What is “rapid-fire learning”, and how does it apply to SAT preparation?

January 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Posted in SAT Advice | Leave a comment

“Rapid-fire learning” is a term we use at Perfect800 to describe the learning style we are trying to facilitate. As students, recent students, and teachers, we believe that the traditional learning model is changing to fit the “information now” culture of today’s society. Especially when it comes to test prep, we believe that students are growing tired of 45 minute lectures that teach them things they already know, or gloss over things they don’t quite understand. It doesn’t make sense to us that all students should have to learn the same material at the same pace when every student has different needs.

Furthermore, we don’t believe in “concept check” type questions that will never appear on an actual exam. As students who have aced tests our entire lives, we know that the most efficient way to prepare for any exam is to practice challenging exam questions. Therefore, we call the practice of quickly and efficiently going through exam questions “rapid-fire learning.” In our opinion, this is the fastest way to increase your test score, no matter what the exam. Using this philosophy, we built Perfect800.com – a Website designed to confront students with the very challenges they will face on exam day ahead of time. Because all of our questions are constructed by thoroughly studying real SAT questions, our content accurately reflects questions you may see on the real SAT. Attempting these questions beforehand and going through the methodology to solve them will assuredly give you a huge advantage over your peers.

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Can my SAT score compensate for my high school grades?

January 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Posted in College Admissions, General SAT | Leave a comment

Absolutely the SAT can help compensate for sub-par performance in high school. Although some elite schools (think Harvard, Yale, Stanford) will want to see stellar performance in both high school and on the SAT, the SAT can go a long way towards convincing admissions officers of your potential. Furthermore, every high school has different standards for achieving grades, so the quality of the courses you took and the quality of the high school you attended will make an impact as well. The SAT stands alone as the only admissions criteria that is standardized across all students, no matter what their background, and for this reason it is given a lot of weight in admissions decisions.

Additionally, it is better if there are certain periods of your high school experience where you had significantly poorer performance than the rest, that you can explain because of some issue you were going through at the time. This can be anything from an illness in the family, divorce, or simply not being mature enough to try your best in school (this works best if you were a freshman when you got your worst grades). Of course, it is better if your grades have been consistently good throughout your high school career, but temporary periods of sub-par academic performance can be explained away more convincingly with a top notch SAT score.

How much time do I need to study for the SAT?

January 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Posted in SAT Advice | Leave a comment

There is no “magic” number of hours that will guarantee you success on the SAT. Every student is different, and therefore every student has different needs when it comes to preparing for the most important exam of their lives. In order to determine how much you should study however, there are a few things you can do.

First, take a practice exam (you can find a SAT Math diagnostic on Perfect800, or you can use a full length exam from the College Board’s Blue Book) and score yourself. Then, compare your score with the median (50th percentile) SAT score of those admitted to your choice schools in previous years. This will give you a sense of where you stand in comparison to the “average” student admitted to your school. No matter where you stand in relation to these scores, you will likely want to improve your score to increase your chances of admittance. At Perfect800, we recommend practicing SAT questions daily for a few months leading up to the exam. Pay special attention to those questions you miss, and if possible, revisit these questions as the exam date gets nearer (On Perfect800, we automatically save all questions you missed previously).

Obviously, the more time you spend preparing for the exam, the better off you will be going in, but some methods of preparation are definitely recommended above others. For example, while it can be helpful to listen to (or read) someone else’s opinions on the exam, the time isn’t as valuable as time spent practicing test questions. In all reality, becoming “good” at the SAT isn’t much different from becoming “good” at anything else – it requires lots of practice and hard work. For a free SAT Math diagnostic exam, simply sign up for Perfect800 then go to “Serious Mode.” Good luck in your studies!

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