Thursday, March 28, 2013

SAT Score: Begin With the End in Mind

The first step towards SAT success has very little to do with the test itself. Before you do anything, you need to decide what score you want on the SAT.

Wait a second: decide your score before the test? Don’t you want to perform as well as possible?

Yes, you want to do as well as you can. However, unless you need a 2400 to get into Harvard, you only need to achieve a score that gets you into the school(s) of your choice. In other words, your end is the SAT score that will give you the best chance to get accepted by your selected college(s).

Chances are that you have never considered this kind of approach with a normal school test. Usually you want to score as close to a 100% as possible.

Not so on the SAT. Students can both pursue and achieve ends that are far from perfect and still get into their schools of choice. Consider the following: according to UCLA’s website, the average SAT score for “admitted incoming freshmen” is “between 1760 and 2140.” If the SAT were scored on a 100% scale, that means some students are getting into UCLA with as low as a 73% on the SAT (1760/2400=.7333). Get a 73% on a school test and you barely pass with a C. Get a 73% on the SAT and you can get into UCLA.

Crazy, right? A C represents an average score in school but a good score on the SAT. And while you may never strive for a C in school, it could very well be a good goal on the SAT.

So let’s get back to your end and, much like Steven Covey's Habits of Highly Successful People, you should begin with the end in mind.   

To begin with the end in mind, first figure out your end. Your end is the college you would like to attend. Pick three schools: a dream school that might be out of your reach, a realistic school that is possible and a back up in case things go sideways. Now, figure out what SAT score you need to get into the three schools.

This SAT score is your goal that will get you to your end

Now, when you prepare for and take the test, you don't need to answer every question correctly. You simply need to create the right combination of correct answers, incorrect answers and omitted answers in order to achieve your goal score. Pretty simple, right? It all starts with the end in mind.

Learn more about the SAT and ACT with private tutoring, One-Day Boot Camps or Summer Camps from CROSSWALK right here on the Monterey Peninsula. Contact us to learn more. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

SAT Truth: It's a Reading Test

Let’s face it: the SAT is reading test. While there are three sections (Math, Writing and Critical Reading), the truth is that the SAT primarily assesses your ability to read

Remember, the SAT is designed to predict your college performance. Most college classes require lots of reading, hence the focus of reading on the SAT.

Consider the following: there are 170 total questions on the SAT (not including the Essay question) of which there are 67 Critical Reading questions, 54 Math questions and 49 Writing questions. So which section has the most questions? Critical Reading

But let's dig deeper: of the 67 questions on Critical Reading, 48 of them are Passage-Based Reading questions. In other words, 48 point-scoring opportunities out of 170 total opportunities assess your reading comprehension. Put differently, almost 30% of the entire test assesses your ability to read a passage and comprehend it. 

But wait, there’s more. Even the Math and Writing questions require you to both read and comprehend. In fact, many students fail to correctly answer certain questions correctly simply because they do not read and comprehend the question. 

For example, try this problem:

If x + 1 = 3, what is 2x? 

A) 2
B) 3
C) 4
D) 5
E) 6

This should be an easy problem for most students. Solving the equation for x gives you a result of 2. So A is the correct answer, right? Wrong! If you do not read the question entirely, you miss the fact that you need to find the answer to 2x, in other words, 4. Thus, C is the correct answer. 

So even SAT math problems require excellent reading comprehension. Same goes for the writing section. All told, the SAT is primarily a reading test. 

For this reason, the best way to improve your SAT score is to, you guessed it, READ! 

Learn more SAT and ACT tips from CROSSWALK, the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for private tutoring, SAT or ACT Boot Camps and other test preparation.