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Help on SAT? Dd needs to bring up her score up for scholarships (need expert advice)


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or at least BTDT advice, if you don't feel like an expert. :)

 

 

Dd is a *great* student, but test taking is not her forte. She is focusing on the SAT (didn't do as well with the ACT for some reason, although her science score was 99th percentile--go figure, she's not a science-lover!)

 

She took the first SAT in June, then studied hard using the Blue Book and several other sources for "tips and techniques" (Rocket Review, Hack the SAT, and that online site that has all the Blue Book math problems worked out on videos.) She was able to bring up her CR and M composite score by about 70 points, but she'd really like to see it come up another 70 to be in the highest scholarship bracket.

 

Here are my questions:

 

1) She has used up all the practice tests in the Blue Book; the 2006 and 2007 eds. had the exact same tests in them. Any idea where to get more real tests? (I can call the CB, but I thought someone might already know.) I don't think the online course will really do much for her, unless there's something there I don't understand.

 

2) She needs a quickie review of grammar and punctuation. Her practice essays have been very strong, and her test essay (a 10) would have probably been a 12 except for the grammar and punctuation mistakes. She had nice sentence variety, coherent thought, great structure, and excellent vocab, but, oy--the punctuation mistakes! What to use!?!

 

3) Another source for math review? Her practice tests scores were better, but the Dec test did not show much improvement.

 

4)Any ideas for sources for CR--surprisingly, since she is doing really advanced reading for a couple of philosophy/government type courses-- she still struggles with the SAT passages at times. There's usually one passage on each test that gives her fits.

 

Thanks so much for listening and any suggestions are appreciated. (Thanks too for understanding that she/we are not "picking off the low-hanging fruit" now, this is the fine-tuning stages, so it is harder than the run-of-the-mill prep.)

 

Thanks a million!

Edited by Valerie(TX)
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My DD was just able to raise her score to the next scholarship bracket with her second SAT score. Her math was the one that needed to be raised. She says her greatest help was the Chalkdust SAT/ACT math review program. We paid about $150 new, but it helped her to gain $8000/year in scholarships.

 

DD says the strategic approach to problems really helped her to tackle the test in a different way. She did not finish the math section the first time, but the second time she had time to spare and raised her math score 50 points.

 

DD did take Kaplan's online course, but did not find it as helpful for review. She did like the analysis it gave her on the test so she could focus her studies in the right areas. The major discount offered through the Homeschool Buyers co-op may make this worth the $. DD's scores on these online tests were a very accurate prediction of her actual SAT scores.

 

HTH,

Leanna

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I second Chalkdust, and would say try the Princeton Review for more tests. I'm not sure of some of your resources, but there are the 10 Real SAT books out there.

THe Princeton Review has a great section on the punctuation--particularly commas and semi-colons and such. YOu should be able to find it at your library.

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You might consider the McGraw-Hill SAT Prep and Math SAT 800.

 

McGraw-Hill is very serious in it's approach and focusses on really knowing the material, vs. tips and techniques or "hack" the test kinds of approaches. My son used McGraw-Hill (the PSAT version) to prepare for the PSAT and it really helped him to achieve high scores. The SAT book was very similar and since ds did the SAT just a few weeks after the PSAT, he didn't do as much in the SAT book, except for the writing portion. Can't remember for sure, but I would expect the grammar and punctuation sections to be pretty thorough.

 

Math SAT 800 is designed to teach the thinking skills needed to bring a good math score up to an 800 (or high anyway...) My ds did some of this book and found it good. (In his case, he had already done so much prep in the past 2 years for the ACT and for the two times he did the PSAT--besides being pretty advanced in math--that he found he had already developed a lot of the skills.)

 

Best of luck to your dd!

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But, my son did significantly improve his second round of scores. He recommends the Chalkdust SAT mat review. For grammar and punctuation he worked through the BJUP English handbook (Chapters 2-17) because it contains explanations followed by short exercises with answers in the back. We had plenty of time so ds did a set amount of review every day as part of his language arts routine; if you're short on time it would be possible to focus only those sections that caused the most trouble.

 

We liked the Princeton Review esp. their suggestions about how to approach questions and for instructions on general test-taking strategies. Ds felt that the practice tests were similar to the real thing, but tended to be somewhat more difficult.

 

Yes, it is possible to raise scores significantly, but IMO that's mostly true if the biggest issue is that the student needs to improve understanding of how to take a particular test or standardized testing in general. Review of content is important, too, but there's no substitute for having actually done solid work in grammar, math, etc....again...just my opinion.

 

FWIW, my son's opinion of the ACT science section is that it's mostly reading comprehension plus interpretation of graphs. He felt that the science content itself was usually not that significant.

 

His picks for SAT/ACT prep are:

 

Chalkdust SAT review

BJUP English Handbook

Strunk & White Elements of Style (This is a quick review; he always read through it in the week before the test.)

Princeton Review

Edited by Martha in NM
typo
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Out of curiosity...

 

What SAT/ACT score range do the scholarships require?

 

My Ds took the SAT in 6th and 8th grades and had decent scores for a kid not in high school (but I doubt good enough if he was to have same scores as a 11th grader), so if he takes the tests again in 11th grade will just the last one count or will his other times count also????

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Out of curiosity...

 

What SAT/ACT score range do the scholarships require?

 

My Ds took the SAT in 6th and 8th grades and had decent scores for a kid not in high school (but I doubt good enough if he was to have same scores as a 11th grader), so if he takes the tests again in 11th grade will just the last one count or will his other times count also????

 

It really varies by college. My son got a full scholarship at a state school in TN with a 28. For some schools, that would still be low but for many state schools, that is just fine. You choose which set of test scores to send to the college.

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I do appreciate your input!

 

It's going to be a busy Christmas break: SAT prep, continued scholarship apps and honors college apps, work on finalizing her art portfolio pieces (due beginning in mid-Jan at the colleges), and ACCKK!! just found out she and ds will have to have their wisdom teeth out. Poor kids!! What a way to start your break!

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Out of curiosity...

 

What SAT/ACT score range do the scholarships require? It completely depends on the school. For example, UT Arlington offers ~8K to anyone above a composite CR and W of 1300. That is *very* generous compared to tuition, so you might be able to get college there for about $2-3/year, but they structure the scholarship so they are hard to hold onto. UT Austin, otoh, will not guarantee any such thing, and they will not give out any information on what to typically expect for merit scholarships; they have entirely phased out of NMSQT this year and say they are going more to need-based.

 

The private colleges vary even more. There is an old mantra, "ask the college," that applies here, too.

 

 

My Ds took the SAT in 6th and 8th grades and had decent scores for a kid not in high school (but I doubt good enough if he was to have same scores as a 11th grader), so if he takes the tests again in 11th grade will just the last one count or will his other times count also????

You can now send the scores that you want sent, but only after the test scores have been published, so in some cases it pays off to plan your test dates early.
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