Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Real Truth Behind SAT & ACT Test Prep Guarantees

"Higher Score Guaranteed or Your Money Back" is what one famously large test prep center advertises. Another offers that a student's "composite score will increase by 300 points ore more" when you use their particular resource.

Hogwash. Total hogwash.

First of all, as some would claim, test prep companies rig the tests.

Here is how they do it: On the first day of a course at a prep center, you are given a diagnostic. Instead of a realistic test, test prep centers create diagnostic tests more difficult than the actual SAT. So when you get your score on the diagnostic test, you will score very low. And when you take the real SAT, presumably after the course, the test would be much easier and you would thus score higher.

Sneaky, right?

Fortunately, not all companies engage in this practice. In fact, CROSSWALK uses tests directly from the Official SAT Study Guide for all assessments. This allows for a consistent measurement to track performance.

The second reason this test prep center guarantees are bogus is that none of those test centers can predict what kind of mental mindset a student will have on test day. A student's mental mindset and attitude is the most important determinant of student performance.

Where your head is on test day is what really will drive your score. If you are rested, focused and prepared, you will score well. On the other hand, if you are stressed, frazzled or negative, your score will suffer.

For this reason, CROSSWALK will never make a guarantee of a higher score. We simply cannot control a student's mindset on test day. Let's say a student goes out to a party the night before the test and gets no sleep. Or the student gets in a fight with a boyfriend or girlfriend before test day. These situations would greatly impact a student's performance and are beyond CROSSWALK's control.

What we will guarantee is that if a student practices and follows the strategies outlined in our Boot Camps or with our private tutors, the student will be more confident, comfortable and knowledgeable about how to achieve a higher score. And if that student puts in the work to master a personalized game plan, which would include making sure his or her mindset is primed for performance, a score will go up.

It's no secret and there is nothing sneaky about it: if you put in the time, results will happen. Guaranteed.

Learn top SAT strategies for a stress-free testing experience by reading 2400 SCORES: 24 Life Lessons to Demystify the SAT® and Boost Your Score by Brooke Higgins available at Amazon.

Contact CROSSWALK to learn more about ACT/SAT Boot Camps, private tutoring and more ways to learn.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

SAT Score #1000: The Farther You Go, The Harder It Gets

TRUE or FALSEhard questions on the SAT are worth more points than easy questions.

Before I give you the answer, please be sure to understand that test questions on each SAT section are usually organized from the easiest to the hardest. In other words, the first question of a section should be easy while the last question should be hard. Not every section follows this formula exactly, but in general, most sections start easier and build towards harder questions. 

Now, back to the TRUE/FALSE statement. The statement that "hard questions on the SAT are worth more points than easy questions" is entirely FALSE! Scoring on the SAT is not based on question difficulty. You score the same amount of points on an easy question as you do on a hard question. 

So strategically speaking, score points quickly and accurately on the easy questions. As for the hard questions, you can choose to skip them altogether or give yourself some extra time to solve them.

Further, for easy questions in the beginning of a section, the answer should be very obvious without any tricks or traps. However, on harder questions, the obvious answers are usually tricks. So if you are at the end of a section and you are rushing to finish, the answer that looks quick and easy is probably a trap. Be wary because the further you go, the harder it becomes. 

Learn more SAT Scores by reading 2400 SCORES: 24 Life Lessons to Demystify the SAT® and Boost Your Score by Brooke Higgins available at Amazon. 

Contact CROSSWALK to schedule private tutoring or sign up for our One Day SAT or ACT Boot Camps. CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for ACT/SAT Boot Camps, private tutoring for test prep and private tutoring for academic subjects.