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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Of the three SAT sections – reading, writing, and math – the math section is perhaps the easiest section that one can prepare for and perhaps the only section that one can prepare completely for. The majority of math problems tested are not advanced level math and require a certain basic knowledge of the topic. Yet, the SAT math section can often be intimidating for many students because although the material rarely exceeds what they have learnt in school, the presentation and format of questions are usually different. The method of scoring is also very different – committing a computational error will not earn you any partial credit.
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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)
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We have gone through multiple tips to help you to pick the right answer and avoid the wrong ones. Yet, there may come some points in the test when you just can’t figure out the right answer, even with all the tricks that you’ve learnt! Well, do not despair. This trick is perhaps the most important one and can be used in conjunction with the rest of the other tips you have learnt! Do not panic if you cannot figure out right away which is the right answer and which are the wrong answers – this happens to everyone at some point. Stay calm and think through what you can do.
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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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This is Part 3 of “How to Separate the Good from the Bad”! In the past two weeks, we’ve seen how there are many subtle tricks and tips that can help one eliminate the wrong answers and increase her chances of picking the right answer! This week’s section focuses on how to avoid the wrong answers.
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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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