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How can we help ds to be faster on the PSAT/SAT?

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#51 RegGuheert

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 02:54 AM

I'm confused. Have you seen his PSAT scores for this fall already? Was this last fall's PSAT? Or are you just assuming he probably didn't make NMS Semi-finalist score-level because it is uber-high for your state & he'd be on the lip on a good day (and it was obviously not a good day for him)?

He simply did not complete enough of the test to achieve NM semi-finalist status in VA.

Cuz DD is eagerly awaiting the week of Dec 12th when the scores are supposedly going to be released to the online accounts!

We are awaiting PSAT scores for four of our children: DS17, DD14, DS14 and DS12.
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#52 RegGuheert

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 06:10 AM

On the actual SAT test, he finished all except two questions on Math with Calculator. Based on his previous practice tests, we are hopeful that he achieved a 1500 (which would be a first, but would also be fully sufficient for his needs). He has shown in the practice tests that he is capable of getting a perfect score any of the sections, but he was still a bit inconsistent going into this test, particularly in Reading.

He should get his SAT scores on Tuesday and we will post them here.

DS17 did well on the SAT, but he didn't quite achieve 1500:

R&W: 720 Math: 690 Total: 1410

Based on this we will likely have him take the SAT again next year following the PSAT.

ETA: I see that DS17 missed 10 Math problems. That's a lot for him, even if his two guesses were incorrect. On his last two practice tests, which we understand were based on official administrations, he missed only 5 and 6 Math problems within the given time. I sure wish the College Board would split those misses between Math No Calc and Math With Calc. Oh, well.

Edited by RegGuheert, 29 November 2016 - 06:59 AM.

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#53 mum

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 11:55 AM

Lots of great answers! I think some of it is just practice. Taking as many timed practice tests as he can bear to complete. Familiarity with the test does save time.


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#54 katilac

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 10:56 AM

 

 
PSAT: He was still recovering from a cold on October 19 and was struggling with a runny nose during the test. When he would lean forward to work on the test, his nose would run. Unfortunately this cost him time.  
 

 

In all seriousness, tell him to stuff tissue up his nose should this occur again. It looks idiotic but saves time over endless wiping. 

 

Recommended by: my family of four with countless allergies. 


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#55 Arcadia

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 07:49 PM

The #5 and #6 tests at Khan are the real SATs from the May administration. Tests 1-4 are questionable in quality, from what I understand.

Younger boy's scores were lower than his Khan #5 and #6 scores. My oldest took in June, 5 months earlier, so can't really compare as curves are likely different. The difference in scores for my two kids were 50 for English and 100 for math. Younger boy wants to retake and he is going for the June date as older boy is taking SAT subject tests that day.

Now to request for another mail in form from Collegeboard :lol:

ETA:
CTY email alert me once his scores were up. Already emailed collegeboard for another domestic registration booklet.

Edited by Arcadia, 02 December 2016 - 09:27 PM.

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#56 RegGuheert

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 03:59 AM

Younger boy's scores were lower than his Khan #5 and #6 scores. My oldest took in June, 5 months earlier, so can't really compare as curves are likely different. The difference in scores for my two kids were 50 for English and 100 for math. Younger boy wants to retake and he is going for the June date as older boy is taking SAT subject tests that day.

...(counting on my fingers)... So your younger son also took the November SAT?

DS17s R&W score on the November 5, 2016, test was right in line with the Khan tests #5 & #6 (720 versus 670 & 750). OTOH, his Math score was lower (690 versus 790 &770). Of course part of that is simply because the Khan scores included us allowing DS17 the extra time he needed to complete the Math with Calc test. But that only accounts for about half of the difference (we track what he completed in the alloted time). He simply missed more questions than he had on those Khan #5 & #6.

I think we will again have him take the November administration in 2017 since it worked well to do the PSAT and SAT back-to-back.

Frankly, he has the skills needed for the writing and math tests. He still struggles with a few of the reading passages. I think his speed will be there (barely) by next year. What I am most concerned about is that his confidence may have been a bit shaken. We'll need to keep reminding him that his 9th- and 10th-grade scores are higher than DS18's were in those same years.
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#57 Arcadia

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 10:30 AM

...(counting on my fingers)... So your younger son also took the November SAT?


He thought he failed so he was happy with the results even though he did hope for higher. The test center had many retaking their SAT and SAT subject tests. When my older took in June, most people at his center were first time takers who are going for summer holidays after test date.

So the June curve might have been gentler but my older is a good test taker so hard to tell.
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#58 RegGuheert

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 08:24 AM

DS17 did well on the SAT, but he didn't quite achieve 1500:

R&W: 720 Math: 690 Total: 1410

Based on this we will likely have him take the SAT again next year following the PSAT.

ETA: I see that DS17 missed 10 Math problems. That's a lot for him, even if his two guesses were incorrect. On his last two practice tests, which we understand were based on official administrations, he missed only 5 and 6 Math problems within the given time. I sure wish the College Board would split those misses between Math No Calc and Math With Calc. Oh, well.

 

Interestingly, DS17's scores on the PSAT about two weeks prior were nearly identical:

 

R&W: 720 Math: 680 Total: 1400

 

Somehow these scores are the same even though he had a bit of trouble finishing the PSAT.  We may need to purchase the question & answer service for the SAT to better understand why he missed so many there.


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#59 RootAnn

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 09:02 AM

FWIW, dd#1's practice test scores (last year's real PSAT) were close to this year's PSAT scores. Looks like his scores are close (not quite there, but close) to NM level depending on the state! Good job to him, especially with the health issues!!
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#60 RegGuheert

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 11:10 AM

Here is an anecdotal example of how this test fails to capture the true picture of students' relative abilities: DS14 got the same score for Math on the PSAT as DS17, even though DS14 does not even know how to do all of the problems (DS17 absolutely does).  In this case, the distortion in scores is due to the time constraints.

 

It is what it is, but it is frustrating for students like DS17 who really do know the material very well.


Edited by RegGuheert, 12 December 2016 - 11:11 AM.

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#61 RegGuheert

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 07:26 PM

The results for DS17 on the PSAT are a bit surprising.  It seems he had a bit of a meltdown in the Math No Calc section but had is best result ever on Math With Calculator.  He did very well everywhere else:

 

Reading: Correct 44, Incorrect 1, Omitted 2: He did not get done with reading, but he only *missed* question 4.  Based on what he said when he got in the car, not getting done on reading really set the tone for him for the rest of the test.

 

Writing:  Correct 41, Incorrect 3: He can do better, but this is just slightly below par for the course for him.

 

Math No Calculator:  Correct 10, Incorrect 5 (College Board did not score 2)  Two of those misses may have been guesses due to time running out.  I haven't gone through them, but I cannot help but wonder if the "unscorable" questions may have caused him some problems, as all of the misses occurred after he attempted problem 17 and four occurred after attempting question 4.  (He does the problems in this order: 14-17, 1-13.)  By way of comparison, he completed the previous SEVEN Math No Calculator practice tests he took in the given time missing no questions on 2 tests, one question on 4 tests and two questions on the official 2016 practice test.  For him to NOT complete the Math No Calculator section and to miss FIVE is a real surprise.

 

Math With Calculator:  Correct 29, Incorrect 2 One of the two misses was a guess due to time running out  (question 27).  The other miss was a simple rounding error on Question 31: Correct was 33.3, he wrote 33.4.  This is the best result he has EVER had on any PSAT Match With Calculator test (real or practice) within the given time! :hurray:

 

Looking at these results, I am quite confident in what he can do extremely well next year.  Whatever happened in Math No Calculator is not likely to happen again.


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#62 amsunshine

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 07:41 PM

The results for DS17 on the PSAT are a bit surprising.  It seems he had a bit of a meltdown in the Math No Calc section but had is best result ever on Math With Calculator.  He did very well everywhere else:

 

Reading: Correct 44, Incorrect 1, Omitted 2: He did not get done with reading, but he only *missed* question 4.  Based on what he said when he got in the car, not getting done on reading really set the tone for him for the rest of the test.

 

Writing:  Correct 41, Incorrect 3: He can do better, but this is just slightly below par for the course for him.

 

Math No Calculator:  Correct 10, Incorrect 5 (College Board did not score 2)  Two of those misses may have been guesses due to time running out.  I haven't gone through them, but I cannot help but wonder if the "unscorable" questions may have caused him some problems, as all of the misses occurred after he attempted problem 17 and four occurred after attempting question 4.  (He does the problems in this order: 14-17, 1-13.)  By way of comparison, he completed the previous SEVEN Math No Calculator practice tests he took in the given time missing no questions on 2 tests, one question on 4 tests and two questions on the official 2016 practice test.  For him to NOT complete the Math No Calculator section and to miss FIVE is a real surprise.

 

Math With Calculator:  Correct 29, Incorrect 2 One of the two misses was a guess due to time running out  (question 27).  The other miss was a simple rounding error on Question 31: Correct was 33.3, he wrote 33.4.  This is the best result he has EVER had on any PSAT Match With Calculator test (real or practice) within the given time! :hurray:

 

Looking at these results, I am quite confident in what he can do extremely well next year.  Whatever happened in Math No Calculator is not likely to happen again.

 

If it's any comfort to you, my dd reported she felt the Math No Calc section on this year's PSAT was overly difficult in terms of finishing on time.  She took 3 of the Khan Academy practice tests and one of the PSAT prior tests as practice, for reference.  When I asked her why she felt that way, she said she felt that section had too many tedious calculations, which were unnecessarily time consuming.  I'm kind of in awe of her math ability and she did end up missing no questions in Math, so, fwiw -- I trust her judgment that it was an overly difficult test this year.  Hopefully, the college board will correct for this in the future.


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#63 RegGuheert

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 07:53 PM

I'm kind of in awe of her math ability and she did end up missing no questions in Math, so, fwiw -- I trust her judgment that it was an overly difficult test this year.

 

That's awesome!  It sounds like she is quite talented at math!

 

FWIW, DS14 got the exact same score on Math as DS17: Each got only 10 correct on Math No Calc and 29 out of 31 correct on Math With Calc.  Strange.


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#64 amsunshine

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 07:55 PM

That's awesome!  It sounds like she is quite talented at math!

 

FWIW, DS14 got the exact same score on Math as DS17: Each got only 10 correct on Math No Calc and 29 out of 31 correct on Math With Calc.  Strange.

 

I wonder if those two questions that were thrown out had something to do with the equivalence of scoring on the NoCalc section?


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#65 RegGuheert

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 06:23 PM

MomsintheGarden took this year's PSAT to gauge DS17's results.  She has been training along with him in Khan Academy.  Here are her results with comments in the same format as I wrote about DS17's above.

 

Reading: Correct 44, Incorrect 1, Omitted 2: He did not get done with reading, but he only *missed* question 4.  Based on what he said when he got in the car, not getting done on reading really set the tone for him for the rest of the test.

 

Reading: Correct 45, Incorrect 2: She finished in under 53 minutes and missed one more than DS17 with no overlapping misses.  She understands why she missed what she did and feels the test was fair.

 

Writing:  Correct 41, Incorrect 3: He can do better, but this is just slightly below par for the course for him.

 

Writing:  Correct 42, Incorrect 2: She finished in 25.5 minutes and spent the remaining time checking her work.  She missed one fewer than DS17 with no overlapping misses.

 

Math No Calculator:  Correct 10, Incorrect 5 (College Board did not score 2)  Two of those misses may have been guesses due to time running out.  I haven't gone through them, but I cannot help but wonder if the "unscorable" questions may have caused him some problems, as all of the misses occurred after he attempted problem 17 and four occurred after attempting question 4.  (He does the problems in this order: 14-17, 1-13.)  By way of comparison, he completed the previous SEVEN Math No Calculator practice tests he took in the given time missing no questions on 2 tests, one question on 4 tests and two questions on the official 2016 practice test.  For him to NOT complete the Math No Calculator section and to miss FIVE is a real surprise.

 

Math No Calculator:  Correct 11, Incorrect 4 (College Board did not score 2)  She used all her time on this portion of the test.  DS17 missed three of the same MC questions as MomsintheGarden: Q3, Q6 and Q13.  They both got the two omitted questions correct. :glare:  They got different answers on Question 3 and MomsintheGarden felt this was a tricky geometry rule which was not covered in Khan Academy.  On Question 6 they got the same result she felt she misinterpreted the question.  On Question 13 they got the same result, but DS17's was his standard guess. She said she panicked and didn't square something.  On Question 14, she didn't apply the inequality properly and was off by one.

 

Math With Calculator:  Correct 29, Incorrect 2 One of the two misses was a guess due to time running out  (question 27).  The other miss was a simple rounding error on Question 31: Correct was 33.3, he wrote 33.4.  This is the best result he has EVER had on any PSAT Match With Calculator test (real or practice) within the given time! :hurray:

 

Math With Calculator:  Correct 30, Incorrect 1  She finished in 35 minutes and spent the rest of the time checking her results.  MomsintheGarden and DS17 both missed Question 31, but DS17 missed because he rounded incorrectly.

 

Interestingly, MomsintheGarden got EXACTLY one more question correct than DS17 on each section.

 

The College Board may consider them both 'Commended', but I think they are both GREAT! :thumbup1:


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#66 RegGuheert

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 08:14 AM

Brag alert! I also intend this post to be a big "Thank You!" to everyone who has contributed to this thread as well as possible encouragement to others with slow testers.

DS17 is a rising junior this year and he started PSAT prep this week. On Tuesday, he retook the first official CB SAT practice test to kick off the season. He has done no test prep beyond his normal schooling since he took the SAT in November 2016.

I was shocked by the results! He completed every section in the allotted time with extra time remaining to check his work. Not only that, he achieved his highest score ever on any practice or official SAT (he has done the first six practice tests)!

Reading: 50/52
Writing: 42/44
Math No Calculator: 20/20
Math With Calculator: 36/38

R&W: 780 Math: 770 Total: 1550

This compares with DS17 achieving the following on the same test last August:

Reading: 44/52 (DS17 missed several questions at the very end of this test, indicating time pressure.)
Writing: 38/44 (DS17 missed several questions at the very end of this test, indicating time pressure.)
Math No Calculator: 19/20 (DS17 took 28 minutes instead of 25 to achieve this result.)
Math With Calculator: 31/38 (DS17 took 73 minutes instead of 55 to achieve this result.)

R&W: 690 Math: 730 Total: 1420 (But not within the allotted time.)

This is an outstanding start for this season of test prep! I had expected (and told DS17 before the test) that he would likely need a couple of practice tests to get back into the swing of things. Boy, was I wrong!

So, what made the difference?

1) First, I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who has contributed input and ideas to this thread. Your help has been very much appreciated and has made a real difference for DS17.
2) MomsintheGarden has continued to push DS17 on his math curriculum. He is currently working through Precalculus, so the trigonometry and drill he has been doing there certainly have helped.
3) MomsinthGarden says, "A year makes a big difference!" I agree. Part of this is that when DS17 started test prep last year, he was only two years out of his treatment for severe chronic Lyme disease. His improvement since that illness has been slow, but steady.
4) DS17 told me that his work in his AP Chemistry class as well as our work together for AP Chemistry test prep were a factor in his speed improvement. DS17's AP Chemistry work was delayed due to his PSAT/SAT test prep last year, which really made a hard course harder. When he started taking practice exams in February, he really strucggled with many of the problems. He not only couldn't finish on time: he couldn't finish! He never was able to complete the entire test, and was not even very close during practice, but he *almost* finished the actual exam. The bottom line is that he came close to earning a 5 on that exam. With only 9.2% getting that score this year, I won't be surprised if he earned a 4, but we will all be pleased if that is the outcome. The point here is that his confidence in his speed and his math skills has grown immensely due to the hard work he put in on AP Chemistry.
5) I believe he was burned out last year. He was taking two practice tests each week going into the actual PSAT and SAT. I asked him if he felt more relaxed taking this practice test and he agreed that he was.
6) He took a test he has taken before. While this does make a difference, I feel it is a very minor factor. He hasn't seen that test for over 10 months. Previous retakes have not resulted in him completing the work in the allotted time.

This year's test prep will be somewhat different from last year's. Here are the changes:

1) DS17 will only take one test each week.
2) The focus will be on taking the SAT during prep, even though the priority is on the PSAT test itself. Last year the focus was on taking the PSAT. There are several reasons for this change. The main one is that he thoroughly went through all of the PSAT practice materials we have available, with some tests used twice already. DS17 will focus on PSAT practice tests for the last month or so to re familiarize himself with the format and timings.
3) The focus this year will be on speed and consistency. Last year, the focus was on learning the skills to answer the questions correctly and improve efficiency.
4) DS17 will be focusing more on reading and writing than he did last year. Last year, math was the focus. Specifically, he will be going through the prep book The Crtical Reader, Second Edition: The Complete Guide to SAT Reading by Erica L. Meltzer.
5) DS17 will spend minimal, if any, time with Khan Academy doing SAT prep this year. That was a significant part of his effort last year and it was extremely beneficial. Unfortunately, he has seen many of the problems and passages multiple times already.
6) One thing we will keep the same is DS17 will again take the SAT in early November. That worked out very well last year since he was able to use his PSAT prep as SAT prep and only had the "ordeal" drag out for a couple more weeks. The difference this year is that there are three weeks between the tests this year compared with only two last year. (There was some discussion here of taking the SAT in August *before* the PSAT, but I felt that would distract from PSAT prep. In DS17's case, the PSAT is the priority, for a variety of reasons.)

DS17 will be taking the second official SAT practice test (again) next week. That should tell us more about his speed, since he took 50 minutes(!) last year to complete the Math No Calculator section and only achieved a score of 17/20. That test may be closer to his experience with last year's PSAT offering, so it should tell us more.

Interestingly, DS17 is at the same level of preparedness, if not a higher level, than DS19 was when he entered this stage of PSAT prep. DS19 is still a much faster processor than DS17, but DS17 is very solid at this point. If he can maintain the speed he achieved on Tuesday or improve on it a bit, he should do fine. Unfortunately, there is no longer any room for error when taking the PSAT in VA. That was NOT the case when DS19 took this test three years earlier. Simply put, the new test is harder since you cannot make the same number of mistakes and still achieve NM Semifinalist status.

Thanks again for all of your help. I'm interested in hearing how your students are doing and also other thoughts as you have them. Of course, I will update here as this testing season unfolds.

Edited by RegGuheert, 22 June 2017 - 08:56 AM.

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#67 MomsintheGarden

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:07 AM

Thanks, Reg, for your very detailed analysis and for recording all of this! Here's hoping what we've learned will help others.
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#68 RegGuheert

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 01:10 PM

As an aside, we will begin PSAT prep for DD15 and DS15 in July. Look for a new thread around that time entitled "How can we help our twins to work more slowly and carefully on the PSAT/SAT?" :tongue_smilie:
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#69 snowbeltmom

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 01:51 PM

I just want to post an update on ds.  He has been consistently practicing and has really narrowed down his time.  On Tuesday he took a practice test and finished everything but one problem in Section 4, Math With Calculator (MWC).  He finished everything else with a bit of time to spare.  So he has come a long, long way this summer.

 

Here are the best resources we've found so far:

- The three PSAT tests that the College Board has doled out.  They are much more stingy with PSAT practice tests than with SAT practice tests.  We have the 2015 Practice PSAT, the 2015 Official PSAT, and the 2016 Practice PSAT.  Fortunately they are all unique tests.

- The Khan Academy SAT Practice Dashboard.  Ds works at Level 4.  I figured out that the best strategy for ds is to work a complete practice set for Reading & Writing each day, which includes two passage practices, a grammar/word use practice, and a timed mini-section.  For math, though, it works better to do problems at Level 4 and not to do their recommended practice set.  That's because if he misses a math problem in the timed mini-section it puts him back at Level 3 in that skill, so he doesn't get the Level 4 practice he needs.  We've made a shared spreadsheet which he uses to keep track of the skills he practices and his scores.

- The Khan Academy practice SAT tests.  There are six now, so that's good.

- The Ivy Global PSAT book.  The three book tests + 1 online tests have been of good quality.

- The 28 SAT Math Lessons Advanced Course book by Steve Warner.  This series comes in Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.  The author has some tricks and tips I haven't seen elsewhere, and it's only ten bucks in the Kindle version.  We are not through the entire book, but we haven't found any mistakes so far.  That's pretty amazing for a prep book.

- The Khan Academy High School Statistics Mission.  We use the Larson books + the Chalkdust DVDs for high school math and they are solid but don't have stats.  The Larson books do have probability, though, but it's nice to have the KA practice and reinforcement.  Ds is mostly done with the KA Stats mission and is doing well with it.  I will be giving him 1/2 credit of stats for it on his transcript.

 

We have also used several Barron's books:

Math Workbook for the New SAT by Leff

PSAT/NMSQT 1520:  Aiming for National Merit by Stewart

Strategies and Practice for the New PSAT/NMSQT by Stewart

New PSAT/NMSQT by Green, Wolf, and Stewart

We are not that happy with these books.  They have errors here and there so you are always wondering if what you're studying is correct. Their practice test questions are not that great - many do not really reflect the changes in the test (old style), and there are quite a few "bad" questions.  The bad questions are confusingly worded or don't have the correct answer choice.  We feel we know what a good question looks like by now, but take our judgement with a grain of salt.  We are still using these books because we need the practice tests.

 

It's been a lot of prep for ds, but I've noticed that it's helped him so much with his math skills.  He improved and added to his skills AND has increased his speed!  He has also become a much more careful reader.

 

Hope this helps someone!

GardenMom

Where did you find the PSAT tests?  Are there pdf's for the PSAT's that I can download from somewhere?


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#70 RegGuheert

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 02:14 PM

Where did you find the PSAT tests? Are there pdf's for the PSAT's that I can download from somewhere?

We have these tests in paper form because we had student(s) taking the tests during those administrations. This year we also have the 2016 Official PSAT and will receive a practice exam for each child when we register them (four children). We are hopeful it will not be identical to a previous administration, but we do not know. Unfortunately, many (not all) of these books have writing in them.

We actually withheld the 2016 PSAT Practice Exam from then our DD14, DS14 and DS12 because we wanted to keep the books clean and to keep them from seeing the test until they got closer to the important administration. This is one additional benefit of having the students start taking the PSAT early. (We have to do standardized testing in VA, anyway, so the PSAT is an outstanding choice for that!)

I wish we had some idea how to get PDFs of these tests, but we don't. I imagine we will be erasing some marks from the cleenest 2016 Official PSAT book we have and making photocopies for practice use. In our experience, only the Ivy Global PSAT practice tests were close to the quality of the College Board tests. Hopefully Ivy Global's SAT practice tests are equally solid, since that is a big part (8 tests - about half) of our SAT prep materials for our students. (BTW, one Ivy Global PSAT test and two Ivy Global SAT tests are freely available online for all to use.)
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#71 OnMyOwn

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 03:37 PM

We have these tests in paper form because we had student(s) taking the tests during those administrations. This year we also have the 2016 Official PSAT and will receive a practice exam for each child when we register them (four children). We are hopeful it will not be identical to a previous administration, but we do not know. Unfortunately, many (not all) of these books have writing in them.

We actually withheld the 2016 PSAT Practice Exam from then our DD14, DS14 and DS12 because we wanted to keep the books clean and to keep them from seeing the test until they got closer to the important administration. This is one additional benefit of having the students start taking the PSAT early. (We have to do standardized testing in VA, anyway, so the PSAT is an outstanding choice for that!)

I wish we had some idea how to get PDFs of these tests, but we don't. I imagine we will be erasing some marks from the cleenest 2016 Official PSAT book we have and making photocopies for practice use. In our experience, only the Ivy Global PSAT practice tests were close to the quality of the College Board tests. Hopefully Ivy Global's SAT practice tests are equally solid, since that is a big part (8 tests - about half) of our SAT prep materials for our students. (BTW, one Ivy Global PSAT test and two Ivy Global SAT tests are freely available online for all to use.)

 

I printed this whole thread, as well as the 2015 and 2016 PSAT practice tests, last year. :)  My dd is going to be in 10th grade this year and will take the PSAT for the first time.  Should the school be giving us a practice test once she registers or will the College Board mail one out?  TIA!


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#72 snowbeltmom

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 04:49 PM

We have these tests in paper form because we had student(s) taking the tests during those administrations. This year we also have the 2016 Official PSAT and will receive a practice exam for each child when we register them (four children). We are hopeful it will not be identical to a previous administration, but we do not know. Unfortunately, many (not all) of these books have writing in them.

We actually withheld the 2016 PSAT Practice Exam from then our DD14, DS14 and DS12 because we wanted to keep the books clean and to keep them from seeing the test until they got closer to the important administration. This is one additional benefit of having the students start taking the PSAT early. (We have to do standardized testing in VA, anyway, so the PSAT is an outstanding choice for that!)

I wish we had some idea how to get PDFs of these tests, but we don't. I imagine we will be erasing some marks from the cleenest 2016 Official PSAT book we have and making photocopies for practice use. In our experience, only the Ivy Global PSAT practice tests were close to the quality of the College Board tests. Hopefully Ivy Global's SAT practice tests are equally solid, since that is a big part (8 tests - about half) of our SAT prep materials for our students. (BTW, one Ivy Global PSAT test and two Ivy Global SAT tests are freely available online for all to use.)

Darn...I was hoping you had discovered a pdf version of the PSAT.  My kids also use the PSAT for their yearly testing requirement.  I have the booklets from prior years, but like your booklets, these also have writing all over the pages.


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#73 RegGuheert

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 07:57 PM

I printed this whole thread, as well as the 2015 and 2016 PSAT practice tests, last year. :)

Thanks for reminding me about those two tests!  I had completely forgotten about them.  For everyone else's benefit, here is the link to the College Board page which links to those tests as well as detailed answer guides:

 

College Board New PSAT Practice Tests

 

Finally, please note that those two tests are NOT the same as the practice tests which are in the booklet that you receive when you sign up for the test each year.

 

My dd is going to be in 10th grade this year and will take the PSAT for the first time.

Good luck with test prep and best wishes for your daughter!  Our experience is that if we can get them to up to a "Commended" level (selection index above about 212) in their 10th grade year, they will be able to improve their score enough by their Junior year to have a shot at National Merit Semifinalist (and, hence, Finalist).

 

Should the school be giving us a practice test once she registers or will the College Board mail one out?  TIA!

You should receive a booklet containing a Student Guide and a full-length practice test at the time you sign up.  If they do not give it to you, ask them for it.

 

For reference, here is the link to the Ivy Global PSAT practice test page.  You can download a high-quality full-length test there.  You can also purchase three additional full-length PSAT practice tests in PDF format or in book format.

 

All told, everyone has access to three free full-length PSAT practice tests that can be downloaded from online and you will get an additional practice test and official test each year when you sign up for and take the test.  You can purchase three more excellent tests from Ivy Global.


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#74 RegGuheert

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 08:05 PM

Darn...I was hoping you had discovered a pdf version of the PSAT.  My kids also use the PSAT for their yearly testing requirement.  I have the booklets from prior years, but like your booklets, these also have writing all over the pages.

I just did a survey of the test booklets we have collected.  We still have three 2015 and three 2016 practice tests in pristine condition.  Three of our 2016 official tests have no writing in the Reading and Writing sections.  DD15's 2016 Official test also has almost no markings in the Math sections since she prides herself on being able to do everything in her head.  It's good for test booklets, but It will make helping her improve her score much more difficult.  Two of the other 2016 official books have a limited number of markings in them, so can easily be erased.  DS17's test from last year is completely marked up, so it is not usable any longer.

 

Unfortunately, the school threw away then DS15s 2015 official test book, so we do not have that.  We are trying to get a copy from a friend of ours.
 


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#75 RegGuheert

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 03:34 PM

DS17 will be taking the second official SAT practice test (again) next week. That should tell us more about his speed, since he took 50 minutes(!) last year to complete the Math No Calculator section and only achieved a score of 17/20. That test may be closer to his experience with last year's PSAT offering, so it should tell us more.

 

DS17 didn't do as well on the second official SAT practice test as he did on the first one, but he still did very well.  Here are his scores:

 

DS17 SAT Practice Test 2:

 

Reading: 50/52
Writing: 40/44
Math No Calculator: 15/20
Math With Calculator: 36/38

R&W: 740 Math: 730 Total: 1470

 

All tests were finished on time.  Reading and Math With Calculator scores are identical with last week (and better than last year).  Writing is slightly lower than last week, but better than last year.  Math No Calculator is a lower score than last year (15/20 instead of 17/20), but since he achieved that in 25 minutes instead of 50, that's a massive improvement.

 

Excellent overall!

 

DS 17 SAT Practice Test 1:

 

Reading: 50/52
Writing: 42/44
Math No Calculator: 20/20
Math With Calculator: 36/38

R&W: 780 Math: 770 Total: 1550

 

FWIW, I decided to have DD15 and DS15 take SAT Practice Test 1 while DS 17 took SAT Practice Test 2:

 

They did very well, also:

 

DD17 SAT Practice Test 1:

 

R&W: 670 Math: 740 Total: 1410

 

DS17 SAT Practice Test 1:

 

R&W: 730 Math: 740 Total: 1470

 

Basically, DD15 is getting similar scores to what DS17 got last year (and DS15 is a bit higher), but neither of the twins are having the time problems.

 

At this point, I'm wanting to firm up all of their Writing scores, as they tend to bounce around a bit.  They have all been taught grammar using the finest Mennonite program money can buy and are quite solid there.  Perhaps they are thrown off by passages which do not include farm animals? :tongue_smilie:

 

Any suggestions on resources to improve writing would be greatly appreciated!


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#76 gstharr

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 06:43 AM

Is he taking actual college board tests and having the same time problems? I've never heard of Ivy Global.

 

We use the free Global Ivy tests as our final practice exam. Have not paid for their services though


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#77 RegGuheert

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 06:12 PM

DS17 flagged a test problem from Tuesday's test as taking too much time.  He skipped it because he was running out of time.  (Note that he ALWAYS solves the grid-in questions first, to allow for guessing in case of time issues.)  I thought I would toss it out here and see if there are any clever tricks we haven't considered which can be applied to reduce the time required to solve it.

 

This is problem 9 from Section 3 (Math No Calculator) from the official College Board SAT Practice Test #2:

The graph of a line in the xy-plane has a slope 2 and contains the point (1,8).  The graph of a second line passes through points (1,2) and (2,1).  If the two lines intersect at the point (a,b), what is the value of a + b ?

 

A)  4

B)  3

C) -1

D) -4

Personally, I think the fastest way to solve this might be to graph it and find the intersection.  But since they do not allow any paper to be brought into the SAT, you do not have any graph paper.  Here is what I would do:

1)  Write the equations of each line in the slope-intercept form: y = mx + b:

 

y = 2x + 6

 

and

 

y = -x + 3

 

2)  Solve for x:

 

2x + 6 = -x + 3

 

3x = -3

 

x = -1

 

3)  Solve for y:

 

y = 2(-1) + 6 = 4

 

4)  Check:

 

y = -(-1) + 3 = 4

 

The answer is therefore:  B)

 

I could also see adding a step between 1) and 2) above in which you plug the three points given into the two equations to verify that the equations are correct.

 

Frankly, it's not really that bad.  But I went *directly* to slope-intercept form, even though neither line was represented that way.  One was given in point-slope form and the other was given as two points.  I did the conversion to slope-intercept easily in my head since both lines had a point only one unit from the y-axis.  But I really don't think DS17 would be comfortable doing that.

 

Still, writing the equations in the forms given should not consume much more time.

 

But I suspect there may be an earlier step with which DS17 struggles.  When I see a problem like this, I automatically think: "Two equations and two unknowns: write both equations down immediately and then solve."  I'm wondering if DS17 feels he needs to picture the entire solution in his head before he starts.  We'll see.

 

I haven't yet gone over this with DS17, but I will likely do that tomorrow.  I will ask him to solve it in front of me, explaining his reasoning, to see what he does.  That should be interesting.

 

Looking at the College Board's answers, I see they offer an approach similar to mine above.  Then I see the following approach written:

Alternatively, since the second line passes through the points (1, 2) and (2, 1), an equation for the second line is x + y = 3. Thus, the intersection point of the first line and the second line, (a, b) lies on the line with equation x + y = 3. It follows that a + b = 3.

 

That's a clever idea, but, frankly, I didn't see that trick when I read the problem.

 

I'm interested to hear how others would attack this problem to learn if there are other better approaches that are available.  Any other thoughts are also welcomed.


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#78 Arcadia

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:04 PM

My older say

"The graph of a line in the xy-plane has a slope 2 and contains the point (1,8). " is irrelevant

" The graph of a second line passes through points (1,2) and (2,1). If the two lines intersect at the point (a,b), what is the value of a + b ?" gives y = 3 - x so the answer is 3.

I copied the question but didn't copied the multiple choice answers. He took maybe 2 secs after reading my handwriting.

ETA:
My younger is in his online class so can't use him as guinea pig until after 6pm.

Edited by Arcadia, 28 June 2017 - 07:10 PM.

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#79 RegGuheert

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:19 PM

Please ask him how he knew that so quickly.  It is because any line has a form of -mx + y = b, where b is a constant?  Hence, when you see x + y as the requested result, you first look for a slope of -1 on one of the lines?

 

And if they asked for 2x + y, you would look for a slope of -2 somewhere?


Edited by RegGuheert, 28 June 2017 - 07:20 PM.

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#80 Arcadia

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:32 PM

My older is the quirky kid that programs his TI84 calculator.

He saw the question ask for x + y as the requested result.
He sees the pattern in points (1,2) and (2,1) to get the equation of the line to be x + y= 3 in split second.
Then he realized he already has his answer for a+b so he told me the answer is 3.

He worked everything out mentally so I had to get him to explain how he did it. His math camp session for today just finished at 4:30pm so he was still in math problems solving mode.
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#81 Arcadia

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 11:25 PM

DS11 pulled through a big improvement :) His scores are higher than DS12's was last June.

First time was Nov 2016, second time June 2017, 7 months apart
Verbal/Critical Reading improved by 110
Math improved by 140
Writing improved by 7
Reading Subscore improved by 4

ETA:
His results goes to CTY JHU (talent search) which was how I was alerted.

Edited by Arcadia, 12 July 2017 - 01:20 PM.

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#82 RegGuheert

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:52 AM

DS11 pulled through a big improvement :) His scores are higher than DS12's was last June.

Outstanding!  That math score is very impressive!

 

I'm a little confused about the Reading and Writing subscores, as I don't see how those add up to the number you gave for the Verbal/Critical Reading score you gave.  Writing looks to be in the correct range, but reading seems a bit low for the score.  Perhaps I am reading something incorrectly...
 



#83 RootAnn

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:14 AM

Add the first Writing & Reading subscore she posted & you get The VCR score from the first test. Add the second (higher) numbers & you get the June VCR score. (Add a zero at the end in both cases.)

 

Outstanding!  That math score is very impressive!

 

I'm a little confused about the Reading and Writing subscores, as I don't see how those add up to the number you gave for the Verbal/Critical Reading score you gave.  Writing looks to be in the correct range, but reading seems a bit low for the score.  Perhaps I am reading something incorrectly...
 

 

:hurray: Arcadia!

I'm hoping DD#1 can improve her composite by a similar amount year-on-year. Her Khan SAT math score has improved, but her VCR score has gone down and hasn't improved to hit her PSAT # yet.


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#84 Arcadia

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:34 AM

I'm a little confused about the Reading and Writing subscores, as I don't see how those add up to the number you gave for the Verbal/Critical Reading score you gave. Writing looks to be in the correct range, but reading seems a bit low for the score. Perhaps I am reading something incorrectly...

Sorry for the confusion. The first score is from November 2016. The score after the / is from June 2017. So he got 790 for math this time after finishing AoPS intermediate algebra.

I'm hoping DD#1 can improve her composite by a similar amount year-on-year. Her Khan SAT math score has improved, but her VCR score has gone down and hasn't improved to hit her PSAT # yet.

We exhausted the practice tests on Khan so we used Barron's and then Princeton Review when he finished Barron's. Mainly Barron's because we didn't finish the Princeton Review book.

Edited by Arcadia, 12 July 2017 - 01:16 PM.

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#85 RegGuheert

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:24 AM

Add the first Writing & Reading subscore she posted & you get The VCR score from the first test. Add the second (higher) numbers & you get the June VCR score. (Add a zero at the end in both cases.)

Thanks! Got it!

 

So those aren't the raw scores (# of problems correct), but rather are the two scores you get from the look-up table after putting in the raw scores.
 


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#86 RegGuheert

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:30 PM

DS17 and DS15 hit a very interesting problem yesterday: Math No Calculator Question 20 from the Ivy Global Online SAT Practice Test 2:

If a + b = 7 and a2 + b2 = 31, what is the value of ab?

Both of them were stumped and, frankly, so was I.  DS17 and I knew we needed to isolate the quantity ab, but we didn't know how to go about doing that.  DD24 is home and she asked if she could try it.  When I showed it to her, she saw the solution immediately.

 

When I asked her how she knew how to do that, she said it was likely because of her problem-solving practice at Brilliant.  Based on that glowing recommendation, we have decided to have DS17 substitute the "Puzzles with algebra" section of Brilliant instead of Khan Academy for the time being to see if he learns some new mathematical insights from that.  He has already done virtually every SAT practice question at Khan Academy, so it has limited value for him now.

 

Does anyone have experience with Brilliant, good or bad?  If so, please share your thoughts.  TIA!


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#87 Grantmom

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:41 PM

I have never heard of Brilliant, but it looks very cool!



#88 Arcadia

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:47 PM

DS17 and DS15 hit a very interesting problem yesterday: Math No Calculator Question 20 from the Ivy Global Online SAT Practice Test 2:
Both of them were stumped and, frankly, so was I.

Answer is 9

Given
a + b = 7
a^2 + b^2 = 31

Working
(a + b)^2 = 49 = a^2 + b^2 + 2ab
2ab = 49 - 31 = 18
ab = 9

The squares and cube formulas are worth remembering to save time even though it is easy to derive on the spot. Link has the formulas I am referring to which are good to know by heart http://www.engineers...sion-square.htm

Edited by Arcadia, 19 July 2017 - 03:48 PM.

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#89 daijobu

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 04:50 PM

DS17 and DS15 hit a very interesting problem yesterday: Math No Calculator Question 20 from the Ivy Global Online SAT Practice Test 2:

Both of them were stumped and, frankly, so was I.  DS17 and I knew we needed to isolate the quantity ab, but we didn't know how to go about doing that.  DD24 is home and she asked if she could try it.  When I showed it to her, she saw the solution immediately.

 

When I asked her how she knew how to do that, she said it was likely because of her problem-solving practice at Brilliant.  Based on that glowing recommendation, we have decided to have DS17 substitute the "Puzzles with algebra" section of Brilliant instead of Khan Academy for the time being to see if he learns some new mathematical insights from that.  He has already done virtually every SAT practice question at Khan Academy, so it has limited value for him now.

 

Does anyone have experience with Brilliant, good or bad?  If so, please share your thoughts.  TIA!

 

 

My kids have been doing the brilliant.org Summer Challenge for fun. 

 

The problem you cite comes up often on MathCounts and AMCs.  It helps to recognize the square of a binomial (a+b)2 = a2 + 2ab + b2 .  Then you will recognize the a2 + b2 and the ab terms and be able to put it together.  


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#90 RegGuheert

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 05:59 PM

Yes!  (I didn't show the solution because solving the interesting problems seems to be a popular part of this thread! :001_smile: )

 

The issue for me (and I assume for my boys) is that raising both sides of the equation to a power is not a "common" algebra manipulation.  I don't know if this type of problem will (or has) ever come up on the SAT, but it certainly seems like something that could be used, so I'm glad Ivy Global included it.  That one's well-crafted in that if you approach it in any other way, you will have a lot of difficulty getting there.  (Of course now that I said that, someone will quickly prove me wrong! :o )

 

DS17 did a few problems on Brilliant and I think he enjoyed it.  He said that they do a good job of showing elegant ways of approaching the problems.  IMO, that's what he needs right now.  That said, he told me he may go back and review things in Khan Academy as we look at missed problems.  The benefit there is that Khan is organized by TYPE of problem, so he can easily find a set of problems of the kind where he can use some help.


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#91 daijobu

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 06:13 PM

 

 

The issue for me (and I assume for my boys) is that raising both sides of the equation to a power is not a "common" algebra manipulation.  I don't know if this type of problem will (or has) ever come up on the SAT, but it certainly seems like something that could be used, so I'm glad Ivy Global included it.  That one's well-crafted in that if you approach it in any other way, you will have a lot of difficulty getting there.  (Of course now that I said that, someone will quickly prove me wrong! :o )

 

 

 

That's funny.  At my high school, when the math teacher posted a problem and there was unanimous dismay because we didn't even know how to begin, it didn't matter if it was geometry or number theory or probability, our default go-to approach was:

 

"Square both sides!"  

 

(It got to be an inside joke:  You say square both sides when you really had no idea how to approach a problem.)

 

And if you think that was bad, my dd is tutoring a kid taking AoPS online algebra this summer, and there was a homework problem that necessitated knowing the formula for the sum of cubes, and you were only given (a2 – ab + b2) where a = 1 and b=cube root of 3.  Pretty crazy stuff.


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#92 RegGuheert

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 07:57 PM

"Square both sides!" 

Sure.  I suppose I misspoke.  Of course the concept is covered for equations, particularly when there is a radical sign.  But I don't think any of the systems of equations in the course have the two equations at different orders.  I think I will have a look in the texts and see if anything like that exists.

 

Still, an excellent problem to learn how to handle!


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#93 RegGuheert

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 07:11 AM

Update:

This has not been a linear process. Since DS17's excellent result with SAT Practice Test 1, he has taken practice tests 2, 3, and 4, as well as the two online SAT tests from Ivy Global. Frankly, he augered in on a couple of these tests, taking too long and making careless errors. But, there have been some very bright spots, as well! Here are the encouraging results:

- He really nailed SAT Practice Test 4 yesterday: Overall: 1550 R&W: 780 Math: 770. He didn't quite finish Math with Calculator (even though he had last year on this test), but still managed this score on what he completed. Raw scores were Reading: 51/52 Writing: 43/44 Math No Calc: 18/20 Math With Calc: 35/38.

- He seems to have the reading section dialed in: He has not missed more than two problems on the reading section since we restarted prep in June. This compares with last year when he typically missed four to six questions on reading sections. While I realize this thread is focused on math, this is really encouraging since the reading and writing account for 2/3 of the selection index on the PSAT. If he can score very highly on these two sections, he has a bit more wiggle room on the math portions.

- He only gets stumped on a very small number of math problems. Most of the mistakes this year have been careless, and I believe that problem is something that practice will greatly improve. He had about an 8-month break from these tests, so has been a little rusty.

- Most importantly, I think DS17's confidence has grown immensely.

Looking forward:

- We are testing every Tuesday morning and reviewing during the week. Last year he was taking two practice tests each week and that was simply too much. The goal is to build skills and confidence without creating too much anxiety.

- I plan to have DS17 retake SAT Practice Tests 5 & 6 since those were from real administrations. I expect Practice Test 5 will be a real challenge: MomsintheGarden's math score dropped from 780 on Practice Test 4 to 710 on Practice Test 5.

- I believe we still have about 11 tests that DS17 has never seen before: 2 - SAT Practice Tests (#7 & #8 which were from real administrations), 6 - Ivy Global SAT practice tests from a book we recently purchased, 2 - PSAT practice tests that are online at the College Board (Thanks again, OnMyOwn!), and the one which they give out when we register for the test (hopefully it is a new one).

- He is doing SAT Daily Practice if it a math question (he has seen all the reading passages). He is also doing Brilliant. He is doing their free stuff now, but we may pay for a couple months of this service.

- I have given DS17 the following goals:
1) He needs to finish each section on time.
2) He needs to consistently achieve at least the following raw scores: Reading 50/52 or 45/47, Writing 43/44, Math No Calc: 19/20 or 16/17, Math With Calc: 37/38 or 30/31.

- My expectations are as follows:
1) DS17 will continue to struggle to finish some math sections on the SAT practice tests.
2) DS17 will NOT struggle to finish any of the math sections on the PSAT practice tests. (That was the goal of this thread, wasn't it? Yea!)
3) DS17's scores will continue to fluctuate, at least for a while. Yesterday, two of the four sections were within the score targets and the other two were close.
4) Reading: I expect DS17 will score right around the target score for most of the remaining tests, sometimes a bit higher and sometimes a bit lower.
5) Writing: I expect to see scores between 40/44 and 44/44 each week. Hopefully he will get fewer-and-fewer 40s and 41s going forward.
6) Math No Calculator: I expect to continue to see quite a bit of variation here due to time pressures. Scores will likely range from zero misses to five misses. Hopefully he can trim the misses going forward as he gets more skill, confidence and speed.
7) Math With Calculator: As above, I expect to see a similar amount of variation here.
8) Overall SAT: I expect to see a couple more practice tests at the 1550 level and above, but I won't be surprised to see scores of 1450 or even lower. I'm hoping to see a 1500 or above on the real test in November.
9) Overall PSAT: I expect to see Practice Test scores consistently around 1500, with one or two dipping down to 1450. I hope to see selection indices as high as 224. For the actual test in October we are shooting for National Merit Semifinalist level, which is around 222 in VA. That is the target minimum score.

Thanks again to everyone for your advice, support, and anecdotes in this thread! It has been very helpful and we are seeing very encouraging improvements! DS17 is a wonderful kid who works very hard and his efforts are starting to pay off. :)
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#94 RegGuheert

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 03:54 PM

FWIW, we decided to sign up for [url=http://brilliant.org]Brilliant[/org] for only one month.  DS17 has enjoyed that website and feels it is helping him to have better number insight. The one-month limit keeps it within the summer session and before the restart of school.

 

We've also decided to have DS17 take the SAT on Saturday, October 7, just four days before the PSAT on Wednesday, October 11.  There are four main reasons for this decision:

1)  I think DS17 will be thoroughly burned out on test prep by the time he takes the PSAT.  The extra month of prep may very well have resulted in LOWER scores, not higher.

2)  I'm running out of new materials to use as practice exams.

3)  The SAT will act as another high-quality practice exam which he has not yet seen.

4)  This will allow DS17 to focus his efforts more on his schooling once the PSAT is over.


Edited by RegGuheert, 27 July 2017 - 06:23 PM.

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#95 RootAnn

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 08:29 PM

Hopefully Reg & MomsintheGarden don't mind me bumping & piggy-backing on this long-term, very helpful thread.

 

DD#1 is studying very hard for the PSAT that is "for real" this time. She's taking the SAT next Saturday as an additional practice (bonus points if it proves to be a confirming SAT score for NM reasons). She's improved her SAT score so that it is now above her ACT from a percentage standpoint.

 

She's worked through Khan quite a bit & I have her going through Erica Meltzer's The Critical Reader to get a few more points on the English half of the test (which has always been her strong half). She took Khan Practice Test #5 today and she went *down* on the Reading section of the test. She said she tried to use Erica's strategies & it caused her to miss more questions than usual. (Her score today was the same as her PSAT score from last fall & quite a bit lower than the previous practice test (Khan #3).

 

She's not done with Meltzer's book yet (40% done), and I'm unsure if I should have her finish. We haven't analyzed her mistakes yet since she's always brain-dead after the practice test. Ideas? I noticed that Reg's son did significantly different on Test #5 vs. #6 with the real test score being in between the two and #5 being much lower. Has anyone else noticed this? If so, we'll still go over her mistakes, but I'll chalk the lower score up to a more difficult test (than #3). 


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#96 RegGuheert

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 03:31 PM

Hopefully Reg & MomsintheGarden don't mind me bumping & piggy-backing on this long-term, very helpful thread. 

Certainly not!  I'm glad it has been helpful to others, as well!

 

She's worked through Khan quite a bit & I have her going through Erica Meltzer's The Critical Reader to get a few more points on the English half of the test (which has always been her strong half). She took Khan Practice Test #5 today and she went *down* on the Reading section of the test. She said she tried to use Erica's strategies & it caused her to miss more questions than usual. (Her score today was the same as her PSAT score from last fall & quite a bit lower than the previous practice test (Khan #3). 

I had DS17 stop using Meltzer's book not too long after he started.  This is not because of any issue we have with the book, but because DS17's reading scores on the practice tests have nearly all been in the target range.  Last week he didn't miss a single question in reading! (Ivy Global SAT Practice Test #3 from the Version 2.0 book.)

 

I may have DD15 work through Meltzer's book to see if it can help bring her score up a bit.

 

She's not done with Meltzer's book yet (40% done), and I'm unsure if I should have her finish. We haven't analyzed her mistakes yet since she's always brain-dead after the practice test. Ideas? I noticed that Reg's son did significantly different on Test #5 vs. #6 with the real test score being in between the two and #5 being much lower. Has anyone else noticed this? If so, we'll still go over her mistakes, but I'll chalk the lower score up to a more difficult test (than #3). 

IIRC, MomsintheGarden also had very different #5 and #6 test scores, but hers went in the opposite direction to DS17's scores.  I have decided to NOT have DS17 retake these tests since I don't want him repeating any more practice tests.

 

I haven't reported scores recently since DS17 has been taking the Ivy Global SAT practice tests and I really don't have them calibrated.  On Tuesday (assuming he doesn't go blind tomorrow :p ) he will take the College Board Official Practice Test #7 and this should help me to know if his recently-lower math performance has been him or the tests or a bit of both.  Thankfully he continues to be (almost) rock solid on reading and writing.

 

I will update on DS17 and I *may* create a separate book review thread on the Ivy Global tests once he gets through them.

 

Meanwhile, DD15 and DS15 are doing very well on their PSAT test prep.  DS15 is very steadily improving while DD15 NAILED math last week but is a bit lower than her siblings on Reading and Writing.


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#97 RegGuheert

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 02:14 PM

I haven't reported scores recently since DS17 has been taking the Ivy Global SAT practice tests and I really don't have them calibrated.  On Tuesday (assuming he doesn't go blind tomorrow :p ) he will take the College Board Official Practice Test #7 and this should help me to know if his recently-lower math performance has been him or the tests or a bit of both.  Thankfully he continues to be (almost) rock solid on reading and writing.

DS17 took the College Board Official SAT Practice Test # 7 today.  Here are his scores:

 

DS17 SAT Practice Test 7:

 

Reading: 46/52
Writing: 44/44
Math No Calculator: 18/20  (He ran out of time.  He finished the other two questions correctly after time.)
Math With Calculator: 31/38

R&W: 760 Math: 680 Total: 1440

 

Obviously, his Writing score is excellent, and he did well on Math No Calculator.  (Since we're focused on the PSAT, I'm looking for one or fewer errors and getting 17 done in time.)  Then there were both Reading and Math With Calculator.  Both are below where he needs to be.  But this is a math thread, so we'll focus on the latter.

 

This section is where he traditionally has a problem finishing, but he got done today.  But he missed 7(!) this time.  That was a bit of a shock after seeing him get all the problems correct in Math No Calculator.  As usual, I went through the problems.  I saw a sign error in the formulation of one problem and there were a few where I need to find out what tripped him up.

 

(I suppose the rest of this post is really JAWM, but perhaps I'm missing something.)

 

Then there were the following two problems.  Here they are with my gripes:

 

College Board Official SAT Practice Test # 7 Section 4 Problem 13:

 

College_Board_SATPractice7-4_Q13.png

 

My issue with Problem 13 has to do with the graph itself.  Because of the dots on the graph at 5-minute intervals, my interpretation is that this is a scatter plot of data with straight-line interpolation between points.  In other words, those dots imply to me that the measurements ONLY occurred at those six points.  Everything else is simply just interpolation, but does NOT actually represent measurements.  Of course, that is not what is intended, as can be clearly discerned from the choices given, but the graph is lacking, IMO.  If they are trying to emphasize where the curve is on that black-on-white graph, then a better approach would be to use a wider line WITHOUT the dots.  Of course that graphical issue could be overlooked and the problem could be solved correctly, but it was a real distraction to me.

 

College Board Official SAT Practice Test # 7 Section 4 Problem 38:

 

College_Board_SATPractice7-4_Q38.png

 

Let me repeat that last sentence here:

If a contestant is selected at random, what is the probability that the selected contestant received a score of 5 on Day 2 or Day 3, given that the contestant received a score of 5 on one of the three days?

Bolding mine.

 

 

:confused1: :confused1:  Either a contestant was selected at random OR they choose one of the seven contestants who achieved a 5.  As worded, it is more likely they would NOT get a contestant that got a 5 based on a random selection of just one contestant.  If they mean that they randomly chose one individual from those seven contestants that got a 5, then they need to find a better way to say that.

 

Grrr.  They make these problems tricky enough as it is.  If they cannot find a way to word a problem that is clear and unambiguous, then they need to throw it out and make a new one!  And, apparently, this was an administered test.  I bet not very many students got #38 correct!

 

/rant


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#98 Lucy the Valiant

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:31 PM

Their graphs are pretty awful across the entire test, and seem to be getting worse (with released practice tests), not better. 


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#99 RegGuheert

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 04:39 PM

Something happened today which lead me to a new observation:  DS17 was unable to start testing this morning with the twins due to an eyelash in his eye.  As a result, he did his practice SAT out of order.  Today he did Writing->Math No Calc->Math With Calc->Reading in that order.

 

What I see is that he aced (or nearly aced) his first two tests and then dropped down on the other two.  That's the pattern I have seen in the past three weeks on the Ivy Global tests:  High Reading and Writing scores and lower scores on the two math sections.

 

I know DS17 can do all these problems (a reading problem here or there excepted).  This is evidenced by the ease with which he spots his mistakes upon review.  But I am wondering if stamina is a (the?) REAL issue with his recent testing.  We've been pretty careful about bedtime the night before, but perhaps there are other things we can do to improve here.  We also try to have a good breakfast, but I admit that there were no eggs today.  I'm open to any and all suggestions on this matter.  I guess I just don't want him to leave anything on the table given how hard he has worked.  TIA!


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#100 Arcadia

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 05:43 PM

What I see is that he aced (or nearly aced) his first two tests and then dropped down on the other two. That's the pattern I have seen in the past three weeks on the Ivy Global tests: High Reading and Writing scores and lower scores on the two math sections.
...
But I am wondering if stamina is a (the?) REAL issue with his recent testing. We've been pretty careful about bedtime the night before, but perhaps there are other things we can do to improve here.

For my oldest, breakfast on test day was at 7am and we reach the test site around 7:40am. They tend to start earliest at 8:30am. He is starving by the time the 10mins break comes around. I usually pack a snack and a soda for him because he gets a "low sugar crash". He is good at knowing whether he needs the snack or the soda. My snacks are all in the mostly junk food category like fruit strip, beef jerky, M&M, Mars bar (ETA: he is a slow eater so can't finish a burrito or burger in time). I don't want to deal with a cranky kid after SAT or ACT so it is junk food day on test days. This kid doesn't eat eggs, and things like granola bars or Clif bars doesn't sustain him beyond 2hrs. He would do stretches during break if he feels stiff. I did warm up exercises like jogging on the spot during exam toilet breaks when I was a teen.

My younger eat eggs but would be hungry within 2hrs. However he doesn't get the "low sugar crash" like his brother. I still pack junk food for his SAT test 10 minutes break just in case he is hungry as a treat. This kid can do jumping jacks during breaks and is my "hyperactive" child.

My younger boy is prepping for the math subject tests. All the questions he got wrong was due to overthinking. My older explained to him and "translated" test English to layman English. He is doing the subject test for the experience because he always do better for outside tests than at home :p

ETA:
My husband can survive being sedentary and not having food for the whole day so my kids must have gotten the hunger and movement issues from me.

Edited by Arcadia, 22 August 2017 - 07:08 PM.

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