The Value of the SAT

Everyone knows that the SAT is important, but in recent years, its value has only increased. Close to 1.6 million students graduating from high school in 2010 took the SAT, this is a higher percentage of graduates than ever before. Minority participation in the SAT is also up compared to past years. The SAT is increasingly becoming an assumed part of the high school to college transition and can be a valuable resource for college admissions.

Studies have revealed that performance on the SAT is an excellent predictor of college readiness. High school grade point average and SAT scores are of equal value in predicting students’ first year college grade point average. By looking at the combination of the two, colleges can get a fairly accurate reading of how prepared a student is for college coursework.

While having a strong knowledge base from high school classes is certainly part of good SAT scores and being prepared for the college, the SAT tests a lot more than that. By taking time to study for the SAT through SAT prep and online classes, students can demonstrate their ability to prepare for a big test and retain information. These are skills that will continue to serve students well in college and contribute to better grades and a higher likelihood that they will finish college.

SAT scores matter, now more than ever, and college admissions offices will be looking at them for a glimpse into how well a student will handle college-level work and how well students can budget their time, follow directions, and prepare material for a test.

In 2010, 80.8% of the students graduating who took the SAT also took the PSAT. The PSAT can provide an opportunity for students to see how the test day will work so that they feel comfortable for the SAT. PSAT scores are also a good way to get a better idea of which areas of the test will need the most work during SAT prep.

The College Board anticipates that upcoming studies will reveal the impact that SAT scores have on college performance after the first year and college retention for all four years. This is valuable information that can be gleamed from test performance early in student’s academic careers.

Getting Back on Track After the Holidays

Going back to school after having time off for the holidays can be a tough readjustment for many students. Going back to the school day schedule and back to responsibilities like homework and SAT preparation can be overwhelming after vacation. A few simple tricks can help you to better segue way back into your routine.

Readjust Your Time
Try not to get too far off your normal sleep schedule over winter break. This means trying to wake up no more than an hour later than you normally would for school. Keeping yourself close to your routine will prevent the shock to your system when you have to start waking up at your normal time again. If you do get off schedule, start the transition a couple days before you go back to school, waking up a little earlier each day to help you adjust to the hour.

Think Through Your Schedule
It’s smart to spend some time working out a schedule while you’re on break and have some extra free time. Map out your planner for the next few months, setting goals and filling in all of your information. If you use a calendar on your computer and one on the wall or in a planner, be sure they are all up to date. Take an afternoon to clean your room, clean out your backpack, and organize your school files. This will help you to go back to your school routine feeling prepared for another semester.

Cross Some Things Off Your List
Whether its finally finishing up the last of your college applications or getting through some extra SAT prep work, winter break can be a time to get ahead of schedule. Having some things checked off your to-do list will make the transition back to the school day a lot easier. Plus the extra time is a great way to devote extra hours to your study plan. Anything you can do over break to help relieve some stress later on is well worth the time and effort.

Plan Some Fun
Make plans to get together with friends the first weekend after you go back to school or plan a shopping trip or dinner for one night during the first week. Having some things to look forward to in that first week back to school will make the last few days of break a lot less painful. You can focus on schoolwork again while knowing you have fun things planned on the horizon.

Junior Year SAT Prep Plan

Junior year is often the most busy and challenging year of high school. Many juniors have the most rigorous class schedule that they have had so far in their academic career. They are also balancing leadership positions in extracurricular activities, choices about colleges, and responsibilities both inside and outside of the classroom.

This is also the best year for students to get serious about SAT preparation. Juniors should plan out their schedule well in advance to allow plenty of time to study for the SAT and plan to take the test multiple times during the year.

Juniors have the luxury of plenty of time for preparation. They can take the test as many times as possible without worrying about deadlines for college applications. Juniors can space out the tests throughout the year so that they are able to study and focus on trouble areas in between taking the test. Many students will enjoy having the extra time to study and knowing that they are well prepared and even ahead of schedule on their SAT preparation.

Many high school seniors will have college applications due in November of their senior year. With many students opting to apply early decision to a college, applications are often due sooner than ever before. For these students, it is important to have their final SAT scores done by early in the fall.

Juniors can take an online SAT course that will allow them to study on their own schedule and work at a pace that feels right for them. With each SAT practice test, students will feel more comfortable with the format of the SAT and the material that they will need to know for the test.

Having SAT scores before senior year gives students a lot of relief and flexibility. They can focus entirely on preparing their college applications and choosing the right school without lingering questions about their SAT scores. Having SAT scores in hand will also ensure that students are applying to the right schools and choosing safety schools that are best suited to their performance on the SAT.

Junior year is a time to work hard and build strong time management and study skills. Solid efforts junior year will allow students to breathe a sigh of relief and enter senior year feeling prepared to complete the college application process.

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Your High School Junior Year SAT Test Prep Plan

Junior year can be a challenging year for high school students. Many students will be taking challenging courses, making plans to visit colleges and make decisions about the future, and keeping a strong GPA for their college applications. Junior year is also the time to focus on SAT prep.

Juniors should begin preparing for the SAT as soon as possible so that the process doesn’t have to be rushed. For most students, SAT test prep will involve an online course or traditional class, plenty of practice tests, and time spent studying material for the test.

High school students can choose to take the SAT as many times as they want. For this reason, students may want to take the SAT for the first time in the fall of junior year so that they have plenty of time to take the test again in the winter or spring. It can be smart to use the summer before junior year for SAT test prep and focusing on what you will need to study while preparing for the SAT.

While you can continue to take the SAT during senior year, most students will prefer to complete the test during junior year. This will allow seniors in high school to turn their attention to college applications and making decisions about where they will be going to college. Students will also want to have their final scores before they begin sending out their college applications.

Once you receive your first SAT scores, you will need to decide whether you will want to take the test again to improve your scores. Colleges will accept the highest reading score, highest verbal score, and highest math score and combine them to find your final total SAT score. Due to this scoring system, there is no disadvantage to taking the SAT multiple times to improve your score.

Additional SAT prep after taking the test once can help you to focus on trouble areas that revealed themselves during the test and to increase study time on the subjects that need the most improvement. Developing a realistic plan to prepare for the SAT will help you to approach junior year with confidence. Carrying out your plan will help you to enter senior year with your best possible SAT scores.

Prepping for the SAT in San Diego, CA

There are many options available to high school students who are preparing for the SAT in San Diego, California. All high school students want to do the best that they can on their SAT and test prep is essential to making that happen. San Diego tutoring programs and test prep programs offer great ways for students to study the material for the SAT, familiarize themselves with the sections of the test and take practice tests before they face the SAT.

It is best to begin your test prep program early in order to get the most out of any program and feel in control of your study schedule. Many students choose to begin preparing for the SAT and finding a San Diego tutor during the summer when they will have less hectic academic schedules and be able to focus almost exclusively on the SAT. Other students find that preparing after school and on weekends provides plenty of time for test prep.

Finding a local San Diego tutor can be a great first step in the SAT prep process. One on one tutoring will give high school students the individualized attention that can help them to best prepare for test day. A trained tutor will help students to identify their challenge areas on the test, work at their own pace, and develop a comprehensive study schedule and SAT strategy. San Diego tutoring centers are prepared to help students select the San Diego test prep program that is the best match for their schedule and goals. Some high schools will also provide students with resources to find the best test prep programs and tutoring to meet their needs.

An online San Diego test prep program will give students the flexibility to complete the SAT prep program on their own schedule. This is a great option for busy students who might struggle to find time for an SAT prep class or a schedule of tutoring sessions. B Line Test Prep is one San Diego test prep company that provides test prep services 24 hours a day to accommodate any student’s schedule.

With a little research, San Diego high school students will have no trouble finding a test prep program that is suited to their schedule as they prepare to take the SAT. Focus, organization, and preparation will help students reach test day prepared, calm, and ready to do their best work.

SAT Critical Reading Tips

The SAT critical reading section is designed to test students’ abilities to read and understand material. There are important skills that can help students approach the critical reading section with smart work skills. For this reason, a solid SAT prep program is essential to performing well on this section of the SAT.

The critical reading section is made up of 67 questions total. Of these, 48 are passage-based reading multiple choice and 19 are sentence completion. The questions are broken down into two 25 minute sections and one 20 minute section. The critical reading section is scored on a 200 to 800 point scale that will make up one-third of the total SAT score.

The passage based reading section asks students to read both short and long passages and answer a series of multiple choice questions about the material. The goal of this section is to test reading comprehension. Many students choose to read over the questions first to get a sense of what is important. After reading the questions, go back and carefully read the passage.

It is important to remember that the questions about each passage in this section are arranged not by difficulty, but in chronological order. This means it is best to work in the order that the questions are given so that it is easier to isolate the appropriate section of the passage for reference. One of the sections is a duel-passage section that will require students to read two passages and answer questions about each individually and some that reference both sections. It is typically best to answer the separate questions about each passage first and then begin the ones that will require knowledge of both.

The sentence completion section presents students with an incomplete sentence that they will need to fill in with the appropriate word. There may only be one blank word in the sentence or there may be two that need to be filled in.

While having a strong vocabulary will certainly help in this section, it is just as important to read carefully and be sure that you understand the sentence. If you don’t immediately know the answer, see if you can eliminate possible answers until one becomes the clear choice. It is also a good idea to read the sentence to yourself with the word filled in to be certain that it makes sense.

Time management is an important factor in the critical reading section. It is crucial to read both carefully and quickly in order to answer the questions in the allotted time. A solid SAT preparation program will help students get comfortable with the format so that they can relax and do their best on test day.

Taking practice tests during your SAT test prep is one of the best ways to prepare for the critical reading section. A good plan for test preparation will also help students hone their reading comprehension skills and feel comfortable with the format of the SAT critical reading section. The more you read passages that are similar to the ones on the SAT, the more quickly and accurately you will be able to work on test day.

Breaking down the SAT math section

Preparing for the SAT math section is an important part of college prep. It is important for students to feel comfortable with the format of the math section and enter the test knowing what to expect.

The SAT math section is scored on a 200 to 800 point scale and accounts for one-third of the overall SAT score. Students are allowed 70 minutes to complete the math section and this time is broken down into one 20-minute section and two 25-minute sections.

The math section is made up of 54 questions. 44 of which are multiple choice and ten of which are grid-in questions. A grid-in question is another word for a student produced response question. The student must come up with the answer to the math problem and write their answer into a special grid.

The math section of the SAT covers basic arithmetic, geometry, and algebra I & II. It is recommended that students study functions, absolute value, sets, exponents, and radical equations, among other concepts. For many students, the SAT math section is likely to involve ideas from math courses that they took several years back in their education. For this reason, is important for students to re-familiarize themselves with these concepts throughout their SAT prep.

Trigonometry is not included in the test. Problems involving triangles can all be solved using knowledge of the Pythagorean Theorem and special right triangles. Algebra II is not included on the PSAT, but will be on the SAT. SAT practice tests are the best way to ensure that students are prepared for these questions and familiar with the overall structure of the SAT math section.

While all math problems can be completed without a calculator, it is recommended that students bring an acceptable calculator with them to the SAT. It is often best to use a familiar calculator and to use the same one that they used during their SAT practice tests. It is advisable to put fresh batteries in the calculator before the test and be sure that the calculator is working. Students are not permitted to share calculators during the test.

Acceptable calculators for the SAT math section include graphing calculators and scientific calculators. A four-function calculator is permitted, but not recommended. Students may not use the calculator on a laptop, cell phone, electronic writing pad, or pocket organizer. Also prohibited are any calculators that make noise or have a QWERTY keyboard feature. Students will be asked to put away their calculators during the critical reading and writing sections of the SAT.

A strong SAT prep program is the surest way for students to enter the SAT math section as well-prepared as possible. Students should use the scrap paper provided and not attempt to use a calculator for every question. It is best to work quickly and efficiently in order to complete each section within the allotted time.

Test Day Checklist

It is extremely important to go into your SAT test day confident, calm, and well prepared. Taking SAT practice tests during your study sessions will help ensure that you are familiar with the format of the SAT and allow you to relax and do your best work on test day. Having all the right tools with you on test day will also help you successfully complete the SAT.

Information
Be sure that you know the exact time and location for check-in. If you are unfamiliar with the area, you may consider driving to the test location once ahead of time so that you know how long it will take. This will be one less thing to worry about on test day. You will also need to print your SAT admission ticket from the College Board website and bring it with you for check in on test day.

Photo Identification
You will need to have a proper form of photo identification with you the day of testing. A driver’s license, state-issued photo identification card, school identification card, or passport are all acceptable forms of identification.

Pencils
A number two pencil is required for the SAT and it is suggested that you pack two pencils to be safe. Pens and mechanical pencils are not allowed. Be sure that your pencils are sharpened and ready for use before you arrive at the testing location. A good eraser is also helpful to make clean corrections to your test.

Calculator
You will want to read the requirements for calculators before the day of the test. For the SAT, a graphing or scientific calculator is recommended. A four-function calculator is allowed, but not recommended. Laptop calculators, cell phone calculators, and pocket organizers are not allowed. It is advisable to put fresh batteries in the calculator before the test.

Snack
While certainly not required, you are permitted to bring snacks and drinks with you for the break. Pack a water bottle and a small snack that you can eat to recharge your energy during the break.

Watch
The testing room will generally be equipped with a wall clock, but it is always helpful to have a watch with you on testing day. Turn off any audible alarms before going into the test. A watch will ensure that you can budget your time accordingly and that you will be able to complete the entire test.

Senior Year Planning

Senior year of high school can be an extremely busy time. Many deadlines and decisions are on the horizon and it can be overwhelming for students to balance all of their responsibilities. Developing a solid plan for senior year can help you to avoid stress and assure that everything is done on time.

Fall

The fall of senior year is often the time students choose to devote to taking the SAT. Schedule the test and begin to devote time to studying and preparing for the test. Online test prep is one good option to help SAT test prep fit into an already busy school schedule.

The fall is also the time to seriously narrow down college options. Once you have a list of the schools where you will be applying, organize important dates and deadlines onto a master calendar.

Researching financial aid is another important task for the fall. This involves researching student loan options, scholarships and grants, and options available at each of your colleges.

Winter

Winter of senior year is the time to focus on completing college applications. Many will use the same common application supplemented by some additional questions and information. Take time to write your essays and be sure they are a good reflection of your strengths. Be sure to ask for letters of recommendations early on in the process so that you give your teachers, guidance counselors, and employers plenty of time to write the recommendation.

Once everything is complete, be sure to double check that all parts of the application are there and send them in. Most high schools will provide resources to help students prepare the final application packet.

At this point, many colleges will also want to schedule a personal interview. This is both a time for the college to speak with you and gain additional insight into your application and also a time for you to ask questions about the selection process and why you should choose their college. Viewing the interview as a conversation will keep you from being nervous and help you get the most out of this experience.

Spring

By spring of senior year, you will have heard back from your colleges and it is time to focus on making a decision. If you were accepted to multiple schools, it is often worthwhile to visit these colleges once again. These campus visits can help you to make a confident decision. While on campus, you will want to take another tour, sit in on a class, and talk to current students about their college experience. Be sure to ask plenty of questions of students, staff, and representatives in the admissions office.

Before making a decision, you will also want to discuss your plans with your family, particularly concerning financial aid and how you will be paying for college. Once you have reached a decision, send out your acceptance and rejection letters to all the colleges that accepted you. Your school will soon be sending you more information and you’ll be busy planning for next year. You can now proudly announce your college plans and enjoy the conclusion of your high school career.

SAT vs. ACT: which should I take?

The SAT and ACT are both tests taken by students in the United States preparing for college. Generally, more students on East Coast and West Coast of the United States take the SAT and more students in the Midwest and mountain states opt for the ACT. While historically the SAT has been seen as the standard test for college entry, the ACT is now recognized by all four-year colleges in the US. The majority of colleges and universities will accept either test, but students with specific colleges in mind may want to consult that college’s admissions office when deciding which test to take.

While the two tests differ somewhat in format and material, each is designed to gauge students’ skills and knowledge. Being well informed about the tests will help students to decide which test to take before they begin their SAT Preparation or ACT Preparation plan.

Subject Areas

The ACT is based more on curriculum that students have learned in school whereas the SAT is designed more to test critical thinking and reasoning skills. The ACT is a multiple choice test that covers English, mathematics, reading, and science. The ACT Writing Test is an optional section in which test takers must plan and write a short essay. The SAT begins with a required essay section. It is then made up of writing, critical reading, and math sections. While the SAT has multiple choice sections, some of the math questions will require test takers to produce answers on their own.

Logistics

The ACT is administered on six national testing dates in the United States. Students may take the test up to twelve times total and only once on each testing date. The SAT is offered seven times each year in the US. Students may take the SAT as many times as they wish, but all scores will be visible to colleges. Not including instructions and breaks, the ACT takes two hours and 55 minutes and the SAT takes three hours and 45 minutes.

Scoring

ACT scores are determined by adding up the correct answers in each section. Scores for each section range from 1-36 and the results are averaged to produce a final score. Incorrect answers do not count against the final score. On the SAT, however, incorrect multiple choice answers receive a small penalty. Each correct answer receives one point and each incorrect answer deducts one-fourth of a point. Scores for each section are on a scale of 200-800. A perfect score on the SAT is 2400 points and a perfect score on the ACT is 36.

Preparation

ACT Preparation and SAT Preparation are critical to success on both tests. Taking the predictive tests, the PSAT and PLAN, can help students prepare for the actual test’s format. Preparation courses and practice tests are the best way of determining trouble areas and helping students enter the test prepared and confident.


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