I know, I know the SAT is an ugly old troll blocking you from the bridge of life and must be conquered if you are to cross triumphantly into the world of adulthood or at least to the hallowed halls of your higher learning institute of choice. It is also a given that you can definitely max out your score with a huge mental data bank, but contrary to this public opinion, the insiders know a secret. Yes, oh worried one, the secret is strategy. The tool to success on the SAT is a series of strategies and with these strategies in hand (metaphorically of course) you will, without a doubt have a higher SAT score than you thought possible. What, you ask, will it take for me to deliver the “goods” on that secret more precious than gold? Well, how about the eyeball of a dragon, or a straw from a witch’s broom or better yet, just promise me that you will take this message seriously and practice what I am about to preach.
Before you take on the quest know these rules:
You have a little over three hours to get your task done to win the prize. (four hours with allowed breaks)
The Critical Reading and Math are the most important scores for college admission boards.
You should only answer questions you feel sure about.
You will receive 1 point for each correct answer but you will lose 1 point for every four wrong answers. ouch!
So guess only, when you are able through elimination, to narrow the five answer choices down to only two choices.
Never guess when you have all five answer choices. your odds are only 20%; get rid of three so you have two choices left and the odds shoot up to 50%.
There are two types of reading passages on the test: one long and one short; neither one should be read.
Instead you will want to read one question at a time and then look at the passage for a possible answer, which you will decide on and then match to the previously unseen answer choices. Doing this will save you three seconds per question. Precious time to be used at the end, when time is short.
The test is figured to take around one minute per question, so you must conserve time by kissing goodbye to the type of question you never get right. Forget about it and move on. Come back to it only if there is time left at the end and then be very careful of your choice.
When the question asks for the main idea of the passage read the first line of each paragraph; summed up they will give you the main idea of the passage as a whole.
When the question asks for the author’s point of view, search for descriptive words that show emotion and match them to your answer choices.
There is another type of question in the critical reading section that deserves your attention, the sentence completion questions. or fill in the blanks. These can make or break you. Remember this, there are three types of sentences in these questions: contrast, agreement and definition. Each sentence is broken into two parts or clauses by comas, colons or semi-colons.
In the contrast sentence the clauses will be opposite of each other; one positive message, one negative message. So your blanks will contain words that are opposite in charge or polarized. (good words and bad words)
The agreement sentence requires another type of strategy; the second clause will agree with the first. So you will need positive words in each clause or negative words in each clause. Don’t mix up the charges.
The definition sentence is last and goes exactly as it sounds; the second clause will define a word(usually the blank word) in the first clause. So positive begets positive and negative begets negative.
Now the Math section has some gifts ie. all standard formulas will be given at the beginning. You will be expected to know where to use them and what to plug in.
Draw everything and label, you will be surprised how some answer choices will change if you do.
There is a different type of question scoring in the Math section and this is called the student initiated response section. Here you may guess to your heart’s content because there will be no penalty for wrong answers and a plus 1 for every correct answer. Yahoo! Too bad there are only ten of these.
The geometry section has the most difficult questions so don’t waste time if you are poor at geometry. Skip and come back to it later if there is time.
Most of the algebra questions are of medium difficulty, so they are worth the extra time.
The writing section has two types of questions: the multiple choice and the essay.
In the writing multiple choice use your gut instinct. Say the sentence with your answer choice, whisper it if you have to and LISTEN to how it sounds in your head. Then go with your gut. Nine times out of ten you’ll be right. Just watch to be sure your pronouns match the nouns they are modifying in number and gender. Also watch your noun-verb agreement, no plural nouns with singular verbs please!
Now, to the essay; if you follow this formula, you can’t go wrong. Read the prompt carefully because you will be required to argue a point later. Always begin with a thesis paragraph or your premise or argument. The next paragraph should relate a personal experience to back up your premise, something persuasive. The following paragraph should contain a broad based example, maybe from television or books, world events and such, used to make your premise’s point. Cite who or where carefully. The next paragraph should be a teaser or counter point. Start with a phrase like: There are some who believe… or Others think…. This will introduce the opposing point of view, which you will give and then slam dunk it at the end by showing its fallacy. Sum up the essay by giving a concluding paragraph that not only restates the main points of the opening paragraph but includes the main points of the other paragraphs. Spell your words correctly, vary your sentence structures and throw in a few SAT words and you have a winner. Just be sure you stay on topic consistently.
Buy a vocabulary review book for SAT and learn at east 100 new words and then do all of the tests in the SAT practice book. Practice my strategies with the book and you will come out the hero in your own story, conquering the troll and crossing the bridge to higher learning and a good job. Best of luck and you can forget the eyeball and straw, just send me some positive energy someday.