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What math next? Want to increase math SAT score


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Son has already "officially" completed 4 credits of math (through public school, on public school transcript). So he would have through algebra 2 and a basic statistics class. His SAT score today for math was 540.  His verbal score was much higher. He is not looking for a math based career. But he needs scholarships for college and such. 

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Precalculus is a good idea, for the reasons stated. However both my older two got excellent scores within ten points of each other and one had Algebra 2 and the other pre-calc.  So, is have him take a pre-calc class for sure, but really target math test prep. 

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He should{ have an account on Khan Academy:   https://www.khanacademy.org/

and have an account on College Board:  https://www.collegeboard.org/

The 2 accounts should be linked together. There is an official tie-in between Khan Academy and the College Board.

I believe he will benefit, greatly, from taking a solid course in Pre Calculus.

Good luck to him!

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I agree that a course in PreCalculus will help consolidate and solidify his math knowledge, but for purposes of improving his SAT math score, he needs to do targeted test prep, either through a book or Khan Academy (if highly motivated), or with a tutor (if he needs some outside accountability and guidance). 
 

My DD was in a similar situation with a big gap between her English and Math scores. She has worked with a very good tutor to close the gap and improve her math score significantly. She’ll take the ACT next weekend, and we’re both hopeful she’ll hit her goal score and be done testing. 

We’ve been working with Stacey from Stellar Scores, and it’s been a great experience. I plan to do a full write-up of her test prep process, outlining starting score (before any prep), what she did to study, and how much we spent on books and tutoring. I’ll wait until after she’s finished testing so I can share the outcome. I’ve seen another family do that on here and I found it so helpful.  In the meantime, if you want to check her out, here’s a link: https://www.stellarscores.com/

Don't be scared off by the price. We’ve found that just a few sessions had a big impact and I know our ROI (return on investment) will be high, based on my older girls’ experience with merit scholarship money. I’m not affiliated with Stacey in anyway— just a happy customer!

 

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My son does Math SAT tutoring/coaching (online - if you are interested) and a couple of pointers for the SAT - being able to do the math quickly is key, reviewing geometry since that is often forgotten, and reviewing often so the types of SAT math questions are familiar. Khan Academy is great but having someone to talk to and encourage you with your SAT studies is also important. It is a lot like coaching - trying to improve your performance. You have the raw skills now you just need to know how to use them to play the game better. 

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I agree with others and with PrepScholar to take a very close look at the problems that were missed and try to figure out what is going on.  Are there knowledge gaps or silly mistakes or is he not 100% solid on algebra?  This should help you direct your energy in a useful way.  

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My son liked the College Panda math prep books

(Here's one: https://www.amazon.com/College-Pandas-SAT-Math-Advanced/dp/0989496422)

He also really liked doing the SAT math problems at uworld.com. 

Between those two resources, he felt he was able to do very targeted preparation for just the types of problems that came on the exam. It's about grinding through enough of the same types of problems and isolating any weak areas. My son felt at a certain point that he had seen all the patterns and ways of asking the questions and had no surprises on his test. No tutors or private classes required. I've heard good things about Prep Scholar as well. 

I would say that getting the score up into the range that you want is definitely about preparation specific to the exam. Taking another Algebra II class or a Precalc class in general will not be an efficient use of test prep time (though may be a great idea in terms of building on high school math skills for college!).

Good luck.

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16 hours ago, daijobu said:

I agree with others and with PrepScholar to take a very close look at the problems that were missed and try to figure out what is going on.  Are there knowledge gaps or silly mistakes or is he not 100% solid on algebra?  This should help you direct your energy in a useful way.  

This may have hit the nail on the head...   There are many people in universities who did well (?) in High School Math courses and passed the exams and onto the next Math course, but they are very weak in Algebra 1 and that is the "kiss of death".   If he is not solid in Algebra 1, he should begin there.

My DD used Khan Academy almost exclusively when she was preparing for the PSAT/NMSQT and then for the SAT and that's FREE, so I would begin there, as I suggested in my first reply.

Note: He should also be very familiar with how to use his Calculator, before he goes for the SAT or ACT exams.

Good luck to your DS! 

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Just now, Lanny said:

This may have hit the nail on the head...   There are many people in universities who did well (?) in High School Math courses and passed the exams and onto the next Math course, but they are very weak in Algebra 1 and that is the "kiss of death". 

Having taught college calculus at good schools, I would say this is the norm, not the exception... 

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On 10/16/2020 at 7:58 PM, EKS said:

Precalculus.  It will help expand and consolidate the skills he needs to do well on the SAT.  Statistics didn't and likely set him back.

Algebra 2 was in public school and lacked a lot. I am wondering if it would be better to start with algebra 2 and then move on to precalculus, or to go straight in to precalculus?

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3 minutes ago, Janeway said:

Algebra 2 was in public school and lacked a lot. I am wondering if it would be better to start with algebra 2 and then move on to precalculus, or to go straight in to precalculus?

If you're going to run through Algebra 2 again, I really like Derek Owens' Algebra 2.  I used it with my son after Lial's Intermediate Algebra, and it was a perfect blend of cementing skills and moving forward.  

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