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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.

SAT Tip of the Day

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video Confused about I/me? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Here is a simple rule that might get you out of a confusing situation on the SAT:

When it’s the object of a preposition, choose “me.” Examples follow:

above me
below me
for me
from me
to me
at me
between you and me
among Jessica, Tim, and me
over Carlos and me
under Sandy and me

If you keep this in mind, you will surely score higher on the SAT and become a better writer. Good luck!

SAT Tip of the Day

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoBetween & Among:

Use “between” when there are two actors and “among” whenever there are more than two. Examples follow:

Let’s keep this a secret between me and you.

Let’s keep this a secret among the three of us.

If you learn this lesson well, you will improve your writing and score higher on the SAT. Good luck!

Writing Section – Mixed Messages

Karl Schellscheidt

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comI read an article from The Buffalo News this morning about the mixed messages that high school students are receiving about the SAT writing section:

Writing is important (my English teacher says so, and it is, after all, now part of the SAT), BUT

many colleges are not considering the SAT essay in the admissions process.

The very end of the article suggests that, despite the mixed messages, preparing for the SAT can be a positive experience, generally, and that preparing for the writing section, specifically, can help students improve their writing. I agree 100%. In fact, my own writing skills have improved since I began tutoring students for the “new” writing section a few years ago. (I admit my writing is not perfect, but it probably never will be!)

On a somewhat related point, I find it interesting that within the American school system, writing instructors stress clarity and brevity, yet most of what students are forced to read in their English classes is convoluted and difficult to understand. Talk about mixed messages.

Application Advice from Colby College

ePrep

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comColby College’s website posted some sound advice regarding their application package. Here is an excerpt of the article Behind the Decision — What Not To Write.

    1. Respect the word/character limits for the written responses. We have a lot to read and while we’re truly interested in your ideas, please stick to the prescribed space.

    2. Be yourself. Don’t try to write what you think we want to read. The essay is our way of seeing your personality; we’re interested in who you actually are, as opposed to who you think we want you to be. (more…)

The SAT Essay: What Not To Do . . . Unless You “Want” a Zero

Essay  SAT  Videos  Writing
Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video

To avoid a dreaded zero, be sure to avoid three specific mistakes when writing your SATessay. In this video, I discuss the three ways to secure a zero.

Oh yeah, in this video I also discuss the characteristics of essays that received the “perfect” score of six. (more…)

SAT Essay Rubric – Grammar and Word Usage

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoThis entry is the fifth and final video post dedicated to explaining the categories of the SAT essay grading rubric – or scoring guide. In this entry Karl discusses Grammar and Word Usage.

(more…)

SAT Essay Rubric – Use of Language

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoThis entry is the third of 5 video posts dedicated to explaining the 5 different categories of the SAT essay grading rubric – or scoring guide. In this entry you’ll find out how essay graders view your choice of vocabulary words.

(more…)

SAT Essay Rubric – Organization

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoThis entry is the second of 5 video posts dedicated to explaining the 5 different categories of the SAT essay grading rubric – or scoring guide. Find out the second secret factor the essay grading groups use.

(more…)

SAT Essay Rubric – Development of Position

Essay  SAT  Videos  Writing
Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoThis entry is the first of 5 video posts dedicated to explaining the 5 different categories of the SAT essay grading rubric – or scoring guide. Find out how “they” determine your final essay score!

(more…)

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