October 18th, 2011

Ah, the SAT. No matter where you live, where you go to school, or what kind of grades you get, the SAT is an experience that bonds American students of all ages. It’s changed over the years, but the idea is the same: find a way to accurately gauge a student’s level of education through completely standardized means. Now, whether it’s an effective gauge is another debate entirely. What matters to you is how well you do on the test. And that’s what we’re here to help with.

First of all, you should understand what you’re getting into. The SAT is divided into three sections: Math, Writing, and Critical Reading. The Math section covers nearly everything you’ll learn in the first two years of High School, plus a little bit of Junior year. Basically, expect to be tested on all of Algebra and Geometry. Not to worry, though; nothing from Trig or beyond will be on the test. The Critical Reading section involves two main parts. First is Reading Passages, in which you’ll be given passages to read (duh.) and will have to answer questions based on the content of the reading. Second is the Fill-In-The-Blank section, where you’ll have to school SAT vocabulary words to complete sentences, based on context. Last but not least, there’s the Writing section. This begins with an essay, followed by MORE reading paragraphs (now based more on grammar and sentence structure than content), and correcting sentence errors.

The test runs just under four hours. This involves 6 25 minute sections (two from each subject, including the essay), two 20 minute sections, and one ten minute sections. You’ll receive breaks after each two sections (3 breaks total).

NOW, how do you prepare? This is going to sound weird, but studying the material is NOT the biggest way to prepare (but still important). What we do here in our SAT Prep Courses is teach you STRATEGY. We teach you how to solve any problem, and how to do it in a quick and efficient manner (which, on a timed test, is priority one). We’ll teach you when to skip a question, when to guess, how to mark up a paragraph, and how to write a proper essay that the graders will love. We’ll show you how to raise that grade.

SO, this is how to do it. Come in for a free diagnostic. This let’s us see what level you’re at. Then, sign up for either our group classes, or private SAT tutoring sessions. This is dependent entirely on you, and how you learn best. Either way, we’re gonna work hard to make sure you know what you’re doing when that SAT rolls along.

The Big SAT Benefits of Simply Reading

March 2nd, 2011

It amazes me how many students I talk to these days who admit to not reading regularly or skimming their assigned reading. It’s a lot!! The shame is that these same kids complain how many vocabulary words they need to know for the SAT’s, and how many flashcards they need to make. Making flashcards is a very effective way to increase your vocab, but it’s not the best. Simple regular reading is by far the most effective way for anyone to build their vocabulary.
Reading exposes us to many words we don’t commonly use in everyday life, many of which end up being used in the SAT’s. Sometimes we look up the definition of these new words, other times we are able to grasp the meaning on our own; either way we increase our vocabulary. Not only are we just exposed to new words while reading, we see get to see them in context. Personally, it’s much easier to remember what a word means by seeing used in a sentence, compared to memorizing dictionary definitions.
I tell every student I see to try and read at least 20 minutes a day. Whether it is the newest Harry Potter, sports magazine, newspaper, or internet article, the simple act of reading goes a long way in preparing for the SAT’s.