Tagged: test prep

Strategies for Scoring 800 on the Math SAT and SAT II

How To Score 800 on the Math SAT: Tips From Students and Tutors

Do extra stuff:

1. Practice concepts which aren’t in the syllabus but are related none the less. Often a math problem can be solved in multiple ways which aren’t covered in the default syllabus.

2. Recheck your answers efficiently.

3. Do as many difficult problems as you can.  Ensure you are clear about the concepts.  Practice, practice, practice solving problems.

4. Take (practice) subject tests and use Tips For SAT Subject Tests.

5.  Take timed practice tests and go over the problems you missed.  Take as many timed practice tests as you can.

6. Master your graphing calculator  Use it to solve equations and test questions in different prep sites or books.

7. Practice answering problems without the graphing calculator as Section 3 disallows the use of a calculator

8. Memorize the reference table so you don’t have to flip back and forth

9. Take practice tests from Princeton Review, Kaplan and Kahn Academy

Need help choosing the Subject tests to take?  Lets look at your curriculum and decide what will serve you best.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679


Prepping For The SAT Reading Section

Knowing what to expect on a standardized test is one good way to improve your score.  Here are some tips from the Summit Educational Group to initiate your prep for the SAT.

The reading section gives test takers 65 minutes to read 5 passages and respond to 9-11 questions per passage, 52 total.  The passages range in reading level from 9th grade to early college.

Passages and questions are designed to have students distinguish words with multiple meanings from context, give evidence in multiple choice questions, analyze information in charts or graphs attached to the package.

Balance the time you have among the passages.  Spend about 5 minutes reading, looking for the author’s point of views, attitude toward the subject matter, key points.  Write notes on the test booklet as you go.

You will then have 45 seconds to answer each question.  They are all worth the same amount so do the ones that are easier first.

Opinions differ on whether to read the questions before tackling the passage.  Pre-reading the questions can direct your attention to what is important but it does reduce the time you have to read the passage and complete the questions.

Most test prep companies offer multiple iterations of the test to familiarize students with the styles and types of questions they will encounter on the version that appears when they open the booklet on test day.  Take as many as you can find online or in your prep materials.

Do you have a strategy for scheduling test prep and examination dates?  Let me help you create a time timeline that fits your personal schedule yet leaves time to re-take the SAT or ACT before the scores must be on the admissions officeer’s desk.  stephanie@accessguidance.com, 610-212-6679


Top Test Taking Strategies For ACT or SAT

Test day is full of anxiety but here are a few things you can do as you prepare and on test day, too.

1. Write on the test booklet (or practice test).  You can work math problems on the booklet, underline points the you want to refer to as you  answer the questions.  Make notes of anything that will help you on the questions.

2. Each question is worth the same one point: the easy questions and the hard ones.  Read through the section, doing the questions you can answer as you go and saving the others to work on later.  Mark the questions you skip and go back through and work on the marked questions.  If time remains, guess on questions that you couldn’t answer on the second pass: there is no penalty for guessing.

3. Use your calculator as needed and permitted.  Calculators can save you time and help you choose an answer.

4. There as several types of questions on both the ACT and SAT.  Be sure you can identify each type and the answer choice that each requires.  Pay attention to the types of questions that appear most frequently on the practice tests.

5. Using these strategies as you prep for your test will increase your comfort and make the process almost automatic.  The more familiar you are, the faster you will be able to go through all of the questions.

Good luck!

Lets talk about a testing schedule and strategies for using your scores to best advantage. stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.




Test Day Tips for SAT and ACT

Relax.  Let The Zen Take Over
Relax. Let The Zen Take Over

Everyone is nervous on test day, anticipating long hours and head-scratching test questions.  Trust that your test prep has gotten you ready for the challenge and relax into an easy rhythm.


Colleges know  your scores are just numbers that don’t define who you are or what your future holds.  At best, standardized tests  show your problem solving abilities and how you work under pressure.  If you don’t have high marks in either of these yet, you have a long time to learn them.

Find out how your colleges view your test scores.  Text or call Stephanie at Access College and Career Consultants at 610-212-6679.  This is just one of our services for students who want personalized, comprehensive college planning.


When Should I Take the SAT?

Students recently asked me this question during a “What’s on your mind” discussion. Typically, juniors have taken the standardized test in the winter of their junior year.

However, College Board is coming out with a new version of the SAT beginning in March, 2016 when current sophomores would be taking the exam. Should they take the current version earlier or prep for the new version?

Kate Paparazzo of Princeton Review points out that the PSAT changes in October of 2015 and will resemble the new SAT being rolled out the following spring. PR will be tutoring for the new PSAT starting in the summer of 2015.

The new SAT will replace esoteric vocabulary with more words that have double meanings to assess the test taker’s ability to read for context. The essay will be optional on the new test.

Princeton Review will begin to tutor for the current SAT in the summer and fall of 2015.  They will also offer prep for the new SAT as early as the fall of 2015. If you plan to take the new version instead of the old, you can take their prep course in the fall or winter for the March test date.

To review: Prep the new PSAT in the summer of 2015 for the October, 2015 PSAT.

Prep the current SAT in the summer or fall of 2015 for fall 2015 or January and February 2016 test dates.

Prep the new SAT in the fall or winter for March, 2016 or later test dates.

Reminder: many colleges are now test optional for admission but if you want to be considered for merit (free) aid you need to submit test scores.

While many colleges don’t require a writing sample, many still do. Rochester Institute of Technology uses the writing score to decide admission because they believe that the ability to communicate in writing is predictive of success.

Many thanks to the students who suggested this blog topic.  I appreciate your input and hope you will continue to ask questions.