SAT Tutor: How to Study on a Snow Day

Posted by Kyle Eichner on 2/16/15, 5:34 PM

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Better to have to study on a snow day than not to have a snow day all.

All of your wishes have come true. It is snowing a foot, and all the schools in Boston or NYC or wherever you are are closed. You want to throw some snow balls and then curl up with hot cocoa. But then one of your parents "helpfully" observes that you still have SAT tutoring homework to do. Woe! Misery! Curse the gods! How to make yourself do it? By tricking yourself into studying.

Snowcabulary

How would you describe snow? There are said to be many words in different languages - how many of your SAT words could you use to describe the snow? To describe the feeling you have when you find out you can get in bed? Challenge yourself to use as many words as you can from your current vocab list in a few paragraphs you write about your snow day. Or quiz yourself on all of the words that start with "s." Make it a challenge, and time yourself on how many of your vocab words you can get through in five minutes (and use a winter countdown clock to evoke winter feelings).

Reading Comprehension

A snow day is the perfect time to catch up on the news, whether you consume your media with hot cocoa or tea. I subscribe to a Sunday paper, and have time to catch up on long articles if I am home during the week. Online, I can go to high-quality news sources like The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker or The Washington Post. You may be someone who chooses by your present location or a publication your parents introduced to you (since I am from the DC area, I prefer the Post since I can check whether they are also getting snow or not and call my brother and brag).

  • Practice mapping these news articles the way you would map a passage in the Verbal section of the SAT. What is the main point of each paragraph? What can you infer from the passage?
  • Write a few SAT-like questions about an article and send them to your friend who is also studying for the SAT.
  • Since you have time, read articles about the same issue or event from different sources, and compare their approaches. What is the intended audience? How is the intended audience of The Huffington Post different from that of the Economist? What is the purpose of the piece?
  • Find an article with a graph or other statistics and knock out studying for two sections at once! Practice your data interpretation, and look for the langauge of descriptive statistics (and check whether the journalist is using them correctly).

When you are done with news, take a break and settle into a novel. A snow day is the perfect time to spend on reading you don't have time to do normally! (And you can tell your mom it is still helping you prepare and improve your vocabulary.)

Quantitative Reasoning

Your snow forts outside may have involved quite a lot of geometry (perpendicular lines for best construction, calculation of surface area and volume). Now treat yourself after doing some practice math problems on Testive. Baking can involve quite a lot of math, since you probably need to double or triple that cookie recipe in order to make enough to last your whole family through the day. Double check your calculations and conversions (how many teaspoons make a Tablespoon?). Write and solve a word problem that explains the probability you will be able to select a matching pair of gloves from your family's drawer of winter clothing.

Once you’ve done this, you can tell your parents you’ve earned the right to go have a snowball fight outside. Stay warm, and aim for the chest!

For more helpful blogs on SAT prep, check out these other blog posts, written by our expert private SAT tutors from Harvard and MIT: How to Learn Vocabulary Painlessly, How to Make Sure You’re Never Surprised by a Question, and Hacking the SAT Essay. If you’re looking for more intensive support on your SAT studying, feel free to reach out to Cambridge Coaching! We offer private SAT tutoring in NYC, Boston, and anywhere around the world.

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Tags: SAT