Whether you’re applying to college, graduate school, law school, medical school, or even some jobs, standardized tests are often part of the process. They can be intimidating, long, arduous, and confusing, but with some practice, you’ll learn how to overcome any test-taking anxiety and stay focused. Here are a few tips and tricks for going into a test calm and prepared.Read More
This week, our SAT prep tutor Katherine writes on her opinions of the changing landscape of the SAT.
In the past week, I have been forwarded articles regarding the University of Chicago’s decision to no longer require standardized test scores for admission. The accompanying messages ranged from “Have you seen this? Thoughts?!” to “What are YOU going to do?” I am an SAT prep tutor. My bookshelves are lined with every SAT prep book you can imagine, some dog-eared and filled with my own marginal notes: read the questions trickery AGAIN! I have worked with dozens of students on the SAT and more on the ACT. I’ve built a career that at least on the surface focuses on demystifying multiple choice questions for sixteen-year-olds who are sure that they’ll never see anything like this again. What’s the point? University of Chicago agrees with them. However, from my perspective as a tutor, the student’s score on the ACT/SAT —the number that colleges will see— has only ever been the short game; the long game is teaching students how to find patterns and manage time, skills that will put them at a huge advantage once they're in college.Read More
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
Whether you have struggled in your math classes or have excelled so far, to ace the new SAT math section will require putting in additional work. You will need to set aside time to practice for it.
Time is a major factor in the math section, so obtaining the highest score will require more than simply being able to figure out a way to get to the right answer—it will often necessitate being able to identify the quickest way to get there.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
Many students either don’t get the scores that they are hoping for on the reading section or feel like they aren’t reading accurately enough or quickly enough. But how do you improve your reading? Let’s go through some strategies that can help you improve your reading speed and accuracy.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
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