SAT Prep Blog

Dr. Tripathi shares his experience from 21 years of SAT Prep and ACT prep training to over 6000 students. Important aspects of SAT, PSAT, ACT and SAT subject test Prep are discussed.

What's "New" in the New SAT?

I have been getting this question from dozens of my students and their parents since the beginning of the year. Most students are anxious. Much of the anxiety results from the fear of the unknown. Many tutoring businesses have been placing ads in school newspapers  with headlines such as "Get Ready... The New, Tougher SAT and PSAT are coming." The fact is the SAT has changed before and it will change again in future. The reasons behind the changes and their impact will be analyzed in another blog post. However, the most important thing is to understand the nature of the changes so that you can see how they may impact your performance and what you may and should do to prepare to get a top score or your dream score.

The SAT is about to change; the new SAT will be offered from March 2016. Superficially, some of the key changes will make the SAT similar to the ACT. For example, the penalty for incorrect answers will be removed. The English section's grammar and sentence correction will resemble that of the ACT. The new SAT will have a sections of fairly simple math problems which will not permit the use of a calculator, The questions in the section are not difficult; unfortunately a large number of students reach out for a calculator even to find the product of 13 and 9, and these students may find this section difficult! The most interesting problems in the new SAT will be data-driven word problems. Students who are loath to reading and who find word problems difficult, may find these problems challenging even though the problems are not difficult. What should you, the student, do? Any student who wishes to do well on the new PSAT or the SAT must understand his/her strengths and weaknesses and how these changes will impact his/her performance. Once the student understands his strong and weak points, an effective strategy and a plan should be devised to raise the scores. I'd love to hear from you if you have apprehensions or just plain questions about the new SAT

Helpful Tips If You Want to Prepare for the SAT on your own

You can certainly prepare for the SAT as long as you understand your strengths and weaknesses on macro and micro scales. If you have already taken the SAT, you know your macro performance (what is your strength and weakness in general terms). If you have not taken the SAT officially, you should a full test from the Official SAT Guide under timed, test-like conditions and calculate your score. Next you should consider your GPA, any other strengths (sports, academics, etc.) and the colleges you are considering to set your score goals.

Before you can chart your path and make a plan for raising your SAT or ACT scores to desired levels, you must analyze and establish the following:

  • What is the reason for your less than desirable SAT scores (whatever they are) at micro scale. You will have to answer questions such as "Why did I skip so many questions?", "Why did I get so many wrong answers?", "Why did I skip so many question?", etc.
  • How is vocabulary and is it affecting your scores?
  • How is your writing score? Is it low because you consistently fail to identify and correct erroneous word usage, sentence structure, etc.
  • Is your reading score low because you are unable to critically analyze a passage, or is it low because, your reading speed is too slow, or is score low because you narrow down to two similar sounding choices and select the wrong one?
  • Is your math score low because you just can't solve problems, or because you take too long to solve problems? Or, is your math score low because you often guess wrong answers choice as your answer?

Different weaknesses require different strategies. Whatever the reasons for your low scores, you will need to deploy proper strategies use suitable techniques to overcome them. If you are able to develop adequate strategies to overcome your weaknesses, you will reach your goals of improving your SAT/ACT scores..

If at anytime you fee that you are putting a lot of effort but you are not going anywhere, or you feel otherwise overwhelmed, please contact us and we will immediately put over 20 years of our experience to help you reach your goals in an efficient manner. #SAT #SATprep

My GPA is very high but my SAT score is mediocre. Why is this and how can you help?

This is a common and growing trend and I see 15 - 20 students every year who are in the same situation as you. While the reasons for this vary from student to student, the most common reasons include poorly developed problem solving skills. Often students like  you are not good at solving words problems, and have slow computational speed, weak vocabulary and/or weak critical reading skills. Quite often poor writing skills and poor grammar skills are at play as well. Please note that whatever the reason, if you adhere to recommendations of the Optimal SAT Prep program, your scores will increase to a level consistent with your true potential. We have worked with dozens if not hundreds of students like you, and if you follow our recommendations with due diligence your performance and confidence both will improve significantly. #SATprep

A Consumer's Guide to Selecting the Best SAT Prep Tutor/Program #SATprep

The advice has been prepared based on my experience as an SAT Prep tutor/instructor for over twenty years as well as a father of four children. Your most important objective is to find the best suited program for your student's abilities and learning style. In general we suggest the following steps:

Conduct a survey of available SAT Prep Programs in your area.

Then, eliminate any program which does not provide a complimentary assessment and a trial class/lesson.

Next. eliminate any program which does not offer you a "pay as you go option."  An SAT prep program which forces you to stay with it just because you have spent a lot of money may feel like a trap after some time if your child does not like the program. Your child should enjoy the learning environment as well as the content offered by the program. Finally, choose a program taught by a dedicated and caring instructor who loves to teach and bring out the best in your child and who does not treat your child's education as secondary to any other objective.

You and your student should be able to talk to the instructor and ask questions that are important to you. You should make sure that if your student does not understand material explained by the instructor, a back up plan is offered to help him understand it.

When your student attends the complimentary/trial class, if possible, you should watch the teacher teach/explain to other students and you should feel comfortable with his teaching style. If you are given an opportunity, take a few difficult questions to the trial class and politely ask the instructor to teach you how to solve these questions. How effectively the instructor explains and whether or not he can make these questions easy for you should provide the most important insight into the program's effectiveness. If you are not satisfied, move on to the program in your list.

Your task of raising your SAT score will become a lot easier if you find a program taught by an instructor who can make learning easy for your student.

Let us know your thoughts on SAT prep.