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Low psat and sat practice. Help!

smithvesmithve Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
My daughter is not a good tester. She does struggle in math testing as well. Which is confusing because she has a 4.46 gpa in all honors and AP classes. Her 10th grade psat was 940 11th grade 970 win no prep. We were very disappointed and took action we signed her up for Princeton review sat test prep class and hired a math tutor. She took a practice test her first class and it was a 1000. She said she struggles with timing and math. She is not looking Ivy level schools Most are in the 1200 range for 50% acceptance. She is a procrastinator and not very self motivated I encourage her to do self practice. She uses apps and Khan. Any suggestions? Is it possible to bring her score up 200 points with the March and May or June test? She is going to try to ACT in Feb for comparison. Calm
My nerves folks.
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Replies to: Low psat and sat practice. Help!

  • peach0v0peach0v0 Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    Hi.

    I didn't start out as a good test taker either. Going to math tutoring a few times every week definitely helped me. I think an important mindset to have when prepping is to treat the experience as something fun. It sounds weird, but once you start enjoying reading the passages and solving the math problems you will likely improve faster than if you treated it like a chore.

    I went from not being able to finish half of the SAT math problems in time to getting a perfect math score in 2 years. From personal experience I believe it's possible to improve drastically as long as you keep on practicing all the time. The more math problems your daughter does the more familiar she will be with all the types of questions the SAT likes to ask.

    I suggest her come up with a weekly schedule to do challenging problems and stick with it till she takes the test. If she is not very motivated then maybe you want to get involved too and encourage her to really want a higher score. Honestly, if she doesn't have the desire and willingness to improve nothing will help her.

    Khan Academy is a great resource since it is official. I took a couple practice tests on there, and they accurately predicted my actual SAT score. A lot of my friends use Princeton Review, but I personally like Barron's.

    For ACT prep I would recommend ACT Academy. Their tests are pretty accurate as well.

    Improving 200 points on the SAT in a few months is not easy, but it is possible if she works hard for it starting now. For me ACT Math was harder than SAT Math. If your daughter is already feeling a time pressure on the SAT I would say she would definitely run out of time on the ACT since it even more time-limited than the SAT.

    But still have hope. I have seen other students in your daughter's situation who were able to get into their dream schools. Good Luck!
  • curiousambercuriousamber Registered User Posts: 15 Junior Member
    There's an online program that says if you don't get 1200+ you get your money back, (forgot which website), there's also prep scholar which is 160+ points or money back. They would probably be the quickest but would take lots of dedication and independence.
  • QBeeMomQBeeMom Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Try the ACT. My D has a 4.5 GPA and is testing shy of 1200 on the SAT. She wants to have a score that better reflects her abilities as a student and asked for test prep. We are using individual tutoring at a local company. They will hold her accountable if she is not prepared and there is nowhere to hide in a one on one session (but she works hard for everything, and is a planner). Early comparative samples and practice have CLEARLY indicated that the ACT is a much better test for her and she can feel it as well. Despite the time limit, I think the ACT is a little more straightforward and builds in difficulty, so it just makes more sense to her. She will do the March SAT since we are already registered but is focusing on the April ACT for her best score. Don’t forget test optional schools as a backup plan. Good luck!
  • umiami22umiami22 Registered User Posts: 15 Junior Member
    I am also a very bad test taker. I took two separate SAT prep classes because I was that bad. the SAT takes constant practice. If the SAT isn't working out for her, try the ACT. I found that the ACT was much easier time management wise. I took the SAT 4 times before I could get a score I was pleased with. Keep in mind that the SAT or ACT isn't the only thing colleges look at. I've had friends who got into great schools with a 1000-1100 SAT score. Best of luck!
  • smithvesmithve Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Thank you all so much for your advice. She is taking the ACT tomorrow morning. She hasn’t prepared for it as it’s on a whim since we received advice that she should try it so she is going to see what it’s like and if she finds it easier she can switch her focus to preparing for the next one and take it again.
    I am finding her prep and practice time to be limited due to her already over scheduled homework and extra curricular activities.
    Most of the schools on her list are within. 1200-1300 range. One is test optional but that school is about 5th it 5th on her list, a safety school.
    I got her a private tutor as well and she works on SAT math and her current Pre Calc. She studied for a weekend working with the tutor via email then again in person for an hour. The report back was she knew the material and was confident she took the test 2 days later after more studying and failed the test!!!! This is what we are struggling with. I don’t understand
  • eb23282eb23282 Registered User Posts: 417 Member
    DD took PSAT with no prep in 10th grade - 1130
    Took again in 11th grade still with no prep - 1130 again
    Took a two-day crash course the weekend before SAT - 1350

    Yes, it's possible to jump 200 points.
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 5,334 Senior Member
    "Good students" meaning those who are invested in learning material and do so for the utility of what they learn often do better on the ACT. Those who get good grades primarily because they are driven to compete or are motivated by grades tend to do better on the SATs.
  • ItsComingHomeItsComingHome Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    If you still have time, I'd say you should advise her to grind UWorld Math. It guides you step by step; its questions are very similar to those you'll see on the test; you'll be able to improve tremendously.
    I have heard great stories of people's scores going up easily just by really sticking to UWorld. The explanations are superb too. It's the best resource for Writing and Math.
  • anthonydavis23anthonydavis23 Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    I recommend doing problems consistently everyday... if a tutor helps keep her on schedule, that'll be a plus too. Consistency and practice is key!
  • gthopinggthoping Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Hello smithve,
    I have the opposite of your daughter's situation and was lucky enough to be pretty good at testing. Some tips I picked up while prepping -

    1. Practice Tests - and I cannot stress this enough. This is literally all I did for the SAT. Every test I could get my hands on. I took nearly a dozen tests for the ACT. Take those tests, and look at what she gets wrong. More often than not, they'll follow a pattern. The same thing happened to me my friends. Not only will she get used to the tests and start getting better, you'll know her weak areas.This makes them much easier to focus on. Do not split the sections up, but take the test all at once and simulate the environment as much as possible.

    2. Get some help - Not just from expensive places and websites. Ask previous and current testers for advice. They've sat down and taken the same test less than a year ago. They use strategies that they know work. This doesn't mean don't use official help as well, but great advice is going to come from the people in the same boat as you.

    3. Choose your test - It's a good idea to try the ACT. If it clearly goes better, stick with it. The two tests are very different, and employ different strategies. If you can improve in both, I obviously encourage you to try, but otherwise, stick with one. However, you said she struggles in timing. The ACT is great if you're a fast test taker, because it really leaves you with very little time. I wouldn't believe it if your daughter didn't walk out of that testing hall a little shaken - I know I was pretty stressed.

    4. Keep trying - As far as I see in this post, she's only taken the psats cold and a practice sat and got about 1000. At that stage, that's nothing to be too worried about. If her scores aren't improving, then that might be an issue. But to see that pattern, I'd strongly advise you to take more and more practices.
    I improved 4 ACT points in a month.
    It’s not 200 SAT points, I’ll admit, but you have more time.

    5. Keep her motivated - Don’t underestimate this. Don’t just make sure she takes a test every single day and has to check it the same day. She’s still a kid. Take her out for dinner when she does really well. Support her. High school students already tend to beat themselves up after we do bad. If she’s not self-motivated, as you said, then it’s really important to instill that in her.

    Good luck!
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,492 Senior Member
    Consider test optional schools. There are a lot of good schools that don’t require test scores. http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional
  • LuvsLabsLuvsLabs Registered User Posts: 262 Junior Member
    edited February 16
    Also, consider buying an approved graphing calculator.

    There may be a newer version by now, but my son taught himself how to use the Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator and LOVES it. Greatly improved his test taking times, although time was never a big problem for him. (My D refused to learn that calc and struggled with her own time, never finishing the ACT Math portion. She still was able to get a 33 with lots of practice and a tutor who knew the "tricks" the tests tend to throw at students.)

    https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/taking-the-test/calculator-policy
    https://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/ACT-calculator-policy.pdf
  • smithvesmithve Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Hey guys. Thank you for all this great advice. She’s been practicing and working with the tutor. Her second practice test given by Princeton review went up to 1140!! She was so happy and relieved She has a few more weeks till her first SAT on March 9. She did take the ACT last week but still waiting on scores. Stay tuned
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 7,690 Senior Member
    Believe it or not I love the Barrons SAT review book. They have a chart at the end of each practice test that lists the topic being tested with the accompanying problem number. So if you keep track of the ones you're getting wrong, after a while you start to see patterns-- you're struggling with the ratio and proportion or the circle problems. It helps to focus your studying.
  • SoapScholarSoapScholar Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    My initial scores were low as well and my GPA is fairly high. I have been able to get it up from 75th percentile to near 90th percentile in practice exams. Motivation is definitely something to work at, so is stamina. I don't think anybody is born to sit through long tests with mind numbing battery of MC Q's.

    Great to hear she is getting help from her tutor. Can you share anything her tutor helped her change?
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