As we wind down the academic year and start looking toward summer, most of us experienced academic tutors working in New York and Boston are working with two sets of students – those who have put in months of work in preparing for their upcoming AP and SAT subject tests and those who are just beginning to think about working with a private SAT tutor or PSAT tutor.
Let's talk about the PSAT. For many students, the PSAT is the first exam in a long chain of standardized tests. Some high school sophomores start preparing for the PSAT in the summer because it gives students a chance to get ahead without the distractions of high school academics.
Overview of the PSAT
1. Test Format
Thinking ahead to test day is important. From the moment you wake up in the morning, your actions should all be designed to optimize your test taking experience – any academic tutor will tell you that what you do before entering the testing room will impact your test performance.
Taking SAT subject tests (and doing well) is a great way to strengthen your college application because these tests can highlight your academic interests and demonstrate your skill in a given discipline.
At this point in the spring, we’re only about one month away from the May AP tests, and as a veteran academic tutor in New York City, this is the time of year when I push all of my students in high school to take full-length practice AP exams. Regardless of the subject – be it AP World History, AP Biology, or even AP Japanese Language and Culture – this is the right moment to understand the amount of progress you’ve made in your test preparation, to isolate your trouble areas, and even to just get a feel of the examination itself so that there are no curveballs on test day. Below are some of the things that I try to remind my students in New York of as they gear up to take an AP practice examination.
I have been a GRE tutor for many years, so I have seen the GRE evolve over the years, however the test underwent its most significant revision this year. In this blog post, I will outline the major changes in test format and question type.
First, let's explore the test structure:
You can go back to previous questions. In prior versions of the GRE, one’s score and next question adapted to how the student answered each question. Now a GRE test-taker can leave questions blank or put down an answer but know s/he has the option of coming back – either filling out a question left blank or changing an answer.
Multiple – answer question types are now present on the exam. On these questions, the savvy test-taker must adeptly pick all the right answers in order to get the question correct.
Let's look at changes to the verbal section:
There are no more antonyms & analogies!
There are sentence completions in which you have to fill in more than one blank. The hard part about the multiple blank questions is that even if you pick one wrong word for one of the blanks you miss the whole thing. Do not take this question type for granted. Definitely study your words in advance. There are good test preparation books out there including GRE WordSmart that is a good source of words to memorize.
There are questions in the reading comprehension portions of the verbal section that will ask you to highlight the sentence or area in the passage that best answers a particular question
Let's look at changes to the math section:
There are now questions in which you fill in your own numerical response.
There are still multiple-choice questions in which you select the best answer. The upside or downside, depending on how you look at it, is that there are math questions in which there are multiple answer choices that could be correct.
Some people find these questions interesting and challenging, but other test-takers might find these types of questions daunting, particularly when it comes to math. If you are in this category, I suggest you get a tutor who can develop your study skills and start preparing now. This practice will allow you to get use to these types of questions.
To streamline your standardized test preparation, we have compiled all the key formulas on the test into a handy "cheat sheet". You can download it in a few easy steps by clicking below:
Good luck! A Cambridge Coaching tutor can help you get on a path to a high score on the GRE. Call us today at 617.714.5956.