Another concern that I have is the small number of quizzes available—for about a quarter of the topics, there is only one quiz available, making it difficult to assess learning. For almost half of the topics, there are only two. The content on the Resources page is inadequate, to say the least. Nearly all of the content on the Resources page is videos, despite advertising about games and rap songs.
Actually, the lack of rap songs might be a good thing. Many of the resources seem designed to teach students the content that they should have learned in the classes that are supposed to prepare them for the ACT their Algebra, Geometry, other math, and English classes, in particular , rather than teaching students about concepts that the ACT considers to be particularly important and therefore is likely to ask questions about. For instance, I found videos about ellipses and parabolas, but none about circles—the one type of conic that is often included in the test.
I also found videos about how to use a ruler, how to write a summary, and how to create a dot plot—none of which are relevant for the ACT. Additionally, while videos demonstrating a skill or explaining a concept can be helpful, they offer no way for students to practice the skill or test their understanding. Interestingly, I have found no mention whatsoever of the Writing Test on this website. However, many of the resources for the English Test which covers revising and editing are more likely to be helpful for the Writing Test the essay.
Just mark the questions you got wrong, and keep moving. Actually re-attempt each question, and see if you can figure out where you went wrong. At this point, you will have used the same materials available on ACT Academy, but in a more focused and productive manner. If the site improves which I hope it will , I will post an updated review and suggestions for best use. But, for now, I would just avoid it.
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Even more surprising is the fact that the College Board will now allow English Language Learners access to instructions in their native language as well as bilingual glossaries. For now, however, these accommodations will be available only during state-funded school-day tests that are given once or twice a year at participating campuses. The two tests have been locked in a cat-and-mouse game for a while now, so I expect the ACT to follow suit shortly. If you have questions about accommodations on standardized tests, talk to your guidance counselor or coordinator.
You can also schedule a free consultation by calling our office at We look forward to hearing from you! That changed last week when Khan Academy published Tests 5 and 6 on their website. The new tests are now available on the College Board website as well. Scores for the first new SAT, which students took in March, have finally come back, and, just in time, the College Board has released concordance tables i. Overall, new SAT scores seem to be inflated by about points per section.
On the old test, an average section score e. Math or Reading was around Similarly, the ACT average of 21 would have been roughly equivalent to a 1, on the old SAT but is now in the range of This information is on Table 7. It remains to be seen what effect this change will have on automatic admissions scores. When the SAT added the Writing Skills section in increasing the maximum score from to , many colleges were slow to adapt and continued to base their admissions requirements on the scale ignoring the Writing Skills section altogether.
This is one reason there are so many concordance tables: There are, of course, tables comparing individual sections on the old and new tests as well. The Math table Table 3 is fairly straightforward: That makes Tables 4 and 5 pretty confusing. The results are similar to the math-score conversions. Take new SAT Reading test score of According to Table 5, a 27 on the new Reading test translates to a on the old test, so again, the new scores are about points higher per section.
Feel free to ignore it. Basically, they tried to make things simple by duplicating everything. The College Board also has a score-converter app. But is that a good idea? Many expectant mothers even read to their unborn children! Students who grow up reading tend to love reading, which means they tend to be good at it. The sooner you start building that foundation, the better.
Even highly motivated students can suffer from burnout.
Good students tend to be curious. While some students will relish the challenge at first, after a certain number of practice tests, it starts getting old. Students used to getting almost every question right on every test in school may feel frustrated and disheartened when they miss ten questions on their first SAT practice test. They may start to question their abilities, and in the worst-case scenario, they may just give up. Even if your child has the attitude, tenacity, and math chops for four years of test prep, there is one unavoidable problem: Re-taking tests is actually a very smart way to prep.
So it makes sense to save a few official practice tests for the month before the test. Summer before 9th grade: Summer before 10th grade: Consider doing some moderate prep work to become familiar with the test format and basic strategies. Summer before 11th grade: This is the best time to take a full-length prep course and as many practice tests as possible, saving one or two for the month leading up to the official test. Also, because the National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes the top students in every state, the threshold score varies from state to state.
Actually, there are two scales. I said it was complicated. But later, they dropped the PSAT top score down to They also added a separate selection index score on a scale of The big picture is a little easier to grasp if you start with the selection index scores.
Here are some hypothetical scores:. The composite score can be calculated by first averaging the selection index scores of the two verbal sections and then multiplying the result by The math Selection Index score is also multiplied by These two scores are then added. For our hypothetical student, we get:.
Note that the Math score counts for only one-third of the selection index, but one-half of the composite score. As stated above, no one—not even the College Board—knows at this point, but our fairly conservative anticipated threshold for National Merit recognition in Texas is Becoming a better reader or mathematician will require significantly more practice.
I sucked at math in high school. Unless you have an injury in the part of your brain that deals with numbers, you are fully capable of doing math. You are also capable of teaching yourself math. Your real problem is lack of motivation. There are a lot of good reasons to want to become competent at math.
An even more fundamental reason you should want to develop your mathematical skills is that, along with language, math is one of the main things that separates humans from animals. The human brain is the most complex, sophisticated object in the known universe. Any time you actively teach yourself something, you are making yourself smarter, more disciplined, and more independent. To learn how to factor a quadratic equation the first time, you have to read about it. But to learn how to do it well, you just have to do it over and over again. Mathematical concepts build upon themselves.
If you have trouble adding or multiplying without a calculator, you probably need to practice some simpler problems. Just try not to rely on it too much. There are tons of math websites out there. You can also just Google the concept you need help with and look at the top results. Just be sure you do enough practice problems to get each concept down cold.
You can also get an algebra textbook any one will do , and work through it, skipping anything you already understand. When a concept gives you trouble, work through as many practice problems as necessary to get it down cold. Of course, this approach requires some discipline, but so does learning any worthwhile skill. Remember to always show your work and use proper mathematical notation. No one ever got good at math by using their own personal notation system. Try to set aside thirty minutes to an hour each day to practice math. We got an advance copy.
The four tests in the guide are the same four tests available on the College Board website. What you will not find either in the book or online is a one-page answer key for each test. To grade a test, you have to flip through about 45 pages of answer explanations.
So we made up some answer keys to make things easier. New SAT Test 1 answer key. New SAT Test 2 answer key. New SAT Test 3 answer key. New SAT Test 4 answer key. Writing things down helps you think! Some students seem to think the proper way to do a math problem is to devise a multi-step plan and then follow it through step by step. They write down Step 1 and then start thinking about Step 2.
It might seem like a waste of time, but it gets the wheels turning. Another reason to show your work is that doing so will help you identify your mistakes. The best way to study for any standardized test is to practice frequently and review any problems you miss. Keep your work neat and organized. Try to make it look like the demonstration problems in an algebra textbook. Anyone else ought to be able to look at your work and know what you were thinking.
Your skills and confidence will improve. Imagine I also told him that I hated actually playing basketball. I just want to win games!
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Thirty minutes or, better yet, an hour of reading every day will make a difference in a matter of weeks, and a world of difference in a matter of months. Students should choose books or magazine articles or blogs that interest them. Everyone is interested in something. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of books and articles on almost every conceivable subject, so finding stimulating reading material is just a Google search away.
And if you can think of one book you ever read and liked, you can always look it up on Amazon and check out the recommendations. I highly recommend National Geographic magazine. Subscriptions are inexpensive, and the pictures are amazing. Flip through a National Geographic and read the captions under the pictures. If anything looks cool, read the whole article. What are you into? Science Fiction fans will love io9. Believe me, there are worse ways to spend an hour of your time! But the content and difficulty level should be very similar to the new SAT. A couple of the passages have charts, but the questions about them are very easy—similar to the easiest questions on the ACT science section.
Two of the passages are old: The only real difference is the inclusion of a single graph on one of the passages. The questions are even worded similarly to those on the ACT.
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I found myself reaching for my vintage TI so frequently I had to put it in a drawer. I know a lot of students who use their calculators for even the most basic addition; for them, this section will pose a challenge. Interestingly, the questions are not in order of difficulty. Frequent topics on this section are: While it was comforting to have the calculator at my fingertips, it was no help on questions like this:.
Many of the problems include graphs, tables, scatterplots, and histograms. There are also several challenging physics problems e. The reading and writing are, in my opinion, a little easier mainly due to the lack of obscure vocabulary questions. Students who take challenging courses in high school and make good grades should be fairly well prepared. Basically, it works just like grades in high school: If you live outside the Austin area or just want to avoid traffic , we offer remote tutoring via Skype. Just send us an email to set up an appointment! This article is about the current SAT.
For info on the redesigned SAT coming in , click here.
One website boasts 5, words! Think you can memorize them all? Good luck with that. In any case, the test makers do not tend to use the same obscure words over and over. But there are some words that appear on almost every SAT simply because they are common words. I know because I checked; all it takes is a highlighter and a lot of patience. Taking an art appreciation class can enhance your understanding of aesthetic principles. Constitution guarantees equitable treatment under the law for all citizens. A complete solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon. At the sight of his old uniform, Billy felt a keen nostalgia for his school days.
The FDA advocates regular vaccinations for children. The professional speaker was a master of rhetoric. Rather than accept a second glass of wine, Suzanne opted for temperance. After a week sweating on the farm, Billy began to reconsider his romantic view of agricultural life. Chet was too much of an elitist to consider attending the rodeo. Marvin grew increasingly frustrated at the deliberate pace of life in the small town. You should deliberate awhile before you answer. Placing your right hand over your heart during the Pledge of Allegiance is a conventional demonstration of respect.
The judge handed down the maximum sentence, explaining that he had nothing but contempt for jaywalkers. Many people are anxious about public speaking. The preacher complained that commercial interests have tarnished religious holidays. The architecture student expressed a reverence for Frank Lloyd Wright. The ethics committee criticized the lawyer for his lack of integrity. Most scientists are skeptical about the existence of UFOs. The professor lamented the decline of voluntary reading among American high school students.
The new father declined the invitation to the poker game, citing domestic responsibilities. Tommy shared a hilarious anecdote about the time he fell into an aquarium. After studying the syllabus, Henry opted for the less rigorous calculus course. Sam wanted to take a hot-air balloon across the Atlantic, but his wife suggested the more pragmatic option of an airplane. Many people have an inherent dislike of broccoli. According to the advertisement, this laundry detergent evokes the countryside and spring rain. The prosecutor was aggressive in his accusations but was unable to substantiate the allegations with physical evidence.
After rambling for ten minutes about his preference for non-dairy creamer, Dr. Franklin realized he had digressed from the lecture topic. Of course, the best way to build a vocabulary is to read a lot of books, looking up unfamiliar words as you encounter them. Perfect practice makes perfect. The only way to excel at sports is to practice. The same is true of music. The same is true of standardized tests. Practice has to be done right to be effective.
Running in circles holding a football does not count as football practice. Pounding random keys with your fists is not piano practice. If you want to succeed on a standardized test, you have to practice, and you have to practice the right way. Here is the right way:. The easiest way to fail is simply not to practice.
Shoot for one section a day. You should start practicing at least two months before the test. For example, every English section has five passages, so you could do three one day and two the next. If you run out of time, go ahead and finish so you get the practice, but make a note of how many problems were left when you ran out of time. For whatever reason, most students are reluctant to follow this rule. They tend to erase their wrong answers and circle the correct ones, which is pointless. Which brings us to. By attempting the question a second time, you improve some small amount.
The more questions you do over, the more you improve. This is the key to improvement. If you want to play a piece on the piano, you play it over and over again, trying to make fewer mistakes each time. You think about where you messed up, and try not to do it again. This is also why football coaches watch recordings of the games with their players: When you attempt a problem the second time, you will often get it right.
You could also get help from a friend or teacher. If you live in the Austin area, you can attend one of our free tutorials. And finally, we come to the Essay section. The Essay is optional but required by some colleges. So why should you even care about it? Because some colleges care about it.
You might have a composite score in the 30s, but if your essay score is dismal, that could raise a red flag for the admissions department: Learning to write well is the most important skill for success in college. Furthermore, most high-paying jobs require some amount of writing. It takes years of practice. He basically shows you all the mistakes every college freshman makes everybody makes the same mistakes and then shows you how not to make them.
Write to be understood. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Back to the essay. You will be presented with three viewpoints on an issue environmentalism, healthcare; it could be anything really. Your job is to analyze and evaluate the three perspectives, provide your own perspective, and explain the relationship between your perspective and the three perspectives given.
Short essays get low scores , so be sure to use the full 40 minutes, and make your essay as long as possible without repeating yourself. The best way to prepare for the essay is to read the sample essays and scoring explanations on the ACT website. In most cases, an 8 on the scale is probably good enough, but higher is always preferred. Want to know where you stand? This concludes our series on the ACT. If you live in the Austin area, you can sign up for a free practice test.
The test makers like to brag that the ACT tests what you learn in school. And yet one of their favorite subjects on the Science section is geology. No one takes geology in high school!
You will see words and concepts that are completely foreign to you. The hardest part about the Science section is dealing with information overload.
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The good news is: Some students who excel at science classes in high school will actually bomb the ACT Science section the first time they take it. Because they try to read and understand all the paragraphs, charts, graphs, and tables before going to the questions, and they inevitably run out of time. Most of that information is irrelevant anyway. Go straight to the questions. Most questions will tell you exactly where to look. The easiest way to miss a question on the Science section is to look in the wrong place. Table 2 is not the same thing as Figure 2. Nine times out of ten you do not need to read the paragraph introducing Experiment 1.
Read these paragraphs only if the question directs you to. These questions are rare. Also, if you ever feel completely lost, you might want to read the introductory paragraph, which is usually pretty short. When looking at a graph, always read the labels on the axes. The last question on any passage is usually the hardest. The Conflicting Viewpoints passage is the hardest one.
Occasionally there will be more than two viewpoints. Since there are few or no charts and graphs, you will have to do some reading on this one. We appreciate the hard work you put in with Morgan, she truly feels that you were a huge part in her raising her test scores overall.
She felt confident in her ability to tackle the tests with an organized plan, and obviously she was prepared and ultimately successful. Early Decision to the college of her choice? Posted by Brooke Higgins at 9: Show What You Know. Chances are you hate them. Most students struggle with math problems that contain more words than numbers. Translating sentences into equations is not always the easiest thing to do. Despite the challenge, there is no way around word problems. So how do you tackle word problems? How do you sift through the cornucopia of words to drill down to the important math equation?
The answer is quite simple: Often by drawing the information you know, you can create an easy shortcut to the correct answer. For example, let's say you are given the following question taken directly from the College Board website: A special lottery is to be held to select the student who will live in the only deluxe room in a dormitory. What is the probability that a senior's name will be chosen? So many words here! But don't freak out. Take it slow and start with your pencil: Draw one block to represent seniors, another block to represent juniors and one more block to represent sophomores.
Now, you also know that the senior's names are placed in the lottery 3 times.