Another CC Old-Timer Taking Questions

<p>I've been on this board for more than one year now (though, unfortunately, I am listed as "New Member" after switching to the new forum). I have just finished off all my SAT-related testing with the October exam, and, as an experienced SAT taker, I feel that I can start taking questions now. I'm following in the footsteps of another CC Old-Timer, soulofheaven8, who did something like this over the summer (hence, "another" in title). </p>

<p>So ask me ANYTHING about the SAT I/II's! Best prep books, strategies for testing, anything! I'll do the best I can, but remember, everything I say is from personal experience, and there is no "right" strategy or "right" answer. </p>

<h2>I'll try my best to answer questions on the new SAT I. For the SAT II's, I've taken: Math IC, Math IIC, Writing, Biology, US History, Chemistry. </h2>

<p>Here's some basic advice:</p>

<p>How I Prepped for the SAT I:
I got 770V 760M</p>

<p>1) To familiarize myself with the test, I read sections of the Princeton Review Cracking the SAT I.</p>

<p>2) I finished the 10 Real SAT's book--one test per weekend leading up to test day. My scores improved gradually until I hit the 1500-1600 plateau, when my scores moved from 1510 to 1570 to 1520 again (and I even got a 1600 once!). </p>

<p>3) I memorized vocabulary lists, mostly from the PR hit parade but also other places. Some may argue that vocab lists don't accurately predict words, but I remember at least one word I had studied coming up in a section, and hey--even if it's not on the SAT I, it's useful to increase your vocab anyway.</p>

<p>4) Math drills. I was able to finish verbal with 5-10 minutes to spare, but I found myself working on math to the very last minute. I also tended to make careless mistakes. If you're weaker on the verbal side--do verbal drills. I believe that both Kaplan and PR have math/verbal workbooks. </p>

<p>5) The critical reading section, I know, is a section that many ppl have trouble with. I personally skimmed the passage, went on to the questions, and then went back to specific lines or paragraphs to read in greater detail to answer certain questions. I read very fast though, and I think I have a good ability to soak up the main idea of a passage like that. How you handle the CR section is really all up to personal preference. </p>

<p>Other approaches: read it once, slowly, and answer the questions OR read questions first to know what to look for while reading. A criticism I have for the former strategy though (read slowly first) is that no matter how carefully you read the first time around, you most likely HAVE to go back to the lines/passages again to answer certain questions, and I feel it's probably the most time consuming strategy. </p>

<p>Good prep books: Princeton Review (excellent "starter" book) coupled with 10 Real SAT's. Kaplan, I hear, is also a good brand, but I didn't use it. Barrons is too hard, especially in the math section, but I know that some people have found it helpful to be overprepped.</p>


<p>SAT II's</p>

<p>*I believe I've made many errors in judgement for the SAT II's (though none so severe that it should seriously damage my college chances), so I'd like to share them with you.</p>

<p>Colleges require 3 SAT II's in general. I took six, a decision which I sorely regret now, because not all of those scores were good. Why did I take six? </p>

<p>10th grade: I took the SAT II Chem after finishing AP Chem. I figured I didn't need to study too much since I had just taken the AP Chem exam 2/3 weeks ago. HUMONGOUS mistake. I did well in AP Chem, but I got a 680.
TIP: AP's and SAT II's have different sorts of questions, don't assume that if you do well in one, you'll do well in the other. I took the exam in June, so I decided not to retake it, since I didn't want to study over the summer.</p>

<p>11th grade: I took the SAT II Writing (TWO TIMES), Math IC, Bio, and US History. Definitely overkill--don't follow my example! However, I took Bio to make up for Chem, and I did well, and I did excellently in US History, so I'm happy with that decision. I regret taking the IC and taking the Writing twice within such a small span of time. For my retake, I should've waited longer and studied more. I ended up taking it 3 times. </p>

<p>MATH IC v. IIC?
You should definitely choose b/t Math IC and IIC--don't take both (like I did!). Basically, if you've taken pre-calc and you're good at it, just take IIC. Math IC is more of the SAT I type of math, but I think, slightly harder. IIC curve is generous, IC curve is harsh (no 800 if more that 1 wrong, typically).</p>

<p>12th grade: Writing (for the THIRD time) and Math IIC. I finally had some success with Writing (750+), but my Math IIC score was disapppointing. I don't think I studied as much as I should've.</p>

<p>So that's my entire history of testing, and now I'm free from College Board!!! Until next May that is.... </p>


<p>wow dude u seem like u know ur stuff
i dont know why ppl arnt askin u stuff!</p>

<p>Tell me what to study (how to modify ur tactics) for new sat
i am prolly @ a 1450ish right now</p>

<p>im fluctuating alot in terms of individual scores but overall i am constant</p>

<p>People have been telling me that if I take the AP bio exam, SATII bio shouldn't be be an easy 700+. I was wondering if this might be true since you said you screwed on the chem one. I'm planning to take the SATII bio in May since I'll be reviewing for the AP exam around the same time.</p>

<p>Don't know if you can answer, but what are the best prep books for SATII: Writing and Physics?</p>


<p>whats the best way to improve my writing score (630)? all my other scores are decent, but writing is not my thing</p>

<p>If I may answer, get Kaplan for writing and PR for physics. CAUTION: DO NOT BUY KAPLAN PHYSICS unless you are not aiming for over 700. it is much easier than the actual test.</p>

<p>So Barron's math is too hard?</p>

<p>I have done basically every math and verbal problem from Princeton Review. When I took their pay-for course, I got a 1240... but think I can do much better. Very ****ed.. $900 for a 1240. Oh well, it's a lot better than I was doing on the diagnostic tests. :D</p>

<p>Well, I just took the SATII: Physics test in October and got a 690...I thought I did alot better, but I discovered late that Sparknotes guide (which I was readin for free) wasn't good for the test. I'm a senior that took AP Physics B sophomore year and Physics C: Mechanics junior I'm goin to go get the PR guide I guess.</p>

<p>whats the meaning of life???</p>

<p>fatcookie - I think that if you take AP Bio, your KNOWLEDGE should be enough for the SAT II exam. However, the AP doesn't focus very much on taxonomy (cnidareans, mollusks, etc.), whereas the SAT II does have a quite a few questions on that (see-I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't studied the SAT II exam prior to the test, and sure enough, there were 5 questions on taxonomy on the test). What I meant by my chem comment is that the format of the 2 tests are pretty different. After you take the AP, you should do a few SAT II Bio tests. The AP and SAT may test the same thing, but I found that a lot of the questions were worded differently. However, I would say that the Bio SAT test was slightly easier than the Chem test, and I would agree with your friends that having taken AP Bio and doing well, it should be an easy 700+. Studying the format and familiarizing yourself with the SAT II, however, can probably boost your score into the 750+ range. </p>

<p>Edit: oh yeah, and decide whether you like E or M better before taking the test!</p>

<p>browski - for writing-Barron's, PR, and Kaplan are all excellent--I used all 3. Sparknotes is too easy. Barron's has a good grammar review section. Can't help you with Physics, sorry. </p>

<p>*My general experience w/ review books is that PR has the most accurate tests. Barron's is usually harder with a more in-depth review (I liked that for Writing, though not for the SAT I). I don't use Kaplan very often, but I hear good things about it. </p>

<p>andrew and visish - i'll get back to you-i'll write a more in-depth response.</p>

<p>is a 1390 worth retaking if I'm going to take the new SAT as well? (I'm looking for scholarships but am not considering the Ivies (more of a good academic school in the texas area))</p>

<p>neeleesh - the answer to that question lies in Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes" :)</p>

<p>amensia - Barron's math (for the SAT I, IC, and IIC) are definitely harder than what you see on the real test. I didn't like that because I found their questions obscure and too unlike the test, but like I said, many ppl do like its difficulty because it overpreps them.</p>

<p>vtran - I personally wouldn't retake. 1390's pretty good already and most colleges prefer the new SAT anyway. Unless you think you'll do worse on the new SAT b/c you're bad at writing or whatever, don't retake.</p>

<p>thanx. I was leaning toward that. big reason cuz I hate taking that test. I'm good at writing but need to improve my esssay writing skills ( I prefer style, not speed and readibility)</p>

<p>andrew - The SAT II Writing was my most annoying test. I took it 3 times, getting 740, 680, and 770, respectively (I probably should've stuck with my first score, eh?). I think my mistake was retaking it too soon. But anyway, for the 770, I studied from Barron's, Kaplan, and PR. I liked Barron's and Kaplan's grammar review sections, but PR's was kind of weak. I exhausted all the practice tests and went over all my mistakes (very important to go over them!). For the essay part, the most important thing I learned was to structure your essay well. 1 intro, 2-3 bodies, 1 conclusion. Your thesis has to be present, but it doesn't have to be eloquently worded or anything. The ending to your conclusion can be "That's why I believe what I believe." Get it? Your essay can stink, but as long as you have all the parts of an essay there AND as long as you have MORE THAN ONE example for support, you should be fine. People may disagree with me that you need more than one example, but from personal experience, I would say, unless you're a magnificent writer, just go with 2 or 3 examples--be on the safe side. Once you do a few practice tests, you'll get a sense of what errors are the most common.</p>

<p>visishs - Can you give me a specific question? I'm not too familiar with the new SAT, so I'm not sure where to start. All I know is that they got rid of analogies and added stuff similar to the Writing SAT II. I believe that most of my tactics could apply to the new SAT anyway. If you had a question on the grammar/writing section, see above.</p>

<p>On sentence completions, I seem to get most right, whereas on analogy section, I get many wrong. I am also pretty good with critical readign section, getting none to one wrong at most in each section. On math, I seem to be constant at 800, according to the 10 Reals. Anyways, to the point: should I take the old SAT or the new SAT? new SAT is emphasized on the reading skills, which I feel more comfortable with, than the eliminated analogy section. Thx for help in advance!</p>

<p>Like I said before, generally colleges like to see the new SAT I from current juniors. If you don't have a problem with grammar or writing essays, then by all means, take the new one. You should be very happy that the analogy section is gone.</p>

<p>bumping it up because I don't want this thread to die so early (hmm...a mere "bump" won't work anymore because I need something more than 10 characters long!)</p>

<p>Another bump--I'm spending too much time at the Princeton board now...
Also, I've taken AP Chem, Bio, Euro, USH, Psych (self-study), and Comp Sci A, and I've done well, so feel free to ask questions about those.
I'm currently taking AP Macro, Comp Sci AB, Calc, Physics, and English lit.</p>