With summer just beginning, the last thing on most students’ minds will be starting a new academic program – but I promise that this can be the best time of year to get gears turning and to take control of the standardized tests that loom in the autumn.
While holidays are certainly a time for most of us to wind down from a busy work or school year and spend time with family and friends, the holidays can also be the best time to complete some standardized test preparation.
With the right discipline and schedule, the focused student can find a way to knock out a couple of good hours of test preparation each day during a holiday break (whether that break is a week long or over a month long) and still get to relax and hang out with friends and family. In fact, for many college students, in particular, they are given a month or more break during the winter holiday. While that is nice, many of these students find themselves bored out of their skulls.
We all know that science tests can be challenging.
Not only is the content broad and sometimes difficult to master, but the tests themselves can be tricky and confusing. How many of you have run out of time because you got stuck on one confusing question that was probably low yield? Science tests are also notorious for having poorly articulated questions. I have been taking science tests for a long time now and have developed a set of strategies that have helped me succeed. Learning the information is one thing.
The sentence completion section of the SAT is challenging for many students. In addition to testing a broad and specific vocabulary, the sentence completion section is also riddled with traps and tricks. To be clear, you should start by building your vocabulary in preparation for this section. However, you can also master test strategy in order to improve your performance.
The three tips below have helped many students beat this section:
1) Forty-five seconds.
That's how long, on average, a reader spends on your essay before grading it. You get twenty-five minutes to plan it, produce it, and proof it, and then you get forty-five seconds of a reader's—actually, two readers'—attention. These two SAT essay graders, granted, are highly seasoned, experienced, and (probably) good-hearted professional educators who are looking to give you the benefit of the doubt. They forgive wretched spelling, do not insist on sparkling intellectual discourse, and best of all, they are comfortable catching your grammatical knuckleballs. They are trained to seize on your thesis (or lack of a thesis), flick their eyes over your topic sentences (or lack of topic sentences), evaluate with dizzying speed the specificity, relevance, and insight of your examples (or the lack of...etc), pick up on any language that shows a faint glint of flair, and then use this intel to slap a grade on the essay. And all of this they do in less time than it takes for Michael Phelps to swim a full lap of a pool.