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I can help with helping you improve your SAT/ACT scores!


Replies to: I can help with helping you improve your SAT/ACT scores!

  • TQfromtheUTQfromtheU Registered User Posts: 1,553 Senior Member
    My 10th grader received approximately a 1240 on the PSAT and we want to improve her scores into the 1500 range. (She had been a Duke TIP kid, too.) What do you think about her doing summer prep with a tutoring center like Test Masters?
  • GoBears2023GoBears2023 Forum Champion Summer Programs Posts: 710 Forum Champion

    I'm not too familiar with these tutoring centers since I was never able to afford them anyways. I would say that if she uses prep books like Barron's and Princeton Review, she should be able to raise that score. However, if those tutoring centers seem to have a good track record, I would say do it then.
  • skompella9892skompella9892 Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    First of all, I'd like to thank for being this generous as to offering your advice to us for this. I appreciate your willingness to help those around you with something like this and I'm sure that everyone on this discussion does as well. I'm currently a HS freshman who is scoring in the high 1400s to low 1500s (consistently 770-800 in math, 700-740 in reading), and I'm shooting for a 1570+ on my first (and hopefully last) SAT in August. I've bought Erica Meltzer's book for SAT Reading and I've been doing light practice for almost two years now. I feel like reading through the Critical Reader book and doing Khan Academy practice (and reflecting on my mistakes) will be enough to earn the score I wish to get if I devote 3-4 hours a day to SAT prep starting in June. I feel like the only section I need to improve on is the reading section (I feel like I can score an 800 on math with little issue), so I'll spend most of my prep doing Reading and Writing practice. Do you think this plan is good enough to get me the 1570+? Is there anything else you would recommend that I do?
  • GoBears2023GoBears2023 Forum Champion Summer Programs Posts: 710 Forum Champion

    Your plan is identical to what I did. I think you will be able to reach a 1550+. A 1570+ is very hard to achieve and scores can vary based on tests. I would recommend reading up passages from the Lincoln Douglas Debates, anything to do with woman's suffrage, and possibly some founding father documents like the Constitution or the Articles of Confederation.

    In addition, I would also recommend reading CNN articles, WIRED articles, National Geographic articles, and the Economist / The New Yorker. Often times College Board will directly take passages from these companies and put them as a reading passage.
  • skompella9892skompella9892 Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    OK, thank you so much! Are there any specific genres of news that you would recommend reading on these websites? They obviously wouldn't include politics. Should I focus on reading more of the science/social science articles?
  • hs2020kidhs2020kid Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    A quick shout out to @GoBears2023 for this thread and advice...thanks a lot for taking time to give tips and talk to us. I just got my scores back...scored 1590 (essay 21).

    I took my first SAT in the fall - I went into that first test without preparation (bad idea, never do that) - I may have done a few practice tests and thought I was ready...didnt do well. After reading thru CC, realized how important it is to prepare systematically with solid material first. So went back and this time, prepared with Erica Melzer's books - then practiced tests (only English though - am fortunate to do well in math consistently and it saved time). For the tests, I critically analyzed the incorrect answers and went back to Melter chapters for any repeated mistakes (I didn't had any particular trend though). Got one incorrect in reading to score 1590 - better than what I was aiming for. Thanks to CC and this thread for awesome tips - no one in our school talks this stuff (wish I got active on this forum earlier)
  • GoBears2023GoBears2023 Forum Champion Summer Programs Posts: 710 Forum Champion

  • ValchoiValchoi Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member

    How long did you study to raise your score to 1590? And how did you prepare for the essay part? I will try to prepare this summer. Can you share your advice?
  • hs2020kidhs2020kid Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    edited April 21
    The amount of time may not be the same for everyone - so I would rather limit my advice to 'what' and 'how' to study. First of all, find your weakness section: for me, it was very obvious from the beginning, it's EBRW (based on an SAT I took as a 7th grader and then again as a junior). For my second test, I know I have to improve EBRW and before starting the prep, took an official practice test in that section and used it as my baseline benchmark. Using Khan Academy and others, I tried to see if I have any particular weakness - I had more incorrect answers in English language conventions category. I was also missing some key points while reading complex passages. So I decided to work on improving my grammar rules foundation and also adapt better reading comprehension strategies that fit me. Based on recommendations, I studied thru Erica Melzer's Reading and Grammar books - cover to cover, doing every question it has. I did this over a period of 2 months - on and off and during the peak schedule for myself, so I may not have done it perfectly (advice to any math competitors - don't schedule your real SAT during Feb/March when the peak math season is going on - it was a stressful month for me). Anyways, after completing the Melzer books, I took another practice test - and went thru the test to understand why I got the questions wrong. I think this was my major difference from the 1st test - this time I did a better job of analyzing the errors (ps: took help of my parents in this). I may have done another 2 practice tests with a thorough analysis - afterward its practice and practice... just do as many practice tests as possible.

    Lessons-learned and advice: Use the official practice tests effectively - don't rush thru them at the beginning of the preparation cycle. I would say first do one official practice test for baselining - then work on the weaknesses. If weakness is EBRW, I highly recommend the Melzer books; if math I am not sure - I didn't do any separate practice for SAT Math. After you are happy with your foundation training (Melzer books and any Math resources), do a second official practice test - rebalance your weakness. Go back and read the material if you are getting more incorrect's in any particular sub-area. Then third test...and so on.. at some point you may see that all you need further is just practice and go thru rest of tests you have. Have one official practice test for practice for a couple of days before the test. Go into the test confidently, tell yourself that it's only a test - if you do bad, you can always retake (I mean, don't put too much pressure; personally I do worse when I hype too much about a test). Good luck.
  • flgiantsflgiants Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Congrats @hs2020kid
    Thanks for sharing your journey with SAT prep
  • GoBears2023GoBears2023 Forum Champion Summer Programs Posts: 710 Forum Champion

    It makes me so happy that you're passing on your knowledge to everyone else. Way to go!
  • ValchoiValchoi Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member

    Can you also suggest any good books for preparing SAT Bio and Math 2? Thanks.
  • GoBears2023GoBears2023 Forum Champion Summer Programs Posts: 710 Forum Champion

    Sure thing! For Math 2, I used Barron's. Do keep in mind though that I had a very strong math background and the Math 2 test was fairly easy for me. As for SAT Bio, I just used Princeton Review.
  • kayleenrkayleenr Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    What books would you recommend to help with your Physic?
  • ValchoiValchoi Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
    @hs2020kid @Gobears2023

    Thanks for all the advice.
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