Posted: Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 | Filed under: SAT exam, SAT prep, SAT strategy | author: By Teddy Bergman
Posted: Friday, June 24th, 2011 | Filed under: SAT exam, SAT prep, SAT strategy | author: By Teddy Bergman
What should I do in the last days leading up to the SAT Test?
There’s a lot of information out there about what special activities you should do in the days leading up to the taking the SAT to maximize your score. Some of these tips can prove useful; a lot of them however lie in the realm of pseudoscience. Although listening to Mozart when you sleep may prove lovely and restful, zero evidence substantiates the claim that it will boost your score. Here we’ve compiled some facts that we find to be useful and simple. They can help you stay calm, healthy, and focused in the week leading up to your SAT Test date.
First of all, on the night before the night before the SAT Test date (yes, two days before) – get a good night’s sleep. Statistics show that getting a good night’s sleep on this night has a significant impact on how you feel the morning of the test. Get to bed by 11 pm, or whatever reasonable time will afford you at least eight hours of rest.
On the day before taking the SAT – go out and have fun. Unless you started preparing for the SAT that week, you probably shouldn’t do too much work, if any. You want to keep your mind relaxed and your stress level down. This doesn’t mean you should go out and have a crazy night either, not by any means. Grab dinner with friends, see a movie, or take in a concert. Do something relaxing that will allow you the opportunity to get another good night’s sleep.
Lastly, on the day of the SAT exam, consider doing a little warm-up before leaving for the test center. This exercise can prove especially effective for students who find themselves to be slow starters on exams. While you eat breakfast, run through a couple medium difficulty SAT problems. Nothing too taxing, just do what you might consider the mental equivalent of a light jog. This gets the brain working and allows you to hit the ground running when you see the first question on the actual SAT.
Posted: Monday, June 20th, 2011 | Filed under: SAT exam, SAT prep, SAT scoring, SAT strategy | author: By Teddy Bergman
What are the things I should or should not be doing in the week before the SAT Test?
One of the most frequently asked questions at CATES about SAT Testing has to do with final preparation. Students often seem curious about whether there’s some final trick or key to success that one can deploy in that final week. The simple answer, of course, is no. No substitute for ongoing work and a sustained effort at mastering SAT Testing yet exists. However, consider the following tasks and thoughts as things you can work on in the final week.
First of all, pick a goal for the week. What particular aspect of the SAT Test preparation generally proves a sticking point for you? Focus on that issue. You should pick your battles in the final week. Do you want to improve your grasp of sentence completions? Grid-ins? Gather some more details to pepper into your SAT essay? Whatever the issue that seems the most pressing, seize it.
Make time to do the work. Before you begin the week, identify your free time and be focused with it. Create a schedule for your SAT workweek. If you have a free period on Monday, spend it researching more quotations from the Great Gatsby to really knock your SAT Essay out of the park. If you get home early on a Thursday, plan to do one section of sentence completions. Be ordered about your work and plan ahead.
Finally, write out on an index card any last minute reminders or important tips you want to be sure you have on the brain when you walk into the SAT Exam on Saturday. This card represents your final piece of studying; keep it with you, glance at it a few times a day, and when you get to the SAT Testing room on Saturday, tear it up and go get the score you want!
Posted: Thursday, June 16th, 2011 | Filed under: SAT exam, SAT prep, SAT scoring, SAT strategy | author: By Teddy Bergman
How can I find ways to give myself more time on a standard SAT Test?
As we discussed in our last blog post, time management represents one of the most challenging aspects of SAT Testing. Everybody works at a different pace, but the SA T and ACT exams have set standardized time schedules that can upset the work of even the most able and diligent test taker.
There’s no need to feel helpless in the face of the time strictures of SAT and ACT Testing. Ways to expand time and tailor these standardized exams exist and give you an optimal shot at reaching your target test score. First, assess how many questions you need to answer on either the SAT or ACT Test to give yourself a shot at reaching your target score. Once you’ve calculated that number, you’re on your way.
Armed with the knowledge of how many questions you have to answer on each given section of the SAT or ACT Exam, you can focus your attention on those questions alone. Say you need to answer the first 10 math questions in a section of 20, but only 5 of the next 10 questions in order to reach your goal on the SAT or ACT Test. By only focusing on the first 15 questions, you have bought yourself the time you would be spending with those final 5 questions to devote to the rest of the section.
This technique can prove invaluable for students with concrete and achievable SAT or ACT target scores. These students actually gain the benefit of extra minutes without the hassle of going through the process of getting “extended time.”
Posted: Monday, June 13th, 2011 | Filed under: SAT exam, SAT grading, SAT scoring, SAT strategy | author: By Teddy Bergman
What is the best way to keep track of time on the SAT Test?
Successful time management represents one of the most crucial components of mastering the SAT and ACT Exams. These standardized tests allocate certain amounts of time for each section, and staying within those bounds can often prove very challenging. Many students, fully equipped with the knowledge and ability to score brilliantly on these standardized exams, falter because they run out of time and/or rush through questions.
We recommend a number of concrete strategies to effectively “beat the clock” on the SAT and ACT exams at CATES (one of which we’ll go into depth on in the next blog post). These include reordering questions, skipping problems, and tailoring your test. In the end though, time really represents a psychological obstacle for students. The feeling of time ticking away can weigh on the mind of the standardized test taker, and make focusing very difficult.
To deal with this anxiety, try and alter your perspective on time in the SAT and ACT tests. Some people really flourish when they think about the clock counting down. The SAT and ACT exams become like a playoff game, and the adrenaline really gets you going. Other people do better conceiving of time as counting up – progressing in an orderly fashion to the end of each section. The test itself takes on the feeling of clockwork.
Which approach fits for you? Try both out and see which one calms you down and keeps you moving. No right way to do it exists, only the way that works best for you to achieve your goals on the SAT and ACT tests.
What is your bubbling strategy on the SAT Test?
Filling out your answers on the SAT exam represents a chore all its own. The College Board uses a bubble sheet so that a computer can grade the exams quickly, easily, and accurately, but this doesn’t make it any easier on you.
Many students, staring at a page in the middle of the SAT exam with the clock ticking, feel a strong temptation to simply select the correct answer in the SAT Test booklet and move on. While you can certainly do this, it leaves you faced with the question of how and when to take these answers and record them in the SAT Test bubble sheet. You may have nailed a 2400 in your SAT exam booklet, but unless you’ve fully and correctly filled out the bubble sheet, no one will ever know.
One approach: simply bubble the answer to each question directly after you have finished the question. This strategy, by cutting out the lag time between answering and bubbling, ensures that you don’t forget to bubble. However, some people find that this approach breaks up the flow of their thoughts while taking the SAT exam. Some students prefer to fill out the answers to the questions they’ve completed page by page, or question type by question type.
Though there’s obviously no single correct way to do it, you may find that there exists a certain right way for you, tailored to your needs as a test-taker. You want to find a balance between the method that keeps you in the test taking groove, conserves time, and also ensures that you correctly bubble each answer. No one wants to face the nightmare scenario, in which you get an SAT Test question correct and then lose a quarter point by bubbling incorrectly. Use trial and error, find the method that suits you, and go into the SAT exam ready to employ it.