My life story on the SAT

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: October 2003 Archive: My life story on the SAT
By Mk1o3o (Mk1o3o) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 03:41 am: Edit

anyone interested in how I studied and prepped for the SAT? I hope it helps someone.

The first SAT I that I ever took was in May 2003. I started preparing for it a week before, and I was confident that I would receive 1400+ on it.

Two weeks later, I was stunned at my 1340. 600 Verbal and 740 Math. (1340 is not half-bad btw, so please no one get offended because of the fact that I don't like that score) First, my Korean parents pretty much killed me for that one. Second, it made me drop my cockiness and made me realize that if I wanted to improve, I would have to actually study for it.

Over the summer, I did what most asian kids did to prepare for the SAT. Study the Princeton Review Hit Parade List, make flashcards, and aim to study thousands of vocab words. I did not take any practice SAT's over the summer, because I wasn't aware of how effective they would be. I ended up memorizing only about 500 words. To all those who say they can memorize 2000+ words, I don't know how you people do it.

In August, I found CC while looking for something random. I never even knew sites like this existed. My first impression: what a bunch of preppy, sheltered freaks who think they're all smart and want to go to Ivy League colleges. But after a couple of my own questions were answered, I didn't really care who the people here were. CC has been very helpful to me.

Through CC, I had a chance to see many people's opinions on what were the best books out there to prep with, what was the best way to study, people's take on studying vocabulary, etc. I remember one post I read telling me that the best way to prep was to go through the practice tests. So I took out my 10RS and started going through it seriously. I ordered some of the tests too, which I didn't even know you could do until I came to CC.

Here are the practice test results in the order or which I took them:

600v 740m May 2003 Saturday Exam

650v 770m Nov 1995 Saturday
620v 730m May 1996 Sunday
630v 760m May 1997 Saturday
620v 770m May 1997 Sunday
630v 770m Jan 2000 Saturday
680v 760m May 2000 Sunday
660v 800m May 1999 TP
660v 760m May 2001 XN
720v 770m May 2001 XB, XS
640v 780m May 2002 WP
710v 760m Jan 2003 YQ, WX

680v 800m Oct 2003 Saturday Exam

When I took the May 2001 (XB, XS), I felt different. The critical reading section, which was my major weakness on the SAT, suddenly became a lot easier for me. Either, the questions were a lot clearer to me, my reading comprehension had improved, or I was better at selecting answers ETS would have liked. I would say that all those happened. It also happened 9 days before my October 11th exam, which was about 4 weeks into my new method of prepping: doing practice tests.

Other methods of 'preparation' I took part in:
I worked on practice tests everyday, spending at least 1 hour a day, usually spending 1.5 hours, and rarely spending more than 3 hours. I started taking vitamin supplements (placebo) approximately 2 weeks before the exam. I took one every other day. I worked out (I always have so it wasn't really unusual) and did stretches everyday. And I actually got some regular sleep. The day before the test, I took a mock SAT since I had no school that day. The day of the test, I had a high-carb meal (I'm Korean so what do we eat 3 times a day? rice.). I also did a short math section and a short critical reading section before heading toward my testing center.

One thing that helped greatly was making sure to spend about 30% of my prep-time studying the answers to the questions I got wrong, so I could figure out why I got it wrong. I even spent time looking over my correct ones so I would know WHY I got it right. I owe this piece of valuable advice to XIGGI (not that I didn't know that it was good to look over answers..i guess I just had to be told that for me to actually do it. But Xiggi certainly stressed that aspect of the practice tests and I'm glad) And if I ever had a question I could not figure out why I got wrong, all I had to do was plug it into CC. I would know why within the hour.

Another thing that helped greatly was sleep. That always helps.

Preparation I didnt take part in:
Although I memorized 500 good words over the summer, I did not even think of reviewing them before the test. From my practice tests, it was hard to tell just how much my vocab words were improving my score. Possibly 10-20 points per test. Maybe its more if you've memorized 2000+ words but I wouldn't know..

Anyway, these are my experiences and my life story on the SAT I. I hope it helps anyone who is thinking about or is currently prepping for this test. LET ME KNOW IF THIS POST WAS A COMPLETE WASTE OF MY TIME.

By Jason817 (Jason817) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 03:49 am: Edit

damn your practice scores were pretty consistant.

By Wjk323 (Wjk323) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 04:05 am: Edit

•••• another korean on the board..
we, koreans, must multiply like bunny rabbits..

By Yz16 (Yz16) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 10:41 am: Edit

lol, wjk.
no, that'd be us chinese ;)

By Mz_Sterious_510 (Mz_Sterious_510) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 10:54 am: Edit

"what a bunch of preppy, sheltered freaks who think they're all smart and want to go to Ivy League colleges"

I might want to go to an Ivy league college but I am certainly not a sheltered freak.

By Perry2006 (Perry2006) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 11:57 am: Edit

Congratulations Mk1o3o!

Your scores are awesome and your improvement through practice tests is steady and apparent. You are a perfect example of how a student can study to improve his/her SAT scores. Keep up the good work!

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 01:09 pm: Edit

I am glad that you found the tips valuable. It made me very happy to read your story.

By Encomium (Encomium) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 02:27 pm: Edit

Good job and most of all good work ethic!

By Theleet (Theleet) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 05:18 pm: Edit

i thought the critical reading was damn easy too compared to all the other practice tests i've taken. it was an asian critical reading day I guess.

By Bigman82085 (Bigman82085) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 06:09 pm: Edit

Congrats dude, I hope I can do the same in a week!

By Mk1o3o (Mk1o3o) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 06:17 pm: Edit

"You are a perfect example of how a student can study to improve his/her SAT scores."

thank you all. that's exactly what I'm trying to put out to everyone here. i guess my life story wasn't a waste of time at all.

By Smartmika (Smartmika) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 07:19 pm: Edit

Goes to show that just studying for VERBAL can't bring you above a 750.

Way to perpetuate a stereotype!


By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 07:40 pm: Edit

I CAN guarantee you that there are people who studied in order to get over 750, Smartmika.

I agree that years of reading is a better preparation than trying to study for the verbal test. However, working through a bunch of verbal tests will most definitely increase your score, including to a 800 score. Not everybody works the same way and all paths lead to Rome.

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