Varsity Advice

“Empowering The High School Student Athlete”

Is ACT or SAT best for you? – April 5, 2010

Filed under: Study Tips — Varsity Mentoring @ 12:30 pm

Is ACT or SAT best for you?

The ACT has always offered Score Choice; students can take the test as often as they wish but only report their best single test date to colleges. Beginning with this year’s graduating class, the SAT now offers the Score Choice option. However, many schools are still requesting all scores from all test dates. Check the policies at each college.

SAT fits student who …

Did well on the PSAT with little or no prep work.

Is a strong reader with a good vocabulary.

Has good recall for historical or literature examples for the essay.

Possesses strong deductive reasoning and is test-savvy.

Is focused and good at puzzles.

Has ear for languages; easily identifies sentence errors.

Is a bright underachiever.

ACT fits student who …

Did well on the PLAN (the PSAT for the ACT).

Earned a PSAT score that is inconsistent with grades and effort.

Reads fast but is not so strong in vocabulary.

Knows grammar and punctuation.

Performs well academically but is likely to experience test anxiety.

Is a “book-smart overachiever” but not the best test-taker.

Is great at writing argumentative essays about everyday issues.

Works quickly – more questions and less time, but less reasoning required.

Test strategies for both

Take practice tests and learn the test directions now.

Write in the test booklet. It’s okay to do scratch work and cross out wrong answers.

Check the grid sheet often to make sure you’re answers align correctly.

Don’t spend too much time on any one question – the easy, medium and hard questions are all worth the same.

Know when to guess. There’s no penalty on the ACT, so respond to every question. On the SAT there is a 1/4 point penalty, so try to eliminate at least one choice, hopefully two. There is no deduction for omitted answers.

Reading sections: Try to complete the fill-in-the-blanks with words that make sense to you, and then look for their synonyms.

Comprehension sections: The first and last sentences of each paragraph are critical.

Math: Questions go in order of difficulty with easy questions first.

SAT Student Produced Response (Grid): No penalty for wrong answers, so guessing makes sense.

Here’s what I’d do

My recommendation is that students take both free practice tests online to determine which test suits them best. You can find a concordance chart to compare results at and type “SAT concordance” in the search box

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How to Study better. January 4, 2010

Filed under: Study Tips — Varsity Mentoring @ 2:56 am

Here are some tips that will help you get better grades.

Know your teachers : Research which teachers are the most interesting and fairest graders. It is also important to know which teachers are the most easy to meet with during office hours and for help with coursework.

Attempt to schedule classes in blocks

If possible, schedule your courses in chunks of time so that you have free hours of uninterrupted time for studying.

Plan your week

Choose blocks of time for studying and schedule them so that they are uninterrupted. If you do not schedule your week, you will often waste much of your time.

Sit in the front of the class Sitting in the front is an excellent way to ensure that you pay attention to the professor andthat your mind will wander less.

Don’t cut classes Many absences from class convey the message to the professor that you don’t care aboutyour grade or the course. Also, you may miss some important information.

Understand how the professor grades What are the most important items, tests or quizzes? Ask to look over past exams or to getexamples of test questions. Pay close attention to specific topics that you think will be covered on exams.

Take great notes and review them Carefully take notes and learn how to take notes if needed. Try to review your notes within24 hrs to help remember them and consider questions you may have for your professor.

Meet students in class with whom to share notes All students miss a class here and there. To keep up with your studies, find a good student in each class to get notes from when needed. You can also return the favor.

Study with friends or other class members Discussing what you are learning is a great way to learn. Try to find students that are at your