The American education system and the Chinese education systems are structured in very different ways, and the standardized tests which are used to evaluate college applicants reflect those differences. If the Gaokao is a test (of memorized knowledge), then tests like the SAT and ACT are best labeled evaluations (of broad fundamental abilities). Accordingly, there is an upper limit to how much one can improve one’s score on U.S. standardized tests through typical Chinese academic study techniques such as memorization of vocabulary words. To score your best on American standardized tests, you may have to move away from study techniques you’ve used in the past.Read More
Complicated algebra is the last thing many students want to deal with on a high-stakes test like the SAT or ACT. Yet it seems like there is no way around it, with the alphabet soup of variables scattered throughout the exam. Thankfully, there is a strategy for those problems where your algebraic manipulations are leading nowhere. It’s called plugging in numbers.Read More
My blog posts usually focus on the content of the ACT and SAT: what information is on the tests, how to think strategically about taking the tests, and how to maximize your score. This month, I decided to take a step back from the details and look at the bigger picture, so I sat down and took practice ACT and SAT tests, back to back. I realized a lot more about the two tests in this marathon session, and now I have some ideas for you.Read More
Welcome back to my SAT/ACT reading section blog. The topic for today: literary devices. These terms come up infrequently but often enough that it’s worth giving them a look over before the test to be sure that you have them down. If they come up, you can get another question right, and if they don’t, you can save what you learned for a future SAT subject test or AP test.
Ready? Let’s get started.Read More
Welcome back to another blog post about the SAT and ACT tests! This post continues on my earlier posts on practicing reading and ACT and SAT reading questions. If you haven’t read them, be sure to circle back and check them out.Read More
If you’re reading this, I imagine you’re looking to improve your reading score on either the ACT or the MCAT and ideally, you’re in one of two boats:
1) You are consistently a few points shy of that 36 on the ACT Reading or 132 on MCAT CARS and are looking to bridge that last gap
2) Are struggling with the reading section in general, and are looking for a strategy that will give you a clear, structured approach
Both the ACT and MCAT reading sections can be fickle contributors to your composite score—just missing one additional question can bring your score down a whole point. Here’s the portion of the raw score to scale score chart for the ACT on Princeton Review’s website.Read More
One of the hardest sections to prepare for on the SAT and ACT is the reading section. For the other sections, like math and English, there is particular content to learn. For the reading section, however, the exam is testing how well you understand and interpret what you read. Most importantly in this section, you need to manage your time well. What are some strategies for approaching the section efficiently and thereby gaining maximum points? I break down three methods below.Read More
College entrance tests require that you know the rules of punctuation. There’s no way around it, so let’s get right to it.Read More
Welcome to part 2 of my blog on English strategies. If you didn’t read part 1, you can check it out here.
Picture it now: you’re breezing through the ACT English or SAT Writing and Language section. Every question come easily to you, as you follow what your ear tells you is right. You didn’t need to learn grammar after all!
And then on one question it hits you: all of the answers sound right. Your ear cannot hear which one is wrong. You look at the next question and your ear has failed you again: all of the answers sound wrong.Read More
Here I bring you a two-part series about methods for the English/Writing and Language sections of the ACT and SAT.
Many students approach the English sections of the ACT and SAT with the mindset that they will go with whatever answer sounds right. Everyone who is taking college entrance exams already has a high aptitude in English. Isn’t this enough?Read More