Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The #1 Reason SAT & ACT Essays Score Low

It's a far too common story: students that frequently score A's on their essays in school come up short on the SAT or ACT. Unfortunately, normally proficient writers can end up scoring lower than expected on test day. 

Why the difference? Why are so many students disappointed in their essay score on the SAT or ACT? 

It's a simple answer: most essays miss the mark because they lack a clear thesis. A clear thesis is the most important element to scoring high on both the SAT and the ACT essay. 

While a clear thesis may be important on a school essay, it is paramount to a good score on the SAT and ACT. Without it, you can score no higher than a five out of a possible six, and in many cases not better than a four. 

Most baffling is how unmistakably easy it is to communicate a clear thesis. Both the SAT and the ACT offer a question in which the writer must pick a side. Test scorers could care less which side you take as long as you take a side. 

Score higher by stating only one side of the argument. Make it patently obvious which side you take. The easy route is to answer the prompt in the positive or the negative, whichever will be the argument you develop in your essay. You don't need a catchy opening as some people might suggest. Just spell out your main point and hit the reader over the head by repeating it throughout the essay. After reading your essay, there should be no mistake as to your perspective on the issue. 

Sounds simple, and it really is. Unfortunately, even the best writers get lost in their own prose. Avoid a low score on your essay by making a clear point and sticking with it. 

Learn more test tips 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 about SAT and ACT Boot Camps, private test prep and academic tutoring for all subjects on the Monterey Peninsula. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

If You Resolve to Get Better Grades, You Must Learn this Study Skill

What is your New Year's resolution? Stay healthy? Make new friends? Get better grades? 

While all three resolutions are common for many teens, only one of them is actually quite easy to do. 

Staying healthy is always a challenge. Maintaining a diet and exercise regimen requires great discipline. 

Making new friends, for some people, can be equally as tough. Breaking out of your comfort zone to go out and meet people is not something that comes naturally for everyone. 

Getting good grades, on the other hand, is a resolution that anyone can tackle. It's really easier than you think if you just think like a teacher.

Think like a teacher? How is that going to help you get better grades? 

First of all, thinking like a teacher means knowing your content so well that you can teach someone else the same content. Having to teach someone else requires that you know everything forward and backward. If you were to approach your next study session with the goal that you need to be able to teach the material, you would have to master the content. If you master the content, then the next test or assessment will be quite easy and your grade would improve. 

Second of all, thinking like a teacher also means putting yourself in your teacher's shoes. Most teachers give fairly rigid instructions for assignments. Not only should you follow those instructions, you should think about what kinds of things your teacher would want to see from you. By following directions and anticipating what the teacher wants, you have the chance to produce something that will impress your teacher. 

Thinking like a teacher is a self-effacing act that requires some diligence. But if you are able to do it successfully, your grades will improve.

Learn more study skills by contacting CROSSWALK. CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for academic tutoring, test prep and ACT/SAT Boot Camps. 

Read 2400 SCORES by Brooke Higgins and learn how to apply life skills to your SAT prep.