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How to improve SAT scores

Khan+Academy+is+one+of+the+many+sources+students+use+to+help+prep+for+the+SAT+exam.+Photo+courtesy+of+Wikimedia+Commons.
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How to improve SAT scores

Khan Academy is one of the many sources students use to help prep for the SAT exam. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Khan Academy is one of the many sources students use to help prep for the SAT exam. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Khan Academy is one of the many sources students use to help prep for the SAT exam. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Khan Academy is one of the many sources students use to help prep for the SAT exam. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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As Junior year is coming to a close, incoming seniors begin preparing for their college applications. A major component is the SAT, Scholastic Aptitude Test. Many use the months prior to the exam as time to study. Some use online practice tests, classes, or private tutoring. In order to perform to my full potential, I’ve used all three methods of practice.

For online studying I used khanacademy.com. This tool is extremely helpful because it allows me to work through certain math problems that I need a little more help on. If I get an answer wrong, it never fails to provide me with the correct answer as well as an explanation. In addition, the website also has videos to teach me how to do a problem. A similar process is used in the reading and writing section. It will give me a passage and an explanation for each of my wrong answers. The website also provides a timed section so I can practice on my speed. I plan on continuing to use this method everyday until my exam.

Over the summer I took a seven-week SAT Prep class. There, they provided me with the latest SAT practice booklet. Throughout the course, my teacher, who was a current college student, gave us tips on how to approach certain types of problems. Although I did experience an increase on my practice scores, there were some downsides that prevented me from doing my best. One could be the intimidation. I was knowingly surrounded by a group of students who had higher test scores than I did. They were also quick to answer questions before I could fully comprehend the concepts. At times, I would be too focused on getting picked to answer a word problem rather than learning the material. Personally, I’m stronger in the reading and writing section, which leads me to my next negative factor. The majority, if not all, of the other students in my class were excellent in the math section, therefore we spent most of the class focusing on the parts that I didn’t particularly need assistance on. Although I still think it was money well spent, I don’t think it helped me improve by a lot.

I am currently preparing with private tutoring. For me, this is a more effective and productive solution. Unlike the class,  I don’t constantly feel like I’m trying to compete with someone else. Also I can focus on the details that will help me improve. My tutoring is two hours long, one hour with math and the other with reading and writing. Every week I am given a practice test to complete, as well as little worksheets to help me improve on the questions that I have the most trouble in. For example, if my tutor sees that I’m consistently getting a type of question wrong, he provides me with more practice problems. Everytime we meet, we review all of my answers and view my progress. I’ve been taking private lessons for about a month and so far my score has been increasing rapidly.

Although SAT classes may seem like a lot of money, in the end, it is worth it. I not only see improvement in my scores, but in my school work as well. My productivity and ability to comprehend information has enhanced. If it’s one thing to spend tons of money on, it would be towards SAT preparations.

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