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Panel of Experts

Karl Schellscheidt

SAT Prep Expert

  • BSE, Princeton University '90
  • M.A., Secondary Education Seton Hall University '93
  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School '00

Fred Hargadon

Dean of Admission

  • Swarthmore College
    (1964-1969)
  • Stanford University
    (1969-1984)
  • Princeton University
    (1988-2003)

Don Betterton

Financial Aid Expert

  • Director of Financial Aid, Princeton University (1973-2006)
  • Certified College Planner
  • Principal, Betterton College Planning

Seamus Malin

Admission Expert

  • Harvard University
    Dir. of Financial Aid
    (1966-1977)
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    (1977-1987)
    International Office Director
    (1987-2002)

Tips for Acing CR and Writing

Guest Columnist

college admissions expert advice from eprep.com4 Tips to Ace Your SAT Verbal and Writing

Every kid has nightmares about facing the SAT exams, one of the hurdles to their progress to a good college. Enough cannot be said about the importance of these tests, so it is imperative that preparation is thorough, because only with intensive study and planned strategy can you ace the SATs. Most students find it hard to score high marks on the verbal and writing portions; although mathematics is difficult, it can be aced if you study diligently. With the essay, sentence completion and other parts of the verbal and writing tests, you never know how you’re going to be judged, so the best you can do is prepare as well as you can by:

Starting young: The SATs may come into your life only when you graduate from high school, but that’s no reason to wait till your senior year to prepare for them. In fact, the groundwork for the SATs has to begin when you’re old enough to understand how important these exams are in your life. If you practice improving your vocabulary and reading as a daily habit right from the time you can read, you’re going to have an edge over the competition when you take the SATs.

Reading the right kind of books: It’s not enough that you read; what’s more important is that you read the right kind of books. There are some authors who improve your English and vocabulary and entertain as well, so make sure you include their books as part of your education. While your interest may lie with popular best sellers, you must make an effort to get through and enjoy books that are known to have words that are commonly found in SAT vocabulary questions, like Brian Aldiss, Kim Stanley Robinson, Vladimir Nabokov and K.W. Jeter.

Improving your handwriting: You’re going to have to write the essay using pen and paper, without the help of a word processor. So work on writing a few pages everyday so that your handwriting is neat and presentable even when you’re writing at top speed. You also need to be able to write a complete essay without your fingers cramping or your writing going awry.

Improving your presentation: You need to work on your presentation skills and learn how to use intelligent quotations in your essay, understand how to split it into paragraphs, and most important of all, know how to organize your thoughts and put them down in a cohesive format, one that flows from beginning to end and makes sense.

Remember, acing the SATs is a task that’s all in the mind. If you train yourself to think positively, you’re definitely going to be able to do well.

By-line:

This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of engineering degree online at her blog The Engineering A Better World Blog. She welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: katsanders25@gmail.com.

You’re Going to Crush the SAT

Randi

eprep test prep videoHow’s that for a headline? Our team at ePrep believes confidence goes a long way towards maximizing your SAT score, and if you’ve put in the practice time you go in with confidence. Following the ePrep method of practice, grade and review (under simulated, test day conditions!) you are well prepared to take on the SAT. We want to wish all our ePrep students best of luck on this Saturday’s SAT test.

You might consider reviewing our ePrep strategy session videos this week as a final preparation going into the test. Summarized below are links to many key video lessons focused on test taking strategies.

SAT Test Day: The Night Before and Morning Of
Real SAT Stories: Second Guessing on the SAT
SAT Directions: Optimize Your Time on Test Day
When to Guess on the SAT Writing Section
When to Guess on the SAT Critical Reading Section
When to Guess on the SAT Math Section
SAT Sentence Completion Questions: When to Guess?
Don’t Blame the Chicken Pox for SAT Math Mistakes
Approach to SAT Math Problems
Habeus Answer, or Show Yourself the Answer!
Mastering Your SAT Test Weaknesses
SAT Questions…Easiest to Hardest
Autopilot – Don’t Set a Course for a Lower SAT Score
A Lesson from a Course in Wills, Trusts and Estates
Bubbling: Avoid Mistakes in Your Answer Key
Please Put Down Your Pencil!
The Dreaded SAT Experimental Section

Additionally, we’ve included a link to our presentation (in PDF format) on “what to do the night before and the morning of the SAT test” right here: Webinar Presentation – Night Before the SAT

Best of luck on Saturday!

SAT and American “Idle”

Catherine

“Turn off the television, read a book, take an online course or pick out a video lecture from the public library. If your children see you learning a little bit every day they will grow to respect their education. That is SAT preparation.”

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comI came across this short article by Robert S. Siegel and thought it was worth posting. I hope you enjoy it too.

How to Eat for the Big Test

ACT  PSAT  SAT  SSAT  Strategies
Guest Columnist

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comTest Prep – How to Eat for Standardized Test Classes and the Test Itself

Getting ready for a standardized test can be an intimidating prospect. The goal in both your studies and testing should be to take all distractions away, including those grumbling in your tummy.

These days on the internet a quick search of ‘Brain Foods’ will pull up all kinds of wacky supplements and diets that profess to have the ability of supercharging your most important organ. But the real truth to eating for a serious test or test prep class is to keep it simple.

No Distraction, Remember?

The overall goal here is to ace that test. And as any good prep class will teach you, your goal should be to eliminate distractions. While it may be advisable to modify your diet, you certainly don’t want to make any radical changes that could give you an upset stomach or give you the need to go running to the nearest bathroom.

Your best bet is simply to eat some light foods which are already a part of your diet, but try to avoid anything heavy that will slow you down and make you tired.

Establish a Pattern

If you are going to make any changes, or incorporate foods that may encourage your brain to function at its max capacity, make the changes long before the test while you are studying. If you build a pattern of eating that corresponds to a pattern of study then there will essentially be no change once the real test comes around. This is a great way to program your body to respond mentally when certain foods are only associated with studying, like mints, which have been shown to increase brain function.
Beware of the Caffeine Crash

If coffee is part of your regular study regiment then by all means feel free to incorporate it into your testing regiment as well. Just be aware of two key factors that may affect you when it comes to coffee: 1) The Caffeine Crash. 2) The necessity of a bathroom.

Crashing down from a caffeine high could be the worst thing that could happen to you in the middle of a test, so remember to take it easy when juicing up. And that liquid is going to have to come out some time, so remember the second reason not to gulp the stuff down right before the big finale.

Snacks?

Last minute munchables are a good idea, but you don’t want to be Napoleon Dynamite and snack on a secret stash of tater-tots mid-test. For one thing what if the guy/gal next to you catches you and demands his/her fair share?

But seriously, snacking during the test is overall inadvisable. During most standardized tests you will be under time constraints, and you shouldn’t waste valuable calculating time by stuffing your face. However, snacking immediately before the test may be a good idea, particularly if it is going to be a long session like most standardized tests.

Nuts, fruit, and a little water are a perfect combo for this pre-test appetite quencher. And since studies show that mint is proven to increase brain function, you may want to include one to suck on during the test just in case.

This post was contributed by Katie Wilson, who writes about the top universities online. She welcomes your feedback at KatieWilson06 at gmail.com

Last-Minute Help for the ACT

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoIt’s a good idea to do some prep before the ACT, even if it’s last-minute.

At $69, ePrep’s Express ACT course may be just what you need.

Science: For students familiar with the SAT, the ACT’s Science section may come as a big surprise on test day. While the Science section is not terribly difficult, most students mismanage time the first time they try one. (To help with time management, skim the passages (one at a time) and quickly get to the related questions. The questions will only require that you refer back to, and fully understand, specific sections of the text. Thus, reading the entire passage in detail is not the best use of the time allotted.)

Math: The ACT math section is much more straightforward than SAT math. Unlike the SAT, however, the ACT covers more advanced topics like trigonometry. (Practicing before test day is a great way to refresh your memory on concepts you may have forgotten over the years and to learn essential topics that you may not have covered yet in school.)

Reading: The ACT Reading section does not include sentence completion questions like the SAT. The ACT Reading section includes only a series of passages with linked questions. Unlike the SAT passage based questions, however, some ACT questions go beyond reading comprehension. They require the test-taker to make decisions regarding the structure or function of specified portions of the text provided. (It’s a really good idea to expose your mind to these types of questions before test day.)

English: In concept, the ACT English section is much like the SAT Writing section. (Because the format is different, however, it would behoove you to take a practice test before you sit for a real ACT.)

Good luck on Saturday to all taking the ACT!

SAT Tip: Re-Read the Question

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video

Nancy read 1/3 of a book on Monday, 1/2 of the book on Tuesday, and the remaining 60 pages on Friday. How many pages of the book did Nancy read on Monday?

(A) 360
(B) 320
(C) 240
(D) 160
(E) 120

The most popular wrong answer is (A). Why? A lot of testtakers go on “autopilot” when working on a problem like this. In other words, they get so absorbed in solving for B, the total number of pages in the book, that they forget the question: How many pages did Nancy read on Monday?

Why does this happen? It happens because students develop most of their problem solving skills in school, and on a typical in-school test or quiz, the final question to a problem like the one presented is likely to be, “How many pages are in the book?”

Thus, when practicing for the SAT, students should develop the habit of quickly re-reading the question before answering and moving on to the next question. It is likely to make a big difference.

The Psychology of “Free”: A Message to ePrep Users

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoAfter graduating from college back in 1990, I spent a few months in Germany playing soccer and working part-time in my uncle’s bakery. It was a great time to be in Germany. The Berlin Wall was coming down and Germany’s national soccer team won the coveted FIFA World Cup. Anyway, my uncle is one of the nicest and most generous people I have ever met. That’s why I was surprised to learn that he made his own employees pay full price for baked goods from his own store . . . even the goods that were left unsold at the close of business. (more…)

SAT Prep Advice for Juniors

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoIf you’re not completely happy with your PSAT scores, don’t panic . . . but don’t procrastinate either. There are simple things you can start doing right now that will get you ready to crush the SAT on March 1st. Here’s my advice on how to prepare effectively:

First: Start building (more…)

Ah, The Night Before and the Morning of

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video Here’s a link to an old post that becomes relevant about seven times a year:

http://blog.eprep.com/2006/10/11/sat-test-day-the-night-before-and-morning-of

(Pssst. In case you didn’t know, the SAT is administered 7 times per year.)

A Little Advice on the Writing Section Essay

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoAs part of this summer’s alpha test of ePrep’s new SAT prep product, ePrep for the SAT, students were required to submit essays that I agreed to hand-grade. Since grading essays always gets me thinking about some of the common mistakes that keep students from scoring high on the essay, I though I would share a few while they are fresh in my mind. (more…)

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