even have the schedule I followed. So this is just what worked for me and what I did during my 11 day long winter break of junior year. I pretty much only had busy work assigned by my AP teachers and I decided to complete that the last day of my break. The first 10 days of break had this schedule to it, and though it was brutal I was honestly able to complete my SAT studying in 10 days and get a satisfying score. If you send an ask, I might tell you my score but for now I’ll just say it was in the 99th percentile in all 3 sections and overall. (I started with a 1990 on my first practice test of the first day of my SAT studying.) I still have my schedule so here it is:
7:30-8:30: Wake Up, Workout, Shower 8:30-9:15: Breakfast 9:15-12:30: Practice Test 1 12:30-1:15: Go over mistakes 1:15-2:00: Lunch 2:00-5:15: Practice Test 2 5:15-6:00: Go over mistakes 6:00-6:30: Calisthenics Time! (my favorite part of the day lol) 6:30-7:00: Dinner 7:00-10:15: Practice Test 3 10:15-11:00: Go over mistakes 11:00-11:30: Stretch, Relax 11:30: Bedtime
Eventually, I just stopped taking breaks between sections and I could finish a practice test without the variable section in about 2.5 hours. So I actually would have much more time left in the day. So by the end of the 4th day I would finish everything between 9 and 9:30. If I wanted I would do another test or I would go to bed, because I was so mentally drained. This might make it seem like I didn’t have a life, but I sacrificed my social life for 10 days and significantly raised my SAT score. So I think it was definitely worth it. I didn’t spend months and months studying like other students. I just gave up my social life, killed the battery in my phone and laptop and I went to work. Whenever I didn’t want to go any further I would always remind myself of how great it would be for me to enjoy junior year while others are wallowing in despair with APs and SATs. It was enough to keep me going.
Critical Reading- I had so much trouble concentrating on the passages. So one day, I randomly started reading the passages in a Australian man’s voice. I kid you not; it did the trick. I was attentive during the whole passage and I had no trouble remembering even tiny details. So basically find what works for you. I told my friends this trick and they all raised their CR score by at least 80 points instantly (from like 630s). Every time I didn’t know a vocab word, I would write it down on a piece of looseleaf whether it was from the passages or the fill ins. I wrote down every little word I was unsure of, bc I didn’t want to miss a single one. I didn’t use a vocab book until 2 weeks before the test. I also used GRE practice problems. GET HOT WORDS FOR THE SAT ($2.53 for a used copy on Amazon). ALL OF THE WORDS ON MY TEST WERE IN THAT BOOK. It is the best book for SAT vocab imo. Once I learned a word, that was it. I could remember it forever. What I did was reduce the definition to 2-3 words. And then I would make a mnemonic (a silly story or another word) that helped me remember the vocab word. I think notecards get cumbersome, but if they work then by all means use them. But I think mnemonics are the way to go. I know it can be hard sometimes, but it’s definitely worth it to come up with a mnemonic. It is the best way to learn vocab, once you get used to it. You just have to give it a try and keep with it. If you want even more words 1000 Words for the SAT by Sparknotes is another good resource and there is a free PDF of it that an organization put up online. You can just use the aforementioned methods including but not limited to mnemonics to learn the vocab words faster and more effectively and efficiently.
Math- I was good with math to begin with. It has always been my best subject. I think math is all about practice, so just do as much as you can. And do not give up on the hard questions! Even when going over your mistakes, make sure you understand how to do every single problem. Also, I have a TI Nspire CX CAS and it helped immensely in checking my answers at the end of a section. They’re also really useful for college, especially if you want to pursue a STEM major. A new one goes for around $150 on Amazon with a student software that emulates the handheld device on your computer. Whatever you do, make sure you buy the CAS (Computer Algebra System) version and not just the plain non-CAS version. It’s the CAS capability (it only cost a few dollars more) that allows for you to create and use programs to solve equations and the likes. This device is allowed on the test, because the test only prohibits QWERTY keyboards. Well guess what. This handheld device has an ABCD keyboard. In the math section I would just type in an equation after I solved a problem to check it, but beware: you need practice with the handheld device and you need to understand the programs to use it effectively. Send me an ask if you would like more info.
Writing- I just looked up around 15 writing rules (see links below) and I memorized them. Eventually around day 6 I was becoming so good that I could name the rule that every question corresponded to. So that helped me to easily figure out what was wrong and how to fix it. It’s all about identifying the rule, so learn some rules (I’ll paste links down below) and try to figure out what rule EVERY question corresponds to regardless of whether or not you got the question right or wrong. For the essay, I had a general format. I would give two examples. One from literature/film and one from my personal life. I would write a thesis I agree/disagree….. bc example 1 and example 2. That was simple enough to get me a 10 on the real exam. I didn’t really focus on the essay. I just made sure I did at least 3 essay prompts everyday for practice. The Critical Reader The College Panda PrepScholar Grockit Student Tutor
I did as many practice tests as I could. I printed out every test I found on the internet and I copied all of the practice tests of the GRE and SAT from the prep books I found in a couple of libraries in my area. In total, just to give you an idea, all of my tests fit perfectly in a cardboard box. Idk how many practice tests (if I had to estimate I’d say about 35 excluding the blue book), but it took my a whole day (like 8 hours) to find them all.
I didn’t have specific books in mind. I just got as many tests as I could off the internet. But I did take the same tests over and over, bc you’re ALWAYS going to make mistakes. If you take the same practice test twice, you’re not going to get 2400, so there’s no harm in taking the same test multiple times. Sure you might remember answers, but trust me. You’ll still get a significant number of questions wrong. After about 4-5 days I could understand SAT questions. Like I could look at a question and say if it was good enough or the right format to even appear on the SAT. If there was test with non-SAT-like questions I immediately threw it away. So a good place to start to become familiar with the right questions would be Princeton Review and the CB Blue Book. I mentioned before that I used GRE, but that was only for CR. I did several GRE sections which I did horrendous on, but after the 3 GRE sections I got over my fears of the SAT CR, bc it made the CR on the SAT seem soooooo incredibly uncomplicated and easy.
Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with online prep bc I haven’t looked into it. But I would think that any renowned company is good enough. In my opinion, I think that studying on your own is the best way to go. Bc you’re the only person that knows yourself and the whole experience is individual. There are no classmates or bad teachers involved. You’re the only teacher and you cater to your needs.
For going over my mistakes (THIS IS LITERALLY THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF STUDYING FOR SATS - PROPERLY GOING OVER YOUR MISTAKES!) what I did was I would take out looseleaf and write down: 1. Why my answer was wrong 2. Why I picked that answer 3. What the correct answer is 4. Why that answer is correct I did that for every question I got wrong. I am the type of person that needs to write things down to understand them. So once I wrote down these 4 sentences I would completely understand a question and I would know what to pick the next time I saw it. For math I just did the same problem over and over again until I knew I had it. Idk about you, but I can’t go over a test for 3 hours! I could do another test in that time. But I definitely agree that most of your learning comes from review. So in my opinion, take as long as you need to, but don’t overdo it. The SAT isn’t about deep thinking, so you shouldn’t dwell on a question way too long. I think that anywhere from 30 min to 60 min is reasonable (for ME). But once again, it all depends on how YOU review and what you need to do to understand a question.
Wow that was a lot. Don’t forget to ask if you have any questions at all. If you want, I can create a study schedule for you with details. Just send me an ask with your info, and I’ll do it for you. Also I just found my schedule I used after winter break, bc I had about 2.5 weeks before the test. So it’s down below:
Mon-Thurs: 6:30-7:30: Wake Up, Workout, Shower 7:30-7:45: Eat Oatmeal while walking to school 8:00-2:45: School 3:00-3:45: ECs, clubs, etc. 3:45-4:30: Walk home, Shower 4:30-6:00: Practice Test 1 6:15-7:00: Karate 7:00-7:30: Dinner 7:30-8:30: Finish Practice Test 1 8:30-9:15: Go over mistakes 9:15-9:45: Calisthenics, Power Nap, or Skip Break depending on workload for the day 9:45-12:30: Do school homework **These 4 days were awful sleepwise and working out in the morning was also difficult bc I felt like my muscles weren’t ready for activity. I did my homework right when I got it so it didn’t just pile up. Taking AP classes increased my workload, but I kind of made it okay with myself to slack a little for only two weeks. But I also had the weekends to recover so I didn’t really slack much in my classes.
Fri: 6:30-7:30: Wake Up, Workout, Shower 7:30-7:45: Eat Oatmeal while walking to school 8:00-2:45: School 3:00-3:45: ECs, clubs, etc. 3:45-4:30: Walk home, Shower 4:30-7:00: Practice Test 1 7:00-7:45: Go over mistakes 7:45-9:00: Dinner, Family Time (PlayStation Tournament!) 9:00-11:30: Practice Test 2 11:30-12:15: Go over mistakes 12:30: Time for bed!
Sat: 9:00-10:30: Wake Up, Workout, Shower 10:30-11:30: Brunch 11:30-3:00: Movies, Hang Out, Whatever 3:00-5:30: Practice Test 1 5:30-6:15 Go over mistakes 6:15-8:45: Practice Test 2 8:45-9:30: Go over mistakes 9:30-11:00: Vocab 11:00-1:30: Skype, Netflix, or PlayStation 1:30: Bedtime (I actually fell asleep during movies and Skype at like 12 from exhaustion)
Sun: 7:30-8:00: Wake Up, Breakfast 8:00-10:00: Hang out with peeps 10:00-12:30: Vocab 12:30-1:30: Lunch 1:30-6:00: Regular School Homework 6:00-8:30: Practice Test 1 8:30-9:15: Go over mistakes + Dinner in my room. 9:15-11:30: Practice Test 2 11:30-12:15: Go over mistakes 12:30: Time for bed
As you can see I tried to balance everything out and I really did stick with this schedule. It worked great. I spent a half hour digging through my desk to find this so you better get something out of it! :P