During the SAT, each section is only given about 20 to 25 minutes. Reading fast is thus a definite advantage. How much more of the text could you read and absorb to answer each question in that one minute? A friend once told me, “I always ran out of time on the SAT practice tests. I would worry about understanding everything before tackling the questions, especially in the reading comprehension section. As a result, I didn’t have enough time to really think through and answer the questions as well I could have if I had had more time.” In the reading comprehension section especially, one key skill would be to speed read.
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Does the test location even matter? I remember looking over all the possible SAT locations and wondering which location would be best to take the test. Would it be quiet or noisy? Would there be a lot of kids I knew there? Would that be a distraction? A multitude of thoughts ran through my mind. And after taking the SAT test and SAT subject tests in different locations, I can claim that the location definitely matters.
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The new SAT has sparked a furious debate on whether these changes are good or bad for upcoming high school students. Many people are disgruntled with the SAT College Board not because of these changes, but because the College Board has shown its lack of clarity and irrelevance in crafting the old SAT in the first place. For example, the essay portion, which was added in 2005 with great enthusiasm as being an integral component of the exam is now made optional and no longer heralded as crucial. The multiple thousand vocabulary words that every high school student stressed out over is now promoted as an unnecessary part of the SAT. They have also removed the previous scoring system of deducting a quarter point for every wrong answer to multiple-choice questions.
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Almost every student’s least favorite part of studying for the SAT is memorizing vocabulary. I know that was the worst part of my SAT preparation for sure. However, as mentioned in the previous post, the SAT vocabulary is an important part and cannot be neglected! Here, I will go through some quick tricks and tips to help you minimize the tediousness and ace the SAT vocabulary!
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How am I ever going to finish memorizing these 1000 vocabulary words for the SAT?Is this even important for the SAT??? The SAT vocabulary used to be a large part of SAT prep. After all, if you could confidently memorize all those SAT words, you could have a perfect score on the SAT vocabulary section. Yet, nowadays, with analogies and antonyms gone from the SAT, studying for the SAT vocabulary only become directly important for the Sentence Completion part under Critical Reading. It seems that vocabulary has become less important in the SAT.
[Continue reading to find out whether studying SAT vocabulary is important…]
I’ve often heard things like, “Oh man…I missed my target score of 2300 by 20 points, should I retake the SAT to get the score I want?” or “The second time I took the SAT, my score improved by 50 points, should I try taking the SAT a third time?” Some students believe that they have nothing to lose by taking the SAT multiple times until they have achieved their ideal score, or gotten too tired of it. Yet, aside from the 4 hours each time you take the test, registration fees, and emotional and mental health, there are other factors why there is a limit to how many times you should take the SAT.
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I remember that one of the biggest challenges I faced when tackling the SAT essay was having a wide variety of examples at my fingertips. Although the SAT essay is intended to measure your writing and argumentative skills, and not your knowledge of any particular subject, it is necessary to use good examples in your SAT essay to create a persuasive argument. Many of the essay prompts given on the SAT tend to be open-ended questions with multiple perspectives one can take. Almost all of these essay prompts deal with basic moral, social and psychological issues such as the meaning of freedom or courage.
[Continue reading to find out how to develop useful SAT essay examples…]
Often, the biggest challenge of the SAT essay isn’t poor writing, but coming up with relevant and good examples within the short 25 minutes that you are given for the essay section. Someone told me that during her SAT test, she panicked after reading the prompt because no good example came to her mind and so she made up an example using her “cat”. After the test, she realized that her example had been really far-fetched and its link to the prompt hadn’t been the most relevant. She realized that one key thing she should have prepared for was good SAT essay examples.
[Continue reading to find out what to avoid when writing your essay…]
There are a lot of misconceptions about using a calculator during the SAT. Students often wonder, is it better to use a really high-tech calculator? Or will my simple scientific calculator do the job? Will a calculator really improve my SAT score? The first important thing to note is that every mathematics question on the SAT can be solved without a calculator. So if you are unfamiliar with using a calculator during math tests, don’t try to force the issue during the SAT. Just solve those math problems the same way you’ve been doing them. Additionally, although using a calculator will not improve your SAT score, using a calculator may be helpful for some questions and also help you check your solutions more quickly.
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Preparation is key to any test, right? So all the prep I’ve been doing for my SATs must be helping me somehow, right? This is actually untrue! Although preparation is important for the SATs, there are actually mistakes we can make and things we should not do to prepare for the SATs.
[Continue reading to find out what these 6 SAT prep mistakes are…]