Hopefully, you’ve already started studying, but if you haven’t, please follow the advice below:
Study the word parts in the Barron’s SAT book (27th or 26th edition is best, but any edition from the last decade or so will do). Go through the vocabulary lists – you’ll know many of the words already, but learning the ones you don’t, and secondary meanings of the ones you do know, will help you score high on the SAT. This is a good thing to start EARLY, which is why I strongly suggest you start NOW. You’re not going to be able to memorize 4000+ words overnight, but you can do a reasonably good job within more than three weeks, especially when you already know many of them (the author doesn’t know what any individual student will know, so she had to list ALL the likely SAT words she could imagine).
Study Chapter 8 (the math strategies- you know, “tips and tricks” for solving math problems) in the Barron’s SAT book, or the corresponding sections in whatever review book you have. The Official SAT Guide from the College Board isn’t going to teach you to defeat the College Board’s tricks, since that would defeat the purpose of placing “tricks” in the questions, so you really should use a book from a publisher other than the College Board for this portion of your preparation. While the Barron’s book is best, a prep guide from Kaplan, Princeton Review, Gruber’s, or the like, would also do. Make sure you know when to add equations, eliminate obvious wrong answers, and how to avoid doing work you don’t need to do.
Also make sure you know when and when NOT to
· trust diagrams;
· to add lines to diagrams or redraw them completely,;
· use your calculator;
· “plug in” numbers into equations using variables
· “Backsolve” by testing each answer choice to see if it works;
· Guess the answer and move on.
Review the substantive math, especially geometry, exponents, coordinate geometry, basic statistics (i.e., mean, median, and mode), probability, and word problems. Review everything in Chapter 9 of Barron’s SAT by doing the review questions at the end of each subchapter (A through R), then reviewing the portions of each subsection that cover the subjects of the questions you got wrong or did not understand, even if you guessed the correct answer. See my previous blog entries for more details on this topic.
Make sure you understand parallelism, verb tenses, comparison errors, and misplaced modifiers, and the like, as well as the rules of punctuation, for the writing section of the SAT. Finally, read the essay chapter in Barron’s SAT and list examples and topics for the essay-building exercises. Also see my previous blog entries for advice on writing style and how to write a good SAT essay.
Basically, use common sense – if a sentence doesn’t sound right to you, don’t write it in an SAT or college application essay, and don’t pick it in multiple-choice questions. While there’s some choice you’ll miss a multiple-choice question by failing to choose an answer that looks wrong but is actually right, most of the time, the right answer actually sounds like the right answer in your head when you read it, and the wrong answers don’t, even if you don’t know why they’re wrong. If you wrote a sentence that doesn’t sound right to you, edit the sentence so it does. Using “fancy” vocabulary, punctuation, or grammar incorrectly will cause you to lose points that you could have saved by expressing the same ideas using words, punctuation, and grammar you actually understand.
All these suggestions can be found in many SAT review books, on my blog, and on other websites. It’s easy to find what you need to do, in great detail, but hard to do it unless you give yourself plenty of time, so please START NOW!
Author: John Linneball Who did you think? ;-)
I'm the proprietor and only tutor for this business; that's why I named it after me.