Practice questions. It is worth paying for a class if you are not self motivated.
This is a subject close to me, as I’ve often provided SAT prep and SAT advice to my students. The best way to prepare for the SAT is by doing tons of real questions, so students are advised to use no other prep materials but those marketed by the College Board (i.e., the big blue books). Why? The College Board repeats the same types of questions over and over again, and it definitely has pet words, topics and geometric shapes!
Self-disciplined students can manage test preparation without outside support from a tutor. Paying for assistance can be useful for students who need someone else to establish a plan, deadlines, and structure for preparation.
A study method worth paying for is one that has proven results. I would say the top 2 things every student should purchase are the College Board’s Official SAT Study Guide and Real ACTs and then depending on whether you prefer private tutoring, a classroom setting, or an online program, opt for something tailored to your needs.
Few letters strung together like “SAT” or “ACT” can conjure up as much fear, anxiety, and dread in a student as these! Students hear the hype about college admissions and think that their very future depends on their SAT or ACT score. In some ways, they are right – but in other ways they are very wrong.
As is the case with anything in life that is worth pursuing, nothing can better prepare a student for college admissions tests better than long term, intensive preparation.
Make a schedule for SAT prep that is included in your nightly homework. Before you launch into a test prep regime, take a complete SAT to determine your areas of strength and weakness. If you can afford it a private tutor may be the best approach to fine tune your skills. Many night programs as public high schools offer a test prep course for much less than some nationally recognized test prep companies. If you are not a test taker then visit fairtest.org for a growing list of competitive schools that are going test optional.
There are lots of ways to prepare for the SAT: self-study, SAT classes, individual tutoring, and combinations of all these methods.
There are lots of ways to prepare for the SAT: self-study, SAT classes online, SAT classes in-person, individual tutoring, and combinations of all these methods.
There is no one right way to prepare for standardized tests, but given the reality of the ever competitive application process, it almost imperative that a prospective applicant undertake some form of test preparation. As to which is best, a lot depends upon a student’s learning style. Some need the formal classroom like approach, while for others a computer program might be the best way to go. Meanwhile, one-on- one tutoring might be best for someone else. The approaches, not to mention the costs, vary widely, but if one wants to compete effectively , it is definitely in their best interests to undertake some kind of advance preparation.
Every tutor I have spoken to has stated that the best way to prepare is through practice. Sign up for the free questions of the day. Purchase a prep book. Take as many exams as possible under test-taking conditions. All of these strategies are cost-conscious ways to prepare for the test and they are effective methods but you have to really be self-motivated. If you know that you will not study then considered taking a prep course.
The best way to study for the SAT is to practice. You can find full length practice tests through the college board website or in their SAT practice book. Take a few timed tests and you will see a difference in your scores. Furthermore, take the PSAT every chance you get. Be careful with expensive prep programs as a number may not deliver on what they promise. I would start with some prep at home and see how you are progressing. Review problems you missed on the PSAT using My College Quickstart and take it from there.
It is important that students simulate the conditions they will encounter on test day. I advise my students to access/purchase several practice tests, set aside approximately four hours each Saturday morning on the weekends leading up to test day, and as much as possible, attempt to complete each section of the practice test in the amount allotted to actual test-takers. This approach to preparation requires a significant investment of time, but it also pays big dividends in the form of higher test scores and better admission prospects. It also saves families money. I genuinely believe with little money (to spend on test prep materials) and a lot of drive, students can maximize their “SAT potential.” That being said, there are a lot of students who benefit from a class or private tutor. For example, students lacking sufficient motivation or who struggle with a particular section often increase their scores after receiving assistance from a test prep professional. Ultimately, students need to honestly assess their willingness and ability to prepare. If students suspect they’ll benefit from additional help, they should pursue affordable options (online course or classroom course) before opting for more intensive (and expensive) interventions, like private tutoring, for example.
The best preparation for the SAT or the ACT is to take challenging courses over the entirety of your high school experience. During your sophomore year the PSAT, offered by the College Board, or PLAN, offered by the American College Testing Program, can be helpful in pointing out areas of strength and areas which need more work. When planning to take either test the best preparation should involve taking practice tests. These are available on line or through bookstores. Take the tests, grade them and work on areas where your scores are not as strong as you would like.
Whether you elect to take a class, hire a tutor or review study books yourself, the single best way to prepare for the SAT is to commit to the preparation of choice. So many students sign up for a class or pledge to work on their own but they do not follow through nor do they provide themselves with test-taking conditions to prepare. It’s worth it to pay for the right class or instruction if you are committed to the assignments and homework. Plan to study for 6-8 weeks leading up to the exam and really focus on the SAT. Summer is a great time to study if you plan to take an early test in the fall.
The SAT has three parts: Critical Reading, Math and Writing. If you’re trying to strengthen the Reading and Writing parts, the best work you can do this summer is to read difficult 19th and very early 20th century British and American literature. You should also be working on vocabulary. Marks Education’s online vocabulary games and quizzes, free for anyone, are the best in the business. Marks Education’s free online vocabulary quizzes and games are located here: http://markseducation.com/onlineresources/index.asp. Finally, if you haven’t already done so, purchase the College Board’s “The Official SAT Study Guide”. This book has 10 actual practice tests that are the closest thing you’ll find to the real test.
If you don’t do anything else this summer to prepare for standardized tests, make time to READ! And I don’t mean Teen Cosmo or Sports Illustrated. Get reading lists from key classes like AP History, Literature, or Language. Even if you’re not taking AP’s, find out what books you’ll be required to read next year. Ask friends who’ve completed the classes or possibly contact your school to borrow some texts. Regardless, reading eases transitions and boosts those scores. But if great works of literature don’t work for the beach, try magazines. Look for journals or read popular culture articles in The New Yorker.
The best way to prepare for the SAT is to get some strategic advice, obtain individualized guidance and take practice tests. Many students take test prep courses which are good for learning about the test, the timing, various sections, and how it is graded. Individualized tutoring help can be most effective because the student’s errors are carefully analyzed so that similar mistakes are not made on the actual test. Online practice tests are the most cost effective and in some cases provide excellent guidance. The E-prep Program is unique in that a video screen appears that explains a student’s mistakes and clarifies the questions. Information and discounted rates are here: http://college-connections.com/online-test-preparation.html
Frugal, yet effective methods I tell my counselees to pursue during the summer are test taking time management strategies, a review of their responses on the PSAT, and read more. Learning how to pace oneself for the exam can eliminate the error of spending too much time on questions that should be skipped; but instead, having sufficient time for questions that are comprehensible. Reasonably priced SAT manuals can be used to take a practice test with self-monitoring. If necessary, ask someone to control the clock for you. Review your PSAT answer summary and correct your incorrect responses. Evaluate obvious problem areas; for example, omitted questions at the end of sections indicate you ran out of time.
For a start, check out Collegeboard.com and join the site. Look for Question of the Day at http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day. Take full practice exams…as many as you can take. Remember: Practice does make perfect. You will see some of the same questions repeat themselves. READ! READ whatever you like and I promise you, your vocabulary and comprehension will grow. If you are a visual learner, a great site to access, to learn vocabulary in a fun and exciting way, is to go to www.vocabvideos.com. As they say, they bring vocabulary to life. My students love this inexpensive tool.
The SAT, which covers critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills, is often the most dreaded part of the college application process; yet, it need not be. The Official SAT Study Guide (TM): Second Edition, published by the makers of the test, is a great resource for the self-directed student. It includes ten full-length practice tests, answer explanations, and tools to figure out your score. Best of all, it costs less going to a movie. If you are unhappy with your scores after taking the real SAT, there’s always the ACT. It may be a better test to demonstrate your strengths.
Test prep can improve your scores on the SAT and ACT. I recommend students use the books published by the College Board and ACT. These are as close to the real tests as you will get. Read how to approach each test and learn the basic test-taking techniques for the SAT and ACT. Take a test each day, time yourself, check your answers and review the questions you missed. You can find affordable, effective test prep in your area by going to Google and typing in “SAT and ACT test prep” and your city.
There are simple, inexpensive ways to prepare for the SATs during these lazy, unscheduled days of summer. First off, begin to read the Editorial/Commentary page of your family’s daily newspaper faithfully. Not only will you force yourself to concentrate on each published piece, but you will also learn something about the larger world. It’s a discipline to focus on each written piece and will help with your concentration during the SAT’s. Another inexpensive way to prepare is to go to your public library to check out test preparation materials. If you cannot borrow or beg others’ preparation materials, you can always go online to Amazon to order used-books. Lastly, write, write, and write about anything.
For the critical reading section of the SAT, there is absolutely no substitute for habitual reading. Students who make a practice of steady reading — newspapers, biographies, mysteries, non-fiction, science fiction, short stories — invariably do better on this portion of the exam than students who only cram for the test. This is not something than can be left for the last minute. Reading should be fun, relaxing, and a treat—if you do some reading on a daily basis (and look up unfamiliar words) you will see a difference in your score.
I get asked this question more often than any other, and it’s very tough to answer! There is no one best approach for everyone, which is why talking to a pro is a good place to start.
Know thyself! That is the key to finding the best test prep for you. If you are amazingly self-motivated, you may be fine with a free online study guide such as number2.com and the College Board question of the day. A social learner? A prep class with others is probably the way to go. Nervous Nellie? I suggest one-on-one tutoring. But remember, the best way to prepare for standardized testing is by doing sample problems – many, many sample problems. If you are counting on osmosis to do the trick, save your money!
As an educator with 18 years’ experience in test prep, I find it promising that you are thinking ahead to the PSAT and SAT! That’s good news—no matter what approach you take, your effort will be the key to a strong test score. Official College Board questions should be the foundation of any study plan; I like The Official SAT Study Guide and the online “SAT Question of the Day.” Then, supplement with a strategy guidebook from the library or bookstore. And if you have the budget, ask around to get recommendations for effective prep classes or private tutoring.
College entrance exams are controversial. Some perceive entrance exams as unfair and view test preparation as a waste of precious time. But, while many may debate the ability of entrance exams to predict college success and question the fairness of tests that have been shown to favor those in higher socioeconomic groups, the fact is that most colleges and universities continue to consider SAT and ACT scores as part of the admissions package and there’s not much you can do to change that. So, now what?
‘Retired’ tests are actual tests that were used in the past and are now available online. Students should duplicate the setting as much as possible- time the test and take it all in one setting. Retired SATs are available from the www.collegeboard.com store. The SAT and ACT now both allow students to choose which test sitting and scores are sent to colleges so there is little risk to taking the tests several times. Students can raise the scores by studying using free online help. Students who need to raise the scores significantly should seek out test prep programs or private tutors.
The type of prep to do over the summer depends on what you have done up to this point and the grade you will enter next year. For a junior, it is best to use the summer to self prep. Two resources that I recommend are www.number2.com (free online test prep) and the book Princeton Review Cracking the SAT. For a senior, if they have not done so already, an SAT preparation class can do the trick (ask around locally for recommendations). If a class was taken earlier in junior year then drilling on what was learned is what is likely needed. A good source for practice tests is the book The Official SAT Study Guide by College Board.
I recommend that students buy the official test guide from the College Board which has 10 actual old tests. Take those practice tests and when you grade your test, pay particular attention to those questions you get wrong. Try to understand the concept behind the question. While the questions are different on each test, the concepts stay the same. If you can understand the concepts you are getting wrong, when you take the actual test, you will hopefully get those concepts right.
Do as many free diagnostic tests as possible (outside of your home) to simulate the real SAT experience. Taking the tests more than once benefits many students as senior year is when students’ scores peak. Classes and private tutors can help; many tutors work with small groups to save costs. For those whose critical reading scores need to rise: read, read, read. The Scarlet Letter is the best book around to develop your SAT vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. For those for whom testing is a challenge: go to fairtest.org to find great colleges that do not require test scores.
Understanding the testing format and having a personal strategy in place before testing are essential. The College Board has developed an extensive tool in Quick Start which personalizes the practice plan based on your pattern of answers on your PSAT. Skills Insight requires the student to be self-motivated. For a structured approach, I recommend using a tutor who can tailor the practice to your specific needs. If this is too costly, then take an online course. Decide what’s best for you and remember to take both the ACT and SAT. Colleges will accept either and some will even superscore – using the best sections from different test dates.
If you are a senior and haven’t taken the SAT yet, don’t despair; you have three chances in the fall: October, November and December. Disciplined, independent learners will want to buy The Official SAT Study Guide from the makers of the SAT or sign up for The Official SAT Online Course, an interactive approach to studying. Both are excellent value for the money. Another terrific SAT prep site that’s absolutely free is www.number2.com. If, on the other hand, you tend to procrastinate or need a little push, then working with a tutor during August and September makes the most sense.
There are many ways to prepare for the SAT:
Study on your own
Take a test prep course (such as Kaplan)
Hire a private tutor
Chinese students normally spend large amount of time to prep for the SAT exam. they achieved higher score but also penalized for having higher score in general. I believe students and families should consider individual approach to prepre and study for the exam. not all students need prep class and study skill will improve the test itself grealy if implemented as part of the overrall plan.
1) Read a lot of books! Visit your local library to borrow books. Look up every word you are not familiar with and then learn all you can about it. 2) For 4 weeks this summer, set aside 90 minutes each week to prepare. Here are some links to some free downloadable timers to help you stay on task: http://appsapps.info/instantboss.php; http://ticktocktimer.com/; http://timeleft.software.informer.com/; http://e.ggtimer.com/. 3) Examples of free SAT study tool websites: http://www.inlikeme.com/test/preparing-sat-and-act.html; http://sat.collegeboard.org/home; http://www.number2.com/.
Three things come to keep in mind. One is to work through every problem on your old PSAT test booklet, and then use the College Board resources online to see where you need help. The second is to create a Twitter account and start following test prep tweets. I recently discovered a couple of brilliant resources: @PWNtheSAT and @The_YUNiversity. The third is to check out the apps available on your smart phone. Again, lots of options for math and vocabulary and even test prep itself. Also, check out Debbie Stier’s site http://perfectscoreproject.com It’s one mother’s quest to take the SAT until she gets all 800s!
There are a variety of methods to review for the SAT and ACT exams, and studies have shown that even familiarity with the test can lead to higher scores. You can prepare for standardized tests with computer programs, websites, review books, short or long-term courses, or private tutors. For many students, the greatest barrier to preparation is their own busy schedule. It’s easy to find other commitments that take a priority over studying for the test. Regardless of the preparation method you choose, schedule the time for your preparation and stick with it!
Before investing in any expensive SAT program, students may want to consider a self-study program first. One on-line program that I recommend is ineedapencil.com. The practice questions offered through this site can provide students with an understanding of what the SAT is testing and which questions require more of their attention. If students try this method first and find that they are unable to commit to a regular practice schedule, then it’s time to find a local class that offers a small class size and individual attention on test-taking tips and content sections where more support is needed.
We recommend that students take their college entrance exam in April of their junior year. If you decide you want to take the test a second time to improve your score, we have found that the greatest gains have occurred by taking the test again in June when the test experience is still fresh in your mind. The one exception is for students with English language barriers who tend to do better retaking the test later (October of their senior year, ideally). This gives you the benefit of several extra months of speaking, reading and writing in English.
The best ways to prepare for the SAT are to understand the derivations of words (prefixes, suffixes, context clues, synonyms, analogies, etc.) in context through reading and practice (using study guides, etc.). My personal thought regarding paying for SAT Prep courses is up to the person and depends heavily on your learning style, I believe that there are many tools available for a person to study independently or online, but if you need a classroom environment you must choose the best approach for you.
It’s important to take the PSAT. Development of good study habits, time management, organization, and an overall focus in academics will help students to succeed. Tutoring and study groups are often advantageous.
Paying for a private tutor will often yield a high return on investment. You will be admitted to more schools and earn more merit aid.
Review old exams and either take a group course or get 1 on 1 tutoring.
One of the best ways to prepare is to be sure you are taking numerous practice tests along the way. Whether you prep on your own, or with a tutor, you want to get yourself into the habit of practice that will be like the real thing. That means setting the timer and taking the equivalent of a full section without interruption. In addition to getting more experience on the problems, you will start to feel more comfortable with the pacing and timing.
Make a calendar and start early.
The PSAT can be taken as early as freshman year. Students can start taking the SAT as early as sophomore year. Map out a plan by looking at the College Board’s test dates, and then check your academic calendar and extracurricular schedule. Don’t take the SAT the same week as your midterms. Next, plot out a week-by-week schedule where you review a lesson on a specific topic each week and do targeted practice in Math, Reading and Writing.
The best way to study is entirely dependent on your learning style. Once that is determined then specific methods are more important and a better use of your mom and dad’s money than others. Either way, having a credentialed teacher who is well-versed in differentiating education would be the best choice.
Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.
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