Of course, 25 minutes to write a full-length essay that is also meant to be descriptive, detailed, and persuasive seems a little too much like a Herculean task. They must be joking! They can’t possibly be serious about only giving us 25 minutes to write an essay for the SAT. They must really mean that we are meant to take the 25 minutes to think about an essay plan! I remember the first time I attempted the essay section, it took me the full 25 minutes to write 2 short paragraphs. Nearly every student I’ve met has felt frustration at the short time limit in the SAT writing section. However, there is hope and, similar to every other part of the SAT, the SAT essay can also be conquered with a few easy strategies.
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Each student taking the SAT wonders about what score would be a good one. Is 2100 good? Or would only a perfect 2400 be considered a good score? However, instead of asking what score is a good one, perhaps the more important question is to ask, “Which college do you want to go to?” Different colleges have different SAT score ranges amongst their admitted applicants. Some colleges have an average admitted SAT score of 2250, whereas other colleges have an average admitted SAT score of 1950. There really isn’t one set ‘good’ SAT score. This is the first thing any student must remember.
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Although reading is an ability that seems to come naturally to many of us, the area of reading comprehension always seems to trip us up on the SAT. The passages, albeit not difficult in themselves, suddenly seem to become incredibly hard to decipher during the test. What is the author trying to say? How do I know the author is trying to convey this particular emotion? All of a sudden, reading, or at least critical reading, no longer seems like a walk in the park. You might have realized that critical reading requires a certain way of thinking that is usually unfamiliar to many of us. But fret not, because this unfamiliarity can be overcome with practice!
(Picture source: Sacredheart.org)
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This is the last post in the series of How to Separate the Good from the Bad! But, all of the previous tips mentioned don’t just work without any practice. You will need to consistently remind yourself of them and integrate them until they become automatic processes that are ingrained without your memory. The SAT takes work, but fret not because your hard work can pay off! Now, on to this last tip!
(Picture source: Adrienne Heger)
[Continue reading to find out what the last tip is…]
There are so many tips to help you pick out the right answer from the wrong ones during the SAT. Yet, of course, practice is vitally important to make sure that the lessons learnt from these tips stick! Believe it or not, the SAT reading and writing sections are not indomitable – in fact, with careful reading and understanding of the SAT itself and how the test makers think, you can avoid some of the traps that they set!
This point cannot be emphasized enough. The SAT does not simply test your ability to find pieces of information in a passage, but rather your ability to take it to the next step and understand those pieces of information — the tone, the underlying message, and the language to determine now just what the text is saying, but also how the text is saying it. In part 4 of our series on identifying the right answer from the wrong ones, here are more tips and tricks that you can use on the SAT!
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There are so many ways we can go wrong in picking the right answer on a test. The SAT is especially challenging because so many of the answers seem right, but commonsense tells us that there can really only be one right answer. In addition to the neat tricks from last week, here are some additional tips that will help you to ace the SAT!
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As with any test, the task of separating the good answer from the bad choices is a difficult one. Often, all of the possible answer choices look so similar and more than one seem to be the right choice! Well, this says something similar, but it has an additional part. Is this too extreme of an answer? Hmm I’m not sure whether this is the right answer, but somehow it just feels right… These thoughts have raced through my mind during each SAT test, practice or not, and even today, while taking tests for my classes. But alas, test-taking is simple in that each question is formulated with only one correct answer – or in the SAT’s case, one best answer. Here are some tips and tricks to help you figure out how to separate the good answer from the bad answers in the SAT!
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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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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…]
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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