A New Year…

Published Sunday, January 2, 2011 by Katie

New Year’s resolutions. Made every January 1st at 12:00 AM, they are goals that you strive to achieve over the following year. These resolutions can be anything—to earn straight As, to keep your room clean, or to try something new. However, since the January SAT is right around the corner, perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to attain a certain high score on this dreaded test. To help achieve your goals, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind.

Attend all your Excel classes. Excel instructors teach valuable tips that will increase your score. Even if you have scored extremely well in a particular area or feel that there is no more you can learn in a certain subject, still attend the class; you may still learn something. At the very least, Excel classes are a perfect setting to practice different types of SAT problems. Remember: the more practice you do, the more your score will rise.

Use the Exam Club. Proctored exams are given every Saturday from 10am to 2pm and every Sunday from 2pm to 6pm. Taking practice exams both increases your mental endurance for long tests—which is important for the four-hour long SAT—and acclimates you to the types of problems found on the test. Try to attend exam club every weekend leading up to your SAT.

Study up on vocabulary. Excel provides vocabulary lists for all students. These vocabulary lists can be obtained from the Excel office in Fremont or from class. Lots of analysis and research goes into creating and updating these vocabulary lists, and there is a good chance that some of these words will show up on the SAT. Additionally, your high school vocabulary book likely contains numerous words that have the potential to appear on the SAT. Admittedly, more comprehensive SAT vocabulary lists can be found online; however, these lists are many, many hundreds of words long. If you really want to ensure that you will recognize every single word that could appear on the SAT, you can memorize these lengthy lists. Just keep in mind that the other options are more time-efficient.

Practice the essay. Perhaps you have been skipping the essay portion of the SAT when taking the proctored exam club tests. If so, then make sure you write at least one practice essay per week. The essay is a section that will only get better with practice.

Review your yellow sheet. The yellow sheet—the one on which you took notes during class—contains many of the main concepts you need to know for the SAT. Look over this sheet. Is there anything that seems unfamiliar or that you may have forgotten? This sheet is a convenient way to review what you learned in class and to streamline your studying.

Take advantage of free tutoring. If there is a particular area in which you are weak, make an appointment for tutoring in that area. All tutors are either students who scored a 2400 on the SAT or Excel teachers.

Don’t procrastinate. Do not put off studying for the SAT until the night before the test. Make sure you consistently follow the above tips. For example, do not just go to the exam club the weekend before the SAT; attend many different sessions in the weeks or months leading up to your SAT. Do not cram all the vocabulary you possibly can the night before. Remember that the SAT is like a marathon; your brain needs consistent and disciplined training in the weeks leading up to the test. Just like you cannot run a marathon after having not trained for five months, you cannot take the Excel course five months before the test, “wing it” on test day, and expect good results.


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