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Best way to learn SAT vocab/grammar?

LforlawleitLforlawleit Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
edited July 2013 in SAT Preparation
On the official SAT, I got a 660 in Critical Reading and a 710 in writing with a 10 essay. I'm looking to improve my Critical Reading score to a ~750 and a 800 writing.

Can anyone give me tips on improving Critical Reading? I missed around 7 questions: 3 difficult vocabulary ?s and 4 reading passage comprehension ?s. I'm studying up difficult difficult vocabulary over the summer and trying to understand the pattern in Critical Reading ?s (main purpose, tone, author's purpose, literary technique, structure, etc). Usually, I get suck between two answer choices for reading passage questions and end up picking the wrong one.

For writing, I dont think I can score a 11 on the essay since I'm consistently getting 10's. I'm looking to improve the multiple choice questions. I usually get 3-5 wrong. Any ideas as to how I should study grammar rules? I keep getting identifying errors questions wrong. Sometimes, I mistakenly circle "no error" when there is an error deeply hidden within the sentence. Other times I circle a word that's already correct, so the answer is indeed "no error."
Post edited by Lforlawleit on
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Replies to: Best way to learn SAT vocab/grammar?

  • LforlawleitLforlawleit Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
    I'm taking the SAT again in October as a Senior.

    No, I'm not wasting my time on facebook, youtube, or any other entertainment. I'm dedicating ~7 hours everyday this summer to improve my scores.

    Believe it or not, when I'm in studying mode, I think of nothing but studying and improving. I'm actually starting to enjoy studying... just a bit.
  • satman1111satman1111 Posts: 990Registered User Member
    for writing, just practice a lot. Just from practicing the writing sections in the BB for 3 weeks, I went from a 620 writing to an 800 (with a 12 essay). For vocabulary, it's not really about how many words you choose to memorize, but about the actual words you choose to memorize. I recommend getting the hot words book or the direct hits book, and studying those.
  • LforlawleitLforlawleit Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
    @satman1111 For Critical Reading, I take words that I don't know from the blue book and make them into flashcards.

    For the essay, I consistently use two examples, Gandhi and Brave New World. I write around four paragraphs: intro, 2 bodies, conclusion.

    Do you think providing 3 examples instead of 2 would increase my essay score to a 11?

    My January essay (score 10):

    Prompt- Is it possible for a society to be fair to everyone?

    Although it is ideal for societies to be fair and just to everyone, it is actually quixotic to believe that societies are fair to everyone. For example, Mahatma Gandhi had to peacefully protest for his rights under the British Empire in Indian, where inequality was prevalent. Moreover, in literature, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Bernard and Helmholtz Watson are subjugated under intense scrutiny under their society, the World State, because their society is highly stratified and unequal by treating people differently.
    During the early 1900s, the British Empire ruled India as a colony and exploited the Indians for their resources. Many Indians suffered under the British, especially when the British passed the 1882 Salt Act, which is a heavy tax on salt. The Indian peasants could not pay such a gargantuan tax because they were already impoverished. Concerned for the lack of representation for the Indians, Gandhi led the Dandi March on March 12, 1930. Gandhi and thousands of Indians marched to the coastal village of Dandi in order to make "illegal salt" against the 1882 Salt Act. Consequently, Gandhi and his followers were arrested and beaten at Dharasana a few days later. Mahatma Gandhi only wanted fair representation for the Indians. However, the British unjustly punished him for his nonviolent actions toward equality. If the British society were fair, Gandhi and the Indians would have achieved their rights without any prejudice or violence against them.

    Similarly, Bernard and Helmholtz suffered inequality under the World State in Brave New World. The World State has a caste system: Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, and Epsilon. Bernard is conditioned to be an Alpha, but he is physically inept and burdened by his fellow Alphas because they think he should belong to a lower caste. As a result, Bernard is a pariah in his society, utterly alone and treated unfairly. Additionally, Helmholtz is an Alpha who suffers unfairness. Because Helmholtz is extremely intelligent and physically adept, he is also treated unfairly. Society expects too much from Helmholtz and he often feels pressured to meet those unrealistic expectations. Society cannot possibly be considered fair or just if it contains a caste system and treats its citizens differently. As a result, many people within the World State, including Bernard and Helmholtz, fell isolated from society because of the pronounced divisions within the World State.
    Therefore, both history and literature have demonstrated that society cannot be fair to everyone. Society often has disparities between different social classes and economic classes. As exemplified by Gandhi, Helmholtz, and Bernard, society is built on inequality, even though numerous people have tried to change this unfairness.


    (I know I'm rather redundant in my essay. I could cut out and refine a few sentences.)
  • LforlawleitLforlawleit Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
    Any advice?--Essay, Grammar, and Critical Reading?
  • JAMCAFEJAMCAFE Posts: 346Registered User Member
    Pay close attention to the prompt. You cited two well fleshed out examples of society not proving to be fair (perhaps TOO WELL fleshed out). But the question was whether it is Possible.
  • College123collegeCollege123college Posts: 566Registered User Member
    how can you use 2 examples for every SAT topic? what score are you getting?
  • reyalpmarkreyalpmark Posts: 112Registered User Junior Member
    Practice, practice, practice tests and also read a book or news article of your interest and ask yourself the questions similar to the ones you get in the passage sections. You'll eventually start changing the way you think and knowing the answer before reading it. I went from 640 CR (March) to 730 CR (June) doing that and I'm reading a ton and trying to mix in some practice tests this summer because I'm taking it again in October as a Senior.
  • LforlawleitLforlawleit Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
    @College123college
    I just use the two examples and I have no trouble making it fit into the essay prompt because they're "broad" and "idealistic" examples.

    Gandhi-Example used for any topic dealing with war, inequality/social injustice, leadership, challenges, courage, etc
    Brave New World-Change, utopian society, challenges, freedom, etc

    As mentioned above, I consistently get 10s on my essays.
    Sometimes, I throw in a personal example if one of my examples doesn't fit.

    @reyalpmark
    I have a bunch of Time magazines and articles in my house. How much time should I spend reading these articles everyday? I usually just practice CR by reading the passages from the blue book and answering the questions.
  • LforlawleitLforlawleit Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
    Any more suggestions from 2200+ scorers?
  • MyRealNameMyRealName Posts: 523Registered User Member
    I didn't read your essay thoroughly and throughout, but it seems like you began with a couple of examples and started focusing a bulk of your essay around one of those examples. Focus on the prompt, and try not to sidetrack or elaborate on a situational example too much.

    A couple of tips concerning the "English" sections:
    . In writing, make sure the sentence being questioned is concise... that means it's abridged, with no unnecessary wording. I know it sounds like an easy and basic thing to remember, but you really have to keep this in mind.
    . Look for details in the passages. Every answer to every reading comprehension question is re-stated in the passage, and sometimes it's stated in the most minute of details. Seriously, look for details.
    . Watch out for two entities in the first part of a sentence. For example, if a sentence is talking about squids and ink, and it's asking you to correct a part of that sentence that reads "and they are", make sure "they" or whatever is lined up to the correct noun and whatnot.
    . Write down notes if it's too much to process. It's not a good idea to jot down paragraphs or long-winded notes next to passages, but if there's a lot of information, don't hold back on writing a couple of things to remind you of them.
    . Again, watch out for two nouns in the first part of a sentence. Make sure they're given the appropriate attention in the middle part.
    . Again, look for details. That can't be stressed enough.
    . Watch out for big words, they're usually not right in sentence errors. From what I've done, big or complicated words usually aren't the appropriate words in a sentence.

    I wouldn't know though, I haven't even taken the SAT yet.

    Just out of curiosity, what did you get on the SAT?
  • obsquaredobsquared Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
    Seven hours of studying everyday? I scored a 670 on CR, and a 720 on Writing, but with a 9 essay.

    I am studying every Monday through Friday, every week, but I wouldn't even consider spending that much time studying every day. You can accomplish much more, much faster, in much less time. 7 hours a day everyday can be detrimental.

    I missed 9 CR questions, and I missed 4 writing MC questions with a 9 on the essay.

    The score report says that for CR, I missed 4 multiple choice, and 5 passage based questions. All four of the multiple choice questions I missed were the "Difficult Questions". What does this tell me? I need to memorize SAT vocab, and practice specifically the harder sentence completion questions.
    4/5 of the passage based questions I missed were medium and only 1 that I missed was a difficult question. This case is a little bit different because I remember not clearly comprehending the last CR passage in the last section, which created difficulty for me in answering the medium questions based on themes/mood/etc.

    For me, writing will be a lot easier to improve than CR. I missed 3 in the improving sentences section, and 1 in the identifying sentence errors section. The 1 question I missed on the identifying sentence errors section said "Suppose to" instead of "Supposed to", I circled "E" for "no error".
    Then for improving sentences, I remember running into more difficulty than usual on section 10. I usually miss one or none in the 14 question, 10 minute section 10. I likely missed two here, and then 1 hard improving sentences question from the 35-minute section.

    This tells me that for Writing, I need to go through the complete SAT grammar rules, and then focus primarily on the improving sentences section. Also, improving my essay score to anything in the double-digits will significantly help. I am spreading out at least 20 essays to write before I take the SAT again in October.


    But see, like this, I know exactly what I need to primarily focus on to improve my 2060 to the 2200+ range. There shouldn't be a single day where I need to study close to 3 hours since I know exactly what I need to focus on.

    I am not trying to discourage at all, I just feel like you could yield the same desirable results from a more efficient method of studying as you would from studying 7 hours everyday.
  • gondalineNJgondalineNJ Posts: 355Registered User Member
    Best answer: read. And read. And read some more.
  • LforlawleitLforlawleit Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
    @obsquared

    3 hrs everyday doesn't seem like much. I'm spending around 3 hrs studying every subject: 3 hrs math, 3 hrs reading, 1 or 2 hrs writing.

    For math, I spend the bulk of my time trying to understand math concepts and applying these concepts to difficult problems. For example, I know that distance=rate times time, but when I'm given a difficult rate problem that involves 2 different variables ( car A and car B ), I don't exactly know for sure how to approach the problem.

    As for critical reading, I spend 1 hr on memorizing 50 or so vocabulary words each day. Then, I start practicing the critical reading section for 2 hrs from the blue book. I read carefully and I consider the phrasing of each question.

    @MyRealName I practice writing brief notes beside each paragraph and then I answer the questions, which is helping. So far, my scores for each practice without the vocabulary section is (Day 1 test 1 (untimed w/o jotting down notes): 6 wrong, day 2 (untimed): 3 wrong, day 3 (untimed) 2 wrong, day 4 (untimed): 2 wrong, day 5 (untimed) 0 wrong, day 6 (untimed) 1 wrong...)

    I think active reading really helps because it allows me to focus on the passage AND the questions.

    For grammar/writing, I read and memorize grammar rules. I'm having the most trouble with idioms, so I made flashcards for the most common idioms tested. I've been reviewing these flashcards everyday. I dont think I'm having trouble with big-picture grammar rules (subject-verb, verb tenses, comparison, pronoun case).


    Overall, I think I'm improving in critical reading the most. I don't know how I can gauge improvement regarding grammar though. Alas, math I'm having the most difficulty wrapping my head around the difficult problems.
  • THWG2017THWG2017 Posts: 39Registered User Junior Member
    Vocab is more of an intrinsic you either get it or you don't thing, but grammar is *really* easy to learn, just practice a lot. It becomes a breeze once you know what the CB is looking for.
  • obsquaredobsquared Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
    @Lforlawleit,
    I don't know why/how I wrote 3 hours. I was meaning to say that I couldn't image studying for close to 7 hours. I'm pretty sure I studied for more than 3 hours yesterday too haha.

    I usually just keep practicing until I start to feel as if my mind isn't fresh anymore. Then I might take a break and resume later.
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