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DS16 attends a small private school, and he and a couple of college-serious friends were scheduled to take an SAT prep class at the local university next week. The U just cancelled.

 

The class was perfect - none of the three are great at self-studying (smart, willing to work, but not organized), summer when nothing else was going on, etc. Now poof. The other two moms and I have been scrambling. There is nothing else available in the next few months, and all three are taking the December SAT.

 

So everyone - DH, my DS, the other moms - tentatively wondered if I could lead them through something over the next two weeks. Lot of reasons (one being my homeschooling experience), but they all think I would be helpful, even though I have barely opened the prep book.

 

So two questions:

 

1. Has anyone developed some kind of plan for an "SAT intensive" from which I could plagiarize?

 

2. As an alternative, do you know of a live, interactive online SAT prep class that is worthwhile? Khan is a great resource, but the communication is one-way.

 

Thanks.

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Have your 16 year old son taken the SAT before?

 

Showelott has a thread on how to prep here http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/634426-sat-resources/

RegGuheert has a thread on prepping for his children http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/619243-how-can-we-help-ds-to-be-faster-on-the-psatsat/

 

We did a 2 week prep for the June 2017 SAT for my younger boy but he was taking for the second time so he was aiming for >700 each section this time round and I could see his weakness from his first SAT in October 2016. We did light test prep the first time round for younger boy as well using Khan academy and found that both my kids don't benefit from Khan's way of test prep.

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To above poster, only took the SAT in 7th, so long ago, old test. Took the PSAT last October, 650 both. The math I could see part of the issue, he was just starting Alg II. The reading, though. He tends to misread things - not careful. So answers the wrong question, or answers the question incorrectly.

 

Thanks for the links!

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@linders - Yes! You can totally do this!

 

1. Download and print out the practice tests from the College Board (they also have full answer explanations for every questions - they are of mixed quality, but at least it's better than nothing)

 

(Each kid will need his own copy of the test - and it's also useful if you have a copy with all the answers already written it in - and any quick explanations. For example, I have my master SAT copy where I've already worked out all the math problems ahead of time (and double checked my answers) because - omg - how could I possibly figure out 464 different math questions on the fly?!)

 

2. Either give the boys the FULL THREE HOUR TIMED SAT or give them a timed math (which is actually two sections), reading, or writing section. Either you circle (or have them circle) the question number of the ones they missed. Give them another opportunity to try it. If they still don't get it, everybody gets to put their heads together (including you) to figure out why the right answer is right. They should also keep track of what sorts of questions they are missing so they can do targeted work on that subject later.

 

(They should also track WHY they are missing it. I always thought that kids missed the questions because they didn't know the content - but they usually miss questions because they are rushing or didnt' read the question throughly , or made a "silly" mistake)

 

3. Now they're ready to talk about strategy. If they're under 600 in math, use Phil's SAT Math Game plan. The first chapter is EXCELLENT in laying out a strategy depending on your score goal. And he has terrific targeted math practice as well. If over 600, use Mike's PWN the SAT - same goes, great strategy info and amazing targeted math practice (but it's H-A-R-D!)

 

4. After they've tracked down their weaknesses and tried to fix them (ie - learn about fractional exponents or functions or pronoun antecendents), have them take another practice section. Remember that usually going slower and focusing on fewer questions leads to a higher score. Then sort of rinse and repeat.

 

A great overall all-in-one book is Applerouth's Guide to the SAT. They've got 2-week, 4-week and 8-week study plans laid out in them.

 

And for free resources:

Mike's PWN the SAT blog

Erica's The Critical Reader blog

My blog :-)

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IME, students can do *some* learning in two weeks, but real improvements in SAT scores take some time.  This would be particularly true of the test occurred five months after the prep.  There simply are a lot of topics to be covered on these tests and learning often requires time to sink in.  This has been true with both our fastest learners and our slowest learners.

 

BTW, if you son is 16, does he plan to take the PSAT this October?  If so, you might want to have some PSAT-specific prep leading up to that test.

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To all, thanks for the SAT tips.  The new 7th grader is prepping for the October PSAT.  Although he nailed the PSAT 8/9 & Adv. SCAT, decided on the the PSAT because he has not taken a geometry/algebra level test. As son as he finishes the PSAT, we will gear up for a shot at CTY SET. He won't be 13 until June 2018, so I think he could prep for the SAT at a comfortable pace.  The math reference books listed above look great.

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Love this thread!  Thanks for the specific suggestions!

 

Any recommended books or resources for a rising 9th grader to use, in preparation for taking SATs in 11th?  I know solid math and quality reading is key, but is there anything that's good for once/twice a week practice?

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Love this thread!  Thanks for the specific suggestions!

 

Any recommended books or resources for a rising 9th grader to use, in preparation for taking SATs in 11th?  I know solid math and quality reading is key, but is there anything that's good for once/twice a week practice?

 

@lisabees - I have an unpopular opinion that I don't think 9th graders should waste one second of their time thinking, worrying about, or doing anything around the SAT or ACT. Most schools are now giving a 10th  grade PSAT - which doesn't matter - those scores don't count (although I have heard of some summer academic camps asking for those scores). My advice for 9th and 10th graders is to master their subjects in school and start thinking about the SAT/ACT summer after 10th grade.

 

I'm sure other folks take a different approach and they may have recommendations for you.

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IME, students can do *some* learning in two weeks, but real improvements in SAT scores take some time.  This would be particularly true of the test occurred five months after the prep.  There simply are a lot of topics to be covered on these tests and learning often requires time to sink in.  This has been true with both our fastest learners and our slowest learners.

 

BTW, if you son is 16, does he plan to take the PSAT this October?  If so, you might want to have some PSAT-specific prep leading up to that test.

 

Hear hear! I recommend that you plan a 6 month runway (though it usually only takes 2-4 months of real studying, depending on the kid)

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Took the PSAT last October, 650 both. The math I could see part of the issue, he was just starting Alg II. The reading, though. He tends to misread things - not careful. So answers the wrong question, or answers the question incorrectly.

  

My younger took the SAT in November 2016 and had 650 for math. His second time in June was a 790 for math. He finished his intermediate algebra online class in probably April.

 

However PSAT and SAT math has slightly different emphasis on topics if your son is taking PSAT this fall https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/about/alignment/math/psat-nmsqt-sat

The PSAT practice tests link https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10/practice/full-length-practice-tests

 

My kids wrong answers in the reading section of practice tests are partially due to being bored. That was why we spent two weeks before the test date on test prep. Too long a run up to test date and my kids would lose steam.

 

This local to me test prep center list their schedule for SAT boot camp https://www.insight-education.net/sat-prep/

 

 Any recommended books or resources for a rising 9th grader to use, in preparation for taking SATs in 11th?  I know solid math and quality reading is key, but is there anything that's good for once/twice a week practice?

  

Proofreading skills drills were the best investment of time for my kids. YMMV (your mileage may vary). It helped for the SAT writing and language score and for ACT English score. Helped pull their composite scores up. Also helped in making sure they don't submit written assignments to their outsourced teachers with grammar errors.

IME, students can do *some* learning in two weeks, but real improvements in SAT scores take some time.  This would be particularly true of the test occurred five months after the prep.

When the content is already mastered, test taking skills can be prep in one week. It is common for private schools and tuition centers to offer a 5 day test prep course which is really teaching how to deal with the test like time management skills and educated guessing. Mastery of content is assumed.
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When the content is already mastered, test taking skills can be prep in one week. It is common for private schools and tuition centers to offer a 5 day test prep course which is really teaching how to deal with the test like time management skills and educated guessing. Mastery of content is assumed.

I will contend that the vast majority of students have NOT already mastered the English and math skills needed for the SAT/PSAT.  If that were the case, then most could do a little test prep and get a perfect score on the test.  Clearly that doesn't happen.

 

 

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I will contend that the vast majority of students have NOT already mastered the English and math skills needed for the SAT/PSAT.  If that were the case, then most could do a little test prep and get a perfect score on the test.  Clearly that doesn't happen.

 

 

 

The students I have worked with outside my home sadly have little mastery of English. Depending on the student, I think a 3-month prep with balanced practice is probably the shortest length of time to see improvements in score. 

 

Like Reg said, a little prep is great if your student only needs practice to gain familiarity with the test format.  Otherwise, sustained practice and a clear understanding of why missed questions were wrong is essential for solid scores.

 

ETA: I have recommended to family members and friends that they begin thorough outside work in grammar and reading comp during middle school years to smooth the path leading up to high school years and high stakes testing.  Many schools simply lack the resources to provide this instruction and/or support. 

 

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To those of you with younger kids who took the SAT/ACT, how did you prep them for the reading comp section.  As posted above, the new 7th grader is prepping for the October PSAT. Math not a concern (final chapters of alg 2); fill in the blank is very strong; grammar, very acceptable given his grade level.  The area that needs lifting is reading comp.  In particular, the page long passage questions.  Since he tends to get the first few questions right, and the last couple wrong, I think he is drifting off by the end the passage.  Right now I am having him just read the passage a couple of time , and margin outline the paragraphs,  Then we review the outline before he answer the questions. Doing one long passage a day.   All tips appreciated.  

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