"Pick Up a F**king Book!"
That's a bumper sticker I saw recently. It's good advice, if rudely put, since reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary for the SAT, college, and life in general. One of my students, who just took the SAT yesterday, told me "I was pretty confident. Reviewing vocab and triangles saved my life." So there you have it. Pick up a f**king book, and study the special right triangles in the "Math Facts" section of every SAT math section.
You really should know all the "Math Facts" the SAT lists there since, as I've noted before, you don't want to waste time flipping back to that section and the ACT DOES NOT give you such a section. They want to know what basic math problems you recall from your elementary, middle school/junior high school and early high school math (the ACT will give you the harder or less-common formulas), and more importantly, if you know how to USE them.
Similarly, you should review your "vocabulary" book you may have received as part of your English classes, the tear-out flash cards and vocabulary word lists in the Barron's SAT book, as well as the section on word roots, and look up every word you don't know or word you know, but seems to be used in an unfamiliar way. The SAT and ACT both like to see if you know secondary meanings of words (e.g., the word "run" is the English word with the most meanings; "sheet" can mean a rope used to control a sail on a sailboat, and so on).If you know secondary meanings of words, you can expect to gain a few points in the critical reading sections of the SAT and the ACT.
You'll also gain a better "ear" for written English that will help you in the writing sections of the SAT and ACT if you "pick up a f**king book" and read it, since most books are written in SAT-type Standard American English. That means that reading Standard American English and becoming accustomed to it will notice non-standard English immediately. Noticing the error is enough to get an SAT sentence correction question right; being able to fix the error (by choosing from a set of options) is what you need to do on the ACT.
No one is going to want to hear you complain that you didn't memorize the math facts, or that your assigned reading from school didn't give you the same vocabulary as the students competing with you for spots at good colleges. The colleges want students they believe will succeed, and your math ability and vocabulary are rough (sometimes VERY rough) measures of your likelihood of success. It's all about rationing. There are only so many openings in any college's class, and there are plenty of others who'd like to take YOURS. Remember, they're trying to take away your chance to go to the college you want - don't let them. So pick up a book already! :-)
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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.