SAT™ Game Plan

Our Strategies for Preparing for and Scoring High on the SAT™

Step One: Reading

The SAT™ Reading test is quite different than the ACT™. It’s not so much about speed comprehension, but careful, critical reading. As an example, you can readily eliminate two, and sometimes even three, of the four answer choices on the ACT™ Reading test. On the SAT™, at first glance - all four answers may look good! What do you do? It’s a matter of careful reading and finding the answer that has the best evidence. Also! There are those tough, old English passages on the SAT™ that do not exist on the ACT™. Even if you have read a lot of Shakespeare or some 18th and 19th and early 20th century literature in school, the vocabulary and expressions can seem very unfamiliar.

We help you wade through it all. Not to worry. And part of what helps, is vocabulary and being able to break down unfamiliar words. To help with that, we provide a list of 447 commonly unknown, or misinterpreted, vocabulary words for the test, along with Latin and Greek roots, and common prefixes and suffixes to break those tricky words down.

After you finish a Reading section, we take you step-by-step through grading and the somewhat complex, multi-step SAT™ scoring scale. No worries! Once you do the grading and scaling once you’ll have it down, and you can see what to focus on, and how you’re progressing.

Step Two: Writing and Language

The Writing and Language, or the English, portion of the SAT™ has some similarities with the ACT™ in terms of their being some grammar questions that overlap between the two, along with those prickly questions that require you to shuffle sentences around. But there are other context and rhetoric questions on the SAT™ that are unique to the test. We provide you with question-by-question

support through our Wise-Prep Spreadsheet and Student Handbook that takes you straight to your question, with easy to follow explanations and lots of extra examples if you need them. So, you can understand your question readily and get straight back to the test! Here’s what it looks like:

After you finish a Writing and Language section you can grade and scale the Writing and Language, to see what’s going well, and what you still want to work on.

Step Three: Math - No Calculator

We guide you through the The No Calculator section of the SAT™ with our question-by-question

support that takes you straight to easy to follow explanations for the questions you are looking for, taking into account - of course - that you can’t use a calculator for this section! We also have lots of extra example problems, and additional website links to further practice, including links to You Tube™ and Khan Academy™ for more practice - if you want it! If you don’t, you get your question covered and you move straight back to the test.

As always, there is the grading sheet and scoring scale included so you can see how you did on the Math, which concepts and skills you “killed,” (proverbially), and which ones you still want to work on.

Step Four: Math - Calculator

Hallelujah! You get to use your calculator for this section! Again, we give you question-by-question support that takes you straight to easy to follow explanations to your questions, and problem solving approaches that this time include the use of your calculator! And as always, there are lots of extra examples, and website links, including You Tube™ and Khan Academy™ for lots of practice - if you want it! Speaking of calculators, for those students using TI calculators, I would strongly recommend picking up a used TI-84, the one that comes with the mini USB port. The reason for that is you can download programs from your computer to the TI-84, which are super helpful and legal for the SAT™ and ACT™. There is an excellent, really easy to follow video on You Tube™ we will provide you with for those interested in taking advantage of this programming option.

And once you finish with the Math section, you can grade it, scale it and determine your total score for your first practice test, and see how your score stacks up with what colleges are looking for nationwide on the SAT™ score chart, found in the beginning of the Student Handbook.

Step Five: The Essay

Finally, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel! The essay on the ACT™ is very much like the persuasive or argumentative essays that students write in school. And, if you’ve used the Ethos, Pathos, Logos (EPL) method that can also come in quite handy in writing the essay. One difference with regard to the EPL method is you might call it Evidence, instead of Ethos, meaning the evidence you give from the passage you are given, to demonstrate how the author of the passage presented their argument, or position. But the Logos part of this method applies directly, meaning that you will apply logic and reasoning to support the evidence you have found in the passage, and finally, your essay will appeal to the readers emotions, or Pathos, in presenting your argument. We will, of course, take you through all finer points of how to tackle the SAT™ essay, which you are given 50 minutes to write on the test, and it should be anywhere from 5 to 7 paragraphs long, or about three pages.