How to get a high score on the SAT?

May 23, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Posted in SAT Advice | Leave a comment

The answer to this might surprise you.  Although a lot of corporations would like for you to believe that you need an expensive, lengthy class a couple of times a week for a few months, this isn’t the case.  In fact, in our experience as tutors in prior lives, we can tell you that these classes can be very inefficient.  The pace of the class is dictated by the instructor, who cannot go beyond the pace of the slowest student and cannot adapt lesson plans to individual learning styles.  Every question that the slowest student needs covered is thoroughly explained to the most minute detail, while students who already understand how to get the correct answer become incredibly bored.  This problem occurs in every SAT class as it is impossible to have a class of students who will all understand the same questions to the same level.   Everyone has different questions and issues they struggle with.

One way to get around this inefficiency / boredom issue is to hire a private tutor.  However, going this route can be incredibly expensive for the parents of those students, and quite honestly there is only so much someone can teach you in a period of a couple of hours. And even then, the tutor must decide to allocate time to tutoring the student on content or test taking strategies.  Unless you are willing to spend a fortune, it is difficult to get enough private tutoring to be fully prepared for the exam.

Our experience in working with students has led to the understanding that the SAT is constructed of a whole bunch of questions with ‘trick’ answers.  Basically the creator of the exam needed a way to weed out all students from getting the right answer, so they constructed each question with answer choices that you would arrive at after making a mistake.

This brought us to the realization that the key to scoring well on the exam is to become familiar with the tricks that the exam uses to induce mistakes (the SAT uses the same tricks over and over…).  Of course you need a basis of knowledge to be able to compute the correct answer in the first place, but most high school students taking this exam are far beyond SAT Math (doesn’t go beyond basic algebra and geometry) in their current math classes.

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