Breaking down the SAT: Sentence Completion

The sentence completion section of the SAT will test your vocabulary and ability to make sense of “context clues” while reading. In this section, you will be given questions that consist of sentences where either one or two blanks are present, indicating missing words. You then must choose from among five answers to find the word or words that make the most sense in the context of the sentence.

These types of questions make up about a fourth of the Critical Reading section of the SAT, so it is important to be familiar with them since you will only have a little less than a minute to answer each one. Online SAT test prep is a great way to familiarize yourself with the types of questions you will be confronted with and how to answer them.

A good strategy for answering these fill-in-the-blank questions is to read the sentence quickly and fill in your own word to complete the sentence. To do this, you will need to look for context words that the test writers include in the sentence. Words like “however,” “because of,” or “additionally” can clue you in as to whether you need a contrasting word or a complementary one.

After coming up with your own word to complete the sentence, look to see if there is a synonym for your word among the answers. Consider all the answers. If there is more than one that is close to what you chose, try reading the sentence with both of those words in context to see which makes more sense.

Let’s look at an example:

Even though Vincent van Gogh painted many of the world’s greatest masterpieces, people in his own time thought he was ____.

A) able B) inexpert C) unrivaled D) merited E) masterful

Reading through this sentence, we can see there is a clue word right at the very beginning: “even though.” “Even though” usually sets a sentence up for a contrast at the end-even though this happened, something unexpected was the outcome. Keeping that in mind, we can come up with our own word for the end of this sentence that contrasts with the fact that Van Gogh painted many of the world’s greatest masterpieces-perhaps, “not good.”

Looking through the answers, most of them have the opposite meaning from “not good,” except for B) inexpert. So B must be our answer.

This section is typically ordered from least to most difficult question, so be sure to leave enough time to answer the harder questions by moving quickly at the beginning. You can use online SAT test prep to practice answering questions and become familiar with techniques that will save you time.

Breaking Down the SAT: Sentence Error

Everyone who takes the SAT must do their best to pass the Sentence Error section of the exam.

Can you spot the error in the sentence above?

If you recognized that the pronoun “their” does not agree with its antecedent “everyone,” then you are probably well on your way to becoming a pro when it comes to identifying sentence errors for the SAT.

Identifying Sentence Errors questions are what comprises the bulk of the new Writing section of the exam with 20 questions at the beginning of the multiple choice portion and another 10 at the back, making 30 questions in all. You will be presented with a series of sentences like the one above that may contain a grammar mistake and asked to identify it from among four underlined options, or if there is no mistake to choose the fifth option, “No error.”

These types of questions test your “writing sense,” or your ability to identify errors based on the way sentences sound and on grammar rules. Because of this, in order to do well on this section it is helpful to have a solid “reading” background: the more you read sentences like the ones presented on the SAT, the more attuned your “inner ear” will become to mistakes that sound wrong. However, even if you are taking the SAT next week and don’t have time to read the New York Times everyday, there are a few strategies and things you can do to boost your confidence and your score for this section of the test, including online SAT test prep.

One important thing to remember is that these identifying sentence error questions are not going to test you on your knowledge of punctuation conventions. While it is probably helpful to be familiar with things like comma rules or where to place apostrophes, what these questions really probe is your understanding of grammar and syntax within the context of sentence structure.

The best method of approaching these questions is to read through the sentence quickly, “listening” for what sounds wrong. This often yields an obvious error. If there is more than one possible answer that you think sounds wrong, look at each option within the context of the surrounding sentence and apply your grammar knowledge to eliminate those without errors.

If upon reading the sentence you cannot “hear” anything wrong, go through each underlined option and eliminate those that you are sure do not contain errors. After that, if you cannot identify an error, mark “No error” and move on.

The sentence errors you will be asked to identify can have to do with a variety of topics such as subject/verb agreement, parallel structure, pronoun/antecedent agreement, verb tenses, infinitives and gerunds, adjectives and adverbs, and prepositions. You’re not going to be asked to name or correct these errors, only identify them, so don’t worry too much if you cannot remember exact definitions. In the example above, for instance, you may not remember what an antecedent is, but if you remembered that singular subjects do not go with plural pronouns, you probably spotted the error anyway.

To prepare, do your best to familiarize yourself with grammar principles. Online SAT test prep can be very helpful in giving you a quick refresher on concepts you may have forgotten.

If you keep these tips in mind, you can breeze through this section and concentrate on others that may be more difficult for you.

Creating a SAT Prep Plan

Most high school students planning to attend college still take the Scholastic Aptitude Test, also known as the SAT. The test is usually taken during the junior year of high school, which can be a hectic time for most students, so creating time to study can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are some options for SAT prep.

The easiest way to sign-up for the SAT is to go to the College Board website. Students can search for the nearest testing location, which is usually at a local high school or university. The sign-up process is simple and only requires that the student give some basic personal information. College Board then provides instructions for testing day, including tips for a healthy breakfast and a good night’s sleep.

Many students know about existing weaknesses- a student who does not perform well in math generally knows this before it is time to take the SAT. However, to better determine areas needing improvement, sample tests can be used to identify particular sections that could use refreshing. For students wishing to sit through the whole testing experience, some high schools will provide the option of taking the PSAT, but this does not allow review of items missed. Sample tests can be purchased at most major bookstores. Additionally, online test prep materials are available via the College Board website and sites such as ePrep. Online and bookstore SAT test prep options allow review of items missed, and some online programs offer explanations for why the correct answer is the best choice.

When establishing a schedule for studying, the best option is to start early and work in small increments. Working through a practice book each day will get exhausting and expensive in no time at all. Devote no more than 15-30 minutes 3-5 days per week to do SAT test prep. This does not necessarily mean using an expensive practice book every day. For example, a student with vocabulary difficulties can generate a list of words and create flashcards, and practice like this is quite mobile, so practicing on the bus or during a break between classes is easy. When it comes to using practice books or online SAT prep, try to do just one section at a time. Also, alternate what is being practiced to prevent burnout. Finally, as the time to test draws near, start doing the full length practice exams. If possible have someone time you so that you can prepare for time constraints.

The SAT can be daunting at first glance, but success is not out of reach. With practice and confidence, a good score can be earned.

Should I be Taking AP classes?

Taking AP classes during high school can give students an opportunity to earn college credits and often fulfill core requirements before ever arriving on campus. For exceptional students, AP classes can also provide a challenge and a great fit for their abilities. AP classes can challenge students and help to prepare for the SAT by helping you to learn new ways to work through information and preparing you for college level course material and test strategies.

Make a Commitment
While taking AP courses can be a wonderful choice, you should stay honest about how many classes you can manage in your academic schedule and how much work you have time for outside of the classroom. Studying for an AP test is time consuming and it is better to score well on one or two tests than to score poorly on four tests. In most cases, you will need a minimum of a three or four in order to be eligible for college credit.

Get All Your Information
If you can, talk to the teacher of the AP class before you enroll to learn about the course load, expectations, and how your teacher will prepare you for the exam. If you have a top college or top couple colleges, you may also want to find out their policy on AP credits so that you know how well you will need to score and also what classes the credits can replace in core curriculum.

Choose Classes Wisely
Choose AP classes in subject areas that you are interested in studying. You will be devoting large amounts of time to studying this material and may become frustrated if it’s not a subject you enjoy. Chances are, your high school offers AP classes in many different subjects, from environmental science to your foreign language. Choosing the right classes will help you to make the most of going in-depth in a college-level class.

Be Prepared for a Challenge
AP tests can fulfill college credit for a reason — they are college-level work. If you have a busy schedule and struggle to keep your grades high in regular classes, you may want to think twice about AP classes. It’s important to maintain a high GPA at the same time. You can expect to do more writing, learn how to better synthesize information, and learn to think as you would in a college class. If you’re up for a challenge and willing to work hard, AP classes can be great preparation for college.

Book vs. Online: Best Way to Prep for the SAT

The SAT is a huge test for every high school student preparing for college, and many students worry about doing well enough to get into their top colleges. Preparing for the SAT can be a daunting task, but there are many different SAT test prep options available. Students should carefully consider the right method for preparing for the SAT, to ensure they do well. Many colleges expect good scores on the SAT, and take SAT scores into consideration before admitting a student into the college, so it’s very important that a high school student takes the test seriously and prepares for it well.

Traditional SAT test books are common ways that high school students get themselves ready for the big test. There are many different types of books available, and there are different options to meet different studying and learning needs. Students can use these books to study on their own, or can work in groups and cover the material together. Traditional study books offer students the freedom to study anywhere they’d like, as long as they have the book. Some students are uncomfortable using other newer methods of study, and traditional books are a good option.

Online test prep has become more and more popular with the advance of the internet. There are many different online studying options, too. Some options are free, like free vocabulary flash cards, and others cost money and may involve online books or even an online tutor or teacher that leads prep courses. Online test prep provides a wide variety of options that can help engage students fully and offer many different learning methods in order to do well. Many students enjoy studying online because it offers more variety and is easier to stay involved and engaged. However, online studying for the SAT can have its drawbacks, such as tutors that are only available at certain times, and students are limited in their studies to only when a computer is available to them.

Some students may study best with traditional SAT books, and others may do well by studying online. There are certainly benefits and drawbacks to both methods, but each has its own way of offering strong methods to prepare for the SAT. For most high school students, the best way to study isn’t necessarily to strictly stick to just traditional books or online methods, but instead to incorporate some of both methods, as suitable to the student. Spend some time looking into different types of studying methods, and students, parents, and teachers should work together deciding on a studying routine that best meets the child’s individual needs. This is the best way to pick a study method and ensure high achievement on the SATs.

Memorization Tips and Tricks

Knowing how to quickly and effectively memorize information can make life a lot easier for students. Memorization techniques can help when it comes to studying for tests, quickly processing information, and learning how to learn better for the future.

Word Games
Many students find that creating acronyms or acrostics can be a useful tool to memorize sets of information. Acronyms are words created from the first letter of a series of terms to help jog your memory. The goal is to memorize the word and be able to write it down to help you to remember the rest of the terms. Acrostics are sentences created from the first letters of a series of terms, memorize the sentence and them fill in the correct words when you need to recall information. Which works best for you is a matter of personal preference and whether or not the terms you’re memorizing lend themselves better to a single word or a memorable sentence.

Recopying and Repeating
Two easy ways to help information stick is to recopy and repeat. Some students learn well by rewriting the important parts of their notes. Even if you generally use the computer for note taking, writing out information by hand often helps it to stick in your mind a little better. Similarly, reading through notes or sections of a textbook aloud can help to solidify the information. You may feel silly reading to yourself aloud, but you also may find it helps the information sink in better.

Pace Yourself
Spending time studying at a steady pace is typically a better way of memorizing information than trying to cram for a test the night before, or even just a couple days before. Reviewing information over time and going back over information on separate occasions can help to commit it to memory.

Work with a Friend or Group
Memorizing information with a friend, classmate, or study group can be helpful to many students memorizing information. The group can work together to come up with ways to memorize information and share their own tricks for studying and memorizing terms and information. Working as a group and then going over information alone can help students to learn information and memorize for the test.

Click here for more information on online test prep

The Benefits of Personal Goal Setting

Setting personal goals is an important skill to develop as a student and continue to hone throughout college and your career. While everyone’s goals are different and what works for one person may not work for everyone, there are some basic tips that can help you to follow through on your personal goals.

Write Your Goals Down
Take time to think about your goals and put them down on paper. This will help you to focus and identify priorities, isolating your top personal goals for the next week, next year, and next five years. Being able to see these mapped out can help many students to focus and feel good about meeting their future personal goals.

Break Your Goals Down Into Manageable Steps
A big life goal, like being a lawyer, can seem overwhelming when you’re in high school and looking just at that end goal. When you break it down into pieces, it seems a lot more manageable. For example, you could set a goal to keep a certain GPA in high school and perform well on your SATs so you can get into your first choice college with a great pre-law program. At that point, your goal becomes doing well and studying for your LSATs so that you can get into your first choice law school. Then your goal will shift to law school and passing the bar. Broken down into steps, your goal will help you track your progress and keep your dream in sight.

Make Yourself Accountable
Sharing your goals, whether big or small, with a trusted friend, teacher, or family member is a great way to keep yourself on track. Knowing that someone else is aware of your goals and rooting for you to make them happen can provide a great dose of encouragement. When you feel that you have someone to update on your progress, it makes it more exciting as you make progress.

Continue to Adapt
While goal setting is important, it’s also a good idea to revisit your goals every so often and make sure they’re still a good fit. There’s no shame in adjusting your goals as you grow and learn more about yourself and who you want to be as a student and as a person. Changing goals is a natural part of goal setting.

How to Utilize Your High School Counselor

Many students travel through their high school years without ever making use of one of the best resources available–their high school guidance counselor. Guidance counselors can be a wonderful resource for students and it’s worth finding out early on all of the ways that they can help. By the very nature of their job, high school guidance counselors wear many different hats and can help you with a number of different things.

Information at High School
Guidance counselors can be your one-stop for information as you plan out your high school years. They can answer questions about scheduling and classes, suggest activities, and help you to manage your schedule. One of the best things you can do is make an appointment to meet with your counselor just to get to know each other. The more your guidance counselor knows about you and your interests, the better equipped he or she will be to offer you assistance and make you aware of opportunities.

College Information
Your guidance counselor can be a big help in your college search process–from the very beginning through the day your acceptance letter arrives in the mail. He or she can help you to narrow your college choices and identify top schools, contact admissions offices and arrange for visits and interviews, and provide assistance answering questions as you prepare your applications. The guidance office can also be helpful when it comes to finding financial aid opportunities. They can help to answer questions about eligibility, help prepare applications and paperwork, and suggest things you may miss. High school guidance counselors have the benefit of experience–many have helped class after class of seniors to find their perfect college. This can be a great way to quickly learn about the process and feel prepared as you move through the application process.

Counseling
Guidance counselors can also provide counseling and help you with any number of challenges during the high school years. They can help to mediate conflicts, be there for you to talk through problems at school or at home, and refer you to a psychologist or specialist outside of school if you need more assistance than they can offer. Guidance counselors are experts at the high school age group and familiar with the many challenges facing young people today. Taking advantage of this resource can help you learn coping skills, work through problems, and enjoy a healthy and happy high school career.

Click here for more information on B Line Test Prep

Resolving Conflict with a Teacher

Having a conflict with one of your teachers can make the school day seem to last forever. It can also have a negative impact on your academic work–making it difficult to focus and do well in class. A conflict with a teacher can also be stressful and take a toll on your general well being. It’s important to take steps to resolve a conflict so that you can do your best work and the conflict does not interfere with your performance at school.

Talk it Out
In most cases, you will want to set up a time to speak with your teacher one-on-one. Explain how you feel and how you want to make things better. Be honest, but avoid assigning blame or getting upset. It is important to show that you want to smooth out the conflict and are willing to make the time to work through the problem. If you need to apologize, be clear and let your teacher know you are sorry and want to move forward. If you feel that the teacher is the one at fault, try to explain your feelings.

Write it Down
If you are nervous about speaking to the teacher, you may want to write out how you are feeling in a letter. Take your time and be careful with your words so that you spell out exactly what you want to say and avoid further misunderstandings. In your letter, explain how you are feeling and what you want to happen next. A letter can be a good way to open the door to a conversation or smooth things out when you need time to get your words right.

Ask for Help
Going to a guidance counselor can be another way to resolve a conflict with a teacher. Your guidance counselor can help you to talk through the situation and plan how you will work with the teacher. A counselor may also be able to mediate a conversation with the teacher if it’s a trickier situation or you would be more comfortable with another person in the room. Guidance counselors are trained to help facilitate positive conflict resolution and can help you and your teacher reach an understanding.

If you’ve had a conflict with a teacher, the best thing to do is handle it right away. Letting things drag out will only lead to unnecessary stress and risk hurting your academic record and peace of mind at school.

Click here to learn more about B Line Test Prep

What Should I Major in at College?

Choosing a college major can feel like the biggest decision you will make early in your college career. Luckily, most colleges offer students time and flexibility in making the decision. If your career goals and academic interests have been obvious for years, choosing a major may not be very stressful. If you have many different academic interests or are unsure about your future career, it can be more challenging. Most colleges report that 15-20 percent of their first year students are undecided and about half of these students will declare a major before they enter their sophomore year.

Business and Economics
Majoring in business can seem like the standard choice for students who don’t have a specific major in mind, it can also be a very flexible subject. Many business programs allow students to concentrate on a specific area such as marketing or finance. Some students may choose to combine business with an economics major or a computer science program in order to broaden their education. Many business majors will find positions in major companies while others may choose to continue on to get an MBA.

The Sciences
Many students who want to go to medical school choose to major in biology. other students who want a career in the sciences may choose chemistry, physics, or bio-chem. Majoring in the sciences often means committing to time-consuming lab courses, but for students with a strong interest in the sciences, these majors can provide a solid foundation for future academic programs and careers.

Social Sciences
Majoring in psychology, sociology, anthropology or political science can be the start of many diverse career paths. For students who want to become psychologists or work in social services, this is often the first step towards a masters or doctoral program. Political science is a popular major for students who want to attend law school or work in government. Anthropology can translate into many different cultural positions, museum work, or careers in archeology.

Education
Students who want to become teachers will generally major in education based on the age bracket they plan to teach. Secondary education teachers are often required to take courses in their subject area along with general education classes. Education majors often spend part of their college career observing in the classroom and student teaching

Many colleges allow students the freedom to double major, add minors, and concentrations that will help them to create a unique college experience. Many students choose to minor or double major in a foreign language, or pair up majors that will help them in their chosen career path. Taking the time to research the different majors and find out where majors are landing jobs after college can be a good way to make the decision. Talking with your adviser or with a professor in the department is also a great way to gather information as you make your decision.

Click here for more information about B Line Test Prep


© 2009 - 2017 B Line Test Prep | All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board. Neither the College Board or the Graduate Admission Council is not affiliated and does not endorse this website. All marks are the property of their respective owners.