|By Craigjmoss (Craigjmoss) on Friday, October 10, 2003 - 03:03 pm: Edit|
We are a home school family. One of our sons is in the 10th Grade. When should we concern ourselves with the SAT Test? When is the earliest he should take it, and when is the latest he should take it? What tools are available and recommended to help him prepare for the test?
|By Innotof (Innotof) on Friday, October 10, 2003 - 07:47 pm: Edit|
In my opinion, get started on SAT prep ASAP. While he won't need to take the test officially until 7-10 months before he applies for college, it is to his advantage to work on test areas he currently doesn't feel confident about, whether it be math, critical reading, or analogies and sentence completion questions. If you plan to have your son take the SAT during or after March of 2005 (his junior year), keep in mind that the test will be changing. While it will encompass quite a bit of the current version's material, it will also cover math up to algebra 2 and will include a writing section. You can read more about the upcoming changes on collegeboard.com. If your son applies to college on an EA/ED plan, the latest he can take the SAT is September or October of his senior year, assuming those application deadlines are November 1st or 15th(don't quote me on that, though). The latest possible time he can take the SAT completely depends on the application deadline(s) for the school(s) he's interested in. A lot of students take the SAT in the spring of their junior year, giving themselves time to retake in the fall of their senior year if they wish to raise their score. As far as SAT prep materials are concerned, it's entirely up to you and your son. Go to your local bookstore (actually, the library might be a better idea at first) and look at their SAT books. Some are better than others, but it mostly depends on your son's learning style. I personally recommend Gruber's Complete Preparation for the SAT. It's a very straightforward book with lots of examples and student exercises. Combined with 10 Real SAT's (published by the CollegeBoard), it helped me to raise my score from 1330 to 1500. Both books should be available in major libraries or bookstores. Reading classic books is also a great way to boost verbal scores. Hope that helps you out. ;)
|By Thorne4rester (Thorne4rester) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 06:19 pm: Edit|
I'm a home schooled senior who just took the test for the first time. Make him start SAT prep right now. I wish I would have.
I'm using 10 Real SAT's.
|By Medlevell (Medlevell) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 03:56 pm: Edit|
make him start NOW! you may give him practice tests in small doses at first, and see as time goes on. you won't regret it..he is at the ideal age right now.
|By Bobthebuilder (Bobthebuilder) on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 06:44 am: Edit|
I'm a non-homeschooled senior with an above-1550 score (not telling exact number to preserve anonymity), below is what I did to prepare (I got a 1210 on my first exam, so my score is due solely to studying for it, not raw potential ... the SAT is NOT an aptitude test, it is a test of memorization).
If he's in 10th grade, you're just in time. Many/most Ivy-accepted students start even earlier. The Princeton Review tutoring programs are excellent, otherwise the Barron's review is quite good as well.
Get a copy of 10 Real SAT's, and try to get a copy of the two older editions as well. Your son will need to do at least 20-30 tests in preparation for the real thing, as well as many practice problems.
The best thing to do is find an SAT tutor in your area. Since you're home-schooled, one way to do that would be to go to a few good high-schools, and ask the juniors and seniors if they know of any tutors. Good tutors' names travel by word of mouth, and this is probably the best method to find one. Otherwise, like I said, find a Princeton Review course, they're quite good as well, and a bit cheaper since they're group-based. Other courses might be good too, the reason I'm recommending PR is because they're a worldwide corporation, and because my tutor is ex-PR and I learned a lot from him, so I can only imagine that they train their tutors well.
If you can't do that, then buy every prep book you can find: Kaplan, Barron's, PR, Gruber, REA, etc. Don't use them for their advice, use them for their problems. Get the Princeton Review book (once again, I learned on it, and liked it ... other books may work too). In it are a breakdown of each type of problem you'll encounter. Learn to do them all. Find each problem type, do a hundred or more (but don't use up any real SAT tests doing this, use the practice problems in the various books). Also, take a few tests and see what you need to work on, and literally just go and do hundreds of that type of problem, until you've mastered it. There are not many types, and you have almost a year to study for this exam.
As a general test-taking strategy (and this is what helped me the most): be as simple as you can be, and learn about Joe Bloggs (see PR books). By as simple as you can be, I mean when you see math problems, don't go for the algebraic answer (note that this does not apply to the new math questions, but to the old ones, which will constitute most of the new test anyway). DON'T take the problem, translate it into an equation, and solve for X, especially if it's a series problem, a geometric problem, etc. If it's a series, just write the series out on the paper, until you get to whatever term you want. If ther'e's a huge number of terms (like 400), find where the terms repeat themselves (i.e. every 3) and then realize that a 400 term series is the same as a 1 term series (199x3 = 399, 400-399 = 1). Simplicity and stupidity work on this test: use them.
You'll learn a lot of the stuff above and more at a course, and also the PR people have exams since the 1970's that they can give you to practice on. Good luck, and I hope you do well (my SAT scores really helped me with colleges ... I'm going to Cambridge University in the fall.)
|By Nabo (Nabo) on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 04:42 pm: Edit|
I was able to achieve a high SAT score like Bobthebuilder using a completely different method. While most of my peers had no problem memorizing vocabular words or taking SAT prep classes, I felt that the whole process was degrading.
The SAT does not test extremely difficult concepts. The math portion only requires knowledge of Algebra and Geometry. However, the pacing of the test and setup of the multiple choice requires quick, but accurate responses to many fairly easy problems.
The verbal section follows a similar trend. Sentence completion and analogies require quick recall of vocabulary definitions. The reading comprehension only necessitates basic understanding of the passage in a relatively short period of time. You certainly won't be asked to discuss how the author uses allegory in a passage to prove his point. However, you will be asked to answer basic questions on tone or plot summary.
As a result of this structuring, time becomes the biggest issue. You won't be meditating on a question for several minutes. You continually race through the questions while still maintaining a high degree of accuracy. I would argue that if you had an infinite amount of time for the test, anyone of average intellegence would be able to achieve a 1600.
Consquently, success on the SAT is largely dependent on your speed. The Joe Bloggs method mentioned by Bobthebuilder simplifies the math problem by taking the math out of it. He reduced a question on series to simply writing out numbers and find a correlating pattern. I believe effective application of higher level thinking can result in the same expediency.
Rather memorizing words or learning techniques to quickly solve SAT problems, I took a more fulfilling pathway:
Read challenging books with a good dictionary in hand. I read by my computer with the Oxford English Dictionary loaded up. If I stumble by upon a word I have never heard before I look it up. [I like the OED because it provides background history and etymologies of the words, unlike many online dictionaries.]
If you attempting to read difficult books like Finnegan's Wake or The Divine Comedy, I highly recommend reading over critical commentary. [Not cliffnotes; real commentary!]
Trust me, after struggling through these kinds of books, the verbal section will be reduced to a test of patience. You will rarely, if ever, come across a strange word. The reading comprehension will be like reading the morning newspaper.
Never use a calculator. Everyone I know has become calculator dependent. Ask a simple a simple addition problem and they reach for their graphing calculator. I broke away from this crutch.
It was painful at first. Trying to do 24 x 23 forced me to scrawl out some numbers on a sheet of paper. But I persevered, focusing on sharpening my mind. Within a month, multiplying big numbers became second nature.
You begin seeing 24 x 23 as a factor, (20 + 4)(20 + 3), or as a square, 25^2 - (25 + 24 + 23). Once you begin to see numbers in this new light you will learn to crunch numbers exceedlingly quickly.
When I took the math section, I was bogged down fumbling with my calculator keys to find an answer. My mind was sharp enough to instantly calculate the answer to the easy questions. For more difficult problems, my mind is instantly trained to write out the function and solve. With quick computational skills, the whole problem solving process takes under 30 seconds. Although the SAT only requires up to Algebra II, don't be afraid to apply higher level knowledge to problems. I've found myself using calculus on some problems to find anwers a bit quicker.
I believe this method of practicing for the SAT's will be alot more rewarding for your kids. The whole testing process is no longer reduced to mindless bubble filling. Instead, you continue to enrich your mind allowing you to perform better. The extra reading certainly has made me well versed in a huge variety of subjects. The fundamental approach to math has certainly strengthened my ability in the subject. [I used to be an average math student, but after weening myself of the calculator, I have found it has developed that type of thinking]
I apologize for a being a bit long winded, but I wanted to provide a reasonable alternative to tradition SAT tutoring route.
|By Chicago (Chicago) on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 12:11 am: Edit|
If you want your kids to take test preparation, I would think that online prep is really the best for home schooled kids since they tend to have good time management skills and online courses have been shown (University of Michigan Study) to help students more than traditional courses for written tests such as the SAT I because the SAT I is "read" and not "heard."
Just another option. Good luck.
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