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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Official SAT Guide: Skip Questions or Guess...?

The Official SAT Study Guide Online: Is it better to skip questions if you don't know the answer?

The simple answer to that is, "No." 

Some say that it's a toss-up on whether or not to leave answers blank if you don't know them; I'm going to go a step further and say it is absolutely NOT better to leave an answer blank and here's why:

The SAT counts off 1/4 of a percent for a wrong answer. So, let's say you have four questions you are unsure of...if you guess at all four of them, the simple law of probability is that you're going to get at least one right. This means that the one you get right will cancel out the three you might possibly get wrong. Now imagine if you guess correctly on two of them...? See what I mean??

Furthermore, the standard on the SAT is five answer choices to each of the multiple choice questions. If you can reasonably deduct at least one answer (and usually it's really easy to at least minus out two of the possible answers), then you are 100% better off by taking a guess.

By learning simple tips and tricks to taking and mastering the SAT, you can easily and dramatically raise your SAT average score.

What exactly DOES the SAT test you on? 
Vocabulary is a huge part of the new SAT, but where do I start?
What is the maximum possible SAT score?
What is considered a good SAT score?
What score is reasonable for me to aim for?


How do I know what score to aim for on the new SAT?

The Official SAT Study Guide Online: How do I know what SAT score to aim for?

When preparing to study for the new SAT, a good rule-of-thumb for deciding what score you should aim for is to take a practice test and then aim for 300 points higher than your first practice test score.

Why?  Because the new SAT is all a very healthy mixture of general knowledge and critical thinking strategies.  When studying for the SAT, you will have the most success if you first target your general-knowledge weaknesses and then focus your efforts on learning combined strategies, tips, and tricks for raising your SAT score.

By focusing your efforts on brushing up on the newly-discovered weaknesses and learning simple SAT test-taking strategies, it is not only feasible, but also very probable that you can easily raise your score by 300 points from your original practice test score.

In other words, if you take an SAT practice test and score around a 1400, then it is an easy goal to brush up on weaknesses and strategies and quickly raise your score to around a 1700.  If you initially score a 1600, you can quickly raise that average score to a 1900.  I could keep going, but you get the idea.

The Official SAT Guide Online focuses on the strategies needed to ace the SAT, as well as crash-courses for each category of the new SAT.

Is it better to guess or to skip an answer on the new SAT?
How long is the new SAT test?
What exactly is on the new SAT test?


What is considered a bad, average, good, or great score on the new SAT?

The Official SAT Study Guide Online: What is considered a good SAT score?

To put things into perspective, the average cumulative score for the new SAT is 1538, but Harvard's admission statistics show that they accept students with scores between 2080-2370.  A not-so-great score would be anything 1300 and below.

Is a perfect score possible?  Yes, but it's obviously not easy.  It's estimated that about one-million students take the new SAT each year.  Out of those, about 20 receive a perfect score.  That is the equivalent of approximately .002% of all students that take the SAT scoring a perfect score.

Due to the new SAT's various forms and difficulty levels, you do not have to get every answer correct to score a perfect score.  The SAT creators know the differences in difficulties between the different tests.  This means that if you happen to take one of the easier tests, you will be expected to get more answer correct in order to score the same as persons that take the harder tests.

In reverse, this also means that if you are dealt one of the harder forms of the new SAT test, you will be allowed to make a certain amount of mistakes and still receive a perfect score.

So what score should I aim for when taking the new SAT?
Is it better to guess or leave an answer blank on the new SAT?
How can I raise my SAT average?


What is the Max Score on the SAT?

The Official SAT Study Guide: What is the maximum you can score on the SAT?

The new SAT college entrance exam is divided between three categories: Math, Writing, and Critical Reading.

It is possible to score between 200 and 800 points for each of these categories.  Thus, the cumulative score for the complete SAT can range from 600-2400, making the perfect score for the SAT a 2400.

Related Questions About SAT Scoring:

Is it better to guess or leave an answer blank on the new SAT?
Do you have to get every answer correct to get a perfect score on the SAT?
What is considered a bad, average, good, or great score on the new SAT?
How can I raise my SAT average score?


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What the SAT Actually Tests You On: Tips and Tricks for taking the SAT

The Official SAT Study Guide: Just what DOES the SAT test you on?

The different forms of standardized tests are very important to understand.  It's extremely hard to excel on a test if you're not even sure what the test is all about.

Yes, the SAT's three main sections are Math, Writing, and Critical Reading; but is that really what it tests you on??  Nope...

Unlike the LSAT (for law school), MCAT (for medical school), and PCAT (for pharmacy school) which all test you on very specific knowledge that is career-oriented, the SAT & ACT are generalized standardized tests.  This means that instead of testing you on specific career-oriented knowledge, the SAT and ACT test you on your critical thinking skillsThe tricky part is that this applies to both taking the test, AND studying for the test.

In studying for the SAT, it is absolutely crucial that you get it through your head that you are not expected to know every single definition of any crazy word they may throw at you.  Nor are you expected to know what n(4.78x)/xyz(19b) equals.  In fact, if you come up with some crazily difficult looking answer for anything on the SAT, chances are that you're wrong and you've put way too much work into a fairly simple problem. 

Studying for the SAT is as simple as sharpening your critical thinking skills.  That's it!  Instead of trying to memorize lists of hundreds and hundreds of words that you'll never use, learn word roots instead.  Instead of trying to learn everything there is to know from Algebra I through Calculus, simply learn to look at the problem the right way from the right perspective and you'll ace the SAT.  Learn more from the Official SAT Study Guide about how to study properly for the SAT here.

In actually taking the SAT, simply learn to look at a question and determine what's different about it.  Learn tips to stretch your time on each section before you ever even get to the test.  Learn how to authenticate your essay and even pre-write your essay before you actually take the SAT.  Learn these and other valuable tips and tricks to actually taking the test and, again, you'll ace the SAT.  Read more from the Official SAT Study Guide on tips and tricks for taking the SAT here.


 Useful Links for Studying for the SAT:

The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition 
Gruber's Complete SAT Guide 2010, 13E 
Math Study Guide for the SAT®, ACT®, and SAT® Subject Tests - 2010 Edition (Math Study Guide for the SAT, ACT, & SAT Subject Tests) 
Up Your Score: The Underground Guide to the SAT 2009-2010 Edition 
Kaplan SAT 2010 Edition: Strategies, Practice, and Review

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Official SAT Study Guide: New SAT Vocabulary Workshop Intro

 The Official SAT Study Guide presents the New SAT Vocabulary Workshop!

This vocabulary workshop will teach you how to learn over 100,000 words and their meanings in a matter of hours instead of months or years.

How??'s all about strategy, my friends!

The NoBS411 on the New SAT Vocabulary section is that (for lack of better words - pardon the pun)...IT'S FRIGGIN' HARD!!  I've always been obsessed with words and their meanings so I honestly figured the vocabulary part of the new SAT would be a breeze; but...when I first saw some of the sample vocabulary words on the new SAT, I was like, "Ummmm..." followed by, "Hmmm..." and then finally, "Oh frig!"

What did I do next??  PANICKED!  DUH!!


I'm also obsessed with research and I knew there had to be an easier way.  Using the basic principal of "read the strategy behind the question instead of just reading the question", I decided that the creators of the New SAT didn't actually expect you to know all of those words and their meanings.

So what did they want you to know??  WORD ROOTS, my friends...

What are word roots?  Well, if you're studying for the New SAT (or any other standardized test), words roots are your new BFF!

Want to use the New SAT Vocabulary Workshop to learn 100,000+ words in no-time-flat?  Just click here to get started.


Useful Links:

The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition 
Barron's SAT 2400: Aiming for the Perfect Score
Up Your Score: The Underground Guide to the SAT 2009-2010 Edition 
The Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

User Reviews-SAT Study Guide-Grubers SAT 2400

I need to send out a huge "Thank you" to Gary Gruber right now!

If you're looking for an all-around wonderful SAT prep guide, this book is it.  I spent literally hours sitting in the floor of Barnes & Noble digging through literally hundreds of books and Gruber's SAT 2400: Advanced Strategies for the Perfect Score is what I finally landed on and it definitely served its purpose and served it well.

I only had 3 weeks to study for my SAT and I've been out of school for over 14 years. (shhhhhhh)  I also needed a full-ride scholarship and I knew I had to get an amazing score to be able to compete with the kids just coming out of high school.  I just got my scores back and I'm DEFINITELY GETTING MY FULL-PAID SCHOLARSHIP THANKS TO THIS BOOK!! 

The SAT doesn't necessarily test "what you know"; the SAT tests your strategic ability.  If you're memorizing words and all of that, just stop right there.  You're wasting valuable time and you're not going to raise your score.  Gruber teaches you the strategies you need to know to ace this test.